Honorary Mention: Hills of Mario by Christopher Holthof
Etsy isn’t just for doilies and throw pillows. It’s got a panoply of nerdery buried in its easy-to-browse interface of homemade craft goods. Just because that person from high school spams you twice a week with her laundry-pin reindeer doesn’t mean that there aren’t 1-ups hidden in the bricks.
I have a book coming out on Super Mario, so I thought I’d see what Esty had to offer regarding my favorite mustached plumber. Turns out there are over four thousand Mario items: yikes!
What I expected going in was pillows, bedspreads, scarves, hats, pins, cookies, cupcakes, etc. Old-school pixel art is really easy to convert into crochet or quilting squares, so it’s much easier to capture Mario then, say, Darth Vader. But there’s a lot more than that: tech gifts, snarky things, hard drives shoved into NES games.
Sure, there are people selling their fan-art Mario watercolors for $500. And there are eight-buck children’s party invitations. But the breadth and clarity of creativity on display is pretty amazing. Take a look.
There are a wealth of issues here to ponder. First is the issue of wealth itself: this blinged-up case costs $200. Second is the fact that unless the bedazzling process has hit some hotgluing Moore’s law, those little rhinestones (excuse me, Swarovski crystals) look like they’re going to fall off like poppy seeds. Third is the fact that a pink mushroom the size of a Hostess Snowball is now attached to a sleek device, making it infinitely harder to carry around. Fourth is that Nintendo refuses to make Apple apps, so some lawyer might sue you if you try to use this case, saying that it’s illegally associating the insanely great with the merely insane.
You know, this is not the sort of picture I thought I’d find on Esty. It’s basically fetish gear. There are lots of child and adult costumes, even some cosplay stuff for those who want to get their Princess Peach on... but this? Eek.
You’d expect Mario and Peach crocheted characters. But here’s a whole twin bed filled with the Mario characters whose rear ends have never felt a Kart or been in a Party in their lives. King Boo, a Fire Flower, a Superstar, Toad (okay, he’s raced in a kart, but he makes Luigi look like Han Solo, so I forgot him), a Goombah, and… sniff… a Chain Chomp. Plus Mario, Luigi, and an old-school Princess Toadstool.
Bring back the Ottoman Empire in your own Kingdom with this set of two Mushroom ottomans! (Or is that Ottomen? Ottopersons?) Each is made to order, and you can pick your cap color to match your décor. (And if you need an extra life – green-- or feel like doubling in size -- red.) Just don’t put it in your bedroom, because those eyes…those eyes are going to be watching you like the souls of the damned.
Just imagine the props one would receive when carrying this around. People from a half-mile around will make a queue and orderly file up to you to pass on the props. You will be able to start your own commodities market, selling nothing but props, but then the SEC would crack down on you because you don’t have enough commercial paper to back your props trading. Also, the joke about people blowing in your briefcase, which probably has your lunch in it so that means they’re blowing on your food with their germs – is going to get old fast.
She asked for jewelry this year. Not a Lego game that you two could play “together,” but an actual piece of jewelry. And you give her this. Real sterling silver! And you start telling her how Nintendo designer (and Donkey Kong co-creator) Gunpei Yokoi first designed it for the Game & Watch series, the first of which was in the Gold collection. And then you realize you shouldn’t have said “gold” to a woman who you just gave a D-pad to instead of a proper gold chain or diamond earrings. And then she looks up and says “This is perfect!” And then you wonder if it’s pushing it to add some Uwe Boll movies on the Netflix queue.
You remember that Wire storyline where Valchak got some stained glass to give to the church but they had already put up glass given to them by the Stevedores? And how mad Valchak got? Imagine that little chickenhawk’s rage if it had been the plumber’s union instead. Mario even looks like he’s delivering a sucherpunch, which is the only way to get one over on Valchak.
I want to know if this dress will be replaced with a smaller size dress, and then one that displays color, and then one that ports over SNES games. And if it has an external jack for color-coded earbuds. And how many people will fake a boobgrab by saying they were merely trying to turn the system on. And if entire lines of pixels will simulate failing by peeling off, revealing yellow underneath. And if it comes with Tetris as a pack-in.
Does it help if your pinata looks like how guys in horror movies look like right before they get an axe through the head. If I were a kid, I’d feel such sympathy for Mario I’m not sure I could swing a bat at him. Look at him: He knows he’s going to die. He’s terrified of it. What’s going to comes out of those overalls is urine.
Let’s play the hit new drinking game KNOW…YOUR…MOUSTACHES! Fill up all four shot glasses with different liquors. Be careful: one of them is Kahlua from three years ago! Okay, find Luigi’s moustache! Which one is it? Not the busy one, not the one that looks like Charlie Brown’s t-shirt…is this it? No? DRINK! Expansion packs to include FMSS (Flanders, Macy, Swanson, Selleck), MDHC (Mercury, Dali, Hernandez, Chaplin), and HFEM (Hogan, Fingers, Elliott, Marx).