(Image by Flickr User: Centella)
It’s been long established that Mario and Luigi are plumbers, or at least they’re supposed to be. After all the Mario games I’ve played over the years, I believe I know why we’ve never seen nor heard of Mario and Luigi’s tenure as plumbers. Are you ready for this? It’s because they’re not plumbers anymore! After the Donkey Kong incidents, Mario must have found plumbing to be beneath him, and left the profession thinking he was capable of bigger things, grander things. It’s been 33 years since that fateful confrontation with our favorite Kong, and it turns out he was right! It would have been a total waste if Mario had remained a plumber. It’s an obvious statement to be sure, plumbing games wouldn’t be nearly as interesting as his actual adventures, but closer inspection of our iconicly-mustachioed hero reveals that Mario’s talents are far greater than any of us may have ever considered before!
First and foremost, Mario is perhaps one of the single most agile characters in gaming. It’s been evident since Super Mario Bros. He can jump to extraordinary heights, can run like the wind, and has even displayed an innate ability to influence his mid-air momentum. These aren’t the skills of your average plumber, not even your average super-soldier. Mario’s innate abilities are those we would usually associate with a super hero, which he might as well be after all he’s accomplished over the course of his games.
It doesn’t stop there though. In addition to his inherent strength, agility, and gravity-defying powers, Mario is able to augment his abilities even further by coming into contact with certain items. Otherwise ordinary objects in the Mushroom Kingdom somehow augment Mario in ways that are difficult to imagine. Simple mushrooms turn the man into a hulling giant, and just touching a mushroom kingdom star makes him invulnerable! As he’s found more and more objects over the years his power has grown, enabling him to do anything from flying to turning into a solid chunk of chrome! The ability to do these things makes his departure from plumbing all the more understandable, why muck around in the sewers all day when you can just pick up a feather and fly around?
Still, while his skills and abilities are nothing short of incredible, Mario usually isn’t invulnerable and Bowser’s lands are quite deadly (as we all know). Yet somehow he’s managed to make it through each trial, hazard, and gauntlet without major injury. Certainly his skills and abilities provide him the necessary tools to achieve success, but they’re just tools. It’s his genius-level intellect that enables him to effectively use those tools to achieve success time and again. Think about it, if he wasn’t able to instantly assess, understand, and to his situation at any given moment, what hope could he possibly have of foiling Bowser once, much less multiple times?
The sum of this skill, ability, and intelligence also makes Mario a master combatant and tactician. Bowser is often beyond even his incredible physical capabilities, so like he does with each gauntlet laid out before him, he finds a weakness and exploits it! He’s able to do this so well that more often than not he is able to handily defeat Bowser without so much as laying a single white-gloved hand on him. This never seems to dissuade Mario’s nemesis though. There’s always another scheme being hatched, allowing Mario to continue as a full-time hero and leaving Luigi to tend to the family ghost-busting business.
If Mario was ever actually a plumber, it was a very long time ago. With all he’s done and is capable of, it’s very unlikely that he will ever return to the profession, his skills would be totally wasted there after all. Not that he’ll have to, Bowser isn’t likely to quit anytime soon, and even if he did there’s plenty of villains ready to take his place (We all know Wart is just waiting for his chance!). To be fair, if Mario hadn’t realized that he could be more than a plumber, Bowser would have won on his first try. He’s called “Super Mario” for a reason and it’s for that reason that Mario has hung up his plunger for good.