Mario Vs Donkey Kong Is About The Scourge Of False Scarcity Under Capitalism (Hear Me Out)

Mario Vs Donkey Kong Is About The Scourge Of False Scarcity Under Capitalism (Hear Me Out)

I keep thinking about the Mario vs Donkey Kong cinematic trailer. It’s been in my head since Nintendo dropped it a month ago, and I keep thinking about the strange social structure that it posits. Just hear me out. DK is the game’s true hero, Mario is the secret villain, and this trailer inadvertently proves it.

Here, I’ll embed it so you can see it for yourself.

Let me explain why this has been taking up so many of my brain cycles.

Donkey Kong is enjoying the (literal) fruits of his labour, reclining on his couch for a bit of TV when he comes upon an ad for a new toy. It’s called Mini Mario, a motorised wind-up doll version of Mario Mario. In this apparently alternate version of the Mushroom Kingdom, Mario is no longer a humble plumber but a toy tycoon. He has left his humble, respectable blue-collar life behind and become a class traitor who sells toys made in his own likeness. You truly hate to see it. I mean, it says “Mario Toy Company” right there on a huge building in beautiful downtown New Donk City. It has his iconic red-and-white M above the door. That’s his building. He definitely owns that.

DK is keen on a Mini Mario, so he heads on down to the local toy store to pick one up. Discovering on arrival that they have sold out, DK admittedly lets his temper get the better of him and goes directly to the Mario Toy Company for an explanation. What he finds inside that gilded building transforms him instantly into a hero of the people. The beautiful Mario-branded building is but a giant, dimly lit factory floor full of conveyor belts staffed by Toads. On those conveyor belts? Mini Marios. Hundreds of them. Now, this stock may or may not be spoken for; they may be on their way to fulfilling preorders. Entirely plausible. But based on the appalling conditions these Toads are working under (they should unionise), I think it’s safe to assume that CEO Mario Mario is creating a bit of old-fashioned ‘false scarcity’ and appears to overworking his Toads to do it.

Comrade DK, seeing how many of the toys there truly are, liberates as many of the Mini Marios as he can and departs the factory at speed, presumably to distribute them at an orphanage like the People’s Hero he is. While fleeing the scene, he runs into Mario, who, rather than display any concern for his terrified staff still fleeing the scene, is angered that DK would lay hands on his precious, sought-after, definitely patented product (smh).

In this way, the Mario vs Donkey Kong cinematic trailer demonstrates that there is an alternate version of the Mushroom Kingdom in which DK is a heroic figure fighting against the capitalist overlord that Mario has become. A world where even DK has been radicalised and moved to rebel against invented pressures of the free market.

And the crazy part? The game expects you to believe that MARIO is the good guy here! You have to STOP DK, presumably to keep him from telling the world about Mario’s rotten business practices! This trailer, to me at least, makes it crystal clear here who the protagonist truly is. Donkey Kong, a man of the people, is trapped in a Jingle All The Way scenario of his own making and must be protected at any cost.

Mario vs Donkey Kong is out this week. I hope DK wins.

Thank you for letting me get this out of my head so that I can move on with my life.

Screenshot: Nintendo, Kotaku Australia

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