Thursday, May 5, 2011

5/5: Mario wins Battle of the Smithsonian!

No one had more at stake for the Smithsonian's Art of Video Games exhibit than Super Mario. Smithy (if I call call the Institution by its preferred nickname) let its site visitors vote on which games from a panoply of systems and game eras should be inducted into its ersatz hall of fame.

Eight Mario games were nominated, a record. Another record: Mario won FIVE of those eight contests! And that's not counting Jumpman, which won in the Commodore 64 Action category. The agate is below.

Colecovision -- Action: DONKEY KONG (Beat out Jungle Hunt and -- c'mon, seriously? -- Smurf: Rescue in Gargamel's Castle)

NES -- Action: SUPER MARIO BROS. 3 (beat out Metroid and Mega Man 2: Note; this was the hardest single voting block for me)

SNES -- Action: SUPER MARIO WORLD (beat out prodigal son Donkey Kong Country and Super Star Wars)

N64 -- Action: SUPER MARIO 64 (beat out Banjo-Kazooie and Star Wars: Shadows of the Empire)

Wii -- Action: SUPER MARIO GALAXY 2 (beat out Metroid Prime Trilogy and Epic Mickey)

Paper Mario did lose in the N64--Adventure category, to Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, which is a fair call. And Paper Mario: Thousand-Year Door lost out to another Zelda game, The Wind Waker, on Gamecube. for Adventure. PLUS, Super Paper Mario lost to Twilight Princess in the Wii Adventure category. Which is all summed up by the Smithsonian's longstanding motto: "Zelda is better than Paper Mario." (It sounds better in Latin.)

Best of all, visitors will be able to play one of five specially selected game: the rest will just have noninteractive displays. The five games: Pac-Man, Secret of Monkey Island, Myst, World of Warcraft, and the original Super Mario Bros. So Mario is very well represented. And we all have a new reason to visit Washington, DC next year, when the exhibit opens.