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Thanks to Naija twitter person and all round awesome guy @maurice_nn and the perpetually lovely (and yours truly’s girlfriend) @notmutant for the general inspiration for this line of thinking…
Having been an 80s to early 90s child, there are quite a number of things I quite enjoy till now. There’s the cartoons that made sense, the fact that I could go out and play, get dirty and then go home and play video games… 8-bit video games that had random knockoff titles, like Ending Man and such, that were the cutting edge of console gaming. Cheap enough to be bought as a Christmas gift and child-silencer, expensive enough to be shown off to visiting relatives, especially cousins, they were, for lack of a better word, the ish.
And they had life lessons. Fine, you had to dig through a lot of monotonous background muzak and mock gore to get to the lessons, but they were there… Here is a random assortment from Mario. Because he’s a plumber for one, and he’s saving a princess. That’s enough backstory to keep you playing for days on end.
Mario Characters
1. Always try to jump over obstacles
There’s blocks, pipes, random spaces in the ground and other things in the way. You could sit there and wait for the time to run out, or you could jump over the obstacle. Sometimes there’s a spring, sometimes there isn’t. Just jump and get over it.

2. Deal with disappointment
Sometimes the princess is just in another castle. Not much you can do about that, save for move on to the next level and continue with the fight…
Sorry Mario

3. Money will make your life better…
The more the coins you collect, the closer you get to an extra life. More money, less problems. Suck on that, Diddy.
Cha ching

4. Empty space is not always ’empty’
Empty spaces have stars, for immunity, 1UPs, steps to other levels and other such interesting secrets… Blank walls are often hiding interesting secrets…
Exploring your surroundings will help expand your horizons.

5. Mushrooms are good for you
They make you big and strong… And you can destroy bricks and such. Plus they also come bearing extra lives…

6. You can always start over
No matter how well (or badly) you did the last time, once you get bitten by the vicious plant thing, or an owl, or the turtle, or you get flamed by the dragon, you can always start over.

7. No matter how small you are, you can still jump and get yourself some coins
Even when Mario is a wee little plumber, there’s still some coins he can get. Don’t let your size limit you…

8. Confront your fears. They’ll still be there if you run away
Sometimes the only way to get through to the next level is to attack that Bowser. He’ll still be there when you’re at the end of the level…

9. Use your head
It’s the only way to get coins and power-ups…

10. Keep your eyes on the prize
In the end, the aim is to save the princess. The money and the power are nice, but they’re just there to help you get to the end…

Alright, so these lessons may be inadvertent at best, but they’re a measure of life’s random inadvertent lessons. A plumber with a thing for mushrooms on a quest to save a princess goes level after level, braving lava, water, flying fish, owl creatures, turtles, some boss called Bowser and other such randomness.
That in itself is why Mario is a thousand different kinds of #winning.