Tuesday, February 7, 2012

#0039: Super Mario Kids A-Peel Stickers

I am shameless enough to admit that I lived a pretty comfortable lifestyle as a kid. My family was, at that time, pretty well off, so we could afford to go on yearly holidays. For this reason, I am a wily veteran of airplane trips. It’s a sad fact that I have spent more time in airplanes than I have behind the wheel, and the reason is simple: if I’m in an airplane, I’m going to London or Hawaii. If I’m in a car, I’m going to the petrol station. And possibly, I’m going to die, because I cannot drive worth a shit.

Despite my wealth of experience however, I was hardly a patient child. Planes were an icky, cramped place to spend hours on end, and I had to keep my impressionable young mind sharp and focused. Because who knows, any time might be the moment the ninjas strike! I had to be ready. I had to be equipped with my Super Mario Kids A-Peel stickers. Yeah, fuck you, ninjas! I had Goomba stickers.

Basically, these were vinyl stickers that you’d plonk onto a storyboard to create your own fun and amusement, and because they could be peeled off with ease, you could reallocate them however you saw fit. Did you need another set of chairs at the table? No worries, just pick them up from where you’d previously left them, typically underwater, and chuck ‘em where you wanted ‘em.

This set includes all of the necessary Mario characters, including a disco-loving Bowser, and a Blooper that says ‘sup?’

I myself never knew anyone who looked like the kids on the packaging. They’re a little too 80s ghetto for my liking.

The best Kids A-Peel packages spanned multiple pages, and offered a bevy of stickers. They were often Disney stories, so you knew they weren’t going to cut corners there. If we were going to have an ultra-condensed version of Beauty and the Beast, we were going to be given so many stickers we wouldn’t give a shit. I liked putting Mrs. Potts in places she really didn’t belong. When the Beast was facing off against Gaston, he could rest easy knowing Mrs. Potts was in his corner, grinning as she supervised the action.

Then, it grew to even greater proportions, with Mrs. Potts escaping the confinement of the sticker book, appearing on windows and the refrigerator. Eventually, she just up and left one day, and I haven’t found her since. I’m sure she’ll resurface someday, having tucked herself into an issue of Where’s Waldo or Les Misérables.

The Super Mario sticker sheet however, was only one storyboard, so you couldn’t mess around. You had to place as many strategically placed enemies about the map as you could, for sticker Mario to navigate around before finally plucking the axe from the bridge and sending Bowser plummeting to his doom.

Me personally, I always thought Bowser should either get rid of that axe mechanism that led to eight straight deaths, or just shoot fireballs from the safety of the floor behind him. I mean, bro, that bridge was doing you no favours. Get off the damned thing!

Now, on the 20th birthday of my fantastic Super Mario reusable static cling vinyl stickers storyboard, let’s see what kind of epic fable I can assemble!

We begin with Mario taking his anger out on the first hapless Koopa Troopa who happens to be standing there at the time. The Koopa looks at me, as though to say, ‘shit, you’re kidding me!’ before he dies a fiery death. His funeral is small and inexpensive.

On his way to the next world, Mario punches a block. However, like most blocks, it is empty, and hitting it results in nothing but a broken hand. Surely, he should have realised that that was a bad idea?

Now Mario scales down towards the darkened catacombs. On his descent, he comes upon a Paratroopa botanist who is quite flustered with his early arrival. ‘Wait!’ the Paratroopa shouts, ‘I haven’t set up my vine yet!’, but Mario cares not. He moves on with disinterest, and the Paratroopa is left aghast that the vine he had worked so hard on for all these years was for naught. Poor pedantic Paratroopa, says the alliteration buff.

Now in the underground cavern, Mario comes upon a Lakitu who threatens him while hovering upside down, in an effort to get into Mario’s head and weird him out. However, Mario has no time for this existential, passive aggressive attack. He carries onward.

‘Feed me, Seymour!’ the Piranha Plant pleads. Mario takes the Piranha Plant out to dinner at an upper-class French restaurant, and then they go dancing at the local discotheque. They are now going steady.

Mario passes by a pipe he had seen earlier above ground. He had been tempted to go down it before, but was advised against it by an odd worm with blue hair. Relieved, the worm mutters to himself, ‘If she’d ‘ave kept on goin’ down that way she’d ‘ave gone straight to that castle.’

Though he should have now been able to head down directly to Bowser’s dungeon, Mario falls afoul of a block which should not have been here. ‘Curse you, Dungeon Master!’ he shouts, before rolling a +20 in fortitude. He proceeds on through an alternative route, where he happens upon Bowser’s drug money. Lucky!

He comes out of the fortress and now he’s FUCKING HUGE!!!

An ominous cloud hangs about the next room. Though at first it arouses Mario’s suspicion, he later dismisses it as a rogue weather pattern. I can honestly assure you that this was not the sort of plot I was creating 20 years ago.

…Because clearly, I would have had the drug money in a different room.

Mario is instantly hit by a flash of bright colours. Disco Bowser is here! But he’s not where he should be! He’s listened to my advice, and is standing a great distance behind the bridge. Bowser yanks the axe, and Mario falls into the lava. His funeral is better than the Koopa’s.

And that is the end. It was fantastic.

As for the sup Blooper, he’s gone off on his own quest, in honour of his hero, Mrs. Potts. Will we ever meet again? The odds are good. When you’re next flipping through the pages of your tome, keep your eyes peeled (pun!), and maybe… just maybe… you will be paid a fruitful visit by the sup Blooper…

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