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Tuesday, October 27, 2020

What Makes One Super? The Predators and the Mario Bros.

By LUDWIG VON KOOPA - The definition of super... and the threat it poses.

There has been a reoccurring theme of Republican incumbent President Donald John Trump bringing up Democrat challenger Joe Biden's record on race relations and statements on black people (often overlooking Vice President Joe Biden's former boss... President Barack Hussein Obama, whom is half-black), repeatedly claiming that Joe Biden has called black people “superpredators.”

Let's get the facts straight, and then talk about how it matters and how it applies to a far more interesting topic to me (and probably to you, if you expect discussion about videogames on this website). Here's Joe Biden in 1993, warning about predators on the streets:

Meanwhile, here's President Donald John Trump's former presidential foe, Hillary Clinton, in 1996, warning about superpredators:

Joe Biden never said superpredator. He said predator. Hillary Clinton was the one who said superpredator a few years after he did. Therefore, President Donald John Trump is factually incorrect to say Joe Biden said superpredator. With all of that said, and pardon me for using another phrase from Hillary Clinton (albeit decades later), what difference, at this point, does it make? Both of them used the same “dogwhistling” language, talking about young dudes in gangs who have no “conscience” and have only antisocial behaviour that need to be brought “to heel” by more having more cops on the streets. (We know from statistics that this disproportionately ended up affecting and describing black people, and was zealously enforced in some states, like California under top cop Kamala Harris.)

But I do think there is a difference between predator and superpredator, as I alluded to in my write-up of last week's presidential debate: You can observe the difference when comparing it to the difference between the Mario Bros. and the Super Mario Bros., which I'm about to do:

Nintendo Entertainment System NES box arts Super Mario Bros. arcade 1986 1985
Left: NES box-art of Super Mario Bros.
Right: NES box-art of Mario Bros.

Do you see the difference in the box-arts above? In Mario Bros., an ordinary-looking Mario is about to murder a tiny, innocent Koopa for absolutely no reason, likely with just the primitive force of gravity. In Super Mario Bros., an extraordinary FIREBALL-throwing Mario is trespassing what appears to be a castle (and I can tell you, for the purpose of murdering Koopas as well). That difference is what we call SUPER. Referring to a superiority in powers and access to power-ups. Even a Koopa with access to these super-powers will be referred to as SUPER KOOPA. Regular Mario, at least back then, had no fire abilities beyond what other humans are capable of (though other humans have other means of shell-creature-killing arsons).

You can see from Super Mario Bros. 35—available for free right now to all Nintendo Switch Online members (and you can be one of those for a year, on KoopaTV's dime, if you're the winner of the KoopaTV Loyalty Rewards Program Round 34, being decided at the end of this week)—just how powerful having superpowers is. Mario with the Fire Flower effortlessly slaughters entire biomes of Koopas and Goombas, in a much more efficient and deadly way than he otherwise would be able to.

Super Mario 35 Fire Flower power-up timer enemy kill Goombas Koopas
There's no difference between Mario and a predator:
The more lives they kill, the more time they ultimately get.

Let's be clear: Predators are still dangerous guys that can kill many innocent lives, because of lacking conscientiousness or bad parents or whatever. That applies to gang-banging minority kids (as Joe Biden sees it) or to the Mario brothers (as I see it—and you can bet Mario doesn't care about the lives he ends, and he totally had a bad upbringing). It's a top priority for public safety to handle these brutes and lock them up for a long time. However, superpredators are even more dangerous by an additional order of magnitude.

Quite frankly, I don't know of anyone on Earth that could be classified as a superpredator. Not even those MS-13 animals. The Super Mario Bros.’ destruction easily surpasses what the human can do, though their psychological traits are identical. It's not really possible for Earth to have superpredators until androids/super suits become an actual thing in the wrong hands, so Hillary Clinton was engaging in hyperbole, and Joe Biden's statements were still problematic.
It's up to you to decide how much you want that to influence your vote. (But if you want your vote influenced with other arguments, click here.) (By the way, there is something to be said about the two-year difference between Mario Bros. and Super Mario Bros. and the three-year difference between predator and superpredator, showing the development of super-predatory ability IS possible in that time span, merely limited by superpowers not being possible on Earth.) 

Ludwig actually agrees with Hillary Clinton (?!) that superpredators like the Mario Bros. should be taken on, defeated, and removed from society, but he disagrees that these superpredators include poor, disadvantaged black kids. While neither Hillary Clinton or Joe Biden actually said the predators were black people, many of the adjectives they used fit tropes used at the time to describe black criminals, so if the shoe fits... Well, as long as it's not a Kuribo's Shoe. That won't fit. Since superpowers don't exist on Earth.

Ludwig actually sat and counted out the number of Koopas and Goombas murdered in just under two minutes of Super Mario Bros. 35 gameplay.


  1. I am extremely blessed to live in a country that is not attacked by superpredators. I will never knows how it feels like to live in a kingdom whose peaceful denizens are constantly under attack by a second-rate plumber. Hopefully one day King Bowser will take care of this menace for good.

    1. You get a good gun, protected by your Second Amendment, and at least that'll defend you against the predators you may have.

      Superpredators, on the other claw, have HIT POINTS, and can SPONGE bullets!

  2. u are a ssuperpredator to girls 35 years younger than u like poor Flowers


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