super mario

Youtube teaches me something else about writing: The goomba’s point of view

Here’s a nice, radical shift in the perspective of a story. There’s a guy trying to save a princess. The princess was kidnapped by a tyrant as part of his scheme to control a kingdom. The tyrant has minions. The minions stand between the guy and the princess. The guy is the natural focus of the narrative.

But in this video, a relatively minor character in what we might call the ur-narrative is instead the focus.

Is it as exciting as the traditional, Mario-focused way of telling the story? No, probably not. But it still has a kind of driving tension. You can HEAR Mario’s approach. You know the two goomba’s are done for, which adds a tension to the subtext of their mundane March Back and Forth, Bounce Off the Pipes and Each Other existence. Something sort of interesting is going on here.

So, for homework, write a story from the perspective of someone relatively minor to the story’s ur-narrative.


According to Urban Dictionary, “goomba” is a slang term for Italian Americans. Cher used to call Sonny Bono a goombah. Being that Mario is a self-identifying Italian American, and Mario spends most of his time stomping on goombas, can we read Super Mario Bros. et al as an allegory for assimilating into a mass culture? Mario must stomp on his personal “goombas” to fit in and get the girl?

Random / 24 Comments
April 17th, 2009 / 4:53 pm