Space, Time And Mario: A Toddler’s Perspective

Super Mario — Oh no!
Ahh, toddler logic.
I received Super Mario Galaxy for my Wii as a birthday present from my in-laws and promised Will that I would sit down and play it with him as soon as time allowed. See, SMG is rated “E for Everyone” and, well, Will is definitely a part of “Everyone”, so I figured that he would be fine spectating.
I plunked the disc into the Wii and began playing and all was happy for the first five minutes. Mario cavorted through the Mushroom Kingdom, gobbling up Star Bits with all the little (Star Bit-intoxicated) Toadies and Will was enjoying himself heartily. Then came the war fleet.
Bowser and his crew descended in a hail of cannon fire and scooped up the Princess, laughing evilly the whole way. In response, Will shrieked in terror and began sobbing uncontrollably. It seems he was terrified, not by Bowser himself, but by the peril poor Princess Peach was placed in by her kidnapping. I hastily paused the game and spent about 5 minutes talking my son down from his precarious mental ledge. The Princess will be all right, I intoned in my Best Daddy Voice. We’re Big Boys. It’s our job to help Mario rescue the Princess. It’s our mission. And on I went until I was able to get him to start parroting “It’s our job to save the Princess” (or, “Us save princess!”, in toddler parlance). We played for a good 30 minutes following this incident and I came away convinced that all was right with the world again.
A few days later, my wife called me, and with no little amusement in her voice informed me that Will had firmly told her that Daddy needed to come home so that we could save the Princess. Apparently, he’s under the impression that while the Wii is powered down the game world continues to exist, which means that Princess’ jeopardy simply continues and Bowser slips further and further from our grasp. There was a sense of desperation in his toddler voice as he impressed upon her that we had to go after her.
So now, every few days, I “have” to go home and play Wii with my son in order to allow him to continue functioning. It’s a hard knock life, I know, being forced to play, but hey, I’m up to the challenge.

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