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BBC 6 minute English-Why is Super Mario so popular

BBC 6 minute English-Why is Super Mario so popular

BBC 6 minute English-Why is Super Mario so popular


Transcript of the podcast

Note: This is not a word-for-word transcript

.Rob: Hello. This is 6 Minute English from BBC Learning English. I’m Rob

.Georgina: And I’m Georgina

Rob: Now, Georgina, you recently mentioned in one 6 Minute English programme about NFTs and that you had a collection of Pokemon cards when you were younger

?Georgina: Yes – I did, and I still can’t find them. Why did you bring that up

Rob: Well, Pokemon started out as a video game series that turned into anime movies and trading cards among other things – and in this programme we’re talking about a video game character that is iconic – a word which means widely known and recognised. That character’s name is Super Mario

Georgina: Ahhh I spent many hours of my childhood playing with Nintendo’s Super Mario or his rival, Sega’s Sonic the Hedgehog

Rob: Now, these days, video games are everywhere, and people of all ages enjoy playing them. There’s also competitive e-sports events where gamers compete for what are often considerable amounts of money

Georgina: Yes, and there are also streamers that appear on platforms like Twitch and YouTube who have become celebrities in their own right

Rob: Talking about celebrities, I have a question about the famous character we’re talking about in this programme. Many people remember Super Mario Bros. as being the first time we saw Mario, but he first appeared in another game – which was it? Was it a) The Legend of Zelda b) Donkey Kong; or c) Pokemon

Georgina: I’m not sure about that – I can’t remember him being in Pokemon, so I’ll go for a) The Legend of Zelda

Rob: OK, Georgina, we’ll find out if you’re right at the end of the programme. So, we established at the start of the programme that these days the video games industry is thriving

Georgina: True – but it wasn’t always that way. It’s hard to imagine now, but in the 1980s the console market was struggling, particularly in the US

Rob: Keza MacDonalds, video games editor for the Guardian newspaper, explains what was happening in the early 1980s. Here she is on BBC World Service programme You and Yours, speaking with Peter White

Keza MacDonald

Well, back then, especially in America, there had been a flood of games that were just not very high quality. One of the games that’s often cited as a factor in the collapse was this game called ET on the Atari, which was so bad they ended up burying thousands of copies of it in the desert, because nobody liked it

And, so we’d had that, especially in America, this didn’t happen so much in Europe, but in America just been lots and lots of software. None of it was all that great. There hadn’t been anything really revolutionary in some years, so the video game boom was really falling off a cliff and Nintendo is what rescued in the US especially

Georgina: Keza MacDonald used the term a flood of – meaning a large number in a short period of time – to describe the number of games that were coming out

Rob: She used cited, which means referenced or noted, when talking about the game ET being a reference for a factor in the collapse of the console market

Georgina: And she said boom – a sudden period of growth. So as ET was mentioned as a factor in the collapse, many people say that Super Mario Bros. was the reason that video games really took off, especially in the US

Rob: It’s interesting to consider what might have been if his creator, Shigeru Miyamoto, had never created that character. The question is, why is that game so popular, what made it so fun to play

Georgina: Here is Keza Macdonald speaking again with Peter White, on BBC World Service programme, You and Yours, explaining why Mario is just so popular and what makes the original game so satisfying to play

Keza MacDonald

It’s just such a joy to play. It’s running and jumping, and it’s the joy of movement. When, when you play, even the original Super Mario Bros, you just feel this sense of joy in your movement, and it’s one of the greatest games ever made. And a lot of games from 35 years ago are basically unplayable now. They might have been a step to something greater, but Mario was one of those few that really holds up today as it did then

.Rob: Keza Macdonald said that some games from 35 years ago are unplayable – so, not possible to play them

Georgina: But she said that Mario holds up – a term used to say that something’s standards or quality has not lessened

Rob: It certainly does hold up – in fact, I played it the other day and I had lots of fun with it – it reminded me of my childhood, and it’s still as good now as it was then

.Georgina: Which reminds me of your quiz question, Rob

Rob: Yes, in my quiz question I asked Georgina which game had the first appearance of that famous plumber, Mario

.Georgina: I went for a) The Legend of Zelda

Rob: Which is wrong, I’m afraid! Mario’s first appearance was in Donkey Kong, and his creator, Shigeru Miyamoto, never thought he would be that popular

Georgina: Well, I guess we’ve all really learnt something today. Let’s recap the vocabulary from today’s programme about Super Mario, starting with iconic – famously associated with something and instantly recognisable

.Rob: Then we had a flood of which means a large amount of something in a short space of time

.Georgina: Cited means reference as or noted

.Rob: Boom relates to explosion and means a short period of sudden growth

.Georgina: Unplayable describes something that can’t be played or a game that is very difficult to enjoy

Rob: And finally, holds up means that the quality or standards of something hasn’t changed and still looks good or plays well

.Georgina: That’s all for this programme

!Rob: Bye for now

!Georgina: Bye

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