23. Ambassadors of Funk ft MC Mario – Supermarioland

It was an unspoken agreement that you were only allowed to play the shorter ‘B’ game of Tetris in the playground, as everyone had got so good at the (indefinitely long) ‘A’ game that they would hog it the entire breaktime and the complex priority system* would dissolve into chaos. Despite this suprisingly democratic arrangement, the days when D4v1d Ell1s0n remembered to bring in Super Mario Land were immensely preferable: the percentage of people who could get past the big seahorse at the end of world 2 (i.e. those who had their own Gameboy to practice on) was low enough that I often got a quick go. I was a RUBBISH GIRL at it though – whilst my friend Em did our gender proud by regularly getting enough coins to earn an extra life, I kept falling down a gap where there was CLEARLY a platform there a second ago. Stupid Mario.

Although I was way behind my peers in terms of gaming technology (I eventually received a Zelda watch for my birthday in 1993 and soon got the hang of it), the little plumber was inescapable. My demographic devoured anything Nintendo-related to such an extent that poor R0ss Arm5tr0ng and his Sega Game Gear were deemed outcasts**. It was hardly surprising that both the Ambassadors of Funk and Dr Spin (aka Lord Lloyd-Webber) milked some top ten hits out of this udder of pre-teen Nintenthusiasm. Does anyone remember the Mortal Kombat rave single***? I certainly don’t.

Soon afterwards though, all handheld consoles were banned from the playground on the pretense of ‘they might go missing’ (i.e. the dinnerladies were being driven to distraction by arguments over the aforementioned queuing system), and we were only allowed to bring them in on Toy Day (the last day of each term, where clearly nothing constructive was going to get done bar seventeen games of Mouse Trap). The select handful of Gameboy owners saw their playground popularity plummet, and we all went back to swapping Batman Returns trading cards.

Under the circumstances, MC Mario (real name Colin) does a sterling effort on the rapping, giving us some truly memorable moments: “I’m eating sushi in Japan/but there ‘ain’t no place like Super Mario Land“, “Even my ma, she thinks I’m crazy/but I’ve got to rescue Daisy” and “Well I’m back off my Lisa Stansfield trip…” are all classics. However the lobotomised bleeps and blurps are predictable and lazy (even the usually-awesome ‘wooo! yeah!’ sample sounds knackered), and the overall effect is incredibly wearing after one or two listens. I think it’s safe to say this is my least favourite track on Rave ’92.

Novelty was always a part of rave but computer game tie-ins are a different spin on toytown techno. Instead of drumming up comforting nostalgia from kids’ telly, we are brought up sharply to the present. The target audience for ‘Super Mario Land’ isn’t twenty-somethings mashing it up in a field somewhere, or even stoned students failing at irony – it’s the 9-12 year-olds with affluent parents, viz ME (in 1993). And I still think it’s rubbish! I’d rather listen to Tetris Music B, even if I had do so sitting in the cold next to Leanne for the entire lunchtime waiting for my turn.

Watch the (unofficial, but better than anything I could come up with) video to ‘Supermarioland’ below:


*”You’re after Jenny, who’s after Hardeep, who’s after Alison, who’s after Dean except Dean’s been sent to Mrs Field’s office and hasn’t come back yet so Alison’s next now, except Jenny swapped two pogs with Hardeep so she’s after Alison now unless Dean comes back. Unless you have some pogs that aren’t the minging brown and purple ones?”
**R0ss: “Do you want a go on Sonic II? Oh wait, the batteries have died again. Sorry. Will you still sit here so I don’t look like a loner?”
***By none other than the Lords Of Acid!