At first glance Mario and Master chief may seem to have nothing more in common than the first letters of their monikers, and both having recent game releases to their names. They are protagonists of vastly varying gaming landscapes, their physiques couldn’t be more dissimilar, and one is on a quest to save a damsel in distress while the other seeks to save all sentient life. If we take a moment to look closer however, say 5x zoom with a Covenant Beam Rifle closer, there are some striking parallels between these two digital dynamos! Here are five:
1. They are the Symbols of Their Franchises
Know why Goombas, Bullet Bills, and Coin Blocks aren’t plastered on the cover of every Mario game? Because people don’t love them as much as they love Mario! In fact, since first starring in his own game in 1985 Mario has appeared in over 200 video games, helping to make him the bestselling video game franchise of all time. His characteristic mustache and red cap can also be found in plush form, as a TV cartoon character, on apparel, in board games, and much more.
Likewise for Master Chief Petty Officer John-117; Since this supersoldier first stormed Xbox consoles in 2001, he has been printed on T-Shirts, sculpted from wax, and even plastered on cans of Mountain Dew. He has already reached iconic status, impressive for a relative new comer to the gaming world.
2. They Have Always Had Consistent Wardrobes
Mario's unchanging uniform throughout the years.
Throughout the years Mario’s style has become more defined as gaming technology has improved, but the elements remain the same no matter which game he appears in. He is never seen without his blue suspenders, white gloves, brown shoes, and red cap emblazoned with the letter M.
Same goes for Chief, who is never spied sans his dark green suit of armor and coordinating helmet in any of the Halo installments. Master Chief’s style may be a bit more high tech and intimidating than our favorite pudgy plumber, but he still got the raw end of the deal - his suit alone weighs just over 700 pounds. Perhaps that is why Mario is a superior jumper?
3. They Have "Everyman" Personas
Everyone can see a bit of themselves in Mario!
Mario is not a hero of the X-ray vision, superhuman strength, chiseled physique variety. Whereas those characteristics have the potential to alienate a gamer, Mario’s average to short stature, slightly hefty frame, and blue-collar day job help him score “everyman” hero status, allowing players to become more personally invested in his quests.
Even children can identify with Master Chief.
Master Chief is also an “everyman” but has different tools at his disposal to secure this quality. Firstly, the Chief never removes his helmet, rendering him faceless. Secondly, he remains virtually silent throughout the series. Gamers are thusly able to easily assume his identity, treating his heroic missions as their own. Even Steve Downes, who provides the character’s voice, believes that Master Chief’s true identity is in the eye of the player.
4. They Have Female Companions Who Are Never Really There
The absentee ladies themselves!
Game after game Mario’s mission is to rescue Princess Peach from captivity, yet the princess rarely gets any screen time. Save for the occasional “Mario!” or “Oh!” she sputters while being whisked away to the next Koopaling’s castle, her presence is largely relegated to offering occasional tokens and words of encouragement via hand-written letters.
Cortana, on the other hand, gets lots of screen time in the Halo franchise. From helping to destroy Halo, to saving Master Chief from The Didact, she truly plays an integral role in the series. The problem is, and it’s a rather large problem, she’s an artificial intelligence hologram! Between a simulated hologram and a consistently captive princess, Mario and Master Chief share similar troubles in the female companionship department.
Yet another similarity between Princess Peach and Cortana, is that amazingly enough they are voiced by the same voice actress! Jen Taylor, the woman pictured above, is responsible for the vocals of both vixens.
5. They Have Futuristic Weaponry and Modes of Transportation
Mario has been eating futuristic fire flowers all the way back since Super Mario Bros. for the NES. After consuming said flower he is able to form and hurl balls of flame at his opponents, even under water! When he isn’t conjuring fire or ice balls Mario may be seen fluttering through levels atop a domesticated dinosaur. “But dinosaurs aren’t futuristic!” This kind is. This particular Yoshi species is anything but Jurassic - it has befriended man, has a prehensile tongue, wears boots, and encourages you to hop on its back to flutter.
Master Chief also has loads of interaction with futuristic weaponry and transportation. He can move via teleportation grids or opt instead for a host of alien spacecrafts and tanks. Besides futuristic means of getting from point A to point B, The Covenant is also kind enough to leave plasma-based weaponry lying about. From Needlers to Energy Swords, this chief has a lot of advanced protection at his disposal.
A surprising futuristic weapon both characters have in their respective series? Temporary invincibility stars! Mario has his friendly yellow Starmen, while Master Chief has an Invincibility Medal, a blue twenty point star that Bungie has rated one of the most difficult medals to achieve.
So there you have it! If Mario and Master Chief were to somehow cross paths in a digital bar, they would have plenty in common to chat about as they sipped their pixilated brews. From girl troubles, to their strong senses of style, to their iconic status in the gaming world, it would take quite a few rounds to get through all of the parallels. They had better be sure to call a cab at the end of the night, though, for it is never wise to drink and drive a dinosaur.
Any glaring similarities we missed? Disagree with our "scholarly" thesis? Let us know in the comments! While you formulate your argument, browse through our assortment of video game t-shirts for men and women!