The Mario Project (or, “Excuse me, Princess, but that other princess is in another castle”)

It'sa me, Mario!As we say in Arkansas, I need y’all’s help with something.

Little E’s fifth birthday is coming up in September, and as I think I may have mentioned once or twice, he’s an uber-Mario-fan. (Actually, he’s picked up a Zelda fixation too, so he’s more of an uber-Miyamoto-fan – I’d need to get Pikmin to verify that theory with any degree of certainty.) He has also inherited my GBA SP, which he loves to play, whether it’s in the car, in the house, or wherever he happens to be. He has precisely two Mario games for the GBA (Super Mario Bros. 3 and the GBC Super Mario Deluxe cart), three if you count the Game Boy Donkey Kong cart from around 1994 or so, and he’s expressed a desire for more.

He and I went to Game Exchange some time back, with his accumulated ten bucks of chore money, and discovered that the words “Mario,” “Yoshi” or “Zelda” immediately jack up the price of any given Game Boy cartridge – even if it’s one of the old monochrome games – by at least ten bucks. That’s a pretty easy way to break a little kid’s heart. Do you have any idea how many times he had to feed kitties and doggies to come up with ten bucks?

So here’s where I’m hoping my game collecting friends might be able to come to the rescue. I’m on the lookout for any Game Boy Mario games that the boy doesn’t have. Even back to the three Super Mario Land games (he loves those), Dr. Mario, Wario Ware… the whole shebang.

I am not expecting to land any freebies; I’m hoping that I’ll have just a little bit of spare change to throw at this in the next month or so (it takes a looooong time for the book money to come in).

He fixates on Mario to a great degree (and Zelda too), and I take some flack within the family for enabling that. But he has gained an appreciation and fascination with music from the Mario games (my MP3 player has a pretty extensive Mario/Zelda playlist on it for road trips), he loves reading and re-reading his Mario book, and he’s turning into quite the artist with his own interpretations of the characters. He wanted a Princess Peach to go with the rest of his toys so badly that he did chores to earn money and saved up to get one. This has gradually translated into a fascination with music in general, reading in general, and drawing all sorts of things. If Miyamoto’s creation was his “gateway drug” into discovering a larger world of expression and self-expression (and hey, how about that hand-eye coordination?), then I probably owe Shigeru a beer or two by now. It’s helped to bring my son out of his shell.

Anyway, here’s the “wish list.” We’ve test-driven these in emulation, but he’s really wanting to add the cartridges to his collection. I can’t say I blame him for wanting to have them on the original platform so he can take them anywhere. That’s my boy.

Must Haves – he adores these.
Legend Of Zelda (GBA – NES Classics version)
Mario vs. Donkey Kong (GBA)
Super Mario Advance 1: Super Mario Bros. 2 (GBA)
Super Mario Advance 2: Super Mario World (GBA)
Super Mario Advance 3: Yoshi’s Island (GBA)
Super Mario Land (GB)
Super Mario Land 2: 6 Golden Coins (GB)
Super Mario Land 3: Wario Land

These Would Be Dandy
Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga (GBA)
Mario Kart: Super Circuit (GBA)
Wario Land 2
Wario Land 3
Wario Land 4 (GBA)

These Would Be OK Too
Dr. Mario (NES Classics or Puzzle League version – GBA)
The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening DX (GBC)
Mario Party Advance (GBA)
Mario Pinball Land (GBA)
WarioWare, Inc.: Mega Microgames! (GBA)
Yoshi (GB)
Yoshi’s Cookie (GB)

I’d put the Famicom Classics version of Wrecking Crew for the GBA on the list, but that’s in its own category, i.e. “pie in the sky.”

I realize the above list represents a series of games with perennial popularity, regardless of how outdated the original platforms may be (we have no plans, nor do we have the disposable cash right now, to step up to a DS), and therefore represents a decent chunk of change. I’m not expecting to be able to track down the whole list, or to be able to get any significant number of the games by his birthday (great thing is, Christmas hits about three months later!). And again, I can’t stress enough that I’m not looking for freebies. I’m looking for folks who have gotten their enjoyment out of these and just have them sitting around. Part of me wants to say that a GBA flash cart would be an awesome escape hatch for this whole project, but I’ve got a kiddo who loves the artwork on even the tiniest cartridge labels.

I have no idea where he gets that.

As always, how to get in touch with me is not exactly a state secret. You can also hit me up on Facebook or Twitter.

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