Friday, August 8, 2014

Pix'n Love's Mario Goodies Collection

There's no denying the fact that I'm a die-hard Nintendo and Super Mario fan, which is why I was super excited to check out one of Pixn' Love Publishing's Mario Goodies Collection! Pixn' Love Publishing is a French publishing company that specializes in gorgeous and informative retro gaming books which they fortunately have started to translate into English. This particular book offers a rare glimpse into the world's largest collection of Super Mario goods with high quality photos. The insane collection ranges from common items like Mario related video games to the more obscure like a Mario branded teapot!      

This is Mitsugu Kikai, the owner of the collection. He officially has the world's largest assortment of Super Mario related merchandise as recognized by the Guinness Book of World Records. When he received the title, he had 5,400 items, but that was in 2010 and according to him he has much more in his collection now. He also says he keeps a lot of undocumented pieces as a buffer in case someone else tries to challenge his record. In addition to allowing his collection to be photographed, Kikai also offers personal anecdotes at the end of each chapter about growing up as a Mario fan and how he amassed his collection.

Selection of the Japanese versions of GameBoy titles featuring Mario.

Here are some Mario related Super Famicom games! Kikai mentions that even if a game has the smallest Mario reference, he adds it to his collection. For example, he normally doesn't collect Zelda games, but in some houses in The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past there are portraits of Mario hanging on the walls, so that alone is enough to warrant him purchasing it. He's definitely hardcore!

Here's a small selection of Mario related erasers that were available in Japanese capsule machines.  The book notes that these are some of the only merchandise related to Super Mario Land. They're surprisingly well sculpted for erasers and look just like the manual art! I love the quirkiness of Super Mario Land, so I kinda wish they made these into figures! Also, pictured are erasers from Wrecking Crew, Donkey Kong Jr., and Famicom Grand Prix F-1 Race.  

These are Mario plushes made around the release of Super Mario All-Stars!  I love the Frog Suit Mario and the Hammer Bros. Suit Mario ones! Both of those are my favorite power ups!  Although, the Pidjit riding the magic carpet and Birdo ones are pretty adorable too! I think this might be the only official frog suit Mario plush.

Here are some Mario Christmas ornaments and Mario themed phones! I recognize the bottom right phone (I think it came in blue too.) I wanted it when I was a kid but, unfortunately, wasn't allowed to have a phone in my room. The other one I'd never seen before and it talks! Surprisingly, it features specially recorded lines by Charles Martinet.  Here's a video of it in action. As much as I love Mario, the talking phone would probably get annoying really quick!

I love when Mario characters cross over into Japanese cultural designs and themes like the Club Nintendo Hanafuda cards.  Here are some Mario goods that were sold at Japanese PARCO department stores featuring Santa Mario and Mario wearing a formal men's kimono!     

Super Mario themed Karuta cards used to play Iroha Karuta.  Note the Luigi art in the bottom right which is just a palette swap of Mario!  This must have come out a little bit after the original game and before Luigi got his signature look. 

I love the old school Mario art on these otoshidama enevelopes!  Otoshidama is spending money that kids in Japan get from their family members for New Year's and are usually given in special envelopes.     

This is a selection of the Japanese Super Mario World board games.  The Mario UFO Crane game is pretty cool!  I wonder if it was a good method to level up your skills for actual arcade crane games?  Probably not! Also the Super Mario World Ojama Shoot (Super Mario World Block Shot) in the top left is apparently a mix of hockey and pinball, but it looks like there's some Rock'em Sock'em Robots elements too.

According to Kikai, this is one of the bulkiest pieces in his collection. It's the Super Mario World Terebi Denwa (Super Mario World TV Phone) arcade game. (He actually owns two!)  I've never even heard of this game before and can't find any other information on it in English! Although, I did find a low quality movie someone took while playing it, but you can't hear any of the sound. Check it out here!  (You may need to make a Niconico Douga account to watch it.) You play by helping Mario on his adventure by talking to him with the phone and answering questions and choosing where he goes next.  At the end of the game you get a cool hologram card from a set. This game looks pretty cute albeit somewhat simple. I really want to hear Mario talk in Japanese! I'm going to keep an eye out for this game to try when I'm in Japan. Although, I'm sure it's quite rare to see one in the wild at this point! 

All in all this is an awesome book for any Mario fan! One of my only minor gripes with the book is that there are a few grammatical errors in the English descriptions, or places where I could tell the text was matched with the wrong items. However this only happens in a few spots, and really the main focus of the book is the glorious photographs of Kikai's collection. Also, I wanted to mention the anecdotes written by the collection's owner range from genuinely heartwarming to kind of depressing. For example, he mentions that his collecting hobby really takes up all of his free time, and he never goes out to have fun because he spends to much money on Mario goods. He goes on to say that he doesn't eat very much which often makes him get sick because once again he spends all his money on his collection. This kind of snapped me out of the whimsy and made me genuinely both sad and worried for him. Although, Kikai ends the book on a positive note relating that his dream is to open up a Mario themed bar so he can share his collection with other Mario fans around the world.  I hope he can achieve his dream someday!

If you want to pick up a copy of this book for yourself, it's £25 (about $42) over at Pixn' Love's website