All hail Mario
There are certain images or idols that have evolved to define not just generations, but entire eras.
This has been true throughout time.
You see cryptographs and you think ancient Egypt. A centurion screams the Roman Empire. You see a knight and you’re taken back to Medieval England.
One of the laments of our current, modern world is that we lack significant signifiers. The suggesting is that the globalization of the culture has made everything bland and unmemorable.
I disagree. There is an idol that future generations will associate with this era. He (it?) is a unifying figure that unites young and old, left and right, Asia to America to Europe.
I’m talking about everyone’s favourite chubby, Italian plumber, of course.
The enduring symbol of this era of history is Mario.
Think about it. Mario Bros first came into our consciousness nearly 40 years ago, in 1983. We are into the third generation of people that have grown up with Mario and his various offspring as part of the world’s collective experience.
It is not inconceivable that a grandfather could sit down with his grandson and play Mario Cart against his son. Three generations enjoying the same video game character that they all experienced as a child.
And if Mario is the idol of our times than Nintendo has to be the company that best represents it as well.
We kind of take Nintendo and its success for granted now, but that’s a mistake. This is a company that understands the zeitgeist almost better than anyone and, as importantly, knows what it’s market is.
What’s that market? Kids and nostalgia. There will always be a market for both. And, if you operate in the imagination of children, you can tap into their nostalgia when they grow older. That’s why the enduring image of Mario is so important to them. He represents an easily identifiable image that just makes people smile.
While Sony and Microsoft keep pushing the envelope with better and faster technology and more adult themed games, Nintendo manages to perform just as well by continuing to do what it knows. The hardcore gamer might not be a fan of the latest generation of Nintendo, the Switch, but that doesn’t matter.
His kid brother and all his friends are, and they are driving massive sales of the platform still, nearly four years after its launch. In 2020, Nintendo sold 28.83 million systems, in fact.
Since the Switch launch in 2017, Nintendo’s (TYO: 7974) stock has been bank too. At the Switch launch Nintendo was trading at $225.59 USD. Today it’s at $576.24.
It’s continued to go up through the pandemic and during both Sony and Microsoft’s Next Gen console launches.
That plumber moves machines.
So much so that Nintendo isn’t rushing out with it’s next generation machine. They don’t need to rush it, which suggests that when it does hit the market it will do so without some of the bugs that have occasionally derailed next gen launches.
Many observers expect that launch to happen in the fourth quarter of 2021 and, if it does, you can expect that there will be a lot of kids with Switch 2 consoles on their holiday wish lists.
Mario has been with us a long time and will be here for a long time more, it seems.