Mario: The man, the myth, the junkie

It’s 10 a.m. on a Monday morning in the Mushroom Kingdom. Green pipes across the land are festering with piranha plants and authorities have deemed them unsafe for travel. It’s a dirty job and someone’s got to do it, but the man usually up for the job can’t bring himself to get out of bed.

At Mario Brothers Plumbing—a tiny shack in the middle of nowhere—business is slow and the stench of used fire flowers wafts down the hall from the sleeping quarters. Stalwart co-owner Luigi sits at the front desk with a look of concern on his face.

“My brother is considered a hero,” says Luigi. “I used to consider him a hero myself, but lately he’s just been putting himself before everyone else. He can’t stop getting 1ups. He can’t stop getting coins to pay for 1ups. He’s got more lives than he can count. But what about my life, Mario? My life.”

In this file photo, Mario repeatedly roughs up a local Koopa for 1ups.

In this file photo, Mario repeatedly roughs up a local Koopa for 1ups.

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