The fourth annual Mario Marathon concluded last night, after raising just over $110,000 for Child’s Play Charity. The marathon went for just over 100 hours, with the guys involved playing all the main-series Super Mario games.
The event started at 11am on Friday, 24 June, with the guys playing through Super Mario Galaxy 2. In a change from previous years, they had decided to play through the library of Mario titles in reverse chronological order. This stems from many emails they’d received after last year’s marathon, from people who wanted to watch them play the early 2D Super Mario games, but couldn’t because they were at work. Running through the library in reverse would put those older games on Sunday, which would allow for more people to watch those being played.
Throughout the marathon, a number of events were planned, ranging from friends of the marathon visiting, to prize drawings, to the Wheel of Awesome. That latter was an event that occurred at every thousand dollars raised. Three slots would appear on the top of the video stream, and randomize through options, setting, usually randomly, on some task that the group would have to perform. These tasks could be anything from the person playing completing a stage while blindfolded, to the group being rickrolled, or the group having to sing a song or do a dance.
On the last night of the event, Wheel of Awesome spins were cut down to half price, meaning it was spun whenever the next $500 mark was reached. A new addition this year, the Wheel of Awesome provided a lot of hilarious shenanigans throughout the event.
On Saturday afternoon, a band that Sundeep (aka Orange Shirt Guy, or OSG) and his wife are members of, CircAfrique, visited and performed. CircAfrique utilizes percussion instruments, and their show was great to hear. Definitely a highlight to the weekend.
The group got up to a number of other shenanigans, including a midnight run to the local White Castle while dressed in character. Brian went dressed as Luigi, while John went dressed as Mario, complete with raccoon ears and tail (from SMB3). Nate eventually showed up to the White Castle dressed as Toad. Brian was streaming video from his iPhone throughout the trip. This would be repeated later on in the marathon, with John and Sundeep visiting a local grocery store in costume.
As the saying goes, though, all good things must come to an end, and thus Mario Marathon 4 concluded last night. Friend of the marathon, Jed, came by to perform the song he made up last year, “I Don’t See Nothin’ Wrong with the Mario Marathon”, as the end credits for the marathon rolled. Unfortunately, they had forgotten to start their local recording just before that, so, were it not for certain viewers (myself included), this bit of the marathon would be forever lost. However, I did manage to record audio of that, and it is available to download here.
It wasn’t just the Mario Marathon guys that made the event so fun and memorable. It was also the great community that comes together each year at this time, and all the new people who joined the community this past weekend. There’s a great sense of camaraderie among the people in the chat and social stream, and that really helps to make this event great.
Mario Marathon 4 may have come to an end, but I have no doubt that Brian will organize the event again for the end of June, 2012, with Mario Marathon 5. At the very end of the stream last night, Brian was wondering what he could possibly do to top MM4. My suggestion would be to not focus on that, don’t try to top MM4. What you should be doing is just putting on another event and trying to have a great time. As long as you guys are having fun, the event will succeed. It’s not about getting bigger and better every year, but about being consistent, retaining the community, and just having fun.
With that, I had fun watching Mario Marathon 4 this weekend. It’s become something that I look forward to at the end of every June, and a highlight of the summer. I remember back when I first heard about Mario Marathon, back in late June, 2009. I was browsing the /v/ section of 4chan, and browsing the gaming section of Digg (this was at the time I was starting to use Reddit, and losing interest in Digg). People were discussing this “Mario Marathon” that was going on, to raise money for Child’s Play Charity. Apparently the marathon had gone on last year, as well. Curious, I visited the site.
I saw these guys sitting around a living room, playing Mario games. The main trio had nicknames (Shirt Guy, Slouch Guy, and Couch Guy), and everyone else who showed up earned nicknames based on appearance or what they did (Mac Guy used a MacBook, OSG wore an orange shirt). The people there were having a good time, and I was having fun watching and chatting with them.
I watched again last year, for Mario Marathon 3. The event was getting more complex, more stuff happening, and more exciting.
When MM3 came to an end, Brian came out and said that he didn’t feel like doing a marathon the following year, that if the trend of improved marathons continued, it’d be too much stress. However, MM4 happened, and I’m glad for it. For this same reason, I feel that MM5 will happen next year.
Hope to see you there.