The Return Of Super Mario And Donkey Kong

Nintendo has announced that Super Mario and Donkey Kong will return to the new gaming world.  Super Mario will be featured on Wii U in Mario Kart 8, and Donkey Kong will be available on Wii U in Donkey Kong Tropical Freeze.

Interesting, isn’t it?  Nintendo decides to bring back some old characters . . . and by gaming standards, Donkey Kong and Mario are truly ancient.  Both were first featured in the Donkey Kong game that was released in the early ’80s.  Most gamers weren’t even born when Donkey Kong hurled his first barrel.

So why bring them back?  Because Donkey Kong and Mario are established characters who have fans.  You don’t need to invent a back story for them.  I remember Richard and Russell playing Mario Kart and Super Mario Three and God knows what else in the ’90s.  I remember sitting with the kids and watching, vacant-eyed, as Mario raced a princess and somebody with a mushroom head and Donkey Kong and a turtle.  Gah!  The things parents will endure to spend some time with their kids!

Many of those early ’90s are still interested in gaming.  So why not bring back characters they know, and allow them to experience a bit of the nostalgia that grips every generation of Americans at some point or another?  Who knows?  They might ask Mom and Dad to sit and watch them as a 3D Mario races upside down and tries to beat Donkey Kong to the finish line.


Embarrassing Sex Scenes In Action-Adventure Novels

I’m 56 years old.  I’ve been very happily married for 31 years.  I know about the birds and the bees.  Yet still I squirm with embarrassment when I’m reading an action-adventure novel and come across a sex scene.

It’s all very trite and predictable.  If the fiction you’re reading features a lead female and male character, chances are they’ll exchange a few deeply meaningful glances in the early chapters and then by chapter 18 they’ll be doing the nasty on some desolate Turkish hillside.  And then you’ll quickly flip through the pages of heavy breathing and soul-baring disclosures, hoping to pick up the main thread of the plot again and find out what the Nazi general’s secret was — which was why you decided to read the book in the first place.

Why do so many action-adventure authors insist on including these awkward sex scenes in their books?  It’s not like the movies, where “adult situations” get included to ensure an “R” rating because no one will go to PG-13 rated films.  It’s not like the books are romance novels or bodice-rippers with a bare-chested, long-haired Fabio look-alike on the cover, either.  It’s an action-adventure novel, for crying out loud!

And let’s face it . . . just like most authors can’t write believable conversations, most authors can’t write sex scenes without lapsing into cliche territory.  This is particularly true for practitioners who specialize in the ripping yarns that I like to read.  They may be able to construct elaborate plots about the mysteries of the Masons, but their sex scenes seem so awkward and phony and forced you can’t help but groan in dismay.

So, I’ll be happy to never again read of him “pulling her close” or “two bodies melting together as one.”  I’m happy to take my action-adventure tales straight and unleavened by the sex scenes, thank you very much.