When I think of “home” (at least, as far as fictional worlds are concerned) two game worlds immediately spring to mind: Mario’s ubiquitous Mushroom World and STALKER’s Chernobyl Exclusion Zone.
The Mushroom World is not a good example of worldbuilding. Details pertaining to its history, mythology, inhabitants and cultures change wildly and with no explanation. The land of talking mushrooms, pipe-based public transit, evil turtles, imperiled princesses and mustachioed plumbers is probably one of the most inconsistent, amorphous game worlds in history. Why, then, does a world that’s never consistent always feel so familiar?
Starting with the original Super Mario Bros. for the NES, the Mushroom Kingdom got off to a fairly good start. The instruction manual for that first game delves into details of the Mushroom World that would never be seen or heard of again, remembered only by those of us old and nerdy enough. Continue reading