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 Post subject: Walgina: A Brownie?
PostPosted: Wed Aug 17, 2011 7:37 am 
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Walgina: A Brownie?

I really enjoyed watching Walgina’s rendition of “Rubber Ducky”. The way Waluigi’s eyes lit up at the sound of her voice was hilarious and genuine. This was a treat to watch. Relationships that blur the line between fantasy and reality like that aren’t often shown on traditional TV. The sweetness of Walgina’s character really shone through and I feel that the actress played her really well.

I was thrilled with the idea of a female fan character wearing a baseball cap because she reminded me of the cheerful comic strip heroine “Super Brownie”. This comic strip used to appear in a Girl Scouting magazine. By Brownie, I mean the fairy creatures that dance around toadstools and help with chores, not chocolate brownies. From what I understand, this mythology formed the basis of the Girl Scouting sessions. Each girl pretended to be a Brownie to help people out. All of this information comes from a friend. I never went to any of the meetings: I’m not a fan of big crowds.

I suspect that Super Brownie was loosely inspired by and was a female cultural remix of Super Mario. This was the early 90s. She had initials on her cap like the characters in SMB.

So, I was culturally primed to expect Walgina to be a sort of grown up version of Super Brownie. I felt disappointed with Walgina’s character in places because I was expecting a spunky, independent and assertive leader like Super Brownie. Instead, I felt that Walgina was depicted as a “femme fatale” who acted coy around Waluigi. She was portrayed as his purple teddy bear: a nice looking distraction.

Wario and Waluigi seem to look, act and talk like goblins. Maybe video games are interactive electronic folklore? At one point, I wondered if Waluigi was supposed to be a mischievous Hobgoblin and Walgina was a helpful Brownie.

Sometimes, I felt like cheering her on as she searched for her boyfriend. At other times I wondered if she was actually jogger who’d got lost. Her character seemed a bit ditzy compared to the clever resourcefulness of Super Brownie!

This is why I kind of feel “short changed”. I was expecting there to be more to Walgina’s character. I had mixed feelings about her. She seemed passive and slow on her missions compared to the hyperactive whirlwind of Super Brownie.

I look for a character like Super Brownie in video games and movies, but I don’t see her. I see “femme fatale eye-candy” everywhere, dressed far less modestly than Walgina. At the other end of the scale, I’m also getting fed up with all of the kick-boxing and plot smashing “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” rip offs. There doesn’t seem to be a peaceful, practical, ordinary “every girl” anywhere. I dunno, just some woman to unblock the sink?

This is bizarre because I know that there are real life “Super Brownies” out there wearing baseball caps. I’ve met these women. They’re fantastic: strong, athletic, friendly, multitasking and will help you if you’re in trouble. They aren’t mythical creatures, they do exist!

I also notice that a lot of women have to be protected by male characters in the SMB show. Daisy is probably the strongest female character. However, I feel she is portrayed as cold, bossy and insensitive. She is even implied to be physically violent towards Luigi: “You toss me right round [Daisy] right round…”. She also wears traditional princess attire, not a practical outfit like Walgina. I’m not saying that women shouldn’t wear nice clothes, but I feel she’s portrayed as a disagreeable diva who’s placed on a pedestal by her sycophant boyfriend. This is hilarious and also a shame too. Where I come from, there are lead comedienne characters who are the focal point of their stories and shows. They also aren’t afraid to make fun of themselves.

My main criticism of video games generally is the absence of strong, funny female characters who wear everyday clothes and crack their own jokes.

In SMB, I notice, the men seem to do all of the plumbing, fighting and DIY while the women mostly stand around looking pretty for the camera. Characters mostly conform to gender stereotypes. The only time that I feel the female characters don’t look like ornaments is when they’re playing soccer. I appreciate that the characters are constrained by their roles in video games and a lot of fantastic hard work went into making the show. I also feel that some of the female characters could’ve benefitted from more development.

I was also kind of let down by the fact that Walgina needed to be protected from the Darkness. I expected her to have more powers or at least stand up for herself like Super Brownie. She wouldn’t fight: she’d be kind, friendly and have the superpower of negotiation. Some people might find this Care-Bearish pacifism boring though.


I was really bored one day, so I merged the concepts of Super Brownie and Super Mario together in my mind.

What if there was a video game where you got points for helping people instead of fighting them or blowing them up?

What if you could get points for going on missions where you open doors, make tea and carry stuff for people?

I tried playing this game in real life.
As an experiment, I thought of Walgina and asked myself:
“What would Super Brownie do?”
I’ve had lots of positive reactions and people have called me a “nice person”.

I am considering creating a fictional character loosely inspired by the Walgina/Super Brownie game idea. Her personality would be very different: it would be more assertive like Super Brownie and other real life women I’ve met. The character I create would only bear a superficial resemblance to Walgina: the only similarities would be that she’d wear a baseball cap and go on missions to help people and get points. Her name, age, personality, hairstyle and color of her outfit would be completely different. Her peaceful storyline would sort of be anti-“Stupid Mario Bros”: there would be no strong language and no violence. It would be aimed at a younger audience. The storyline would be set in the real world and she’d be an ordinary girl. She’d have real life friends and have a very different outlook on life to Walgina or Super Brownie. She would stand up for her self. She would have abilities and savvy. She would not have to be overly reliant on male friends to protect her. The plot wouldn’t include Nintendo characters and would contain some story elements inspired by fantasy novels that I’ve read/animated cartoons I’ve watched.

If I created a character inspired by a collage of ideas that I’ve collected from different sources, would this be copyright infringement?

Where exactly do you draw the line between inspiration and infringement?

Um…I’ve just described an ordinary friendly girl wearing a baseball cap haven’t I?

I enjoyed the SMB show.
The concept of Walgina was a great one and I feel that the idea would benefit from some tweaking if used in future works.


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 Post subject: Re: Walgina: A Brownie?
PostPosted: Wed Aug 17, 2011 11:48 am 
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......... EH!?!?

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 Post subject: Re: Walgina: A Brownie?
PostPosted: Tue Aug 23, 2011 4:00 am 
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Celes wrote:
......... EH!?!?


Sorry. I'll try and make this clearer.

-Walgina reminded me of a comic book heroine called "Super Brownie". They both wear baseball caps.

-I liked Walgina's character, but I felt disappointed that she didn't seem as assertive as Super Brownie.

-There is a division of the Girl Scouts called the "Brownies".

-Brownies are fairy folk who dance around toadstools.

-In folklore, Brownies are helpful spirits who do chores around the house. Walgina helped out other characters in StMB.

-The characters of Wario and Waluigi remind me of coin hoarding goblins. In the games, they chuckle, are mischievous and have pointy ears. I look at pictures of hobgoblins and these remind me of Waluigi.

-Mario is associated with toadstools and many his games take place in a Fairy Tale Mushroom Kingdom.

-Mario wears a cap: I thought he looked like a gnome when I was younger. Gnomes are often associated toadstools. I thought that Mario looked like a shape shifting gnome in the games.

-I believe that Super Brownie is a female cultural remix of Super Mario. Both Characters have their initials on their caps. Both characters are associated with toadstools.

-Gnomes, goblins and brownies are fairy folk. Some people believe that if you give them coins, these fairies will protect your house, bring you luck and do chores. For example, help you clean the bathroom. Some of these creatures are tiny enough to fit inside a pipe. In Super Mario Land 2, Mario is small enough to fit inside pipes in the Macro Zone. He is tiny enough to enter a bee's nest in a tree. That's what made me think he could be like a gnome.

-Fairy Folk are playful and love children. The characters in SMB are playful and mischievous. Many young people enjoy playing the video games. Could the characters in SMB be like fairy folk? Could Walgina be a brownie?

-I'm disappointed with the lack of strong female characters in video games.


I hope this is clearer. I haven't been feeling well lately. I'm sorry if what I write comes out garbled. I see all of these symbols enter my head at once.

Associative visual thinking... meh :(


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 Post subject: Re: Walgina: A Brownie?
PostPosted: Tue Aug 23, 2011 4:12 am 
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Yeah like before it has absolutely nothing to do with Stupid Mario Brothers.

StMB is not a show you can overanalyse in fact its just one of those shows that once every season has something smart about. (like the Darkness's plan in Season 4) but overall just watch it and enjoy it.

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 Post subject: Re: Walgina: A Brownie?
PostPosted: Tue Aug 23, 2011 10:28 am 
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That's completely out of place, Amber, this is not that kind of show at all.

And I'm seriously sorry I made you type that again when I could not even finish reading the first post. It just does not make sense at all. You should stop analysing this show. This show is supposed to be plain funny and entertaining and that's all.

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 Post subject: Re: Walgina: A Brownie?
PostPosted: Tue Aug 23, 2011 11:04 am 
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Hey, guys, I wouldn't discourage Amber so much. Maybe we don't agree with what she's saying but it's not hurting anyone for her to type up her thoughts. In fact, she's giving a little bit of life to the forum. And despite my disagreeing with her interpretations, I certainly don't mind reading her ideas.

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 Post subject: Re: Walgina: A Brownie?
PostPosted: Tue Aug 23, 2011 12:41 pm 
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Aisling wrote:
Hey, guys, I wouldn't discourage Amber so much. Maybe we don't agree with what she's saying but it's not hurting anyone for her to type up her thoughts. In fact, she's giving a little bit of life to the forum. And despite my disagreeing with her interpretations, I certainly don't mind reading her ideas.



Nah, it's not like that.

What I want is for her to stop the analysis and just have fun. As long as she keeps doing it, she will never enjoy StMB, and that's a shame.

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 Post subject: Re: Walgina: A Brownie?
PostPosted: Fri Aug 26, 2011 7:46 pm 
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Celes wrote:
Aisling wrote:
Hey, guys, I wouldn't discourage Amber so much. Maybe we don't agree with what she's saying but it's not hurting anyone for her to type up her thoughts. In fact, she's giving a little bit of life to the forum. And despite my disagreeing with her interpretations, I certainly don't mind reading her ideas.



Nah, it's not like that.

What I want is for her to stop the analysis and just have fun. As long as she keeps doing it, she will never enjoy StMB, and that's a shame.


I was very much enjoying the show. Probably enjoying it too much.

I'm very sorry, but I'm one of those people who thinks that Sonic the Hedgehog was like an environmental activist and that Dr Robotnik was like an industrial capitalist dictator. But does
this ruin my enjoyment of the games? Heck no. I think deeply about culture and symbolism. I enjoy the game more deeply and think the cultural/environmental context.

I was really enjoying thinking about Wario the other day. How he was like a sort of goblin, gold hoarding leprechaun. I saw a picture of a leprechaun on a slot machine the other day and smiled. Wario is a
video arcade type character, so this would make sense. I would've never made these connections had I not watched the show.

I'm afraid I don't really have anywhere else to post my "analysis" ideas right now. I guess they'd probably come under the subjects of video game studies or semiotics.

All of these ideas, from the sublime to the utterly ridiculous, whirl around in my head.
If I don't write them down, they get stuck in my head and I get a get a headache.

I know that the semiotics of Donkey Kong probably bores you to death, but I've been thinking about it for days. Probably thinking about a lot of it wrongly too as some have pointed out. If some of this sounds mangled, it's very difficult to concentrate with people yelling in my house. I
sometimes regret what I type, but otherwise my ideas have no outlet. I have few people to talk about this with IRL. I don't know who to share my thoughts with.

If you disagree with me, that's fine. This is art. We all have our own interpretations.

What I was basically trying to say before (clumsily) was that video gaming has traditionally been a kind of "Boys Club". The central characters in StMB are male and behave like they're members of a fraternity (or brotherhood, whatever). This mirrors the gaming community and
programmers. I was kind of frustrated with Walgina's character because I wanted her to do more in the story. I don't know...one really strong female character to balance out all of the male fighting, toilet humor and heroism.

This isn't Richie's fault. I like the show, though it sometimes it feels like I'm watching "Maid
Marian and her Merry Men" without Maid Marian. I'm culturally primed to look for "Maid Marian" or "Super Brownie" in any show I watch. I've been told to look for strong, assertive female role models.

Similarly with Donkey Kong. I'm so used to seeing gorillas as symbols of human anger and brute impulse in shows I watch (e.g. in the last episode of "The Prisoner") that I'm primed to think that seeing the gorilla has some kind of symbolic meaning. I think that Richie was alluding to and making fun of this "metaphor" by having Donkey Kong ride Yoshi. DK isn't making "a political statement", he's just too exhausted walk.

I also think that Richie is cleverer than some give him credit for and this should be
acknowledged. Some of the satire in his work is brilliant. The "anti-boy band" and "anti-celebrity" stuff was refreshing to watch. I haven't laughed this hard in a long while. Which is good, I do get depressed and need to laugh more. You're right about that!

I just have to try and forget about the times where people forced me to write essays on cultural symbolism in TV shows, cartoons and plays.

Sometimes it's not nice to think about symbolism. I remember one episode of "Dr Who" where there were feline nurses experimenting on humans. I think that one of the writers was against animal testing, so he cruelly turned the story on its head. He made the plot about "human testing".

Richie turns ideas on their heads, not in this disturbing way, but in a funny thought provoking way. A way that makes me think critically about the media saturated world I live in.

Yes. I think that Sci-fi and video games do contain symbolism.
I'm just not that fantastic at writing about it.


Last edited by Amber on Sat Aug 27, 2011 4:01 am, edited 4 times in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Walgina: A Brownie?
PostPosted: Sat Aug 27, 2011 12:18 am 
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Oh, what the hell.

As long as you are having fun, it's ok with me :)

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 Post subject: Re: Walgina: A Brownie?
PostPosted: Sat Aug 27, 2011 7:06 am 
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Celes wrote:
Oh, what the hell.

As long as you are having fun, it's ok with me :)


Thanks. Don't worry about it. :)


When I was a kid, I always thought that Mario behaved like a shape shifting gnome, what with the mushrooms and all. I thought that Mario and his friends were a bit like the Smurfs with their magical powers. I believed that the Smurfs and Mario occupied a similar cultural niche.

I only found out that Mario was supposed to be a "plumber" much later on.
For a while, I honestly thought he was a fairy traveller who could fit inside pipes. I thought he was a little bit like "Santa Claus". I got a GameBoy for Christmas and the pipes looked a bit like chimneys. I mostly played GameBoy games and the instruction manuals made no mention of him being a "plumber" at all.

I enjoy StMB because it challenges my childhood assumptions about Mario's character. I am fascinated by other people's interpretations. Some people believe that Mario is a plumber "addict". This was briefly hinted at in the show. I never thought of Mario that way before. I thought he was like a fairy tale character in an interactive mosaic of pixels.

So I don't know if Mario is a kind of Japanese mystical fairy or just an ordinary Italian American plumber Guy who likes mushrooms.

I find American interpretations of Japanese culture fascinating. One Sonic comic I read discussed the origin of Tails' tails. The American kids sent in their own explanation's of Tail's deformity. Explanations ranged from Tails being operated on to him being some kind of freak-show exhibit. The American kids sending in letters were unaware of Japanese mythology. Tails is based on a kitsune, a Japanese fox spirit with more than one tail.

I find it fascinating to see how Western culture interprets Japanese Video Games that are marketed towards an American audience. Some of the culture clashes and misunderstandings can be hilarious. I've seen people make up all kinds of disturbing stories about why Mario wears a racoon suit in one of the games. They are unaware of Japanese Raccoon-dog/leaf mythology, so they try. They make sense of something they never grew up with and don't understand. They don't have the Japanese "mental furniture" to comprehend what they see.

They view the art though a different cultural lens and so don't understand Japanese sense of humor. Actually, I think both interpretations are equally disturbing, but each to their own.

I've seen a lot of references to fairytales and spirits in Japanese produced video games and anime.

It's kind of interesting and sometimes disturbing to trace the origins of different cultural symbols. It's also interesting to see how different cultures attach their own stories to the same image.


I like to think actively about what I read and see.
I don't like to just passively absorb stuff without thinking about what message it's trying to convey.


I also find it kind of hard to believe that Richie doesn't think about the cultural symbols he uses in his shows. I notice that he tends to play powerful cultural icons: Harry Potter, Mario, Merlin, Michael Jackson, A Ninja Master, Emperor Kuzco and John Lennon. Um...that's a lot of powerful characters for one man to play. :shock:

I think he wants the audience to believe that he is like a charismatic superstar king endowed with magical powers or something. Lol. :lol: That's the image he's projecting anyway. I think he's deliberately choosing these images so that people will associate the ideas of power and magic with him.

I don't know how he does it. He's very good. He's like a real life incarnation of "Kid Chameleon". You don't know whether he's going to change into a knight, an Eastern Warrior or whatever. Sort of like having multiple personalities and changing into them every time he changes costume.


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