Kriston Capps is a staff writer for CityLab covering housing, architecture, and politics. He previously worked as a senior editor for Architect magazine.
In the video game ‘Super Mario Odyssey,’ he’s ready to leap around the Big Mushroom.
Like so many immigrants and mustachioed hipsters before him, Mario has finally made the jump to New York City. In Super Mario Odyssey, the first game on Nintendo’s upcoming Switch platform to star everyone’s favorite plumber, Mario can be found hopping, twirling, and stomping through “New Donk City,” which is what it sounds like if you say “New York City” while eating a giant cannoli.
A trailer for Super Mario Odyssey released on Thursday shows Mario exploring a world far removed from the Mushroom Kingdom. He leaps on taxi cabs and swings from traffic lights. There’s not a Koopa Troopa in sight, unless, presumably, he heads to Times Square. Judging from the trailer, it’s not heavy on authentic local landmarks—but by the time the Switch is released in March, all those things you like will have been redeveloped anyway. By appearances, it’s easily the best New York-themed Nintendo tie-in since 1993’s Super Mario Bros., notable for its command performances and excelsior cameos.
In Super Mario Odyssey, Super Mario presumably lands a super job plumbing super-clogged pipes in NDC. But the high cost of living is sure to come as a shock for Mario, who is used to the cheap rents of the Mushroom Kingdom, where golden coins literally hang in the sky. Mario has survived Goombas, Piranha Plants, Hammer Brothers, and whatever the hell was going on in Super Mario Bros. 2. But can he handle the rents in the Big
Good news for Mario: According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics’s May 2015 State Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates for metro and non-metro New York, he’ll do well in his new Empire-esque city, job-wise. New York pipefitters, steamfitters, and plumbers draw an annual mean salary of $72,480. With a 5.3 percent unemployment rate for this sector, Mario may have trouble finding work right away, but he won’t suffer once he lands a job.
Working as a plumber, Mario will make a good deal more in wages than the median annual income for the city ($53,373). But even Mario’s relatively high salary can’t guarantee him housing that is affordable. If he and Luigi find an average two-bedroom apartment together—c’mon, of course Luigi is moving with him—then the two of them will be paying slightly more than 30 percent of their income toward rent. This assumes that Luigi is also working as a plumber and making the same wages as Mario. (Or slightly less. C’mon, it’s Luigi.)
The trailer for Super Mario Odyssey makes it clear that he’ll be facing all the usual suspects in the new game. King Bowser is trying to marry Princess Peach against her will! A bunch of steampunk rabbits on an airship look like they’re up to no good! Mario’s mushroom connect keeps moving deeper into Brooklyn! But Mario will also face some more-pedestrian pressures, like high rents—which makes him just like any other New Donker.