Repeated parental denial of our glove paled in comparison to the challenges in the games themselves, however. From dodging every banana peel and turtle shell to leaping over rolling streams of wooden barrels, by far the biggest difficulty we gamers faced was finding ourselves characterized as the daintiest of damsels, Princess Peach.
As the female lead of Nintendo’s Super Mario Bros. franchise, it wasn’t so much that she was a girl that got under a player’s skin. More, it was how girly she was, prissily prancing about and always picking up her skirt as if deathly plants spewing out fireballs were no match for her hot pink heels. (A few years ago, she got her own solo game, in which she fought enemies with the power of emotion. It wasn’t particularly gender-progressive.)