Salman Rushdie Inspired by Super Mario

Salman Rushdie Inspired by Super Mario

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In his third-person memoir, Salman Rushdie reveals how he turned to Super Mario while in hiding.

Salman Rushdie is perhaps most famous for his 1988 novel The Satanic Verses and a subsequent fatawa that forced him into hiding. You may also remember a 2010 interview in which Rushdie stated that Iran could be liberated by dropping Nintendo consoles from the sky. Apparently Rushdie's rationale for the latter has a lot to do with his experiences during the former. In a new third-person memoir titled Joseph Anton, Rushdie revealed that while in hiding he gained a deep appreciation for videogames thanks to none other than Super Mario himself.

"Marianne came around and scolded him for playing video games," the book reads. "Thanks to Zafar (Rushdie's son), he had grown fond of Mario the plumber and his brother Luigi and sometimes Super Mario World felt like a happy alternative to the one he lived in the rest of the time. 'Read a good book,' his wife told him scornfully. 'Give it up.' He lost his temper. 'Don't tell me how to live my life,' he exploded, and she made a grand exit."

It's fascinating to imagine the renowned writer becoming engrossed in a video game, and frustrated by distractions from it, just like any other player. More surprising is the fact that Super Mario World may have inspired Rushdie's later fiction. In Luka and the Fire of Life, Rushdie depicts the hero "Super-Luka" on his quest to steal the titular fire for his dying father. Luka is granted 999 lives to surpass a series of increasingly difficult levels, and even saves his progress periodically by punching a gold ball at the end of each section.

Rushdie's love of games doesn't stop at Mario either, but encompasses everything from Angry Birds to Red Dead Redemption. To Rushdie, videogames can provide engaging narratives that don't require the author to guide players through its story by the hand. "There are all kinds of excursions and digressions that you can choose to go on and find mini stories to stories to participate in instead of the big story, the macro story," Rushdie said. "I think that really interests me as a storyteller."

Source: The Millions, via Eurogamer
Image: The Guardian

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That's just awesome stuff to know. I loved The Satanic Verses, it was quite good. Hearing that he wrote a book with lives and save points meant, halfway through the article, I went over to Amazon and bought a copy. And now, I have a new argument against the unenlightened masses: "If it's good enough for Salman Rushdie, it's good enough for me."

I find it ironic that on the heels of Activision caving to crazed muslims, here's a man who also inadvertently pissed off a group famous for outrage over the tiniest things, and he stood his creative ground. He didn't apologize and suck up to the thugs, he never took back a single thing. Granted, he had to go into hiding the so 'religion of peace' wouldn't kill him and his family, but it just goes to show you that someone with courage grew to love gaming because of Mario while the cowards at Activision are pushing out yearly map packs of what's considered a 'mature' game. I can't stand Nintendo the way it is now, but I say bravo to both the Big N and Sir Rushdie.

Aww, that's really heartwarming. I don't particularly like Mr. Rushdie's work (granted I should reread the satanic verses as I know that my tastes have changed since I read it) but I'm still a huge fan of the way he stood behind his work, even to the point he had to go into hiding.

Either way it's always cool to see someone come into gaming and experience what I've come to love out of the hobby.

I only know vaguely about this guy, but considering my lack of general knowledge of authors, this guy might as well as be a rock star. Hearing that he, someone who is fully entrenched in another storytelling media, enjoys video games to the point of incorporating them into his books warms my heart. I'd love to chat with him about games like Bioshock, Spec Ops: The Line (which I still haven't played), and Okami. They could be very interesting talking points because of how they represent the medium and how they could influence his.

BehattedWanderer:
Hearing that he wrote a book with lives and save points meant, halfway through the article, I went over to Amazon and bought a copy.

Ditto! Salman Rushdie wrote my absolute favourite book (Haroun and the sea of stories) and thanks to this article I'm buying 'Luka and the Fire of Life' right now!

Huh.

He really is one of the last people I'd ever have thought of who liked video games.
And to be influenced by games too is intriguing.

I guess you gotta do something in hiding, amirite? :P

(Just nit-picking, but isn't Anton Joseph written in the second person?)

I remember watching a documentary about this guy a year or a few years ago. I thought it was an interesting thing to watch, especially how bad it got at some point. Never would have expected him to become a fan of videogames though. It's nice to hear a story of someone falling in love with the medium rather than group X hating on it because bullshit reason Y. :)

Rushdie depicts the hero "Super-Luka" on his quest to steal the titular fire for his dying father. Luka is granted 999 lives to surpass a series of increasingly difficult levels, and even saves his progress periodically by punching a gold ball at the end of each section.

*searches Amazon books*

The Satanic Verses was published in 1988, not in 1981. In 1981 Rushdie published his debut novel Midnight's Children, which is in my opinion also the better novel.

I how he stood up for gaming, I need to do it against my mum :(

With any luck, this revelation will lead to a fatawa declared against Mario, and then everything will fall into place.....

So I guess this grants the hope that when I'm that old, I'll still like videogames, too, and have still retained my playful nature.

Captcha: politically correct

dalior:
The Satanic Verses was published in 1988, not in 1981. In 1981 Rushdie published his debut novel Midnight's Children, which is in my opinion also the better novel.

You're right! Midnight's Children was the one I studied in school, hence the date confusion. Thanks!

Whoops, double-post.

I was lucky enough to see Rushdie speak publicly on the publication of Luka and the Fire of Life - very impressed at his ability to synthesise certain surreal elements of videogame aesthetics into a book that critics still called 'literature'.

BehattedWanderer:
That's just awesome stuff to know. I loved The Satanic Verses, it was quite good. Hearing that he wrote a book with lives and save points meant, halfway through the article, I went over to Amazon and bought a copy. And now, I have a new argument against the unenlightened masses: "If it's good enough for Salman Rushdie, it's good enough for me."

Pssssh. You believe that? Dude was obviously tripping on shrooms!

Well now I must head off to amazon to get his books now, and I would've never thought he would be totally into Mario.

I have a funny image in my mind of Rushdie unknowingly playing Counter Strike with some youngsters in Iran who would like to murder him.

one of us
one of us
ONE OF US
ONE OF US
O__O

Zachary Amaranth:

BehattedWanderer:
That's just awesome stuff to know. I loved The Satanic Verses, it was quite good. Hearing that he wrote a book with lives and save points meant, halfway through the article, I went over to Amazon and bought a copy. And now, I have a new argument against the unenlightened masses: "If it's good enough for Salman Rushdie, it's good enough for me."

Pssssh. You believe that? Dude was obviously tripping on shrooms!

The way you say that, someone might think it's a bad thing...

Hollyday:

BehattedWanderer:
Hearing that he wrote a book with lives and save points meant, halfway through the article, I went over to Amazon and bought a copy.

Ditto! Salman Rushdie wrote my absolute favourite book (Haroun and the sea of stories) and thanks to this article I'm buying 'Luka and the Fire of Life' right now!

I'm kind of surprised how cheap I found a copy. Less than a cup of coffee, even, shipping included. Did you have similar luck?

Wow, this guy sounds like a cool person.

BehattedWanderer:
I'm kind of surprised how cheap I found a copy. Less than a cup of coffee, even, shipping included. Did you have similar luck?

Sadly, no. But books feel like such an indulgent thing to buy I'm always happy to do it. And to get round the shipping problem I just bought MORE BOOKS to make the shipping cost look smaller :) Ah, logic...

Never heard of this guy, but I think I like him.

 

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