"Turning this innocence on its head is an obvious source of artistic fascination, and the likes of Mario and other cutesy gaming characters have often been featured in an array of less than childlike misadventures. Paintings that incorporate real-life humanity into game art are mainstays of the medium's biggest annual exhibition, "I am 8 Bit," and it's easy to understand why. There is a perverse joy to be had in taking a character like Mario and adding a moral or human dimension; what is his sex life like, what if Koopas could bleed, what if Princess Peach ran off with Luigi?"
Fraser MacInnes paints a picture of art infusing the world of games and games infusing back.
Art Imitating Games
It's true that the Mario games, such an icon of childhood, had some darker undertones (the whole mushroom obsession, for instance). This is not new. Anyone who has read a Roald Dahl novel knows that the finest of children's fare is often dark. Even Disney can be added to the mix, with movies such as Fantasia and Beauty and the Beast exploring serious themes. Children are more than capable of understanding subtlety, if not in the same way as adults, which is why these sorts of darker entertainments have a richness that is appealing to them.
This image seemed relevant.
And Yoshi said, "Go then. There are other worlds than these."