As an icon, Mario is inseparable from the medium he represents, a name practically synonymous with the pastime, and like other creations brought about in gaming's infancy, absolutely absurd. Stare too long and you realize he's an overweight, mustachioed Italian stereotype who battles sentient turtles and grows to immense proportions when he comes in contact with mushrooms. But these are conventions of a universe that we've had over 20 years to become familiar with. Why does the mushroom make Mario big? Because it's a super mushroom. Duh.But they accepted all that twenty years ago, why not now? Is the argument that people have become too literal minded and afraid of a little surrealism? Or does the improvement of graphics technology leave less room for playful abstraction? Linde won't settle the issue for you, but he might give you something to think about.
Image from Rob's SketchBlog.