I'll be honest, until Skyward Sword comes out the only reason I use my Wii is to play Dr. Mario Online. Some might call that a waste of a machine. Some might call the machine a waste anyway. All of them are wrong. Dr. Mario and I have a long history. It's my father's most-played videogame, and as such I've been struggling to beat him for over 20 years. 1994's Tetris & Dr. Mario was the most even we've ever been matched, but that's mostly because I'm rather better at Tetris.
The concept of the game is pretty simple: Unbeknowst to his closest friends, Mario has taken all of the coins he's collected from plumbing, saving the Princess, and odd jobs demoliting buildings and officiating boxing tournaments and funnelled them into nighttime community college medical school. Or at least that's what we're supposed to believe.
The good Doctor, however, is never shown treating actual patients, which is our first clue that the official story that I just made up is bogus. You see, Dr. Mario isn't a game about Mario's continuing adult education. It's a satire of the modern state of medicine.
Obviously, the very first sight when viewing the game from this perspective is that our hero Doctor is clearly a quack. He found a lab coat and a stethoscope and thermometer -- which again, he never has a need for -- and instead of working in the field trying to actually help people, he's in the lab going to town on an Erlenmeyer flask filled with just three types of disease. The original game didn't name the viruses, but eventually they did pick some up. Red is Fever and Blue is Chill, which are really symptoms, not diseases, so perhaps even worse, he's not even getting to the heart of the problem. The Yellow one is called Weird, which is probably just a non-controversial way of calling it AIDS. In anycase, he's still not treating patients. Mario knows where the money's at, and it's not in actually treating the sick.
But how's he doing his research? How's he fighting these dangerous disease? By literally throwing pills at them.
Yeah, that's exactly what he does. For the last 20 years Mario has been on the forefront of the fight to create drug-resistant super bugs. That jerk. And how do we know that? Because all his work is for naught. He eradicates the diseases each time, and in the very next level they're not only back but there's more of them.
It never ends, because the system is broke.
OK that's just the representation of him from the box art and that's never meant to be taken as reality. So here's a screen shot: