Last week we saw Steve as we’ve never seen him before. His latest gig sent him to Nintendo’s Super Smash Bros: Ultimate ring to compete against their cast of some of video games' heaviest hitters. It remains to be seen if Steve has the versatility in taking this role, or if he’s doomed to the reputation of a one-hit wonder.
In an interview shortly after Nintendo’s explosive and (hypothetically) Twitter breaking announcement, Mario shared some of his thoughts about Steve stepping on his turf.
“It’s-a-me, Mario,” he said.
The big question is if this stunt is just Steve’s Microsoft managers using him as promotion for the big show this week which unveiled a new mob and DLCs for Steve to star in. But those are just updates in a game that’s been around for over 10 years, and may not be pushing Steve’s status forward in video games' A-list. Maybe Steve’s appearance in Smash could be him trying to put his blocky world behind him, making strides towards superstardom like his now Smash counterparts of Mario and Pacman.
While it’s great to have an instant classic under Steve’s belt, the success of his first project may come back to haunt him if he never escapes the role of “Steve from Minecraft”. I’d say there’s no shame in being a one-hit wonder when your one hit is the world’s best selling game, but Steve may be looking to get his face out there in different ways and establish himself as a character who can step into any game and fit in just fine.
It’s certainly possible. Take a look at Pacman for instance: a character that started off pretty flat and two-dimensional in his debut, but rounded out and found some depth in his subsequent games. Mario’s the exact same way: a character that used to be a plumber fighting off a turtle for a shot at a fruit, now seen everywhere from the race track to the tennis courts. A rags to riches story for sure.
And I don’t want to speculate too heavily, but there could be some underlying insecurities at play regarding Steve’s role in his own game. He’s an afterthought. Notch - Minecraft’s creator - picked Steve for the role simply to fit an aesthetic, a stand-in for “default human” if you will. As the game continued in construction, we saw Steve gain a little more posture, especially when Notch took one of his ribs to create Alex. Still, Steve somehow has to prove that he can step away from blocks at least a little.
In Smash we still see him just mining and crafting; making the same tools and stacking the same blocks as he’s done for a decade. Sure, it’s all a little faster now, but he essentially forced Smash’s crew to rebuild all the stages specifically so he can keep digging them up.
Maybe we’ll see Steve take lessons from Mario in find some new hobbies. Here’s some pork chops for thought: Steve playing golf; Steve cooking with a real pan; Steve discovering the wheel. Steve performing disturbing political satire.
Maybe he should look to other shapes too. Mario did it, Pacman sort of did it (he grew legs). But I do worry about a botched pixel surgery that could turn out something like this:
This is all speculation of course, and maybe Steve’s managers just put him in Smash to promote his game. Maybe Steve is happy where he is, reaping the rewards of the best selling game of all time, something none of the other video game celebrities can say. Mario’s a character of world-wide acclaim, but he’s best in his collaborations. Mario has great projects of course - Super Mario Odyssey being his latest and a return to form - but he doesn’t have a game that perpetually evolves to the same degree as Minecraft.
And that goes for many other characters that rely on sequels to keep their name in peoples' minds, but that doesn’t seem to be the case for Steve. He’s got one game that keeps on giving, and his name may be permanently implanted in people’s brains for years to come.
So what does this mean for Steve’s fanbase? Can we expect more gigs like this, or is it just a press run for Microsoft? When can we start calling Steve a sellout? (sort of like Mario but don’t tell anybody).
We’re watching baby Steve leaving his square nest behind to enter the round world; the next few projects will show us if he can spread his wings, or fall into the void.
This is satire, all speculations are for humor purposes only, and do not represent Microsoft or Nintendo’s plans for their characters.