Assassin’s Creed 2’s Awkward Mario Joke Explained

Sometimes a game’s Easter Eggs are brilliant nods to famous IPs. Other times they’re not. Here’s Assassin’s Creed 2’s awkward Mario joke explained.

The Assassin’s Creed 2 Mario joke might be awkward, but it’s also a fun nod to a gaming franchise that isn’t exactly a great fit for the AC universe. Assassin’s Creed 2 introduced Ezio Auditore to the role of protagonist, arguably one of the most iconic heroes in the franchise’s lengthy history, and set the stage for a battle between Templars and Assassins that took place across 15th and 16th century Italy.

It’s the Italian setting that also helped make the Assassin’s Creed 2 Mario joke possible. While Assassin’s Creed games do feature fanciful representations of technology across key points in human history, the franchise is mostly serious when it comes to its narrative beats. That means no Warp Pipe levels or sentient mushrooms to beat up – and given the colorful, family-friendly nature of the Super Mario franchise, the opportunities for notable Easter Eggs that fit are fairly restrictive.

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Related: Every Historical Figure In Assassin’s Creed 2

That didn’t stop the awkward Assassin’s Creed 2 Mario joke from existing, however, and it’s become a pretty memorable instance of video game dialogue in the years that have passed since the game’s first release. In a painfully strained exchange between Ezio and his uncle, the former asks “do I know you from somewhere?” before his uncle feigns surprise at not being recognized before stating “it’s a-me, Mario!” That’s really it – it’s an on-the-nose reference to the Italian plumber’s most notable catchphrase, shoehorned into dialog during an emotional scene reuniting two family members enduring the fallout of tragic events prior in the game’s story. Here’s a look at the scene, uploaded by YouTuber CyberlineFilms:

Where Ezio’s Uncle Says It’s-A-Me, Mario In AC2

While it’s a pretty obvious reference, the Assassin’s Creed 2 Mario joke was well-received, and people still discuss it occasionally to this day. To be fair, Mario Auditore also has a moustache – albeit a far thinner one than either of the Mario Bros. – and is Italian, so he fulfills two characteristics of a video game character who doesn’t exactly have a ton of depth when it comes to personality. Unfortunately, Mario Auditore’s brother is Giovanni, not Luigi, which is really a missed opportunity to brute force another Super Mario Bros. reference in after committing to doing that with the Mario joke.

The Assassin’s Creed 2 Mario joke is an ideal example of how not every Assassin’s Creed Easter Egg needs to be brilliantly subtle. While there’s a place for hidden references that only major fans of a series will understand, it’s also important to include a few that are instantly recognizable. Judging from how well the Assassin’s Creed 2 Mario joke has done in remaining something players remember years later, it’s clear there’s merit to its brand of awkward-but-reverent appreciation for a video game great.

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