MJ: The Character That Defines Nikki


We’re pairing 8-bit music thematically, rather than based entirely on series. You can find this track and more Tater-Tot Tunes on YouTube! Stop by and jam to some great tunes.


Normal Happenings is proud to present The Characters That Define Us, a year long collaboration of 52+ incredible bloggers!

In the buildup to the final Normal Happenings post, I’m pleased to have my amazing wife Nikki here to say her final farewells. She has been so supportive of me and my blogging pursuits over the past two years, and I am eternally grateful. Nikki, you have the floor. It’s time for your sendoff to this wonderful blogging community.

Stay tuned. My piece is coming up next.


As a kid I loved reading comic books. I had many of the Spider-Man comics, and I read them until I was about 14 years old. I also loved the Spider-Man animated show that came on. I watched a lot of different ones throughout the years, so don’t ask me which ones. I also loved the Spider-Man movies.

I adored Peter Parker, and quite frankly I wanted to be him. I never considered that it was strange for me to want to be a superhero that wasn’t the same gender as me until years later when an old friend from elementary school commented on how different it was for me to want to be Spider-Man/Peter Parker. I simply told them that I liked how he acted with his strong moral convictions, his want to help everyone that he could, his battles with real tragedy, and how he never allowed it to beat him.

For me male superheroes were always who I preferred to admire because I saw unattainable goals in many female superheroes during this time in my life. Often they were drawn with amazing bodies, and I didn’t see very many that had the same depth as their male counterparts.

I know many of you probably know way more about this topic than myself, and I am probably leaving out some very good more obscure examples, but in my limited experience I had my favorite superheroes for very specific reasons. I just wanted to be Spider-Man as a weird and shy kid that was trying to find her way in the world.

However, times have certainly changed since I was a kid. There are many great female superheroes that have true depth, and their looks are not the only thing that young girls will notice nowadays. They will see females who are strong and intelligent. They will not be disrespected due to their gender.

The superhero that I want to focus on is a character that was never a proper superhero, but rather a love interest and highly intelligent woman. In the most recent PS4 game Marvel’s Spider-Man, Mary Jane (affectionately known as MJ) was an actual playable character, and unlike past versions of MJ she seems to be in quite a healthy place with who she is. She is smart, and she shows Peter that she can be there to help him in many ways.

In one of my favorite parts, she jumps off a building for Peter to catch her after she does some investigative reporting. He doesn’t expect it, but he catches her anyway. She helps Peter with a ton missions throughout the game, and she is not the damsel in distress that we have seen in past video games, movies, shows, and comic books.

If I would’ve had this version of MJ as a kid, I would have wanted to be her instead of Spider-Man, and that is why she is such an important character to me personally. Before this game Spider-Man was doing all the leg work, but now he has a partner in crime (or, perhaps more accurately, justice). However you view a masked vigilante taking crime management into their own hands, to me Spider-Man (and other superheroes) have proven that anyone can help others. Now MJ gets to go on that list of heroes.

Thank you all for taking the time to read this blog, and for supporting my partner’s writing ambitions. I am grateful that he could share some of his innermost thoughts with all of you, and that you all listened to some of mine as well. I wish you all the best in life, and know that I will always remember his passions for this blog. I am so glad that you all helped him foster his creativity. So please be kind to each other and never stop being creative.

With all my respect,


Meowser Takes New Donk City!! | Peter Parker’s Course | Exclusive Super Mario Maker 2 Stage

Inspired by Spider-Man comics and films, it’s time for today’s Super Mario Maker 2 course!
Meowser Takes New Donk City!!

Play it for yourself!

Style: Super Mario 3D World
Theme: Airship
Difficulty: Expert 

A Little Background!

This stage is inspired by Anna @ The Reel Anna‘s recent piece for The Characters That Define Us! Her entry was on Peter Parker from the Spider-Man PS2 games.

Spider-Man can scale a building in, what, ten seconds? Twenty on a very bad day?

Well, what if Spider-Man was really bad at his job?

You would get Toadette here, who can scale a building in mayyyybe four minutes. That’s four minutes too long for Meowser to terrorize the inhabitants of New Donk City. But at least she’s determined!

Key Features!

Having played a lot of Mario Maker, I’ve always enjoyed seeing people’s creative takes on vertical levels. Some have rotated retro Mario levels 90 degrees adding a new layer of difficulty.

Effectively that is the case here, but I wanted to design a completely original concept. Therefore, grasslands are traded for the sturdy side of a skyscraper. Here, construction materials litter the area, as the building’s north face has not yet been finalized.

This can be a challenging course or an impossible course; it’s all up to you. It depends on how you choose to play it. I can’t stress enough, you have to take these challenges slowly. The 500-second limit is plenty of time. Imprecise movement will send you plummeting to the bottom of the stage with just one mistake. Be careful.

Where the Heck is the TCTDU Room?

The TCTDU room can be a challenge to access, but it does lead to a shortcut. While you can go out of your way to get multiple shots at it, you may find it too much trouble. It requires good timing. Still, there are three 1-ups for you should you succeed.

Remember, you can sometimes find donuts at construction sites. 

Fun. So, Tell Us Who’s Next?

Feb 3

Next up is Livid Lightning!
She’ll be writing about “Lightning”!
It’s sure to be electrifying.

The Characters That Define Us is a year-long collaboration of bloggers from around the world, and with each comes a custom-made Super Mario Maker 2 Course inspired by their pieces!