The Most Interesting Super Mario Fan Theories
Since Sept. 13th, 2015, we have officially been playing Mario games for 30 years. In that time, there has been a lot of speculation about what exactly is going on in these games. Who are Mario's parents? Is Mario actually evil? Did any of the events in the Mario games actually ever happen? These are the questions that will be asked today. So sit back, relax, and prepare to have your whole Mushroom Kingdom turned upside down. Let's get started with some outrageous and interesting fan theories!
1a. Mario and His Friends are Merely Actors in a Stage Play
Apparently this is a rather old theory but it blew my mind when I first read about it. The first two games stand outside this theory (I’ll get to that later), but starting with the third game, everything is just a theatrical performance in which they are reenacting the previous games’ events.
Check out the evidence from Super Mario 3 and make up your own mind:
A few more facts that back up this theory:
- There is little to no continuity in the games. Sometimes players are good and work together and sometimes they are evil and work against each other and there is no explanation.
- Each of the levels in Super Mario 64 and Super Mario Sunshine are called episodes.
- You can see a camera crew in several Mario games.
Mind blown, right? Well, that’s only the beginning.
1b. Super Mario Bros. (1) is the Only Time Bowser Truly Kidnapped Princess Peach.
So let’s say they are just plays, or episodes. That means that the original game is the only actual time Bowser kidnapped Peach. But what about Super Mario Bros 2, you ask? Well, think back to that game. It was completely different from the other Mario games. You plucked vegetables from the ground, killed enemies like “Birdo” (who we never see again), and your goal was not to save Princess, but to kill a bad-guy named “Wart”. Why?!
Well, I looked into it, and apparently Super Mario Bros. 2 was actually based on the game Yume Kōjō: Doki Doki Panic (translated as "Dream Factory: Heart-Pounding Panic"), which was a Japan-only video game developed by Nintendo in 1987. The idea behind the game is that it’s all just a crazy dream, which is exactly what Super Mario Bros. 2 is. Now, if you’re like me, you don’t remember anything about it being a dream. But check out the storyline that came in the instruction booklet:
So, Mario 2 stands outside the “play” theory, because it stands outside reality in general! Phew, it was all a dream. Ok, on to more theories.
2. Mario is the Real Bad Guy
In all the Mario games, it's implied that Mario is the good guy, and that Bowser and his “minions” are evil. But when you think about it, what kind of evil actions do we actually see being committed by them? They’re just hanging out, practicing their hammer-throws and fireball skills. Then we have Mario, who rampages from world to world killing hundreds of goombas and koopas, jumping on their heads and kicking their shells at each other. Not only that, but Mario destroys their homes (castles), steals their money (coins), and kills their King (Bowser).
Some might point to the Mushroom people as Mario's allies. However, this reddit user claims it’s clear that if you look closely at the games, the Mushroom people are slaves and Mario is their overlord. Mario literally eats the heads off Mushroom people to gain strength and more power. Mario is such a destructive force that the Mushroom people constantly move the Princess to different castles to throw Mario off.
3. They’re All Puppets and Peach is the Puppeteer
But what about Peach getting captured all the time and Mario trying to be the hero and save her? Well, some say that she is actually the puppeteer behind it all! She has made a pact with Bowser to make it seem like she is captured, so that Mario will be lured to Bowser and killed by him. Meanwhile, Mario will kill most of Bowser’s minions (and Bowser too, in the end) so Peach can regain peace in the kingdom! Not just a pretty face after all.
4. Donkey Kong killed Mario and Luigi's Father
Above: The original at left, sequel Donkey Kong Jr. at right
Are the Donkey Kong arcade games a separate series, or are they actually the prologue to Super Mario Bros? Many people have assumed that the hero Jumpman from Donkey Kong is actually Mario, because of their obvious resemblance. But this reddit user explains that the reason for the resemblance is not because Jumpman is Mario, but because Jumpman is actually Mario’s father! Not only that, but he was in fact killed by DK Jr.!
A breakdown of the facts:
- Mario loves Princess Peach in the Mushroom Kingdom, whereas Jumpman loves Pauline and lives in New York City. If they’re the same person, that means Mario left his wife in NYC, and somehow ended up in the Mushroom Kingdom. That’s one big mid-life crisis.
- This one’s complicated. Remember Cranky Kong from the Donkey Kong Country games? He outright says that he was the original Donkey Kong, which means his son, DK (the hero), is actually DK Jr. from the 80’s arcade game Donkey Kong Junior. Now, follow me here: in Yoshi’s Island DS, the Yoshi’s get help from many different babies including Mario and DK (Jr.), making Mario and DK Jr. the same age. But in the Donkey Kong Junior arcade game, DK Jr. is featured as very young, while Mario (Jumpman) looks the same age as he was in the first Donkey Kong game, meaning that he must be older than Mario, meaning Jumpman and Mario are two different people!
- Also in Donkey Kong Junior, DK Jr. is actually the hero, who is trying to save Donkey Kong from Jumpman, who captured him as revenge for stealing Pauline. This does not sound like the Mario we know and love.
- Furthermore, Jumpman actually dies at the end of Donkey Kong Junior. He hits the ground with a splat and then you see a halo over his head. THE END. That can’t be our Mario!
What bothers me about this theory is that Mario doesn’t seem to care that DK killed his dad. They still go-kart together and hang out like buddies. It seems Mario has redirected all his inner demons towards Bowser, poor guy.
5. Dr. Mario is the Third Mario Brother
Mario has had plenty of professions over the years: plumber, carpenter, boxing official, hero… but where would he find the time to become a doctor?
The reddit user who introduced this theory wrote of his Super Smash Bros character, "He has a similar move set to Mario and Luigi, and while Luigi is a lighter and floatier comparison to Mario, Dr. Mario is a heavier, harder hitting alternative. Dr. Mario's hair is also lighter than Mario's, taking an almost blonder or more auburn tint to the plumber's dark brown hair. Mario also seems to be more athletic than Dr. Mario as he is faster and can wall jump, whereas the doctor cannot."
Reading the comments section I found another alternative to this theory: Dr. Mario is the Mario Bros. father returned! Age accounts for him being heavier and slower, and age also accounts for his lighter hair colour, because it has greyed!
6. The Coins are Souls
This one’s a little dark, but it’s one of my favourites. You know how you get a coin every time you hit, smash, burn or generally destroy an object or enemy? What you're actually getting is that thing's soul.
A user on reddit notes, “The instruction manual for [Super Mario Bros. 1] states that the inhabitants of [Mushroom Kingdom] were turned into bricks (yes, the exact same ones that [Mario] smashed on his journey). If the bricks are [Mushroom Kingdom] residents, then how are there coins inside them? What if Mario was actually harvesting the souls of innocent toads?”
When you think of the coins as their souls, it gives a little more credence to the earlier theory that Mario is in fact the bad guy in the series of games! Evil soul harvester Mario! Eeek! Let’s not think about that.
7. Wario is a crazed Mario fan.
Like Eminem’s Stan, Wario isn’t inherently a bad guy; he’s just a superfan who’s not sure how to process his feelings of admiration for Mario! Check it out:
- Mario is often established as being incredibly famous. When he meets characters, they always say how glad they are to meet a celebrity like him.
- You know those over-the-top dressed superfans as hockey games? Wario's outfit is the superfan equivalent of Mario's: overalls, white gloves, mustache and a cap with an upside down "M".
- Wario has starred in his own Mario-like games. He's practically copying him.
- In Super Mario Land 2, Wario lives in a castle with a statue of Mario in front. Of course, it's revealed that this place used to be Mario's own castle, but still, Wario could have had the statue demolished, right?
Well, those are my favourite fan theories about Mario. Hopefully they got you thinking. They certainly got me questioning my entire childhood!
If you’re looking for more answers, check out this video interview of the creator of Mario, Shigeru Miyamoto. He answers a lot of questions, including the one about it all being a theatrical performance!