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Thread: Is Mario actually the bad guy?

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    Pac-Man (Level 10) gbpxl's Avatar
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    Default Is Mario actually the bad guy?

    In the instruction booklet for Super Mario Bros./Duck Hunt, it does in fact explicitly state that the Koopa (plural) invaded the "peaceful" mushroom kingdom and turned the Mushroom People into stones, bricks, and field horse hair plants. This would of course be illegal in nearly all jurisdictions in real life if such practices were physically possible. So one cannot argue that this fact alone makes the Koopa appear to be the aggressors in this narrative.

    I know what you're thinking; "But King Koopa kidnapped Princess Toadstool so doesnt that make him the bad guy by default?" Well no one can argue that she was clearly being held against her will. It is clear that King Koopa knew what he was doing and it is clear through the dialogue in the game that she wanted to be rescued.

    However... we don't know the full story about who among the Koopa were transforming the "peaceful" mushroom people. The booklet mentions the use of black magic however it is not clear whether King Koopa used the black magic himself or ordered one of his underlings to do it (just as evil) OR there was a rogue actor in his party who was doing the transforming and King Koopa didn't necessarily like what said actor was doing.

    But if we simply go off what transpires in the game rather than speculate on what happened off screen or prior to the game starting, Mario himself was not acting with the best intentions. For starters, the game requires you to kill (yes *kill*, the booklet definitively states that these defenseless Little Goombas and Koopa Troopas are DYING a horrible death as Mario curb stomps these creatures into nothingness. Are we assuming the role of a fearless plumber or Derek Vineyard from American History X?) and you are not killing just one of these creatures but dozens, potentially hundreds if you play through all 32 levels. Do these fragile lives not matter? Do they not suffer and feel pain the way that we do? What was that first Goomba doing before Mario and Luigi showed up? Probably just walking to some dark area to relax and maybe grow on something decaying (I dont know, how do Goombas eat food anyways??)

    In a legal sense, the killing of the first Goomba was completely unjustifiable. Sure if Mario doesn't move, the Goomba will kill him, but is it not possible for Mario to jump over him and avoid him entirely? The closest scenario I can think of in real life would be if someone was walking toward me with a knife in hand. I can choose to pull out a gun and kill him after believing him to be a threat, step off to the side, or run away. We don't know if the Goomba had any sense of what he was doing. Clearly from the other Goombas, they dont seem to have any purpose at all because if left alone, they walk off a ledge into their deaths. Hardly seems like they are on a mission. I'm just saying that it's easy to side with the guy rescuing the Princess until we consider that many of the creatures here could simply be in the wrong place at the wrong time.

    Mario at best is a vigilante, taking out everything in his path, collateral damage be damned. Those Spiny's that Lakitu throws out are simply Lakitu's pets. If a serial killer throws his dog out the window to try and stop you, is it okay to kill the dog?

    The tricky part of all this is the simple fact that merely touching any of Mario's enemies in this game is instant death. But does Mario know that going into this adventure? I would think it reasonable to shoot someone in real life if he was rushing toward me and I knew that if he even grazed me, I'd die instantly. But for Mario, there's no way he could've known that if he never encountered these Goombas before. He just figured it was better to shoot first, ask questions later.

    Another element we don't hear about is the fact that if the Koopa transformed the Mushroom People into bricks, doesn't that make Mario a mass murderer?

    Now don't get me wrong, maybe there are no police or military in the Mushroom Kingdom. maybe Mario IS the police. but just like in real life, proper escalation of force is standard protocol. Does killing 100 Goombas justify the saving of 1 Princess Toadstool?

    Also, did King Koopa have some sort of beef with the Mario Bros. before the game started? The booklet says the Mushroom Kingdom was peaceful, but that is a pretty subjective term. Peaceful because their ancestors killed everyone they needed to and now the descendants no longer have to kill their enemies? What does peaceful mean these days? Maybe they were peaceful for a while but they initially were the ones who raped and pillaged the Koopa Kingdom?

    Just lots of questions unanswered here and I find the idea of "an eye for an eye" in Mario's savage quest of revenge to be quite disturbing

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    No. Because not a single Mario game is even happening within the Mario universe. Miyamoto has confirmed every Mario game are actors putting on a play. Not just SMB3 but all the games. This is why Mario hangs out with Bowser in Kart racing and party games. Just because Bowser is bad guy does not mean he is a bad guy.



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    Pac-Man (Level 10) gbpxl's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ryudo View Post
    No. Because not a single Mario game is even happening within the Mario universe. Miyamoto has confirmed every Mario game are actors putting on a play. Not just SMB3 but all the games. This is why Mario hangs out with Bowser in Kart racing and party games. Just because Bowser is bad guy does not mean he is a bad guy.
    I've never seen said interview. I wonder if he said that so as to avoid criticism for portraying violence in video games. "Bowser was acting- he just pretended to die."

    Unless he is claiming that from the very start of the series, it was in his head that all of the characters and enemies in the game are actors. I have heard that SMB3 was a play though and obviously SMB2 was a dream.

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    Great Puma (Level 12) YoshiM's Avatar
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    I guess Mario could be the bad guy to the Koopa as it's their point of view. They invaded the Mushroom Kingdom, for what purpose we can only guess. Riches (coins), land, King Koopa to sire mushroom/Koopa hybrid children with Princess Toadstool to populate the new new Koopa Kingdom? All the above? The Koopa go to occupy this bountiful land (not unlike European settlers to North America) and they get opposed by the natives. How rude! They use their magics to take care of any possible opposition (just because the shroom folks are peaceful doesn't mean they won't take up arms to defend themselves) and go to settle things. Then here comes a couple of humans from another realm as the sole opponents to the occupation. But the Koopa are claiming their rights to the land through domination! The magics don't work so the army is mustered. On top of that, the bricks the mushroom folks were transformed into didn't become full transformations! Some contain what they were carrying-fire flowers, starts, growth mushrooms, mushrooms that resurrect a human upon death and coins.


    However, this story is told from the perspective from the Mushroom Kingdom, so the Koopa's invasion is "evil" (evil is a subjective point of view-a majority of people would thinnk an invasion and wiping out their way of life is "evil"). Mario and Luigi are the heroes and the Mushroom Kingdom is getting invaded by force, having innocent mushroom folk transfromed into blocks and their leader taken prisoner. Such an act, no matter what world you are from, would be an act of war and the Koopa are the villains. Goombas are traitors to the crown, so in SMB 1, it is "death" to them. They are soldiers, all in all who probably caved when they saw their friends turned into blocks.

    Honestly, the way it's laid out is black and white-good and evil. Koopa invades and pillages the land and kidnaps the leader="bad". The manual and game was written in an earlier time when people "killed" stuff (aliens, etc.), so the verbage is of the time. I'm sure as Nintendo got a foothold as the "family system", Nintendo reassessed their wording for future Mario games. If you look at the manual for Mario 2 & 3, neither used the word "kill". It's "defeat" or "attack". While one uses the word "deadly", Mario isn't "killed", he just "loses a life" and when all lives are lost, the game is "over".

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    Pac-Man (Level 10) gbpxl's Avatar
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    Most of this good/bad depends on what the Mushroom kingdom had done to the Koopas prior to the start of the game. History books are written by those who have won. who is to say that the Koopa were actually reclaiming their homeland that was unfairly stolen from them by the Mushroom invaders prior to this game happening?

    yeah if its a play sure, but again there is no indication that this was the initial storyline from the start. it seems that it was retroactively labeled as such. Nintendo does that a lot. Think about 15 or 20 years ago when Nintendo tried to connect the Zelda storylines altogether. I think back in the 80s they were making stuff up as they went along and didnt expect anyone to think too hard about this stuff

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    Great Puma (Level 12) jb143's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ryudo View Post
    No. Because not a single Mario game is even happening within the Mario universe. Miyamoto has confirmed every Mario game are actors putting on a play. Not just SMB3 but all the games. This is why Mario hangs out with Bowser in Kart racing and party games. Just because Bowser is bad guy does not mean he is a bad guy.
    I don't know that he concretely said...more so implied that that's the way he thinks about it, comparing it to old cartoons that would also do such things.

    Found the original article...
    https://www.gameinformer.com/b/featu...interview.aspx

    Either way, that first Goomba is often called the most deadly character in video game history. But if we want to get overly analytical about all this... every time he kills Mario, Mario comes right back to try again. Unless you loose all your lives, in which case you can just start over and Mario, and all the Goombas and Koopas are still alive. The Princess and toads, however, are still locked away in castles.
    Last edited by jb143; 09-23-2020 at 04:11 PM. Reason: Added the interview in question
    "Game programmers are generally lazy individuals. That's right. It's true. Don't let anyone tell you otherwise. Since the dawn of computer games, game programmers have looked for shortcuts to coolness." Kurt Arnlund - Game programmer for Activision, Accolade...

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    Great Puma (Level 12) YoshiM's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gbpxl View Post
    Most of this good/bad depends on what the Mushroom kingdom had done to the Koopas prior to the start of the game. History books are written by those who have won. who is to say that the Koopa were actually reclaiming their homeland that was unfairly stolen from them by the Mushroom invaders prior to this game happening?

    yeah if its a play sure, but again there is no indication that this was the initial storyline from the start. it seems that it was retroactively labeled as such. Nintendo does that a lot. Think about 15 or 20 years ago when Nintendo tried to connect the Zelda storylines altogether. I think back in the 80s they were making stuff up as they went along and didnt expect anyone to think too hard about this stuff
    Maybe it was a trade dispute and the Koopa created a blockade due to taxation of the roads that go from the Mushroom World and the realm of the Koopa. While there was much debate over the legalities of the blockade, two Italian plumbers were sent to the Koopa to negotiate.....

    :: the plumbers are led into a conference room by a Goomba. When the Goomba leaves, the duo looks about the room::

    Luigi: "M....mario....I'a have-a bad feeling about this...."

    While the plumbers are left waiting, the Koopa begin to send troop(as) to the kingdom to gain legal occupation by forcing Princess Toadstool to sign a treaty with King Koopa.

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    Quote Originally Posted by gbpxl View Post
    I've never seen said interview. I wonder if he said that so as to avoid criticism for portraying violence in video games. "Bowser was acting- he just pretended to die."

    Unless he is claiming that from the very start of the series, it was in his head that all of the characters and enemies in the game are actors. I have heard that SMB3 was a play though and obviously SMB2 was a dream.
    Google it. Easy interview to find he gave maybe 8-9 years ago. He says he sees Mario and Company as a traveling group of actors. This is why they are also seen in games playing tennis or racing karts.



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    Pac-Man (Level 10) gbpxl's Avatar
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    I just find it really disturbing that Mario wears overalls while performing such acrobatic feats. What kind of message is he sending to our children? Wearing such clothing while doing rigorous movements like that can ride up on your crotch, dontchaknow!

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    Pac-Man (Level 10) gbpxl's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gameguy View Post
    At this point I would almost prefer communism to the bullshit we have now where a few corporations hold absolute dominance over the rest of the competition. in a perfect capitalist society, youd have hundreds of options of where to spend your money but now we just have monopolies and very little choice

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    Great Puma (Level 12) YoshiM's Avatar
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    Now from the Koopa point of view: Teenage Mutant Koopa Troopas

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    ServBot (Level 11) Edmond Dantes's Avatar
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    Surprised this topic has not mentioned the Game Theory videos (he also did one on Mario being commulist, BTW).

    But sorry to say, I represent the Mushroom Secret Service, and sir gbpxl, I'm going to have to ask you to come to warp zone with me...

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