Though conspiracy theories predate the internet, cyberspace does make it easier for theorists to congregate. There are conspiracy theories to varying levels, from fan-fictional Creepypasta to SuperBowl being rigged by the Illuminati. Given enough time, any person can back their theory up with evidence, truthful or not. Maybe Rick Grimes is in a coma, or 2Pac is still alive somewhere in Miami. Whatever you believe, there is someone formulating a theory about it right now.
The world of gaming is not immune to this. Heck, I think there are actually more crazy conspiracy theories in gaming than most places!
Whether you are serious about gaming conspiracies is not important here. The more involved the fandom is, the more theories there are on the internet. Over thirty years of Super Mario has landed the Italian plumber into the discussion of various levels of theories, such as Wario being a Mario superfan and Super Mario Bros. 3 being a well-orchestrated fictional play. Believe it or not, consider this article your personal Ripley’s Believe It Or Not. If you don’t get that reference, that is fine. Just Google it.
Now, that I have your attention, let’s talk some Super Mario stories. Here are fifteen interesting conspiracy theories about everyone favorite mustachioed hero. Mama Mia!
15. Wario Is A Crazed Mario Fan
Fandom is a tricky thing. On the extreme limits, fans engage in crazed behavior such as stalking, imitation, and even aggression. I remember in WWE, female wrestler Mickie James debuted as a Trish Stratus superfan, who often followed her around and imitated her. After Stratus spurned her affection, James became her worst enemy as part of the storyline. Now, take that simple pro-wrestling angle and apply it here. The idea that Wario is actually a Mario super fan is actually not that far-fetched. If you consider that Mario is a celebrity and famous, other characters in his universe actual treat him as such. Most of Wario’s outfits and games are parodies of Mario. Secondly, his name is Wario, which is almost the same as Mario. Turn the M upside down and it is a W. Even when Wario takes over Mario’s castle in Super Mario Land 2, he leaves Mario’s statue and other paraphernalia intact.
14. Writing Is On The Wall
While Nintendo has gone back and forth with 2D and 3D in their Mario titles, Super Mario 64 was a game changer for Nintendo as it brought the side-scrolling platformer into the three-dimensional world and into the next-generation of gaming. Also, it is one of the best games for a very suspect Nintendo 64 console. One thing fans have wondered about is the blurry text on a star statue in the courtyard of Big Boo’s Haunt. For a while, the text was up for debate, with various theories about its contents. The theory that makes the most sense is that it really spells out: “L is real 2401 in Paper M.” It refers to Luigi being in Paper Mario for its American release date of February 4, 2001. The response from developers reasoned that this Easter egg was really just a matter of coincidence and actually a joke. There is no special code or any way to get Luigi in that game. Or at least that is what they want you to believe…
13. Luigi’s Mansion Is The End Game
The reason that Luigi’s Mansion is the hypothetical end of the Mario chronological timeline lies in the idea that Luigi is told by a fortune teller that Bowser has been thoroughly defeated and killed, so the vision of Bowser being alive doesn’t make sense. Now, Bowser was revived several times through magic despite meeting his demises thanks to the Mario Bros. There is a feeling that Bowser has been gone for quite a while. Even when King Boo attacks Luigi through a Bowser suit, it implied that Bowser remains dead. If you take into consideration that Bowser is in most of the Super Mario titles including spinoffs, the lack of a real Bowser in this game could mean that King Koopa has been killed for good, making the Luigi’s Mansion games the chronological finale.
12. Coins Are Souls
What if the coins in Super Mario games were souls up for collection? Whenever Mario or Luigi kills an opponent, it is replaced with a golden coin. This is especially interesting in one of my favorite games, Super Mario World, where most enemies are turned into golden coins when Fire Mario kills them with a fireball. Oddly, the Koopas and Goombas are not burned to a crisp, but merely turned into coins for collecting. When he collects 100 coins, he gets an extra life. Could it be that Mario is the Shang Tsung of the Mushroom Kingdom? There is a benefit for Mario to collect as many souls as he can. Remember that magic exists in the Mario Universe and that in the first Super Mario Bros., the citizens were turned into bricks, and if you break one, you get a coin. Hmm, I wonder what all of that is about?
11. Super Mario Bros. 3 Was A Stage Show
The idea that Super Mario Bros. 3 was actually a well-orchestrated stage play is actually one of the most popular beliefs/theories in Super Mario lore. The reason is due to the overall theme and presentation of the game being very similar to an actual show, especially with the first screen containing a curtain going up and starting the levels. The backgrounds of the levels also look very distinct, much like they were part of stage sets containing blocks bolted to the back wall and having shadows. Also, when Mario exits a level, the stage background ends to darkness, almost like it was past the end of the set. Other platforms appear to be hanging from the ceiling in an unrealistic and improbable way as if it was attached to the ceiling. This was the first Mario title to have wearable costumes as power ups. Finally, Shigeru Miyamoto revealed that the game was actually a play. Sure, he could have just joked around, but this contributes to all of the evidence that Super Mario Bros. 3 was a stage play.
10. Super Mario Sunshine Secret Level Designed By A Child
An idea that sprung up on Reddit explains that the secret levels in Super Mario Sunshine were created by a child due to its primitive design looking like a toddler created them. A member named 2brostudio explained that those levels were actually created by Bowser Jr. “with the aid of the Magic Paintbrush.” The backgrounds do look like they were drawn by crayons. If that was the case, then it explains a lot about how these secret levels were often ridiculous and pointlessly difficult. This is because children have no sympathy for gamers. Also, Junior really hates Mario. Well, at least Bowser Jr. is better than a lot of game designers. Kudos to this awesome Koopa artist.
9. Why Are They Called The Mario Bros
Though this idea often gets loyal Mario fans angry, the 1993 film explains that they are called the Mario Bros. because it is their surname. A Reddit member named wsw82 elaborates upon this. Before you get angry at this theory, just take in consideration that everyone in the Mushroom Kingdom is referred to by their species or surname. Yoshi is named as such even though all of them share the same name. Toad is referred to the name of his people. Therefore, it is possible that Mario is their surname, with Luigi adopting his first name only to differentiate the brothers. Yes, so it means that the heroes of your beloved franchise is Mario Mario and Luigi Mario. Or you can refer to this Safely Endangered comic strip. “Mama, why-a you never remember my name?”
8. Princess Peach Is Bowser Jr.’s Mother
When I saw Bowser Jr. from the New Super Mario Bros, I thought it was a great idea to introduce a new offspring from the main villain in the Mario Universe. However, how Junior came into existence, especially who his mother is, is never explained. It was hinted in one of the titles that Bowser told his kid that Princess Peach was his mother. Despite Bowser recanting on that statement, Bowser Jr. is still extremely fascinated by Peach and treats her like his real mother. Unlike the other Koopalings, Bowser Jr. was born much later than his siblings. Thus, there is a sort of disconnect. While each of the Koopalings have a family bond, Junior is treated much differently, almost like he is the step-child conceived by another mother. Could Princess Peach actually be his real mother despite what Bowser said?
7. Dr. Mario Is The Third Mario Brother
Sure, Mario has a lot of free time besides being a plumber and saving the Princess from time to time. He can also drive go-karts and referee boxing matches. But can you really see him as a doctor? You know what you never hear this all the time: a plumber who also practices medicine on the side. Could it be that Dr. Mario isn’t really the “Mario” we know and love? Dr. Mario could be the third Mario sibling or at least a close relative. In Super Smash Bros. Melee, Dr. Mario is a separate secret character from Mario and features very different specialties and attributes. Dr. Mario does live in the Mushroom Kingdom, but instead of stomping Koopas through brute force he rather stomps out illness through prescription pills. Also, nobody in the Mario Universe ever talks to Mario as if he was a doctor or an educated individual. Maybe Dr. Mario is the third brother, after all.
6. Jumpman Is Father Mario
Before anyone goes crazy about Mario and Luigi’s last name being Mario, making the protagonist Mario Mario, let me throw this theory out there. Though some people believe Jumpman from the original Donkey Kong arcade game is actually the current Mario, there is proof that this isn’t the case. While Mario and Luigi live in the Mushroom Kingdom, Jumpman fell in love with a lady named Pauline and was saving her from Donkey Kong. Though it appears that the original Donkey Kong is actually Cranky Kong, leaving the current Donkey Kong as his grandson. If this is the case, Jumpman would be elderly like Cranky and old enough to be Mario and Luigi’s father. This explains why Pauline is not Mario’s girlfriend anymore. It is because she is his mother. Also, the current Pauline is just someone who Donkey Kong kidnaps to remind Mario about their forefathers’ relationship.
5. Donkey Kong Killed Their Father
If you considered Jumpman as the father of Mario and Luigi, then it means that Donkey Kong actually killed their father. In Donkey Kong Jr., the ending features the son of the original Donkey Kong saving his father from antagonists who looks a lot like Mario, who is called Jumpman. Jumpman ends up taking a dive all the way to the ground and dies. The reason why I believe he dies is because he ends up having a halo on top of his head. That’s all good. So, why isn’t Jumpman also Mario? There are several reasons for this. Jumpman actually has a girlfriend named Pauline, who is the lady he ends up saving in the original Donkey Kong arcade game. Also, the original Donkey Kong is implied to be Cranky, who is much older than Mario and Luigi. The current Donkey Kong appears to be the same age as the Mario Bros., Princess Peach, Yoshi, and Bowser. It only makes sense that Cranky’s son Donkey Kong Jr. ended up killing Jumpman, who would be the father of Mario and Luigi.
4. Luigi Is The Hulk
Well, Luigi is green. So, is that the only reason that Luigi has overwhelming power that has to be checked by Mario? The idea comes from a Reddit thread and has been elaborated on elsewhere on the internet. The idea that Luigi is a volatile and powerful entity comes from the spinoff title, Super Paper Mario, where it states that Luigi is the perfect candidate and host for the Chaos Heart. It is also implied that he is the reincarnation of a member from Count Bleck’s family, quite possibly his great-grandfather. In the game, Luigi gets brainwashed, but despite his inner powers, he is bested by his brother Mario, who doesn’t have overwhelming superpowers, but is an individual with phenomenal skills, ingenuity, and heroism. In Paper Mario: Thousand Year Door, there is a side story featuring the destruction that Luigi is capable of inflicting on the kingdom. So, it seems that Mario is the perfect person to be able to keep his brother in check.
3. Mario Is Evil
Good and evil is subjective. It is in the eye of the beholder. While citizens in the Mushroom Kingdom view Mario as a savior and defender of the empire, the other denizens of the world might view the mustachioed plumber garbed in a red hat and overalls a serial killer who has a vendetta against turtles and the rest of Bowser’s lovely empire. Pair this off with the theory that Princess Peach is actually spreading negative propaganda about Bowser, then you have a conspiracy theory that Mario is an evil entity who consistently tries to assassinate the king of a particular empire. Now, you can say that all of this is hog-wash and preposterous. But like with most things in life, it is all about perspective. Mario seems to have killed way more than Bowser and his army ever has. Who’s the hero now?
2. Mushroom Kingdom Dictator
What if Bowser’s reign of terror was really a matter of skewed perspective? It is true that we are rarely given the point of view from the king of Koopas. Rather, it appears that Princess Peach is the damsel-in-distress and the Mario Bros. just are heroes by proxy. As the Mario series progresses, we are given a glimpse of Peach that she is not the best of women, and some might even view her with tremendous prejudice. If that is not convincing, then let’s apply the framework of the Star Wars films. What if the Mushroom Kingdom was really the Empire and Bowser’s army was the Rebel Alliance, Koopas who are fed up with Princess’s rule. Also, Peach doesn’t object to Bowser Jr. calling her mother, which seems a little fishy to me. Perhaps, her and Bowser were a couple in the past Kidnapping, or just a lover’s spat? That is Bowser and Princess Peach’s relationship. All a matter of perspective.
1. Mario Is M Bison
The most ridiculous of ridiculous Super Mario conspiracy theories is the thought that Mario and Street Fighter‘s M Bison is the same person. The most likely reason for this is that they share the same outfit and types of acrobatic abilities, especially their wall-jump and head stomp attacks. They both have means of powering up. Also, despite M Bison being a localized version of his previous name of Vega in Japan, he has been known as M Bison for so long that it might as well be the correct, consensus version of his name. For folks who wonder what’s Mario’s actual surname is, it is Bison. And, yes, M is for Mario. Mario Bison. Since Ryu is in the newest Smash Bros. game, would it be that hard to believe that Mario could transform into his more human-like form when he enters the Street Fighter world?
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