Mario, the plumber, is loved by generations of gamers. For decades he has been entertaining families from around the world. His appeal transcends time, nationality, language, age, and gender. But what do his activities reveal about his political affiliations? Does Mario have a subversive agenda to undermine the West? To what or who’s benefit?
In this list, we’ll take a critical look at what Mario is really up to in the sovereign Mushroom Kingdom. Through semiotic analysis, historical context, and a generous dose of leading rhetorical questions, we will cast open the 8-bit curtain to reveal the shocking truth of Mario’s ideological crusade.
In the 21st century, it's not uncommon for popular video games to be politicized by developers and gamers alike. Many developers take it upon themselves to right the wrongs of the world and try to steer the culture towards a better place. But have video games always been developed with a political program, right under our noses?
Point being, media is interpreted differently by different groups. Game developers know this and tailor their games to complement the perceptions of their targeted demographic. Of all games ever made, the Mario franchise is by far the biggest household name, and is an icon that wields huge influence. Could nefarious forces be using Mario's influence to recruit the vulnerable minds of our youth for a new communist revolution? Or are fans looking a little bit too far into Mario's symbolism. Consider the following...
15 Mustaches Of Mario And Joseph Stalin
Hulk Hogan, Ron Jeremy, George Michael, Swedish Chef from The Muppets, and Gandhi are all great guys with two important things in common: they're all American icons, and they all sport a great mustache. But not everyone with a mustache is necessarily a great guy. Take Joseph Stalin, for example. Stalin the Soviet revolutionary is was responsible for up to 20 million deaths during his terrible reign.
Like most communist dictators, Stalin is easily identified by his distinct mustache. It's not hard to see the striking resemblance that Mario and Stalin's facial hair have in common. The resemblance is uncanny, but is it truly just coincidence, or a deliberate homage? Mario's color palette certainly lends some credence to the theory.
14 Symbolism Of Castle Flags
The climax of every level in Super Mario Brothers has Mario tear down King Koopa's flag and replace it with his own. This seems innocuous enough, until you take a closer look at what is really going on with this switch. The green insignia on the flag Mario takes down appears to be the common symbol for peace. This reflects this the violent sentiment of revolutionary communists who encourage the working class to take arms against the ruling elite.
And even more incriminating than that, the flag that Mario installs atop King Koopa's castle bears what is clearly the red star of communism, an icon often used alongside the hammer and sickle. If Nintendo wasn't being obvious enough, this is the icing on the cake.
13 Metal Mario / Joseph "Man Of Steel" Stalin
Joesph Stalin was known by a handful of other names such as Uncle Joe, Kremlin Highlander, The Red Tsar, and perhaps most commonly, as the Man of Steel. This name comes from the meaning of Stalin itself: in its original Russian, Stalin literally means 'man of steel'. In fact, his real name from birth was originally 'Iosif Vissarionovich Dzhugashvili'. However, as an adult he chose to adopt the stage-name of Stalin, deeming his actual name to lack the necessary pizazz for a communist dictator.
In the Mario franchise, there is a variation of Mario called Metal Mario -- a Mario of Metal, if you will -- an indestructible version of the mortal man. It is highly likely that Metal Mario is a homage to Joseph 'Man of Steel' Stalin himself.
12 The "Mario" TV Show Soviet Dance
The Super Mario Brothers Super Show! was a much-loved TV series featuring the antics of Mario and Luigi. With a mesh of animated and live action sequences, the Super Mario Brothers Super Show! was a spectacular display of theater to dazzle the senses. Of particular note is a strange dance performed in each episode called 'The Mario'.
'The Mario' dance involves swinging rigid arms from side to side while singing along to the show's theme. This side-by-side comparison of archival Soviet footage reveals that 'The Mario' takes direct inspiration from classic military dances in the Soviet army. Clearly the Super Mario Brothers Super Show! is really a Soviet tactic to indoctrinate innocent, American kids by dancing to the beat of the communist drum.
11 Siberian Mushrooms
The power-up mushrooms that are so common is Mario's games have a distinct appearance, quite unlike most mushrooms in the real world. So where does the inspiration for this particular look come from? The mushrooms featured in the Super Mario Brothers franchise are based on a real-life species called amanita muscaria.
The amanita muscaria has the same red bulb, white spots, and a beige stem. This mushroom grows in temperate regions in the Northern Hemisphere -- and most commonly, in the plains of Siberia. The amanita muscaria was once used by the indigenous people of Siberia for psychedelic rituals, and could well be another nod to motherland Russia, the spiritual home of communist revolution.
10 Mario Bros' Unusual Color Palette
Close your eyes and picture Mario for a moment. No doubt the most prominent feature of Mario's appearance is the first thing that comes to mind: his bright red hat and overalls. The official story goes that Mario's red garb was chosen to contrast against the sky-blue backgrounds of the early NES games. This flimsy excuse would almost hold up, however as any color wheel clearly shows, the logical choice to contrast blue would obviously be orange, not red.
Orange -- by the way -- has a far more generous range on the original NES color palette, and yet is hardly used at all compared to Mario's signature red. So why this particular stylistic choice? Why so much red? Consider what else is known to use red as its signature color. That's right -- the Red Menace -- communism.
9 Mario's Soviet Style Hat
First of all, does a plumber really need a hat at all? Why the surplus piece of uniform? What's he got hidden under there? And why does he need to keep the sun out of his eyes when he spends so much time underground? These are all pertinent questions regarding the unusual cap atop Mario's traitorous head.
The shape is oddly alike to a Soviet military cap, even details like the round insignia featured in the middle of the band. Again, an unusually specific fashion choice for a plumber. The visual similarities between Soviet era figures and Mario are so numerous, and with every piece of evidence compiled, the many inspirations taken from communist iconography are all too damning.
8 Wario: Symbolic Capitalist?
Even Wario's own games are all about collecting treasure and accumulating personal property, unlike the altruistic Mario, who 'apparently' only cares about rescuing a kidnapped princess. Wario is painted as a misguided, oafish character whose self-interest is the ultimate cause of his own demise -- the same caricature of capitalists made by Soviets in the early 20th century.
7 Mario's Proletariat Slant
The recurring premise of the Mario franchise is one simple man's quest to save an abducted princess. It's the story of an average, working-class guy who goes on to achieve an incredible feat against all odds. Mario's profession as a plumber is not a random choice by any means. As a plumber, Mario is made out to be a relatable dude who must have only the best intentions.
This is really a cheap ploy to make an everyday plumber -- a classic 'proletariat' profession -- appear as the ultimate hero. Precisely the same message used by proponents of communism, who urged working class people to rise up against the bourgeois elite and take control. Ergo, Mario's quest is clearly symbolic of the classic proletariat struggle.
6 Significance Of The Hammer
Mario's signature weapon in most of his games is a large hammer which he uses to brutalize any foe who stands in his way. A hammer is an unlikely tool for a plumber when you think about it. There should really be no hammering involved in standard plumbing work. So why elect for a hammer over a wrench, or a plunger, or any other regular plumbing instrument?
Because the hammer has significant meaning in communist imagery as part of the 'hammer and sickle' insignia. Both are tools used by the proletariat working class and represent the hard labor of the common man. Yet another way in which Mario is falsely illustrated as a champion of the people.
5 Anti-Monarchy Sentiment
The Russian Revolution famously dethroned Tsar Nicholas II, and paved the way for communism's reign in Russia. Communists have a bloody history of anti-monarchism -- no ruling elite class means no room for royalty. In Super Mario Brothers the villain who kidnaps Mario's girlfriend-to-be is Bowser -- also known as King Koopa, the rightful head of state in the Mushroom Kingdom.
Much like the Russian Revolution of the 20th century, Mario's own quest is to overthrow a king. Each stage of Super Mario Brothers ends with Mario invading the castle home of King Koopa to cast him into lava where he meets a fiery death. Once again the parallels make an incriminating case against our supposedly heroic plumber.
4 Frankfurt School Media Infiltration
The philosophy created by the Frankfurt School famously outlines a step-by-step plan to convert the whole world to a single communist state. Part of this plan is the advancement of 'Cultural Marxism': that is, the concept that commie ideals should be planted in mass media to infiltrate the minds of freedom-loving capitalists. The video game industry is a multi-billion dollar business which has enormous reach in Western nations.
Could Mario have bent the knee to those seeking total global control? Is it possible that the globalist elite is pulling the strings, and Mario is their 8-bit puppet? How far does this devious conspiracy reach? Why is Toad so short? Could his growth be stunted from Chernobyl-type radiation?
3 20th Century Communism In Japan
To consider where communist influences in Mario's design might have come from, it's important to understand the context of his origins in Japan. Mario was first imagined by Nintendo in the very late 70s / early 80s. At this time the communist party still had strong popularity as a third-party option in Japan's elections, and consistently through the late 20th century.
It's certainly possible that Mario was created to appeal to a fringe audience. This was a time when video games were a niche hobby, and that same demographic may well have also had niche politics. Imagine, if you will, that just one designer on the Super Mario Brothers team has a subversive agenda. That one seed of political change can affect the entire creative process -- as they say, one bad apple can spoil the bunch.
2 Nintendo's Communist Sympathies
Nintendo is known for releasing games quite unlike their other console-based counterparts. In this generation of games, the divide between Xbox, PlayStation, and Nintendo games is more significant than ever. So why make such a distinct choice in the titles released on their platform?
Consider some of Nintendo's other original titles. Pikmin: a game where the individual is considered insignificant among the collective. Kirby: a gender-neutral, body-positive character who absorbs enemies to grow their own mass. And let's not forget the infamous Wii: a console whose very name invokes ideas of cooperation and working for 'the greater good'. It's easy to see where Mario's treacherous sympathies come from.
1 Mario's Illuminati Ties *CONFIRMED*
What is Mario? A plumber. But deeper than that, what is Mario made of? The answer may not be so obvious -- Mario is made of what are known as polygons. Thousands of them. Polygons are the flat shapes which make up a three-dimensional model used in computer animation. And what form do the majority of these so-called polygons take? Triangles. And what else is known as a triangle? That's right -- the Illuminati.
The all-powerful subversive council whose invisible hand guides the world's politics and shapes our culture. Throwing thousands upon thousands of triangles in our face every day, broadcasting Mario directly into homes across the globe, the answer couldn't possibly be more obvious. It's time to save game, unplug, and wake up to what Mario really is.