We distinctly remember the advent of the Pokémon franchise and the seemingly never-ending amount of absurd rumors about how to unlock “The PokéGods” in Red and Blue. There were countless rumors of that type for any number of video games, but Nintendo always seemed to have the lion’s share of them. Fast forward to the age of the internet, where such rumors are almost always disproven immediately with data mining and leaks. That said, there’s a new threat that focuses on disinformation, and it’s taken a strong hold on even the most respectable of Nintendo fans: the “fan theory” epidemic.
We’ve seen this kind of behavior before, with supremely edgy people trying to mutate childhood shows like the Rugrats into some dystopian vision of mental illness. They’ve targeted video games, too, most notably the family-friendly Nintendo. That said, not all fan theories are absurd or dark, and quite a few actually turn out to be right, much to the delight of those who created (or were fond of) them. Still, it’s our duty to discern what’s real and what’s false when it comes to widely-held fan theories, and we’re going to be doing exactly that.
To combat the virulent spread of false information, we’ve created a list of The 14 Fakest Nintendo Fan Theories Ever (And 10 That Are Completely Real), so you can know once and for all which one of your friends is lying, and then finally crown yourself the master of knowledge and shame them in front of their peers. Or something like that.
24 Fake: The Origin Of The Koopalings
For years, players assumed that the Koopalings, who made their debut in Super Mario Bros. 3, were the children of Bowser. Things got a little more complicated with the introduction of Bowser Jr., but the whole situation was easily rationalized into conformity.
Unfortunately, Nintendo had others plans.
It turns out that the Koopalings aren’t Bowser’s children at all, despite the fact that they’d even been referenced as such by Nintendo themselves. Now with their origins in limbo, this fan theory goes to the grave, despite the fact that it makes more sense than Nintendo’s own concepts.
23 Fake: Justin Bailey Was A Real Person
The first Metroid game, debuting on the NES, is one of the most arduous platformers on the system. Practically requiring players to create their own maps to proceed, the labyrinthine caverns spelled the doom of Samus many times over.
That all changed if players input the password “JUSTIN BAILEY,” however.
Giving you almost every upgrade (and a bathing suit), you could easily conquer Zebes. But who was Justin Bailey? Players theorized that it must have been a programmer, but it turns out the name’s effect as a password was due to the nature of the password system itself.
22 Fake: Mario's Last Name
Mario and Luigi are brothers, that’s for sure. But why are they called “the Mario Bros.?” Is Mario that much of a spotlight hog that he demanded his name have top billing?
Players had another theory: that Mario was the duo’s last name.
This fact was even corroborated in the infamous Super Mario Bros. movie. Unfortunately for fans of “Mario Mario” and “Luigi Mario,” Miyamoto has stated that the duo doesn’t have a last name. …Then again, that was in 2012, and apparently in 2015, he said that their last names were “Mario.”
Make up your mind, man!
21 True: The Hero's Shade Is Link
In The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess, players can come across a wraith-like figure known as “the Hero’s Shade,” who imparts his knowledge of sword combat onto Link. Players were quickly captivated by the deceased soldier and wondered about his true identity, with some going as far as to theorize that the Shade was a Link from the past.
According to the Hyrule Historia, they were right.
Despite some inconsistencies, it seems that the Hero’s Shade is the Link from Ocarina of Time and Majora’s Mask!
20 Fake: Donkey Kong Country Is Propaganda
When this theory first popped up, it was hard to tell if the theorists were joking around or if they were extremely serious.
Regardless of their intentions, there is no way that the Donkey Kong Country series is about a “banana republic.”
The theory goes that DKC is a reference to the “Banana Wars” of the late 19th century, which involved the American policing of Caribbean states, often intervening on behalf of the Chiquita Brands International, allowing it to gain domination of the banana trade. There’s much more to the connection, but it’s all absolute nonsense… despite some eerie coincidences.
19 Fake: Each Zelda Game Is A Separate Legend Or Retelling
When fans became confused about the plot progression of the various Zelda sequels, many started actively wondering whether or not there even was an overarching plot, or if almost every game was a retelling of a “Legend of Zelda.” That theory gained a ton of popularity, and it made a great amount of sense, allowing fans to accept each and every new game without concerning themselves with its placement in a timeline.
Nintendo blew the lid off that concept with the official introduction of a unified timeline, however.
While there’s still merit in the “legend” theory, it’s mostly been forgotten.
18 Fake: The Twin Snakes Is A VR Mission
Metal Gear Solid: The Twin Snakes is a remake of the groundbreaking PS1 classic, with the power of the Gamecube and Metal Gear Solid 2’s engine behind it. The remake was excellently done, even if it was a little easy due to the inclusion of first-person aiming, but the over-the-top action cutscenes left players divided.
In fact, many theorized that things were so crazy because the game was Raiden’s VR training.
That theory is baseless, however, as Hideo Kojima has stated that The Twin Snakes, and its craziness, was the way he had originally intended MGS to be.
17 True: Yoshi Is A Male And Reproduces By Himself
Yoshi was quick to become a beloved staple of Mario’s adventures after making his debut in the Super Nintendo classic, Super Mario World. Despite the fun his gameplay additions in Super Mario World and subsequent entries brought to the table, fans became increasingly confused as to whether Yoshi was a girl or a boy. And if he was a boy, what was with the eggs?
In the long run, it really doesn’t matter, but Nintendo did have an answer: Yoshi’s reproduce on their own.
The main Yoshi is a boy, but the eggs are due to the nature of the species.
16 Fake: M. Bison And Mario Are The Same Person
There is a surprisingly significant portion of the Street Fighter and Mario fanbases that believed Mario and the villainous M. Bison are the same person. The supposed “evidence” for this theory has to do with M. Bison’s stomping attacks, red attire, and iconic cap.
They also thought the “M” in “M. Bison” might stand for “Mario.”
While it’s a fun thought, the whole thing is nonsense, with the key evidence being that M. Bison’s name in Japan is “Balrog,” which was switched the boxer in order to avoid legal issues regarding the reference between “M. Bison” and “Mike Tyson.”
15 True: Shiver Star Is Earth
Kirby 64 is a delightful treat, and although it’s easy, it’s still a lot of fun… but there might some truly hardcore darkness beneath the cutesy surface. Fans have noticed that Shiver Star bears a striking resemblance to Earth, specifically due to the overabundance of cityscapes and technology.
Then there’s the fact that the planet’s model is clearly textured with Earth’s surface.
While Shiver Star being a post-nuclear-winter Earth has never been “confirmed” as a plot point, there’s no question that the planet itself is literally Earth due to its texture, so consider this confirmed in its own way.
14 Fake: Zebes Is The Mushroom Kingdom
A startling fan theory suggests that Planet Zebes is none other than Mario’s Mushroom Kingdom, just years into the far future. At first, the theory seems utterly ridiculous, but true believers are quick to point out the abundance of pipes, ravenous wildlife and lava pits.
Sure it’s fun to spitball about the possibilities, but there is no legitimate evidence to truly suggest a connection between the two locations, so it’s safe to consider this fan theory debunked, gone, and buried… for now.
13 True: The Existence Of The Zelda Timeline
We mentioned earlier that Zelda fans attempted to reconcile the many inconsistencies between sequels with the theory that each game was another legend or retelling of a legend.
That theory was shot down by a unified, official Zelda timeline, but the timeline itself was also the subject of its own theories.
First, fans had long-speculated that one existed, and they were proven correct. Second, they had also assumed that the time travel in Ocarina of Time fractured the timeline, and they were proven right once again. While the timeline is occasionally questionable, it’s still cool to see theories be confirmed.
12 Fake: Giygas Is A Baby, Kind Of
Earthbound for the SNES is hilarious, weird, and also surprisingly unsettling, but the game’s diehard fans have taken the “dark” element and made it so much worse.
Giygas, the game’s main antagonist, appears very similar to an ultrasound during the final battle.
Fans wondered if this meant players went back in time to get rid of the threat, but Shigesato Itoi has disproven the theory, offering the true (and equally-strange) inspiration for the malevolent being: the fear he experienced after mistakenly walking into an adult movie as a child, and the confusing, upsetting imagery he witnessed.
11 True: The Super Smash Bros. Games Are About Toys
This seems like a no-brainer, but fans still wondered about it ever since the first game in the Super Smash Bros. series. The debut title starts with Master Hand setting up toys to play with, and Melee starts with a child throwing a trophy, which transforms into a “real” character.
Despite the incredibly obvious and on-the-nose imagery, fans still debated about it until the late Satoru Iwata himself confirmed the theory.
Humorously, the entire toys-fighting-toys concept was cemented due to the issue that it might not be “okay for Nintendo characters to be hitting other Nintendo characters.”
10 Fake: F-Zero And Star Fox's Universes Are One And The Same
The F-Zero and Star Fox games appear to be vastly different on the surface, with one being a futuristic racer and the other being a space shooter, but there’s a surprising amount of cameos and references between the two. For example, F-Zero features a human James McCloud, along with G-Diffuser technology, while one ending in Star Fox Command shows Fox and Falco joining the “G-Zero” racing scene.
While these crossovers are neat, there’s no other concrete evidence to suggest that they take place in the same universe.
Sometimes fun cameos and references are just that.
9 True: People Eat Pokémon
Ever since the debut of Red and Blue, people have been utterly obsessed with the intricacies of the surprisingly mysterious and nebulous Pokémon world. One of the greatest questions has been what the people eat, since there seems to be an inconsistency regarding there being “real” animals, and what constitutes a “real” animal rather than a Pokémon.
We can answer one of those questions for sure: people definitely eat Pokémon.
This has been shown in the anime, but it’s also been referenced in dialogue from multiple games and a myriad of PokéDex entries.
8 Fake: The Wrecked Ship's Origins In Super Metroid
Super Metroid can be an eerie experience. As Samus, you explore a desolate planet on your own, facing off against dangerous fauna and solving the mysteries of the environment.
One of these mysteries is the origin of the “Wrecked Ship” location.
In Metroid: Zero Mission, you destroy a Space Pirate mothership, and this lead players to believe this was the Wrecked Ship from Super Metroid. This isn’t true: Yoshio Sakamoto has stated they are not the same location, despite the fact that they both use the same helper robots, as they are in different locations entirely.
7 True: Super Mario Bros. 3 Is A Play
Super Mario Bros. 3 is one of the greatest 2D platformers of all time, despite the fact that its events never happened. Featuring a curtain rising and falling, along with environmental elements looking like cardboard set pieces, players had long wondered if the game’s events were a stage play.
It turns out, they were right.
According to Miyamoto, all of Super Mario Bros. 3 is a performance.
Despite its status as mere entertainment for the denizens of the Mushroom Kingdom, we still have to commend the actor’s and set designers for such a stellar show.
6 Fake: Gary's Raticate Passed
Gary, Blue or whatever you decided to name your rival was a constant thorn in your side during the events of Red and Blue. While Gary had no real character development other than his “smell ya later” catchphrase, some fans dug a little deeper.
Was Gary mourning his Raticate at Pokemon Tower due to it passing away on the SS Anne?
The Raticate never appears again, leading some to believe that your battle sealed its fate, but this simply isn’t true. The obvious answer is that Gary simply switched out his Pokémon in later encounters, just like you.
5 True: Kaepora Gaebora Is Rauru
For the legendary classic that it is, Ocarina of Time is also home to some of the series’ most annoying characters, like Navi and Kaepora Gaebora. In regards to the overly-explanatory owl, Kaepora Gaebora, fans had speculated that he was much more than an obnoxious roadblock, and their theories were proven true.
Within the Hyrule Historia, it was confirmed that this annoying owl was actually Rauru attempting to guide Link.
In fact, if you ever take a moment to look at their art side by side, you can even see the visual similarities between the two.
4 Fake: Majora's Mask Is Purgatory
Majora’s Mask is weird and dark, and that made it fodder for “edgy” theories, like it being about the five stages of grief or taking place in some kind of purgatory.
We hate to break to all the creepypasta fans out there, but it’s best to throw those ridiculous notions.
According to Eiji Aonuma, Majora’s Mask isn’t some religious fever dream: it really did happen, and it wasn’t a representation of sitting in purgatory or any other kind of overly-analyzed rubbish.
3 True: Pokémon Takes Place In The Real World
When the theme song stated “we all live in a Pokémon world,” it wasn’t lying. While it’s clear that there are fundamental differences between the world that the Pokémon games take place in and our own, there is explicit evidence that our Earths are one and the same.
Lt. Surge is called a patriotic nickname and Mew’s DNA was found in South America.
These namedrops confirm that the countries in Pokémon aren’t just made-up fantasy locations. Couple that with the Kanto, Johto, and the other regions being dead-ringers for Japan, and we’ve got a serious case.
2 Fake: The Star Fox Team Are Amputees
Gamer edgelords always try to dirty up everything they touch in the name of “gritty” and “dark,” and Star Fox is no exception.
"See those metal boots the team is wearing? Those aren’t boots… those are their ROBOT LEGS, because their real ones were AMPUTATED due to the stress of G-FORCES in space."
While many seem to have bitten that bait hard, one of the main figures in the genesis of the series, Dylan Cuthbert, has completely shot down the theory, stating the boots look the way they do because they’re cool, and that’s it.
1 True: Mario Gets Rough With Yoshi
Sure, there were a ton of cool levels and crazy secrets in Super Mario World, but a star was both literally and figuratively born when Mario hatched Yoshi. But even back then, players would debate about whether or not Mario was punching the back of Yoshi’s head to make his tongue shoot out.
Would our beloved plumber do such an abusive thing?
Turns out the answer is yes. Judging by original design documents, Mario is unquestionably whacking the back of Yoshi’s head. It might seem surprising, but this is the same chap who giddily crushes sentient turtles and mushrooms.