Mushroom Kingdom is not exactly a happy place, despite what Nintendo would want you to think. It also turns out that Mario is nothing short of a few secrets himself. Whether it is his rather strange introduction to the world of video games, or some of the horrific and surprising activities, Mario seems like he belongs in contention for possibly one of the darkest video game characters to ever hit mainstream audiences. Seriously.
Most gamers associate the famous plumber with childish games and family-oriented fun that Nintendo is well-known for, but these might little-known facts can change the perception of how fans have viewed their flagship mascot. In fact, even the most hardcore Nintendo fanatics will no doubt be surprised at the degree of horror that Mario is responsible for. These tidbits about Mario also reveal a different side of his character and world that could widen the scope of enjoyment for many players that want to know the ins and outs of their favorite video game characters.
Either way, there is no denying the impact of the popularity of Super Mario and just how important he has been to pop culture since his arrival to the Nintendo Entertainment System in 1987. Seeing as he has been the star of one of the biggest video game companies in the history of the medium, it is only fitting that he be the subject of a couple of rather scandalous secrets that will shock those that know.
15 Mario Is Not Even His Original Name
The name that is etched in the minds of 1980s and 1990s kids all throughout and still heard in GameStops all around the world is actually a rework. It all started when he was just a simple carpenter that was the main protagonist of Donkey Kong, and original artwork dubbed the stubby, mustached man simply “Jumpman.” Obviously, this was before they realized the impact of the character that Jumpman would achieve under the much more refined name of Super Mario. However, one has to stop to think what a different dimension we could have had if Super Mario was just Super Jumpman. Would it be the Jumpman Bros. instead? Jumpman Party and Jumpman Kart just do not have the same ring as Mario Party and Mario Kart, and it is probably a good thing we do not live in that alternate reality.
14 He Once Made Luigi Overdose
The 1986 animated movie that was based on Super Mario Bros. is a strange one, to say the least. Not only does it feature some weird animation, but it has some of our favorite Mushroom Kingdom characters doing some pretty wild things that are almost completely out of character. The most notable was a very turbulent scene where a group of Goombas essentially dose Luigi with a lot of “bad mushrooms” that make him hallucinate as he cries and laughs. Mario foolishly believes that he needs more mushrooms to calm him down and actually makes Luigi go into a complete rage where he punches his own brother in the face. Who would have known that drug abuse is also a part of the Mario franchise?
13 Was Not Always A Good Guy
The saying goes “Everyone can change,” and it would appear as though as Super Mario is no stranger to this motto as a former villain himself. It seems shocking to think that the fan-favorite Mario could have once been a baddie but it is sadly true. Early incarnations of his character were depicted as trying to capture poor Donkey Kong. While there is not too much context to a lot of these images, it is clear that Donkey Kong is merely trying to escape while Mario has taken on some sort of hunter position with a net. It definitely does not help that Mario looks a little different. In fact, Mario actually looked quite different when he was first brought into the fray of video game culture.
12 His Hair Might Not Be Real
This next tidbit is wild and goes hand-in-hand with the last entry, and it is surely an unfortunate trait of our favorite block-breaker. Mario is bald and is clearly seen to have a receding hairline that was obviously designed there to make him look more villainous and less like an archetypal hero. However, he is more than a little bald, he is also much thinner and resembles Waluigi more closely than any other notable character in the Mushroom Kingdom. Keeping that in mind, it is clear that he put on a few pounds and got himself a hairpiece to change his life around. Good for him, as it seems to have worked given his global recognition and massive popularity.
11 Mario Used An Axe To Kill Bowser
Mario and Bowser have been set to face off for eternity as it seems, and it has honestly been one of the biggest rivalries in all of video games. For the most part, it seems like they have more of a Tom and Jerry scenario and merely continues to battle each other while knowing Mario will probably win every time. This was taken to the extreme in the first game coincidentally and was glossed over by many kids that play the game just because of how insignificant it appears. When Mario defeats Bowser, he does so by touching a small power-up that destroys the bridge underneath Bowser and sends him to a lava pit. That small power-up is actually an ax that Mario uses to cut the bridge. He did not actually swing at Bowser, but it was still a call for brutal measures we have yet to see yet.
10 Super Mario Bros. 2 Was All In His Head
Of course, many gamers that are in the know will have found out that Super Mario Bros. 2 was actually another game called Doki Doki Panic. It was only changed with sprites and the name when Nintendo wanted to release a sequel to the original Super Mario Bros. in North America but they did not have a complete game. They decided to retcon the story —in a vain attempted to explain the brand new characters and abilities— by explaining in the game manual this all took place in a world called the “Sub-Con.” This, of course, is short for the sub-conscious, where Mario dreams of everything that is occurring for the entirety of the game. This has also been used to describe the other non-canonical events like the sports titles and the Mario Party franchise.
9 He Is Haunted By Someone’s Wife
Takeshi Tezuka is one of the lead programmers on the initial installment and helped design the character of Boo, a round ghost that only moves when Mario’s back is turned. Turns out, this little creature is actually based on Tezuka’s wife. As the story goes, she was apparently very calm and gentle, but quickly became angry one night after he had spent too much time out working on the game. This factoid might not be exactly about Mario, but Boo seems to specifically haunt Mario and his pals and the ghosts do not seem to work directly underneath Bowser because of King Boo’s presence. This suggests that Boo might be an entity beyond in the spirit realm that is trying to capture his soul because of reasons unknown.
8 He Made Yoshi Eat Innocent Creatures
The Japanese versions of some of the Nintendo games were far too racy for a lot of North Americans to handle, and this next bit might come off as a bit of a trigger for animal lovers. During the course of Super Mario World, Mario is faced with a few loveable dolphins that are mainly just platforms and do not do any harm to the plumber. Yoshi cannot seem to be able to eat them, and most gamers will pass it off as a moral decision on the part of Yoshi seeing as he himself is a loveable creature that can be ridden. Darkly enough, Mario can make Yoshi eat the poor dolphins alive at his pleasure whenever he so chooses. Count animal abuse as another crime that Mario has committed.
7 When Did Mario Use A Gun?
Originally, before Miyamoto and company figured out that shooting fireballs from his fists was a cooler (and more family-friendly alternative), Mario was going to have a gun. It's not as surprising as it sounds, remember at the time most arcade games (and video games) had players shooting something to get a high school. It's to be expected that the developers at Nintendo would have experimented with the gameplay mechanic. Of course, the fire flower is now a staple of the series, and really makes Mario stand out from the massive crowd of shooters — lucky break, Nintendo. Now enjoy the spoils of your creativity.
6 Dropping To His Death… On Purpose?
Look closely onto the Nintendo Entertainment System cartridge that the original Super Mario Bros. was released on and you will see a seemingly innocent splash of classic Mario imagery. However, it seems quite barebones in comparison to the other releases that had colorful depictions of Mario doing all sorts of shenanigans in comic-book style fashion. Especially seeing as it was supposed to be the last, it seems like there had to be some intricate thought into the design of the cover, and it is true. See Mario is falling to a pit of lava, and while he is surely facing impending doom, the cover still looks playful. A lot of gamers consider the Super Mario franchise to be the original pinnacle of difficulty, and it was supposed to be that way all along.
5 He Single-Handedly Killed Video Game Movies
Back when video games were still becoming the massive industry juggernaut that it is today, Nintendo had a firm grasp on how to make some money and gain popularity by exposing their games as much as possible. This led to the first ever live-action film adaptation of a video game with the 1993 film Super Mario Bros. The film was a complete disaster, with miscommunications on set, budget cuts, and an apparent distaste from Miyamoto himself. Despite it having a fifty million dollar budget, they still failed to make their money back with the movie and it was panned by critics all throughout. Many game franchises that have existed over the years have always been skeptical to adapt their games to the big screen and Super Mario Bros. left an awful taste in both cinema and game fans for decades after.
4 The Number Of Mario Games Is Scary
Mario is a welcome face for many gamers and his franchise is universally beloved as one of the most important series of games to ever be released. That does not mean that the sheer number of games that Mario has been in is nothing short of disturbing. The actual number seems to skyrocket every other month or so, but Mario has been documented to have been in over two hundred video games over his illustrious career. This is not disturbing because of its nature, but to see the number of appearances he has made is just a complete testament to his power as a video game icon. It is almost like he has been overexposed, and we will eventually have enough Mario games to last us years of gameplay.
3 The Original Creator Might Have Been Inspired By "Substances"
Shigeru Miyamoto is the chief designer behind the original Super Mario Bros. and went on to foresee many of Mario’s adventures on Nintendo consoles to much fame and support. The Mushroom Kingdom itself holds a few dark secrets of its own (we will get to that) but it is the idea behind the power-ups and fantasy setting that really make an interesting fact. It is rumored and confirmed/denied with many conflicting reports that say Miyamoto was influenced by Alice in Wonderland. The film is a psychedelic animated film that centers on a normal girl being sent to a fantasy land ... that just so happens to resemble the effects of a hallucinogen. Needless to say, the Mushroom Kingdom bares some similarities. While the film does not directly mention these substances per se, characters that constantly drink and smoke seem to be the basis for the Nintendo’s flagship franchise.
2 He Is An Alien
Sure, Mario does not necessarily look like a human with his stubby stature and outrageously large nose (to go with his absurdly oversized hands and feet). Still, a lot of gamers will be quick to associate good ol’ Super Mario with our own homo-sapiens species, but that would make them wrong. Journalist Blake Harris did a piece uncovering a Nintendo guideline book for Super Mario and it detailed some of the details of the Mushroom Kingdom. This included (but was not limited to) the fact that Mario is actually considered a “homo-nintendonus,” which is humorous as it is slightly unsettling. Just knowing that they went as deep as to create a new species and seeing as it takes place in the Mushroom Kingdom that would make him an alien to our Goomba-free civilization.
1 Mario Is Savage
The original instruction manual for Super Mario Bros. has been up to a lot of debate between gamers whether it is still canon or not. Since we have yet to receive any clarity from Nintendo as to whether it still stands, one of the glaring details of the Mushroom Kingdom would make Mario have a lot of questions to answer to. The description of the world that Mario inhabits is that Bowser used black magic to turn all of the Mushroom Kingdom into inanimate objects like bushes, clouds, and even blocks. This would make it so that Mario knowingly murders helpless, trapped Mushroom Kingdom residents for a couple of coins. This mind-blowing discovery puts a brand new perspective on Mario and makes him look a whole lot less “Super” and a whole lot more creepy.