For many fans of the Nintendo franchise, Mario is often seen as the good guy constantly working to save the day from villains like Bowser, King Boo, and Wario with or without his allies in the Mushroom Kingdom.
Yet a close analysis of Mario’s actions, backstory, and character reveal he’s far from the knight in shining armor many perceive him to be. In fact, there are a lot of questionable actions Mario has done that many fans often ignore.
10 Kills Yoshis Repeatedly
Mario owes a lot to the Yoshis after they rescued him as a baby from the evil Wizard Kamek in Super Mario World 2: Yoshi’s Island. They risked life and limb to return him to safety and as such Mario should be indebted to them.
But as it’s revealed in Super Mario World and later titles Mario sees these compassionate creatures as disposable objects, jumping off their backs and allowing them to plummet to their deaths so he can progress. Who knows how many he kills in the Super Mario Maker series.
9 Cheated On Princess Peach
Over the series of the games, Mario has had a number of different girlfriends and love interests making him something of a womanizer. This becomes especially apparent in Super Mario Land when Mario sets out to save Princess Daisy, who is considered by the fandom to be Luigi’s love interest.
While it is commendable Mario would save her, the romantic greeting between the two upon seeing each other and their subsequent ride off into the sunset is disturbing considering the broader story. Princess Daisy is supposed to be Luigi’s girlfriend and Mario was with Princess Peach in the games before and after this one. Unless they were on a break this can be considered an affair.
8 Slaughtered Thousands
When Bowser set out to conquer the Mushroom Kingdom in Super Mario Brothers he did so by turning all the residents into bricks and horsetails (Fire Flowers). Mario then comes along and smashes a large number of these bricks in his efforts to take down Bowser.
In times of war, there’s always going to be casualties and collateral damage, but Mario doesn’t seem at all phased by the people he destroys. There’s no telling how many people he slaughtered in an effort to find out which ones contained coins or to access secret areas.
7 Stole Wario’s Fortune
After being thwarted from stealing Mario’s island in Super Mario Land 2: 6 Golden Coins Wario tries a new approach to achieving power and wealth. In Wario Land: Super Mario Land 3 Wario hunts down the Brown Sugar Pirates to recover the treasure they’ve stolen over the years and use that to fund his empire. He’s specifically looking for Princess Peach’s statute to sell to Mario.
After reclaiming it however Mario comes along and steals it via helicopter. This suggests Mario was watching Wario’s every move waiting for an opportunity to swoop in and steal the treasure for himself. Sure it could be revenge, but it seems like Wario was turning into an Anti-Hero and Mario’s actions put him back on the path of villainy.
6 Possesses Other Beings
In Super Mario Odyssey Mario joins forces with a being named Cappy to rescue Princess Peach from Bowser. To accomplish this Cappy gives Mario the ability to possess other entities to temporarily gain access to their powers and abilities.
From the villains’ perspective, this has to be absolutely horrifying. Imagine seeing your comrade in arms suddenly become possessed and begin attacking those around them or imagine being the poor helpless soul unable to control their own body as it’s being forced to do things. It makes for fun gameplay, but it’s a horrifying concept to wrap your head around.
5 Cruel Circus Master
Released exclusively for the handheld Nintendo device Game & Watch, Donkey Kong Circus gives an inside look at the reason why Donkey Kong kidnapped Pauline in the arcade game Donkey Kong. It’s revealed that Mario is running an amateur circus of sorts and subjecting Donkey Kong to perform difficult tricks often risking incineration or the crack of his whip.
It’s obvious that unlike modern-day circuses Mario does not have Donkey Kong’s interests at heart and is subjecting him to cruelty and harsh conditions to make a buck. It was an early indicator of Mario’s cruelty to animals that led to the slaughter of dozens of Yoshis.
4 Masqueraded As A Doctor
In the classic puzzle game, Dr. Mario Mario takes on the role of a doctor trying to eradicate viruses that are supposedly plaguing his patients. To accomplish this he tosses numerous pills into a medicine bottle meant to eradicate the viruses.
The sheer amount of pills he proscribes is alarming even if he were a licensed medical professional and not simply masquerading as one. It sort of makes you wonder if he’s actually a carpenter, plumber, and a circus owner or if he’s just a fraud looking for a quick buck.
3 Bullies Luigi
There’s sibling rivalry, and then there’s the cruelty Mario unleashes upon his younger brother. Throughout the franchise, Luigi is constantly living in Mario’s shadow and Mario seems intent on one-upping his brother at any chance.
Whether it’s crushing his toes in Super Mario Tennis or leaving Luigi behind in Super Mario Brothers Wii Mario is constantly torturing and harassing his brother. It seems if Luigi is useful to Mario’s goals then they’re best buds, but when the conflict is over or it's peacetime in the Mushroom Kingdom then it’s back to putting down his younger sibling.
2 Bullied Wario
In the comics Mario vs. Wario it’s revealed in the 44th issue that Wario suffered bullying at the hands of Mario in their childhood. One specific incident was playing cowboys and rustlers thousands of times with Mario always taking the role of Sheriff and Wario being forced to be the no good rustler over and over again.
Mario supposedly apologizes and seemingly to bury the hatchet has them replay their old childhood game. But Mario immediately declares himself the sheriff and begins hitting Wario with his toy gun, enraging Wario once again.
1 Attacks Wigglers
While some fans could argue the other evil instances mentioned above were the result of necessary evils, sacrifices by Mario’s allies for the greater good or childish rivalries, how Mario treats Wigglers cannot be justified. These peaceful creatures will not attack Mario until he jumps on them in which case they become understandably enraged and seek vengeance.
In Super Mario 64 one Wiggler is furious after Mario destroys a pool which floods its house. Sure Mario was trying to get the Power Star from the Wiggler, but the Wiggler readily admits the Power Star is ruining its life and is glad to be rid of it. It seems like Mario could’ve just asked for it instead of wrecking the poor creature’s home.