Though many video game characters come equipped with crazy weapons or abilities, there has always been one enemy that most heroes succumb to, and that's time. Seeing your favorite athletes or celebrities age is weird because you see them transition to different phases in their personal and professional life. With video game characters we never really have the chance to experience what our favorite personalities would look, sound, and act like in their old age. Who would be the angry grandfather on the porch? Which female Nintendo character would turn into the lovable grandmother that bakes cookies and sweets? Mario and Link are strong and formidable in their current state, but would Old Link overcome Old Ganon? Could an ancient Bowser still capture a well-experienced and wise Zelda?
There are so many unanswered questions, but at least we can see what they look like. Through the power of very talented and curious artists, we get a glimpse at how time affects some of Nintendo's most iconic faces. We're skipping past their mid-life crisis and headed straight towards their forgetful yet retrospective natures. Father time is the ultimate end game boss and we still haven't figured out a way to defeat him yet. Life's endgame doesn't seem to have any cheat codes. Let's take a look at some of your favorite Nintendo characters in their old age.
27 Mario Has Been Through It All
As we get older we learn what skills stick with us despite our body and mind going through tremendous changes. What if Mario decided to replace one of his failing arms with a robotic one? Would it make his pursuit of justice in the Mushroom Kingdom easier?
It would certainly make him a lot more efficient when it came to dispatching enemies.
As Mario gets older his vertical jump will begin to diminish so he'll have to really on other tactics in order to make it through all of the monsters, traps, and surprises Bowser has in store for him. That is if Bowser doesn't have a drastic change of heart in his twilight years.
26 Waluigi the Wanderer
With Super Smash Bros. Ultimate releasing in 2018 fans are still demanding representation for Waluigi in a major way. With Nintendo confirmed to be picking the downloadable content characters for the game, it seems like all hope is lost. At the Game Awards Joker from Persona 5 was revealed as the first DLC character. This showcases that Nintendo's strategy is to use those slots as 3rd party marketing partnerships with big titles coming to the Nintendo Switch. It looks like Waluigi will be late into his 80's by the time Nintendo decides to put him in the Super Smash Bros. franchise as an actual fighter.
25 Joyful Bowser
Many people see Bowser as an evil overlord that wants nothing but to rule the Mushroom Kingdom with an iron fist. Nintendo has seemingly focused on trying to make him look more like a misunderstood bully as opposed to a true tyrant. It seems like he may just be a misunderstood guy who doesn't know how to properly project his feelings in the right way. As people grow older they tend to understand their shortcomings and work towards being better in their later years. Who's to say that Bowser doesn't become a jolly old fellow who simply wants to spend time with his grand-kids?
24 Adorably Old Pikachu
When it comes to the world of Pokémon, the topic of old age is rarely brought up. Fans never consider the possibility that many pokémon might have life expectancies similar to those of cats and dogs.
Pikachu is the face of the franchise and a beloved pal the world has fallen in love with.
What happens when Ash is retired and Pikachu is passed his prime? Though the above image is quite sad, it's also equal parts adorable. The idea of Pikachu wearing a small pair of glasses and using a cane is heartbreaking, yet cute as all heck. Here's hoping we see a plushie similar to this make its way to Pokémon stores across the world in the coming years.
23 Toad's Worth
Now, I know that the image above technically is Toadsworth and not Toad, I get it. Toadsworth is a great example of what we can expect Toad to look like when he's older. He may not have the facial hair, but we have to assume the coloration of the mushroom slowly turns from red to brown as the species ages. As long as Toad has existed people have argued whether or not the mushroom caps are hats or the heads of the toads and toadettes. If you are to believe in the coloration change with age, then they are most certainly the actual heads and not Mushroom Kingdom headpieces.
22 Link the Old Merchant
Link is known for adventuring and it seems unlikely that he'll be able to continue doing so as his knees start to ache and his back begins to arch. During his travels, Link tends to acquire tons of items, equipment, and potions.
It would be a smart career pivot for him to take on being a merchant.
Lore-wise it would be a cool passing of the torch for Link to be the one who aids the next Hero of Hyrule. He's known for not being much of a talker. The great thing with being a merchant is that you can list all of your prices on a board, no talking required.
21 Luigi The Lost
Luigi has always been known as the other Mario brother. He's lived in the gigantic shadow of his older brother as long as they've been roaming around the Mushroom Kingdom. Dedicating an entire year to the green high-jumper didn't do much to ascend him to new heights either. Luigi may be younger than Mario, but dealing with the stress of bailing out his older brother, and the amount of ghosts he's had to exterminate does not bode well for the second half of his life. Hopefully, Luigi's able to find true happiness away from his brother, or maybe through taking care of him when he gets up there in age.
20 Hunky Pit
Pit isn't necessarily old in this image by the traditional definition, but in comparison to what he normally looks like, this is many years older. Many people aren't clear on the rules when it comes to how slowly or quickly angels age, or if they age at all. The other question revolves around their ability to fly. Are Pit's bones hollow like that of a bird?
Since he is an angel, do they just defy the laws of physics?
Vampires have been a huge craze, but if all adult angels possess the physique of Pit, the CW may have a brand new hit on their hands. Time to write a script for a romantic drama centered around angels.
19 Kirby the Fading
Once again this is simply an image of a black and white Kirby, not necessarily an older version. Considering many animals have their hair, scales, et cetera lose color as they age it's not too far-flung of an idea that Kirby would do the same. Imagine stumbling across an old and wise Kirby that's completely white or maybe a grayish color. As he grew older he lost the vibrancy of his youth. He relied less on his physical abilities and more so on his knowledge, experience, and patience. Kirby has always seemed like the embodiment of childlike wonder and imagination. It would be hard to see him lack that.
18 Funky Luigi
This image of Luigi showcases the weird fascination many people have with the way the human body grows and shrinks in certain places as you grow older. Many people believe that your nose, ears, and feet grow your entire life.
This image clearly shows that Luigi's nose has grown and grown as he's put on the years.
The idea of shrinking and growing shorter is actually due to the bending of the spine, and the fact that a person's posture worsens as they get older. The type of cane you'd imagine Luigi with is an interesting question. Would it be flashy and green to match his aesthetic?
17 The Mario Elders
People like to talk about the Mario brothers as though they hate one another. I've always seen it as a normal rivalry between siblings and Luigi is the younger brother who has to deal with his older brother's phenomenal success. The cool thing with Luigi is that he's become a hero in his own right, whether that be fighting alongside his brother, or defeating ghosts in a weird mansion. They're not too far apart in age, but that slight gap where Mario's mind is fading while Luigi is still holding on sounds extremely saddening. The good thing with having a sibling close in age is hoping growing old gracefully with one another.
16 Ash & Misty
This is another entry where I'm technically cheating, but you're going to have to deal with it. Ash and Misty are considered one of the original fan pairings among childhood cartoon characters. Fans have dreamed for years about a movie that features a time jump where we would see an older Ash and Misty with kids of their own. What type of Pokémon would they gravitate to? Would Pikachu have kids as well? There is a ton of fan art surrounding this fan fiction people have been yearning for since the anime debuted in the late '90s. Here's to the dream of Professor Ketchum and Marine Biologist Misty.
15 Bowser The Somber
Earlier we talked about the optimistic and hopeful future for Bowser. One that showcases remorse and understanding in his later years. This image paints a more somber and reserved approach to his aging. It seems like this showcases Bowser as an older man who doesn't necessarily regret or want to apologize for the type of person he once was. He feels betrayed by the world, and possibly his own body and mind. This is the type of person who grows old with no family or friends around him. If that's the type of future Bowser ends up in it will be a very sad and lonely existence.
14 Link The Grey
Becoming a merchant when he ages is a possibility for Link, but it wouldn't be the most fulfilling. As long as Ganon breathes the hero of Hyrule will always feel burdened with the responsibility of protecting people.
Some of our favorite stories on television or cinema revolve around grizzled veterans who don't have any patience or mercy left within them.
An older Link would be wiser, but he'd have to use more of his intelligence and less of his nifty movement. Maybe he'd take on ranged combat a lot more and use environments to his advantage. Maybe he'd become more ninja or ranger, and less of a warrior.
13 Grandma Samus
There aren't enough older women in video games that kick butt. When you look around the industry the only older lady that's considered formidable and cool is Ana from Overwatch. The internet even went as far as to label her the coolest grandma in video games. Samus, though everyone didn't know it at the time, was one of the first female icons of gaming. Metroid and Super Metroid burst onto the scene and took over. An older Samus might be what we see in the upcoming Metroid Prime 4, but just how old will she be?
12 Pit The Young Adult
Once again, the rules surrounding the aging process of angels isn't really known. Pit may look like he's in his late 20's here, but who's to say he's not 135? According to many different mythologies, most gods and goddesses are either immortal or live to be hundreds of years old. If angels are the protectors of eternity, then it's a safe assumption to assume that they live forever, right? Whether Pit lives forever or not, it seems like the Kid Icarus franchise is on ice for the time being. Who knows, maybe the Nintendo Switch will also see the resurgence of everyone's least favorite Super Smash Bros. opponent, Pit.
11 Broken Luigi
When it comes to personality types it's pretty obvious that Mario is more of an extrovert, whereas Luigi tends to gravitate more towards introverted tendencies. Mario's extroverted personality is partially responsible for his willingness to put himself in danger in order to claim hero and protector acclaim.
Luigi on the other hand simply wants to help people who need it.
We all know he isn't the bravest person in the Mushroom Kingdom, but that didn't stop him from exploring a haunted mansion with his glorified vacuum. He may never be considered the true hero, but here's hoping Luigi looks back fondly on his own legacy.
10 Professor Gary Oak
Like most spoiled kids Gary Oak was a real jerk. Through his adventures, he comes to realize that the way he views pokémon doesn't necessarily lead to the best long-term results. He was in such a rush to prove himself to his grandpa and the rest of the world that he lost who he really was. Great storytelling would lead us to believe that Gary learns and grows as he ages into an adult. It's only fitting that he'd take over for his grandfather and help usher in a new generation of trainers, scientists, explorers, and researchers. Sometimes it takes a life lesson or two for somebody to realize their true potential.
9 Jacked Ness
If you look at anyone's childhood photos you'll see that their face tends to be the only thing that stayed with them through the years. Depending on the life choices someone makes their body could end up in a variety of states based on a number of factors. Some of these factors are based on dietary decisions whereas some are simply environmental or related to certain health issues or ailments. The idea of Ness turning into a jacked professional baseball player isn't too far-fetched of a notion. Whether or not those muscles are all natural or not is a discussion for another day, however.
8 Elder Yoshi
Pets are one of the oddest yet brilliant things humans decided to make a part of their lives. It helps to teach people unconditional love and provides comfort to those who experience various things related to loneliness. They also happen to teach people about death and the grieving process. As a kid, when your first pet dies, it's teaching you the harsh reality of death and how it's inevitable. Mario and Luigi know they'll probably outlive any Yoshi they have, but that doesn't mean they decide to not care for them, well Luigi at least. Mario used to let Yoshi go left and right if it meant he survived.
7 Bearded Wario
Wario has always played a weird role in the world of Mario. He's known as the direct opposite of Mario both physically and philosophically, but he's always seemed like more of a morally gray individual. Someone with their own franchise of games centered around a bunch of smaller hectic mini-games can't be bad, right? As Wario grows older would it be so much of a surprise if he tries to form a better relationship with Mario? It's not like Wario has any friends. You would assume that he and Waluigi would be working together on weird criminal plans, but it seems like those two are further apart than Mario and Luigi.
6 Crankiest Kong
Now, you may be thinking to yourself that I'm using a picture of Cranky Kong in place of an older Donkey Kong. I guess it's time to blow your mind when it comes to official Nintendo lore regarding the world of Donkey Kong. Nintendo has officially confirmed that Cranky Kong is actually the Donkey Kong featured in the original arcade game alongside Jumpman himself, Mario. Yes, you heard that correctly. That means that the current day character known as Donkey Kong is the grandson of the original barrel thrower. Some believe that Donkey Kong is actually the child featured in Donkey Kong Jr.
5 Hey You, Gross Pikachu!
Have you ever wondered what Pikachu would look like if he was the weird neighbor who ate too much fast food and gave up on life? This image shows an alternate reality where everyone's favorite yellow furry pal decided to take a different path in life.
He looks like the type of old guy who goes on and on about their high school days.
You know, the type that has a million stories about how much of an athlete and lady-killer they were in their youth. If you were the trainer of this guy he'd probably ask if he could borrow $20. If you end up helping him out though just don't expect to have him ever pay you back.
4 Ash Resentum
There's an assumption that Ash Ketchum would age into a pokémon professor and live his days of trainer retirement studying the creatures he loves. Everyone seems to deny the possibility that Ash could one day come to resent the younger generation that still gets to adventure while he has to deal with the responsibilities of being an adult. Ash could become the jaded old man who chases his glory days with each passing moment. It's more likely that he does age gracefully seeing as he's always been jolly and kind, but that doesn't mean he couldn't become a jerk of a grandfather. Gary and Ash changing as they age would come as a huge surprise.
3 Grizzled Link
This is an action shot of a familiar look we saw earlier. Link is one of those special characters that people love and would enjoy following along in his journeys at whatever age he happens to be at. We've seen people fall in love with the adventures of young Link, old Link, and many other versions. It's a no-brainer that a new entry in The Legend of Zelda franchise featuring an older grizzled Link would make fans across the globe lose their mind. The possibility of introducing substantial dialogue for the first time would be exciting as well considering the likes of Michael Ironside could voice the aging Hero of Hyrule.
2 Mario & Peach
Everyone knows what this piece of art is referencing. It's, of course, paying tribute to the most beautiful and saddest 15 minutes in animated movie history from the beginning of Pixar's UP. If you've seen the movie then you're familiar with the way events transpire which makes this piece quite sorrow. Many feel as though Peach means the world to Mario, probably due to the fact that he's willing to traverse any sort of danger in order to save her. Once she's gone, what does Mario have left to fight for? Even more interesting, what would Bowser do if his one consistent target is no longer around? Would Luigi have to become the primary hero of the Mushroom Kingdom?
1 Geezer Mario
Like the previous entry, this is also heavily inspired by Pixar's UP. It's a Mario take on the iconic grumpiness of Carl, the old man absent of happiness and looking to just live a quiet and contempt life.
He's a grumpy man who stays at home but obtains happens through adventuring.
Mario as an older man would have the opposite experience. As he ages, he'll realize that a lot of his physical abilities will deteriorate and he'll become less successful. Mario would transform from the hero of the Mushroom Kingdom to a man who's too old to fight. How will he handle his younger brother Luigi taking the reigns of the strongest and most capable Mario brother for a couple of years?