Mario Blocks are People

As a gamer, rarely will I look through an instruction booklet. So it’s fairly predictable, then, that I never paged through the instruction booklets as a little NES kid, and that was probably a good thing. Even now, I’m traumatized to learn that the Mushroom Kingdom is actually a pretty dark place.

As King Koopa invades the peaceful Mushroom Kingdom, he throws down his iron fist of supremacy not just by the simple act of invasion, but by turning all of its citizens into Brick Blocks. At the point of Mario’s debut in the Kingdom, a good amount of time has probably passed since none of the Toads seem to really care that Mario his punching through their loved ones, or maybe they’d just lost hope and desire to care — or perhaps fear of the pudgy, red overall wearing plumber.

Now, whether Mario knew of King Koopa’s evil transformations or not: Is Mario the real villain?

Unknowingly, I had my first taste of blood at the ripe age of 5. A household name that is synonymous with a wholesome and vibrant image — who feels threatened by an over-weight, mustachioed plumber in bright red overalls and an obsessive jumping habit? Yet all that could’ve been entirely rewritten for American parents and children had we all just read the instruction booklet.

Source: Sydlexia

Mario, on a quest to find a princess — who, let’s face it, is probably not even his girlfriend, and may just be kidnapper himself — leaps and bounds through trapped people, mutilated and morphed bodies, destroying what’s left of its native human, animal and vegetative life, invading castles and making demands for the whereabouts of the princess. At this point, I can’t tell if I should still love Mario or consider him a terrorist.

Not to mention his practice of cannibalism as the mushrooms, that weren’t fully transformed, attempt to escape from his hungry grip before he eats them away into eternity. The entire practice of cannibalism is to gain that person’s power through their flesh and soul, and become a stronger being with a longer as well as possible immortality. Zombies became folklore by just about the same means. Certain factions of people believed some would crave only the human flesh once they tasted its power. Did we ever see Mario eat a pizza? He’s said to love it, but did you ever see it in the game? But, I digress.

He’s fat from all the immortality.

Remember: Mario wasn’t Miyamoto‘s first sensation. Donkey Kong was the real top banana (pun intended) in the Nintendo universe before Mario’s solo gig. In the original Donkey Kong title, Mario is faced with rescuing the “princess” from Donkey Kong in a clear throwback to King Kong. As Donkey Kong peaked in popularity, Nintendo Entertainment switched between villain and hero in each sequel, noting that Donkey Kong himself is more recognized than Mario. In one such DK sequel, Donkey Kong Jr., Mario is given the role of evil zookeeper that has cruelly imprisoned DK.

By the time Miyamoto decided to play with a Mario solo concept, it was to try to capitalize on Donkey Kong’s success. You can even see Nintendo’s lack of care at the time of release in making Mario a hero, stating, “hero of the story (maybe)” in the original Super Mario Bros. instruction booklet [seen above]. Mario only became a hero because people put on their rose-colored glasses and decided he was — that and selling millions of copies didn’t hurt.


I don’t even know anymore, either, buddy.
Source: NY Daily News

Is it betrayal when Mario has been open and honest with me this entire time?  Was I just so blinded by my own denial to notice what was really happening?

Clearly this will take some soul-searching, but, just like those prison wives, I’ll probably go right back to those chubby Italian arms.

Cover image: Another Castle


Related Articles:

How Jeff Ryan Renewed My Love For Nintendo — Another Castle

Interview with Author Jeff Ryan — Another Castle

A History of Nintendo — Another Castle


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Categories: Video Game History


Founder, Editor-in-Chief at Another Castle | Twitter: @ComradeJen

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4 Comments on “Mario Blocks are People”

  1. 11/12/2013 at 2:28 PM #

    I remember when I read the Donkey Kong back story and found out Mario had been abusing DK… my childhood feels like such a lie when it comes to my (now former) favorite plumber! T_T

  2. Jen
    11/12/2013 at 5:47 PM #

    I know! Right in the childhood feels.

  3. Dog
    09/20/2014 at 3:11 PM #

    Is this the right manual? Because it isn’t anything like the one you quote from.

  4. 02/11/2015 at 8:58 PM #

    Mario Bros. (the instruction manual you’re providing) and Super Mario Bros. are actually two different games. Mario Bros. is an arcade, Donkey Kong style, whereas Super Mario Bros. is the platformer we all know and love now.

    Hope that helps.

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