The lights are on
Mario is lovable and squeaky clean, but the original mythology for Nintendo's mascot contains a murderous secret that is rather surprising. This is the original story of Super Mario Bros.
Back in 1985, the Mario that we know and love today was virtually non-existent. There was no Yoshi. There were no cat, bee, or raccoon suits. Mario didn't play golf or drive around in go-karts. And Luigi was a generic green color swap of Mario. All we knew about Mario was that he was on a mushroom-fueled quest to save a princess through a pipe-filled fantasy world. If you really wanted to know more about Mario's lore, you had to go digging, and if you did you might have discovered that Mario was willing to take drastic measures to accomplish his quest.
Nintendo's 8-bit system wasn't capable of rendering high-end visuals, so players could extrapolate on Nintendo's graphics and come up with their own version on what Mario's world really looked like. For all we knew, Mario's adventure was a dark epic more in line with fables like Beowulf or Saint George and the Dragon. Interestingly, Nintendo's own manual for the game seemed to support this darker tone.
The opening pages of Super Mario Bros. tells Nintendo's original setup for the game.
Notice how the Koopa's used their black magic to turn the people of the mushroom kingdom into stones, blocks, and plants? That's pretty dark (and strange) in itself. However, whats even crazier is that Mario spends the entire game smashing blocks in an effort to rescue the princess. The sacrifice of the many apparently outweighs the good of one woman. (The comment about Mario only maybe being the hero of this story is also interesting.)
Still, the story doesn't end here. Here's the most disturbing fact. At the end of the Super Mario Bros. instruction manual there was a section that featured some tips and tricks about the game.
Check out this particular tip.
During Super Mario Bros., Mario was freely murdering helpless Toads, and Nintendo was encouraging gamers to do so! It's probably not surprising that Nintendo hadn't revisited this origin story.
Have you discovered any strange facts or disturbing details about video game lore? Drop us a line, here, and maybe we'll feature it on the site.
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Where do the fireworks come from then?
Yeah I remember reading that in the manual. I just figured they were as good as dead anyway so when Mario broke the bricks he was setting their souls free from eternal bondage. After all, Toadstool clearly didn't have the power to change them back. The game just starts over with buzzy beetles everywhere.
What a good read.
Wow. This was great. Thanks to Virtual Console... I can play these classic games again!
anyone ever do the GUMBY slide on the original Super Mario Bros?
Very interesting. Good article.
this is craaaazy
last of us copied mario
Somewhere the creators of Mario laugh every time a block is smashed. They know not what they doooo! HAHAHA
How very interesting and a bit disturbing.
There are even those who claim Mario to be communist, lol. Who really knows? That's one of the many secrets of Nintendo's earlier years.
Haha setting the fireworks off was one of the first things i noticed how to do all you need are double digits on the timer.
"It's probably not surprising that Nintendo hadn't revisited this origin story."
For some reason, I now really want a Mario game to show the origins of the blocks. A re-imaging of Super Mario Bros with these darker undertones and story-plots needs to be done!
In the context you put it, it's like Mario is an awesome anti-hero who kills innocents if it means accomplishing his goals. He's almost like Kratos minus the revenge driven portion of the story.
Perhaps this is why there is the super shortcut to be able to spare the innocent and getting the lowest score possible takes on a whole new meaning