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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I always assumed smashing bricks freed the Toads, not killed them.
This is like finding out ghandi preffered his rice cold to hot, someone out there may find it amazing, but not i
lol he's a madman
Oh my... These are troubling times.
So Mario is a stone(brick) cold killer.... At least he's not Carlos Dangering the princess
The only thing stranger is the Japanese folklore that Pokémon is based off, such as the one who goes into children's rooms at night and eats their dreams or the one who drowns unsuspecting people in rivers.
Here I thought this whole time Koopa kidnapped the princess and took her back to his land (not mushroom kingdom).
Also that is a pretty good trick to get all those villagers jumping up at the same time in perfect form to change them into bricks for us to platform on. Maybe all those turtles and mushrooms without arms organized them with 3M strips after the stoning.
This is the long stretch between E3 and system release where we are stretching for stories. Wish I could drink on the job.
Eh, I think this is kind of a stretch. Just because they were turned into brinks doesn't mean that every brick in the world was once a Mushroom.
Yeah heard about this before...pretty weird stuff Nintendo..
This is funny.
It's funny that Nintendo has never mentioned this since and that this can only be found in the depths of the instruction manual.
I found a copy of Super Mario Bros. at Goodwill recently, complete with plastic sleeve AND the instruction book. It was ONE DOLLAR! Needless to say I was very excited, and I now proudly display it on my bookshelf.
That's really funny (and disturbing); I'm willing to bet that Miyamoto looks back at that now a days and wonders what he was thinking lol.
Nice article, Ben. This could have been a localization error or something like that, but either way, interesting stuff that's been lost to most in the time that's passed. Also reminds me of the original story for Donkey Kong...
This just makes me want to play it more...