Mario is an inspirational hero to millions of gamers. At least, that’s what Nintendo would have you believe!
Secretly, Mario is just as much a villain as Bowser. You just have to know what to look for.
Here are a few of the reasons why Mario is secretly a bad guy, both in the games and in the real world.
1. Mario has an obvious drug problem
Mario is basically a walking advertisement for drugs. He eats mushrooms to get bigger, and he consumes flowers to shoot fireballs from his hands. And he chomps down leaves to become a furry icon raccoon man.
If video games really do influence young children, then Mario has likely convinced generations of children that drugs are the answer to all their problems (even if those problems are a giant invading turtle dictator).
2. Mario cheats on Princess Peach
If you ask someone who Mario’s love interest is, they will likely answer “Princess Peach.” After all, she has been in the majority of Mario games and is the iconic princess who was always “in another castle” in the original Super Mario Bros.
However, Mario secretly likes to get around. He was rescuing Daisy in the Super Mario Land games and even saving Pauline in the original Donkey Kong. It’s no wonder Mario discovered warp zones: because he was getting around so much!
3. Mario is an animal abuser
Yoshi is a beloved Mario character. He is basically a cross between a dog and a horse, helping to transport Mario across many exotic destinations. Unfortunately, Mario abuses Yoshi, and all of us helped him do it!
In Super Mario World, Yoshi can capture enemies with his tongue. When he does so, Mario moves his fist forward and Yoshi winces. Game developers Takashi Tekuza and Shigefuni Hino confirmed the unthinkable: Mario is hitting Yoshi every time! Someone call Peta.
4. Mario supports slavery
Mario’s animal abuse didn’t start with Yoshi. It actually started with Donkey Kong! In the first Kong game, Mario fights to save Pauline and kill Donkey Kong. And in Donkey Kong, Jr., we see Mario has actually enslaved Donkey Kong.
This didn’t seem as weird back in the ’80s. But thanks to games like Donkey Kong Country, we know that Donkey Kong is a thinking, feeling, and intelligent creature. Throwing him in a cage proves that Mario has no problem at all being a slaver! Still think Mario isn’t a bad guy?
5. Mario neglects his duties
If the Super Mario Bros. games are to be believed, Mario is the one thing standing between these kingdoms and utter chaos. You never know when Bowser is going to attack and threaten the lives of every living creature in the Mushroom Kingdom.
That’s what makes Mario’s weird moonlighting so dangerous. Over the years, fans have seen Mario as a tennis referee and a boxing referee. He’s also enjoyed golfing, pinball, and a whole lot of go-kart action. Sure, it’s fun to fire a red shell at someone, but it’s tough to avoid thinking about how many people Bowser’s minions are killing while Mario drives around.
6. Mario is a bad brother
Mario doesn’t fight the forces of Bowser on his own. Instead, he is joined by his brother and partner, Luigi. Too bad that Mario is constantly pushing his brother to the side!
First, there’s the naming problem. Despite Luigi’s constant presence, all of Mario’s mainstream games simply have “Mario” in the title—no mention of Luigi. This extends to the gameplay, too: in Super Mario World, some of the post-dungeon text after Luigi wins still thanks Mario for his triumph! Clearly, Mario can’t stand the thought of sharing the spotlight.
7. Mario is a bad plumber
Quick: go ask someone what Mario’s job is. Chances are they will say he’s a plumber. However, how do we know this?
Obviously, Mario tells us he is a plumber. But across the course of these games, we never see him do anything with pipes except to walk through them. This leaves only two possibilities, both of them bad: either Mario is not actually a plumber and has been lying to us for decades, or he’s a plumber who never actually does his job and just mooches off the princess.
8. Mario is a malpractitioner
Dr. Mario is a very iconic and fun game. It’s basically Tetris with a twist, as Mario throws differently-colored medicine tablets at animated virus creatures in hopes of destroying them. As fun as this game is, though, it’s actually the darkest part of Mario’s career.
First of all, we know that Mario has never gone to medical school. He is not “Dr.” Mario any more than Bowser is a Rhodes Scholar. This means that Mario is faking his medical credentials and just handing out random pills to anyone who wants to feel better. The man went from drug icon to drug dealer practically overnight!
9. Mario is a mercenary
Ever wonder why Mario keeps helping out the Mushroom Kingdom? You might think he’s doing it out of his love for Princess Peach, or possibly out of the goodness of his heart. The real answer, though, is much darker.
In Super Mario Bros. 3, we see Mario actually helping out a number of different kingdoms. He helps transform the kings back to their normal selves. In exchange, he receives special gifts at the end of each world. The conclusion is clear: Mario is a mercenary who is willing to kill countless Koopa Troopas if you are able to meet his price. Tell me Mario isn’t a bad guy now.
10. Mario forgets his friends
In the lesser-known sequel to Super Mario World, Yoshi’s Island, we discover a major revelation: Yoshi has known Mario since he was a baby. And Yoshi actually undergoes a major quest to rescue Mario and return him to his people before he can be killed by a Koopa sorcerer.
Despite this, Mario apparently has no memory of Yoshi when he encounters him in Super Mario World. So, not only does Mario forget his closest friends, he has no problem slapping them and riding them around in order to meet his goals!
Is Mario secretly a bad guy? Weigh in with a comment below! Then, check out other fan theories that make your favorite games horrifying.