8 reasons why Bowser always fails

Super Mario 3D Land has been well and truly inserted into my 3DS over the last week. It's been brilliant. Loved it. Tanooki Mario makes me so very happy. You should read Henry's review. But while I've been playing, it has occurred to me that unless Bowser changes his game plan, he's never going to get the better of Mario. He's never going to get to keep Princess Peach so she can make him cake or marry him or whatever it is that Bowser wants her for. He's always going to be the loser. And this is why. Here are the 8 reasons why Bowser always fails.

1. He always insists on lava

Yes, rivers of molten rock can bring out the evilness of an evil villain, but Bowser is a Koopa. Which is just a turtle with a different name. Turtles and fiery volcanic discharge do not go well together. Seriously. Bowser hasn't learnt his lesson since Super Mario Bros. That was over 25 years ago. He's still falling into his own lava. It's ridiculous. Insisting on lava is stupid enough. But insisting that he battles Mario while being in dangerously close proximity to lava (like on a rubbish bridge) is stretching the concept of a suicidally brainless turtle to its most asinine limits.  As a turtle, he might do better if he surrounded himself with some other element instead. Like, say, oh I don't know...water?

2. His traps aren't ambitious enough

Above: Get past that you little prick

Wow, Bowser, those slowly rotating flame spindle obstacles are totally going to stop Mario in his tracks. He's going to see them and he's going to know that he has met his match. He's going to turn around and go straight home to Luigi, crying all the way. He absolutely isn't just going to jump over them like they're not even there. No sir. Just a bit of advice, though, when the traps are at the design stage, you might want to think bigger. Aim for something that might actually be effective in the task of stopping Mario. Like an enormous and completely impassable wall of fire. Just a suggestion.

3. He's rubbish at kidnapping

Above: Here is Bowser about to kidnap Princess Peach again. Notice how he is not very inconspicuous

Maybe if the King of Koopas was a little more discrete and snatched away Princess Peach when nobody was around to witness the deed he'd have a better chance of getting away with it. But he seems to deliberately go out of his way to make sure Mario knows of his despicable doings. And once Mario knows of Bowser's despicable doings, it's only a matter of time before Bowser ends up in the lava. Again. Like an idiot.

4. He breathes the world's slowest fireballs

Above: Gee, Mario. Look out for that f-i-r-e-b-a-l-l. Oh, Bowser's dead already

The ability to breathe fireballs is unquestionably bad ass. But when said fireballs move only marginally faster than the running speed of an overweight Italian plumber, it's hardly worth burning the inside of your mouth for. Against Mario, Bowser's fireballs are just, well, a bit balls really.

5. He always hides Peach in the most obvious place in the entire Mushroom Kingdom

Above: This is the correct sort of place to hold someone captive

I'm no expert in the business of kidnapping, but I always presumed that the general idea was to hide your hostage in the last place anyone would ever think to look. Some place not altogether obvious. If you are the known perpetrator of the kidnapping and your name is Bowser, then holding the prisoner captive in a castle that is commonly known as Bowser's Castle is a stupid idea. As is putting her on a boat that has a huge Bowser head stuck to the bow and a big Bowser flag flying from the mast. Surely keeping Peach at the bottom of a disused warp pipe in some abandoned brick factory would be the logical choice.

6. His castles are designed by Mario sympathisers

It's the only explanation. Otherwise they would surely be furnished with floating Bowser blocks full of useful objects to facilitate the annihilation of Mario. Instead of it being, like, the other way round. Note to Bowser: remember to reference check the architects.

7. He has an army of useless minions

>>>NEWS FLASH FOR BOWSER! GOOMBAS ARE SHITE!<<< And if it's not Goombas being useless it's some other idiot minion ineffectually wandering back and forth along the same predetermined path like a sad polar bear at the zoo. They're just waiting for Mario to come along and put them out of their misery by jumping on their heads or some other conveniently vulnerable and completely unprotected area of their personage. Unless Bowser starts issuing suitable body armour and exploding hats to his troops, they'll continue to be as effectual as a turtle in lava. Oh.

8. He doesn't really want to win

It's the only explanation. I refuse to believe that anyone - even an overgrown video game turtle - can be so consistently inept at their chosen vocation. He's been doing the exact same stuff, falling for the exact same tricks, falling in his own lava over and over again for more than two decades. That doesn't happen by accident. Bowser has a problem. He's trapped in a negative behaviour pattern which manifests as this perpetual self-conditioning of failure.

I get the sense that there is much more to Bowser than we realise. That he is an incredibly complex Koopa with deep-rooted issues that could probably be traced back to an unhappy childhood. But I'm not a psychologist. All I see when I look at Bowser is a big stupid turtle that breathes slow fireballs, has a rubbish army, stands on rickety bridges above rivers of his own lava and occasionally enjoys sports with other citizens of the Mushroom Kingdom. He's gaming's most successful loser and he is destined  to fail many more times in the next 25 years. Silly turtle.


  • Money - November 19, 2011 10:33 a.m.

    I always thought he was a Dragon/Turtle hybrid
  • einhazard - November 18, 2011 8:40 p.m.

    He's also a terrible father. I mean, he's had like eight kids at this point, and only one is still around.
  • peachguy - November 18, 2011 2:59 p.m.

    Brilliant article, you guys are so fucking funny. I <3 GR
  • MrDuracraft - November 18, 2011 12:21 p.m.

    I've always had the theory that this is like The Legend of Zelda, and in each game it's a different Mario/Peach/Luigi/Bowser. I have no evidence past the fact Bowser never learns, but I'm sticking to it and none of your "truth" can stop me.
  • 510BrotherPanda - November 18, 2011 11:16 a.m.

    This is a well-written Bowser article, Matt! This goes well with that "Sexual Politics of the Mushroom Kingdom" article you guys did a while back.
  • Rave Monster - November 18, 2011 11 a.m.

    Great article, enjoyed it much
  • D0CCON - November 18, 2011 10:30 a.m.

    Not to mention he puts an axe/button next to the bridge that he is standing on that then drops him into lava.
  • comaqi - November 18, 2011 9:37 a.m.

    Things like this are why I don't go to IGN! Great job Matt
  • peachguy - November 18, 2011 2:58 p.m.

  • mothbanquet - November 19, 2011 6 a.m.

    Sentiment duly echoed.
  • SpiritZephyr2012 - November 18, 2011 8:30 a.m.

    A great read, great read.
  • ParanoidAndroid - November 18, 2011 8:28 a.m.

    I wonder what a Cundy-penned Mario game would be like... *commence mildly disturbing dream-sequence*
  • BaraChat - November 18, 2011 8:06 a.m.

    That's why GR is the best gaming website around. Good read, very funny!
  • codystovall - November 18, 2011 7:59 a.m.

    Well, if Bowser succeeded it would kind of insinuate that hes gonna rape her. Im not saying he hasnt before..... and that she hasnt liked it......maybe theyre in on it together and trolling Mario.
  • MeabhieD - November 18, 2011 9:40 a.m.

    That may be one of the greatest conspiracy theories of our age. :O
  • EnragedTortoise1 - November 19, 2011 7:32 a.m.

    In one of GR's classic articles, "The Sexual Politics of The Mushroom Kingdom", it was suggested that Peach is a total slut just playing both sides because she can. Bitch.
  • shawksta - November 18, 2011 7:48 a.m.

    That was fun to read Cundy, nice job! Despite his faults, I love the attitude bowser gains, it really shows in games like Galaxy 2 and Bowser's inside story which shows his personality despite his age. He's one of my favorite villains because of it.
  • rabidpotatochip - November 18, 2011 6:43 a.m.

    I shouldn't have read this article at work. I started laughing so hard people had to come check if I'd gone crazy.
  • ZhugeLiang - November 18, 2011 7:47 a.m.

    That happens to me with most Cundy articles on GamesRadar, mate :-p

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