ClassicRadar: The sexual politics of the Mushroom Kingdom

This month marks the five-year anniversary of GamesRadar, and to celebrate, we’re bringing back some of our favorite features from the past. This one was originally posted in late 2008. Has any of this sordid nightmare changed with the advent of the new Mario games since? We really don't think so, but let us know your take in the comments section.

Just what in the hell is going on with Mario and Peach? It was so simple back in the old NES days of Super Mario Bros. She got herself kidnapped, he went after her with the help of Luigi, and all ended happily ever after. Or so we thought. The thing is that it didn't really. And it's become ever more clear over the years that their relationship has become messier, dirtier and more more manipulative. Far from the innocent damsel and hero set-up that appeared to be the case in 1985, the relationship between the two of them is now a complicated and twisted story of the user and the used, the ego and its victim, and the puppet-master and the slave.


And what's more, everyone in the Mushroom Kingdom is in on it. Every major inhabitant of said filthy den of fungus deceit has a role to play in the ever more cruel emotional car-wreck being perpetrated, and the shock-waves of that wreck get bigger with every single game. As new characters appear and develop and new stories branch out it's becoming more and more clear how many lies, affairs, and acts of hedonistic degradation are happening on the dark underbelly of the perpetually sunny Kingdom. Tired of the whole treacherous mess, we decided to blow the lid on it all, and we now present to you a character by character analysis of who's doing what with whome, who the victims of the fallout are, and who should damn well know better.


Princess Peach is unsurprisingly the insidious love spider at the centre of this whole web of deceit. She may maintain a regal facade, in in truth she's nothing more than a self-serving harlot with the morals of an alley cat on heat and no higher priority in life than the massaging of her own needy ego.

Let's look at the evidence shall we? She's been 'kidnapped' by Bowser a grand total of nine times so far, and that's just counting the core Mario games. Is castle security really that lame? You'd think after the first incident that the Mushroom Kingdom wouldn't be taking any chances with its monarch, but if Peach's story is to be believed (which is isn't) then the royal home is less secure than a sleep-deprived Woody Allen on a bad acid trip. No, we strongly suspect she's in on the whole sordid deal.


Getting herself intentionally kidnapped by Bowser? Whyever would she do such a thing, you might ask. Well put simply, Peach is a big old attention-whore, and the mis-guided sense of worth she gets from Bowser's actions coupled with Mario's endless willingness to come running whenever she calls gives the miserable, shallow-hearted bitch exactly the two-hit combo she needs to make herself feel good.

Why does she need the constant superficial reasurrance? Well until the Mario brothers turned up, she was the only human character in the whole kingdom. With no-one but bubble-headed fungus to relate to she must have got pretty lonely, and she now wildly latches on to any attention she gets, positive or negative, as a result. And now we come to think of it, how the hell can she be the Mushroom Princess if there's no Mushroom King or Queen above her in the royal hierachy? They may have died, got sick of her crap and left, or even sent her away to the land of 'shrooms as punishment for being a prissy wanker, but whatever the reason for their absence, a lack of parentage has probably only fuelled her needy attention-seeking.

Above: No-one knew it at the time, but Super Mario Bros' ending was a darkly prophetic metaphor

Though none of that justifies her behaviour, naturally. Her coping mechanisms have all the depth of a puddle on a hot day, and she's screwing people over left, right and centre as a result. Of course, the first kidnapping was probably genuine. Apparently in SMB1 Bowser went after her because she had the power to stop his magic. But everything since then has been for her own ends. Is it a coincidence that she actually got her shit together and helped out in the American version of SMB2, only to go into a submissive capture-frenzy once Mario went over to Sarasaland to rescue Daisy in Super Mario Land? We think not. She was jealous and she wanted his attention all for herself.

Dizzy wench.


What a poor, poor sap the red-clad plumber is. Peach has got him wrapped round her pinky finger and he just can't break away. He's a good guy under the spell of a bad woman, and what's happening to him is just tragic. He and Luigi turned up in the Mushroom Kingdom with the best of intentions, and finding it in turmoil, honourably set off to help. But Peach just loved having three men (Well, two men and a giant dino-turtle) pursuing her, and thus a dark, dirty little cycle of emotional abuse was born.


It's not Mario's fault, but he's not helping himself. A self-defeating need to please is at the core of his psychological make-up, possibly stemming from depression or anxiety issues (It's a textbook symptom), and the falsely simpering "Thank You" or half-arsed peck on the cheek he gets from Peach after putting himself through Hell to save her each time is more than enough emotional pay-off for him to convince himself she's still worth it.

In his mind, it means she really does love him after all, and that any day soon they'll be together. She's just busy and has a complicated life is all. Being royal takes up a lot of her time, and he doesn't want to push her when she's getting over the trauma of another kidnapping. And if you don't think she plays up those excuses to keep him hanging on, then you're looking at this from a very naive angle indeed. It's a horrible situation, and a classic example of the abuse cycle. He can probably see what's happening, but he chooses to ignore it because he doesn't want to. As messed up as it is, there's security in the status quo, and as long as the bait keeps dangling, he'll keep taking it.

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  • PatHan-bHai - March 1, 2013 11:07 a.m.

    u guys should join the CIA or the FBI :3
  • kianbung - April 9, 2011 3:28 p.m.

    Over the top? Looks legit to me. Peach has always come off as an attention whore to me.
  • lovinmyps3 - March 24, 2011 1:33 a.m.

    This is possibly my favorite GR article. A hilarious expose on the secrets of the Mushroom Kingdom.
  • GR_DavidHoughton - March 22, 2011 1:57 p.m.

    m1bayluv41510: Crap, Super Mario Bros. 2 being a dream! I totally forgot to factor that in. It's clearly Mario's subconcious painting a picture of the world he wishes for, where Peach is a useful and caring human being rather than a lazy emotional sponge. Good catch.
  • m1bayluv41510 - March 22, 2011 10:42 a.m.

    I always suspected something shady was up when she got snatched from dino island on a "vacation"(shes royalty LIFE IS a vacation..and dino island over the bahamas?). seriously shes been kidnapped so much that shes actually a honorary citizen of colombia, and wasn't SB2 just a dream? That would explain why peach was actually useful..also the toadstols are passive-agressive little bastards that should be shot on sight..
  • zzzonked - March 21, 2011 7:12 p.m.

    i remember how much i loved this article when it first came out, and i love it even more now. seriously dave, behind of mice and men this is the best thing i've ever read.
  • jackthemenace - March 21, 2011 4:50 p.m.

    I remember this! It was one of my favourite articles when it first came out, and i still loe it now. Classic Radar.
  • EnragedTortoise1 - March 21, 2011 2:02 p.m.

    ...and this is why GamesRadar is my most visited site, to this day. Luigi for-the-mother-futching-win.
  • wladodragovic - March 21, 2011 1:20 p.m.

    Push button A To select B world.
  • super0sonic - March 21, 2011 10:21 a.m.

    You guys tweeted about this about 4:00AM my time. So I am commenting. Also I read this back when it first posted. It's silly and I like it. Also gamesradar is pure ass to post on from iPod.
  • quincytheodore - March 21, 2011 6:37 a.m.

    Wow I never thought someone would write this elaborate take on Mario.. I have new-found albeit probably misguided respect..
  • SenorSlaughter - March 21, 2011 5:37 a.m.

    Can we please get a pt. 2 to this. What dose Rosalina play in this?
  • gamefreakl1996 - March 21, 2011 2:08 a.m.

    I love it when you over analyz stuff :D recaptcha:sousio Labor:
  • 8bitBaby - March 21, 2011 1:46 a.m.

    DRAAAAAAAAMAAAAAAAAAAAAAA! recaptcha : clarts power
  • FanofSaiyan - March 21, 2011 12:59 a.m.

    Where do Wario, Waluigi, the Koopa Clan (all 7 of them) and Rosalina fit into this? Maybe expand upon this inital article with more character bios? While you guys are at it why not explore the Sexual Politics of the Kingdom of Hyrule?
  • TyrannosaurusTexMex - March 21, 2011 12:41 a.m.

    I remember this article!
  • bobbybroccoli - March 21, 2011 12:09 a.m.

    Plus the toads were in New super marion bros wii going after the princess. Two years can really wreck an articles quality.
  • bobbybroccoli - March 21, 2011 12:06 a.m.

    Good flashback, but a bit out of date. Yoshi was in Super mario galaxy 2. so he might think better of poor mario now.
  • fernando90chazari - March 20, 2011 10:32 p.m.

    What if some one will remake "Fable"Story out from "Super Mario"??
  • philipshaw - March 20, 2011 9:48 p.m.

    Classic stuff