ClassicRadar: The sexual politics of the Mushroom Kingdom

Who's sleeping with who, why Peach is a slut, and why Mario really needs more self-esteem

Bowser

As for the big guy, he's just loving this. And from a big evil bastard's perspective, why shouldn't he? His original plan to kidnap Peach twenty-three years ago has turned into the gift that keeps on giving. He just wanted control over the kingdom, but what he ended up with turned out to be far more satisfying.

He might not be sitting on a throne overtly ruling with an iron fist, but he's got absolute power in a way far more appealing to a vindictive lizardy git like himself. He's got Peach coming running to him like the secretly needy primadonna cheerleader runs to her gruff jock boyfriend for all kinds dubious 'approval'. A staged kidnapping attempt every couple of yearsallows him to secretly keep his dirty, claw-tipped fingers in all manner of pies without alerting suspicion, despite his bizarrely turning up at every kart race and party and acting like an old buddy. (What, you think after all that practice his schemes would still belegitimately failingtwo decades later? And you never wondered about the lack of animosity?) And most satisfying of all, he gets to see the perpetuallycock-blocked plumber come blindly charging in to 'save' Peach, and gets to watch him walk away actually thinking he's won. Every.Single. Time

Oh how Bowser laughs after the end credits roll, and it's all thanks toStockholm Syndrome. What a delightful little psychological disorder it is.

He might not be sitting on a throne overtly ruling with an iron fist, but he's got absolute power in a way far more appealing to a vindictive lizardy git like himself. He's got Peach coming running to him like the secretly needy primadonna cheerleader runs to her gruff jock boyfriend for all kinds dubious 'approval'. A staged kidnapping attempt every couple of yearsallows him to secretly keep his dirty, claw-tipped fingers in all manner of pies without alerting suspicion, despite his bizarrely turning up at every kart race and party and acting like an old buddy. (What, you think after all that practice his schemes would still belegitimately failingtwo decades later? And you never wondered about the lack of animosity?) And most satisfying of all, he gets to see the perpetuallycock-blocked plumber come blindly charging in to 'save' Peach, and gets to watch him walk away actually thinking he's won. Every.Single. Time

Oh how Bowser laughs after the end credits roll, and it's all thanks toStockholm Syndrome. What a delightful little psychological disorder it is.

Luigi

Let's get one thing straight. Luigi is far from the incompetent bumper pack of clumsy he's been portrayed as recently. In fact he's one of the most sharp and on-the-ball people in the Mushroom Kingdom. Things have changed a lot since he and his brother first set out to rescue Peach. Back in the good old days they were a team, going up against it all together and soundly kicking the collective arses of Bowser's finest as brothers. Oh those days. Those glorious, halcyon days. They could do anything back then, and the whole world was one big playground for them to share in victory.

Now however, he just sees Mario as a bit of a tit.

You see Luigi cottoned on tothe situationfar more swiftly than his brother did. For SMB1 and The Lost Levels he was in it just as deeply as Mario was (Though he did wonder about Peachafter she sent them back to the start to rescue her all over again after they clocked World 8-4), but after spending some quality time withthe princessin the US version of Super Mario Bros. 2 the cracks in her personality really began to show. When she got herself kidnapped again for SMB3 as a direct reaction to Mario's rescue of Daisy in SML, Luigi saw right throughit, and by Super Mario World he was, to use a technical term, sick of the ho's bullshit.

He knew that holiday for the three of them was a mistake. She wanted to go to Dinosaur Land? Yeah, nice one Peach, no potential danger there. Of course he didn't see the kidnap coming before they even got on the plane. No siree. But seeing how far Mario had been sucked in by that point he went along for the ride, probably hoping he could use theshared time on the inevitablemission to make his brother see sense. No such luck. Maybe it washer increased resolution or the wayshe flashed her expanded colour pallete at him, but whichever cheap trickPeach used to keep Mario interested, it worked, and he remained as devoted as ever. Shortly afterwards, Luigi reluctantly gave up and left Mario to it. He'd tried for years, but now Peach was hijacking his life as well as that of his sibling. Luigi walked away, and that's why he hasn't been playable in a core Mario game since Super Mario 64. He knows what she's up to and he just won't play up to it any more.

He knew that holiday for the three of them was a mistake. She wanted to go to Dinosaur Land? Yeah, nice one Peach, no potential danger there. Of course he didn't see the kidnap coming before they even got on the plane. No siree. But seeing how far Mario had been sucked in by that point he went along for the ride, probably hoping he could use theshared time on the inevitablemission to make his brother see sense. No such luck. Maybe it washer increased resolution or the wayshe flashed her expanded colour pallete at him, but whichever cheap trickPeach used to keep Mario interested, it worked, and he remained as devoted as ever. Shortly afterwards, Luigi reluctantly gave up and left Mario to it. He'd tried for years, but now Peach was hijacking his life as well as that of his sibling. Luigi walked away, and that's why he hasn't been playable in a core Mario game since Super Mario 64. He knows what she's up to and he just won't play up to it any more.


Above: Mario suddenly notices that Luigi is pointing at him and whispering "dickhead"

Yeah, he popped up in New Super Mario Bros., but only to quickly snatch a little quality time with his much-missed sibling in multiplayerwhile he wasn't being distracted by Peach. He still had a run around the main game, but he made sure to only turn up for that after the whole farcical quest was over so as to avoid getting pulled into it. And it was the same with Super Mario Galaxy. He even went as far as pretending to get lost and captured a few times to put people off asking him to help.

Luigi has perhaps lost more than anyone as a result of Peach's whorish ego-trip. We feel for the guy and we hope he's managing to move on.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Long-time GR+ writer Dave has been gaming with immense dedication ever since he failed dismally at some '80s arcade racer on a childhood day at the seaside (due to being too small to reach the controls without help). These days he's an enigmatic blend of beard-stroking narrative discussion and hard-hitting Psycho Crushers.
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