Why I Love: Kamek the Magikoopa

Bowser and Mario have been going through the motions of their feud for a good long time now, so perhaps it was inevitable that the lines between their two camps have gotten a bit blurry. Bowser’s kids race karts alongside Toad and Luigi, Bowser himself teams up with Mario from time to time, and Goombas and Parakoopas aren’t really all that fussed about toppling Princess Peach’s empire. Both sides have entered into comfortable frenemy status, with a lone exception: wizardly, bespectacled Kamek the Magikoopa. God bless his tiny, evil heart.

The minions of Team Bowser may be content to assist at the race track or, worse, help Mario rescue missing Toads (jeez, Lakitu!), but not Kamek. He still has his eyes on the prize. His job is to take that Mushroom Kingdom down, and he'll keep doing his best to achieve that goal, no matter what everyone else gets up to. His annoyance at his comrades’ lack of dedication is as endearing as it is fruitless. He’s the only one really dedicated to the cause, and he knows it, but still figures a united front is maybe just a good scolding away. Maybe if he just yells enough, the other koopas will fall in line and get back to the business of being bad guys. Maybe with the right chiding, Burt the Bashful will finally focus enough to beat Yoshi… DAMMIT, BURT! WE TALKED ABOUT THIS!

Kamek is that one guy who is going to stick to the plan regardless of whether or not that plan is still practical. He has one job to do, and by god, he’s going to do it the best he can. He’d be scary if he wasn’t also a complete screw-up, which of course he is. None of his plans actually work, because as devoted as he is to The Cause, he’s not a very good wizard. Or, more accurately, he’s a good wizard but a terrible tactician. His plans all fall apart, and he just gets more and more irritated. He quite literally flies into a snit. It’s adorable.

You have to admire someone staying so true to themselves in the face of so much opposition. His own leader doesn’t seem to care all that much about taking down Mario and company, but that doesn’t stop Kamek. Nope. The world may be going to hell in a handbasket around him, but he knows his role, and he’s going to play it. Is it very likely that he’ll actually defeat Mario all by himself? Of course not. Does that matter? Of course not! It’s the trying that matters, the effort. Nobody’s ever going to be able to accuse Kamek of not giving 100%, no sir!

See, I don’t think Kamek really cares about Mario one way or the other. He just feels strongly about rules and order, which is why he’s in a perpetual state of annoyance. Bowser’s army may be diverse, but no-one would ever accuse them of being particularly well organized, and it drives Kamek nuts. He’s not so much evil as he is…officious. Fussy. He’s C3P0 if he’d worked for the Empire instead of the Rebellion. And I love him for it.

Susan Arendt

Susan was once Managing Editor US at GamesRadar, but has since gone on to become a skilled freelance journalist, editor, producer, and content manager. She is now 1/3 of @Continuepod, 1/2 of @BeastiesLl, co-founder of @TakeThisOrg, and Apex Editor, Fluid Group.