dark-side-of-mario

Let’s do a quick re-cap of everything we know: Once upon a time, there was a scientist by the name of Elvin Gadd, who loved his girlfriend Pauline very much. One day, a fully grown adult gorilla that Elvin had been (probably) experimenting on flipped the f*** out. It kidnapped Pauline, climbed to the top of a construction site, and started flinging shit at his former warden. Elvin eventually rescued Pauline from this ordeal, though the respite was brief as the fallen Donkey Kong rose up from his repose, and (probably) tore Pauline to pieces. Elvin, losing his god-damned mind, forsook his reality and (somehow) traveled to the Koopa Kingdom, dragging with him Donkey Kong and the remains of his girlfriend.

Spending aimless years tinkering with cybernetics, preserving life after death, making monkeys talk (and inadvertently creating a lineage of violence and totalitarianism in the process) and cloning, he eventually wanted for an heir. I mean come on, he wasn’t getting any younger; so, using what he already knew, he created a clone of himself in the form of Mario. In his insanity, however, “parenthood” equates to “throwing your unholy offspring to the wilds.” Mario was sent out into the world with his half-human-ish-half-cyborg twin brother (they count as twins if they were both “created” at the same time, using the same DNA) almost immediately after birth.
 
dark-side-of-mario

BEHOLD! THE HARBINGERS OF THE END!

However, the increasing number of clones and the activity of Gadd’s dissemination of said clones into various parts of the Koopa Kingdom weren’t going unnoticed. Kamek, already attempting to usurp the throne himself, alerted the Koopa monarchy to the growing threat. This sparked a small-scale conflict between the Koopa Army, led by Kamek, and this burgeoning “Mushroom Kingdom,” led by an infant Mario and the Yoshi(s?). The Koopa Army was continuously beaten back until Mario reached adulthood, whereupon he embarked on the mission that ended with him smashing the Koopa monarchy. With the Koopa Kingdom consisting of a leaderless army and a single, (probably) autist heir to the throne, it was ripe for Kamek’s taking though the sweetness had been taken from the victory. He still had a bone to pick with Gadd and wasn’t going to stop until he picked it.

Bowser, seeing the true villain in Mario, leads a concerted effort to effectively remove Mario from time itself and for his efforts is caught in an ever collapsing time-space anomaly called the “Time Oops.” This Time Oops is (probably) spitting out various copies and versions of Bowser, depositing them randomly into the Mario timeline. These Time Oops Bowsers are then being abused by Kamek in life, with one being kept for appearances and the rest used as cannon fodder. They’re then tortured in death by Gadd after they’ve died and filtered into King Bowser Boo. Gadd has been collecting the “spirits” of the dead in the form of Boos for years, researching them and the link between life and death so that he can bridge the two and live forever.

And if you think all of that sounds crazy, well buddy, just you wait….
 
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The ending of Super Mario Bros. 2 showed that the entire thing was actually Mario’s dream and in the end he wakes up, realising that he’s actually safe and sound in his bed. The interesting thing to note about SMB2 is that it’s the first appearance of the Shyguys (and also Birdo). Shyguys actually exist in the Mario universe meaning that Mario was just dreaming about them (… and also Birdo?) That’s not really that weird, we dream about stuff that we see in the real world all the time, it’s a fairly common phenomena, but you know what is weird? Shyguys also appear as an enemy in a Zelda game, just one: “Link’s Awakening.” That game also took place in a dream: Link’s dream. Except the world of Hyrule isn’t even in the same universe as the Mushroom planet, and Shyguys don’t exist there at all.
 
dark-side-of-mario

DUN-DUN..

It’s probably a coincidence, right? Developers throw references to other games they’ve been involved with, or even just games they like, all the time and it’s not like they were a major enemy in the game. I mean, what would the implications of that even be? That there’s some kind of shared universe that the consciousness of all Nintendo characters go to when they sleep, and that aspects of their lives can be carried with them and left there for others to find? That’s crazy talk that’s so crazy, it’s not like there’s an officially licensed Nintendo world that takes place entirely in a kind of “Dream Land.” And it’s not like this “Dream Land” is guarded by a character who gets up to all kinds of physics and nature defying adventures.
 
dark-side-of-mario

DUN-DUN..

Okay, okay, there might be a somewhat tenuous connection, but what of it? Mario only had a dream, it’s not like he’s aware of its possible existence, he’s too busy stomping around the Mushroom kingdom to have taken any notice. It’s not as though he routinely travels to other parts of the planet and universe, forging diplomacies and crushing foreign forces. And on these travels, he isn’t looking for powerful allies to join him or powerful weapons to bolster his own armies. So if he just happened to finally find a people who possess the ability to open a backdoor into Dream Land for him? Well, that would just be an incredible coincidence born from no particular agenda at all whatsoever.
 
dark-side-of-mario

DUN-DUN!

Alright, so maybe there’s a shared subconsciousness in Dream Land that all Nintendo characters consciousness’ slip into when they sleep. And maybe Mario is aware of it and has been, for decades, desperately and brutally searching for a way into it regardless of who he has to go through. To what end could he possibly be doing this?
 
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Why, total domination of course! See, when most people are thrown into a fantastical dream world their initial response would probably be to play out their most desired fantasies. Mario already does that all day long, kinda, so when he “woke up” in Dream Land at the beginning of SMB2, he did what just came naturally and began brutally murdering everything in sight. He worked his way up to the top of that clouded tower, tore their leader asunder, and it was easy. Like, on the grand Mario scale, SMB2 wasn’t really that hard, let’s be honest. So what’s so different about SMB2 then, if all Nintendo characters always go to the dream world together and those occasions weren’t remembered? Well, for starters, Peach, Toad and Luigi being able to remember the campaign of violence waged in Subcon exactly as Mario did might have been a tip-off.
 
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Even in his dreams he can’t help but violently overthrow empires.

The exact moment that Mario learned of the other Nintendo universes is uncertain; I could track down exactly which game he first appeared in outside of his own franchise. However, there’s no way to tell if that was his first foray into the other dimensions. If Super Smash Bros Brawl is anything to go by then timelines probably even shouldn’t be considered. (Which it should be, since it was the first of the series to feature an actual, proper story line that isn’t referred to as being some kid’s imagination. Or whatever fan fiction out there is currently saying.) Ganondorf was in there, as were a few different versions of Link. Mr. Game & Watch was even in there, I mean, come on – his time would have been long since passed if timelines weren’t supposed to run concurrently. Some kids playing the game might not have even known who he was originally.

Brawl is worth mentioning as well since the whole Smash Bros. Tournament was likely Mario’s doing in the first place. It has “Bros.” right in the name, I thought… it seemed fairly obvious. Mario, for his barbarism and blood thirst, is still an adept diplomat it seems. Aside from the ongoing conflict with the Koopa Kingdom, he’s kept the Mushroom planet in relative peace and predominantly allied with the Mushroom Kingdom. He’s even begun reaching out to his local solar system in recent years. It’s not exactly a stretch of the imagination to think that he might do the same with other dimensions when presented with the opportunity.
 
dark-side-of-mario

“I bet-a your people scream-a real good!”

What better way to engage other warriors, to learn about their strengths and weaknesses, than with a “friendly” fighting tournament? Each time it’s held it draws in new fighters, new information for Mario to gather, new worlds for him to learn of and eventually conquer. Kirby’s presence in the tournament certainly isn’t a coincidence, nor was Mario’s attack against him at the beginning of Brawl’s story. What would have likely been the beginning of a bloody campaign against Dream Land, starting with the grisly death of Kirby, was cut short by a tired and overused trope. A sneak attack from the teamed up villains gave Mario a much better option than simply cutting down his foes one by one.
 
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The events of the Subspace Emissary missions lead to the first real, tangible alliance between Mario and other Nintendo characters. Mario now had common ground with which to relate to these other warriors, and a common enemy to rally them against. He doesn’t truly care about their causes or their plights, the worlds they hail from or the peoples that inhabit them; to Mario, they are simply new additions to his ever bolstering garrison. He’s putting what he learned while conquering the Mushroom Planet to use in doing the same for the Nintendo multiverse. This still leaves the question: Why is Kamek still alive and the Koopa Kingdom not a smoldering crater in the crust of the planet?

Kamek is a powerful and cunning wizard, his exploits have been well detailed in this series, though still not as powerful as the combined force of Mario and Gadd. So why is it then, after all these years of failed skirmishes and troubled warfare, that he’s still alive? If nothing else, Mario would want revenge for being led like a dog after so many years of conditioning on Kamek’s part. In truth, Kamek never really stopped being a nanny, he just changed employer. The Koopa Army might be dumb and fairly useless, but that’s mostly due to how they’re managed and every army needs a front line. The Koopa Army is still obedient and in the right hands could be trained to be a formidable and effective fighting force.
 
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Eh…. kind of.

It’ll never happen under Kamek, but that’s okay: Mario only needs Kamek to keep being a nanny. Gadd obviously wants to keep Kamek around because the protracted stalemate between them only serves to feed his research, and Mario is happy to let this continue – but only until Gadd’s research is complete. Mario has been nothing but an obedient lap dog himself, as far as Gadd is concerned. He allows himself to be manipulated by Gadd’s every whim, even going as far as letting the crazy old coot tell him who to love. It’s all so, that, on that golden day when Gadd finally makes his breakthrough, he won’t suspect a thing as Mario slips into the room and fireballs the creep until not even ashes remain.

Then, it’s simply a matter of overthrowing Kamek, the “great oppressor” of the Koopa Kingdom, and, undoubtedly, the greatest evil that the Mushroom Planet has ever seen. (At least the way Mario tells it.) In doing so, he’ll have proven to his new allies that he has the power to crush his foes and restore “peace” once and for all. It’ll spark a revolution that will spread throughout the Nintendo multiverse like wildfire, with Mario leading the horrific, bloody charge. So, TDSO fans, just remember all of this the next time you’re playing Super Mario Bros. The next time you’re throwing down with some friends in Super Smash Bros. Whenever you see that cheery, moustachioed face flash across your screen, just think of the chilling connotations that ring through the hollow words: “It’s a me, Mario!”

 

Patrick Waring

Patrick Waring

Executive Editor at GameCloud
From Perth, Patrick has played video games from a young age and now has "opinions." When not fretting over whether using words like "fretting" is effeminate, he likes to write jokes about video games. Sometimes he goes outside, and other times he just sits at his PC, thinking way too hard about Nintendo games.
Patrick Waring

@PaddyJWaring

Executive Editor at @GameCloudWA, gamer, enjoyer of tinfoil hats! https://t.co/m0NvT0gs4M
@moomoomang As long as it's a day ending in "y," you're good to go. - 23 hours ago

DISCLAIMER: This article is a work of satire, parody and fiction. At no point was it my intention to assert that the things written in this article are true (unless, of course, it turns out that they are true. In which case, suck it, I was totally right). I don’t own the characters, or the concepts, and I’m sure I’m probably not the first to come to many of these conclusions. However, in saying that, stealing my words without asking would be kind of a dick thing to do. To the original owners of the discussed characters: please don’t sue me, I am not a rich man.

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