Here we are TDSO fans, the beginning of the end: Take a moment to look back at how far we’ve come, everything we’ve discovered (no, seriously, you’ll probably need to); at the end of Kamek Pt2 we learned that just as Bowser is far from being the ruler of the Koopa Kingdom, so too is Mario of a similarly lofty, though not quite the loftiest, position in the Mushroom Kingdom. Kamek thought that he was all that, playing the Koopa family to shmooze his way onto the throne; but while Kamek was quietly manipulating the fate of a royal lineage, Gadd was giving mad science a rad name by altering the geo-political landscape, without meaning to.
The most significant accomplishment of Gadd’s, however, would be the creation of the most brutal, psychotic, and ambitious dictator in Nintendo history: Mario. There’s a lot that came before that, however, like how Mario even came to exist; if I were you, I’d be casting suspicious eyes at those “parents” in Yoshi’s Island because…
Here’s a question that no one seems to be asking: If Cranky Kong is the original Donkey Kong and Mario is supposed to be the same guy from the 1981 arcade game, how come Cranky is as old as the dickens while Mario still looks like a half-Aryan in his prime? I think you’ve got some ‘splainin’ to do here, Shiggy; Gorillas clearly live just as long as humans in this game, so why is there such a noticeable age gap? Why isn’t Mario zimmer-framing his way over to Goombas to yell at them, fiercely allowing his poor bladder control to overwhelm them? It’s because the Mario we know wasn’t the Mario from the 1981 Donkey Kong game, it was a different Mario, sometimes “Mr. Video”, sometimes “Jump Man”, who would later spawn the real Mario. Still following?
The short answer is that E. Gadd was the original Mario from Donkey Kong, and Mario is his unholy cloned off-spring (who came sometime after). The long answer starts with Gadd losing Pauline, and going quite, quite insane as a result. There’s a reason Pauline never shows up ever in any game after the original arcade DK: when Gadd threw Cranky from the top of the tower, he forgot to also restrain the beast. You can guess what happened and, since Gadd is alive and Pauline isn’t, one can only assume that he had to watch; there’s no evidence to suggest exactly how Cranky killed her, but Gadd’s level of insanity suggests “limb from limb”. Anger and grief make a bad mental cocktail, which explains why Gadd reacted by locking up Cranky and using him to taunt DK.
It turned out he actually was working his way up to humans.
This explains Gadd’s insanity; take into account also that Gadd and Cranky appear to be of similar age to one another, both because of their physical appearance and their relative levels of senility, and it begins to seem quite obvious that Gadd was the first “Mario”. In fact, he’s the only “human” character we’ve seen so far that could possibly be the Mario from “Donkey Kong”, even more than the Mario we know given the evidence. After all this you still have to ask the question: Why did he have Cranky in the first place? Well, Gadd’s a scientist first and foremost, so monkeys and science go together like monkeys and genetic engineering. Did you never wonder how Cranky and the other kongs could talk, when not every animal on the Mushroom Planet can?
That was all Gadd after releasing Cranky into the wild to sew the seeds that he had implanted (teehee, and also gross). Not literal seeds, of course, though a fitting metaphor for the purpose of Gadd’s genetic tampering: A successor. He was getting old and his girlfriend was gone, who knows if another human was even on this planet? Or in this dimension? His origins are sketchy, but it’s likely he actually did originate from some approximation of our Earth; He did say he was originally from Brooklyn, New York, a location on our planet, however, not one which has been revealed anywhere in the Mario-verse. As far as we know he’s stuck in this place, or at the very least he has no interst in going back, so without a single compatible female in sight what else is a lonely scientist to do?
Besides that. Gadd cloned Mario from himself and, much like all his other inventions and/or creations, he tossed the newly spawned ethical quandry out into the real world to study him. Mario wouldn’t have been his first successful clone, but likely would’ve been among the first that were fit for testing in the field. It’s not like Gadd sent him out entirely alone, of course, and I’m not just referring to baby/early prototype Luigi; In Yoshi’s Island DS, we can see a whole bunch of small children that are being kidnapped by Kamek (probably out of concern that Gadd’s numbers were swelling. Evil Concern. With Kidnapping.) Between the Yoshi and his apparent Stork private security firm, however, this wasn’t really a concern for Gadd; There was still an issue of appearances.
It was the long, violent wing of the secret avian police!
It might all seem pretty extreme, even for someone as crazy as Gadd, until you realise that Peach was cloned from Pauline (“Peachine”). Who else would have brought her into the world? That long line of Mushroom Kingdom monarchs, which is just constantly referred to in the games? There are no other humans besides Gadd, and no family line to have birthed her, which means that her claim to royalty couldn’t exactly be proven. She’s also only a Princess, not a Queen, with no husband as King and yet she’s ruling the kingdom anyway? With no next-in-line’s or heir? Who did she inherit it from, and what happened to them? The answer is that she isn’t the ruling monarch of the Mushroom Kingdom, nor was she ever.
It’s actually Mario who leads (if only because all others are too frightened to oppose), so with no other apparent “use” within the Gadd infrastructure, Peachine was probably just created to help curb Mario’s more physical needs. Ugh. Their subjects are all of equally dubious origins, as well; they all look exactly the same and not in that “Grandpa’s showing his age again” kind of “same”, I mean the kind of identical that can only come from creating literal copies. They are dumb as well, often getting themselves into easily avoidable situations where they would die without Mario’s help. They aren’t soldiers, either, which means that they are actually worse to have on your side than the Koopa Army. Kamek, by this point, was probably noticing something.
Which makes “Princess” something of a.. uh.. “pet name”, I suppose.
A rapidly growing pretend-kingdom that one might not want to draw attention to is an awful lot of responsibility to place on a still growing clone-child. That’s why Gadd also built Luigi, Mario’s cyborg “younger brother”; Mario has been genetically augmented to be incredibly powerful, but that doesn’t make him impervious. Luigi was built to learn and grow along-side Mario so that in the event of emergencies like “Mario Is Missing!”, either of the Luigi’s Mansion games, or if Kamek had pushed an earlier offensive prior to SMB, he could be activated and relied upon to rescue Mario. It’s not like the Toads could be relied upon to do anything if Mario were to be caught, Gadd had to create insurance and Luigi was his best option.
The how and why of Luigi can be explained later, however, because right now the more burning question is: Why would you create a kingdom like this? What is the point of all these Toads is they have seemingly no use?
The Toads didn’t just all appear at once, and the Mushroom Kingdom didn’t start as a Kingdom; if anything, it was more like the Mushroom Laboratory and its friend the small Mushroom Containment Cell. The Toads came into the world in the regular mad science way, against the very will of nature and through tremendously abhorrent trial error; this process meant that, even with the failed experiments which had to be… “disposed” of, Gadd was left with plenty of successful clones that were all just milling around, kicking at cold, sterile containment cell floor. So he put them to work expand the cell into a containment facility, wherein he performed much unethical testing on Toads, which eventually groaned with the population overload and was forced to become a “settlement”.
You have to understand that the Toads were the fore-runners to all others in Gadd’s foray into playing God, he would’ve been using them for every little tweak he wanted to tinker with and that requires a lot of “Donkeys”. (Get it, because… Donkey Kong’s a monkey, and… And science…) The reason there are so many these days, a population large enough to spread across an entire planet, so at least in the billions, is because the ones that came out the other end of Gadd’s experiments relatively unscathed would then go on to breed. Mario, with the help of Luigi, eventually found his way back to Gadd, was given Peachine, then he and his clone-bride lived blissfully in tyranny over their Kingdom of clones. What do you call a group of clones? A gaggle?
I think it’s a “Cuddle” of clones.
The problem that Gadd now faced is that he had created what looked very much like a Kingdom, whether he intended to or not, inside territory which belonged to the Kooopas. Any monarch who wants to maintain a shred of their subjects’ respect will absolutely f*** up anyone who even dares to try this, let alone pulls it off right under their nose; this is how the first Mushroom-Koopa War started. Gadd, not wanting to reveal Mario yet and feeling as though the Toad population could stand a little thinning, sent out the Toads to fight the oncoming Koopa forces. It was during this period of warfare that Gadd would discover the unexpected side-effects of consuming Toad flesh (don’t ask), which sparked manufacturing of more palatable Toad heads for use on the battlefield.
There were pretty heavy casualties on both sides, probably the Toads more so than the Koopas since the Koopa army are actual soldiers; however, thanks to Gadd’s assistance with physical augmentations and the like, the Toads were still able to visit their own flavor of war crimes upon the Koopa Kingdom. This would lead to some pretty horrific consequences for the Toads later on, but it was high-times for Gadd; once he felt like he had enough battle-data, he decided to finally end the war by sending Mario out to deal with it all (and we all know how that went down). You read that right, “battle-data”: statistics and information obtained from testing tactics and technology in the battlefield. What could Gadd possibly need with something like that?
Well he had a small problem to deal with so that he could move onto other pursuits, an annoying pain in the proverbial who just keeps coming back: Kamek. Find out how the Mushroom-Koopa War turned cold in…