We live in a post-E3 2017 world where the video game community is seriously having a debate about whether or not Mario is a villain. The discussion stems from a fan theory that has been gaining traction ever since the reveal of Super Mario Odyssey‘s hat-based gameplay mechanics, and it posits that Mario is now a villain in his newest game thanks to the hat’s ability to subjugate other living creatures to obeying Mario’s will.
The entire concept might seem ridiculous – after all, this is the same game that features the world’s worst plumber routinely battling a dictatorship full of sentient mushrooms – but apparently it has become popular enough that Nintendo has felt the need to issue an official statement on the matter. An official statement made on Twitter by Nintendo of America had this to say on Super Mario Odyssey‘s most controversial feature:
Um, actually he's been "Captured" by Mario. https://t.co/RNqL1SqAGl
— Nintendo of America (@NintendoAmerica) June 21, 2017
Unfortunately, coining the term “capturing” rather than “possessing” does little to alleviate concerns over Mario’s apparent morality issues. One of the best games showcased at E3 2017 will no doubt have to provide a more compelling explanation than one that seems to suggest Mario is simply taking people hostage rather than possessing them with his hat. That is to say nothing, of course, of the other popular theory now making its rounds throughout the Mario fandom – that Mario has been possessed by his hat all along, and that the “Mario” gamers know and love is actually the personality of the hat, not the plumber.
Naturally, all of these theories are being suggested in good fun, and it’s encouraging to see Nintendo’s official social media channels join in on the absurdity. Nintendo has long been criticized for being a bit of a stickler when it came to fan-made content, even going so far as to destroy fan-made Pokemon games in an effort to preserve its IPs. While we’re sure a fan-made title featuring a darker spin on Mario’s hat-based antics would meet the same fate, it’s a small step forward that Nintendo is even entertaining its highly creative fan community now.
That doesn’t mean, however, that this issue has been resolved. Nintendo of America’s clarification does little to alleviate suspicion surrounding Mario’s hat – and that doesn’t even take into consideration that the Twitter account could be compromised by somebody the hat has already “captured”.
Super Mario Odyssey will release on October 27, 2017, exclusively for Nintendo Switch.