The lore of Nintendo games is a common topic of discussion amongst fans, from disturbing Pokemon backstories to the endless debate regarding the Legend of Zelda timeline. However, few would rank Nintendo’s Super Mario series as having the most well-developed mythos of the bunch. Yet a trophy description in the 3DS version of Super Smash Bros. suggests an interesting new wrinkle to the life – or perhaps lives – of everyone’s favorite plumber.
1-Up Mushrooms have been a staple of the Mario series since Super Mario Bros. back in 1985. Since then, the power-up has become ingrained into pop culture — you’d be hard pressed to find anyone who doesn’t know that the green fungi grants an extra life. But just how does this process occur? According to Smash Bros., it’s a matter of cloning:
“Eating one of these gives you an extra life. That’s right! A whole extra version of you! But it does make you wonder, is getting 1-Up Mushrooms and making more copies of yourself the real goal of any adventure? You can just imagine a bunch of Marios getting together to discuss it…”
The above blurb comes from the European version of the game, but the general idea is the same in the North American edition; you haven’t been playing as one Mario over the past three decades, but an army of his clones. It’s certainly interesting that Nintendo have opted to give such a clear-cut statement on this matter, even if it is hidden away as one of the 686 trophies in the game — don’t expect this nugget of info to be featured on ‘The Cat Mario Show’.
While cloning is an ever-contentious issue in the real world, it seems that in the Mushroom Kingdom the process is trivial enough that cloning devices can be found from ‘Bob-omb Battlefield’ to ‘Chocolate Island.’ This revelation prompts searching questions of the familiar ‘save the princess’ narrative; does the Mario that eventually rescues Peach have any sort of memory of her at all?
The source of this new subtext for the Mario series is the NeoGAF forums, the same site where the similarly important discovery that the bushes of Super Mario Bros. were simply recolored clouds was revealed back in 2011. We’ve known for a while that the trophies in the new Smash title would be the broadest selection ever, but it’s only know that we’re becoming aware of the game-changing information they contain about one of the biggest series in video games — who knows what else is hidden away?
Similar themes of cloning were explored in excellent puzzle platformer The Swapper, albeit rather more overtly than this thirty-year slow burn. Certainly, the continuing adventures of Super Mario aren’t quite as straightforward as we have been lead to believe.
Has this news changed the way that you look at the Mario series? Have you spotted another interesting titbit lurking in a Smash Bros. trophy description? Let us know in the comments section below.
Super Smash Bros. is out now on the Nintendo 3DS, and will release on November 21 for the Wii U.