Thursday, May 23, 2024

5 Head-Scratching Observations of Super Mario Bros 3.

( Super Mario Bros 3 ranks in my top five Super Mario games. When I first played it on the original Nintendo Entertainment System, it was like being teleported to another world.

That’s an important thing to achieve in any video game. The player shouldn’t feel like they’re playing through present day, this very moment, real life. It can be a trip back into time before they were born or while they’re growing up, into a future that could be, or an entirely different world.

That was me at six or seven years old. The older you get, the more critically you look at stuff you enjoyed as a kid. Super Mario Bros 3 is no different. I have questions that also stretch back to the first SMB.

Where Are the Armies for These Kingdoms?

In SMB3, Princess Peach is kidnapped by Bowser and his Koopalings—the elite of his Koopa Army. In playing the game, you will travel through several stages (regions), each with its own king.

Bowser is so brolic that he takes the kings’ wands, transform them into some kind of creature just to add insult to injury, and gives them to each of the Koopalings.

Now you have to go through what are basically warzones just to get their wands back so you can advance towards rescuing Peach.

Where in the hell are these kingdoms’ armies? You’re a king. You have a whole ass castle, you’re living in opulence, but this spikey-shelled bully with an airship spins the block and snatches your magic wand.

Just abdicate the throne already. Bowser caught everyone slipping in succession. Not only that but no one sent notice to the other kings that “Bowser has an airship and a bunch of minions!

Get those defenses up!” No, they got rolled and no one sent notice to supposed allies. Hand over all the wands and thrones Mario and Luigi. They’re the ones rescuing everyone.


How Wasn’t Bowser Checked Sooner?

Listen, you have a terrorist who calls himself a king and has his own keep on the outskirts of your kingdom. You can see it from the highest point of your kingdom and figure “Meh, he’s not hurting anyone. Leave him be.”

No! Unless Super Mario Bros 3 is the start of the Mario vs. Bowser story, then you know that he’s willing and capable of kidnapping your country’s princess.

Not only that, he’s powerful enough to possibly wipe out whatever mall cops your kingdom has as the royal guard. Nip him in the bud while he’s at his weakest.

Going from the original SMB, Bowser had enough funds or military might to not only have end stage fortress loaded with enemies and traps but little forts along the way.

The Mario Brothers were fighting a two-man war against Bowser’s forces. All alone with nothing to help him but some psychedelic mushrooms, a trippy-ass flower that gives him the power to throw fire, and an invincibility star—a codeword for meth.

Not only that, he’s scavenging all of that stuff. The kingdom didn’t start helping Mario and Luigi clean up their mess until SMB3. Which they had to because they left Bowser unchecked and allowed him to stack his chips and accumulate power!

He has an airship, folks. Wait, excuse me—airships. MORE THAN ONE! They have cannons, fire wheels, Hammer Bros, Boomerang Bros—these things are loaded and armed to the teeth.

However, you have two plumbers with a few power-ups in their pockets taking them down. This points to one of two things. Either the Koopalings aren’t as elite as they seem—which they aren’t as you can take them out with three hits—or these kingdoms aren’t worth the land they sit on.

So Y’all Just Gonna Let Bowser Occupy Your Country

We can’t forget this part of the problem. After Bowser steals the kings’ wands and disappears, he leaves his goombas, koopa troopas, and other henchmen throughout these kingdoms’ territories. He’s basically claimed their countries as his.

Mario and Luigi arrive with the intent of rescuing Peach but I suppose they have to deal with this mess to keep international relations strong. Technically, they could’ve—and it’s possible if you have the Whistle—taken the long way around that nonsense and left Desert Land to its own demise.

That land has an Angry Sun that chases you through a stage that has large quicksand pits. Who wants to deal with that nonsense?! That’s just the second land. Each land has new enemies and more hazards.

Either they always existed and the kings of these lands never bothered cultivating their lands and dealing with them, they just started to run wild after Bowser swept through, or Bowser left them behind.

I believe it’s all three because there are no friendly inhabitants in these lands besides the king and Toad the treasurer.

Toad Is a Black-Market Arms Dealer, Not A Treasurer

This is a minor thing but Toad is the most helpful person in Super Mario Bros 3. If you can get to a treasure house or find the hidden treasure rooms, he’ll give you a power-up to use in your quest.

A power-up. As in one piece for each visit. Never mind the fact that you’re loaded with coins—which have always transferred into extra lives—you get to pick from one of three chests.

You have no clue what’s in the chest but he’s letting you pick for free so it doesn’t matter. However, if you’re going through all of this trouble, you’d think he would give you all three items to help you.

That’s not the case here. Not only is it not the case but once you get your gear, Toad closes up shop as if the DEA or the ATF has the treasure house wired! It’s all very shady when you think about it.

If that doesn’t convince you, he closes up shop after you gamble with him in slots and cards—which I’m sure aren’t legal. At least not under Bowser’s occupation.

How Does Anyone Live in These Lands?

As mentioned above, there are no actual inhabitants of these lands. It could be a case similar to Sonic the Hedgehog where they’re transformed into koopa troopas, goombas, and so on.

However, future Mario games show that they’re actually peaceful inhabitants of the Mushroom Kingdom, some are just in Bowser’s service.

These koopa troopas and goombas are kind of hostile. If they touch Mario or Luigi, they will harm them but they’re not pursuing you. Actually, they’re minding their own business and you attack them.

Outside of that, a king is supposed to have subjects. There’s no one here! Everyone fled in terror I guess but they should’ve fled way before that if there are pits of quicksand, an angry sand, freezing temperatures, warp pipes that lead to even more dangerous areas, fire snakes, and the like—and the king hasn’t bothered to make those places inhabitable.

Each land and each stage in those lands is a warzone. There’s no possible way that anyone lived and thrived in those lands except for the kings.

The Super Mario Bros franchise has so many unanswered questions that could be told and fleshed out in one or two big, long games covering SMB and SMB3. I feel that it would be the ultimate Mario game and we’re at a point in gaming where the cutscenes would be amazing and life-long fans like myself would be appreciative of the blend of gameplay and story.

Staff Writer; M. Swift

This talented writer is also a podcast host, and comic book fan who loves all things old school. One may also find him on Twitter at; metalswift.

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