Thursday, July 25, 2024

Where Does Bowser Come from and What’s His Deal?

( Super Mario Bros. 3 tends to hold a special spot when discussing groundbreaking video games. I usually sum it up with the first SMB being significant to gaming as a whole—it saved an industry—while SMB3 is significant to the franchise.

One thing I always noticed whether it was SMB or Super Mario World, Bowser went unchecked for a long time. Something just tells me that regardless of the Mario Brothers’ origin story—whether they isekai’d to the Mushroom Kingdom from Brooklyn or were born there—King Koopa presented a problem for the Mushroom Kingdom for a while.

Where Does Bowser Come from and What’s His Deal?

Where Did Bowser Come From?

Now, in the classic games—and most modern titles in the franchise—Bowser is based out of the dangerous, lava-laden World 8. It’s a miserable place that is sure to send any of the MK’s knights and soldiers packing. This is not the place to play hero. After all, if you made it to World 8 after all the insanity as the levels went on—you’re that guy. You’re a hero.

Of course, a band of adventurers could make it that far. Super Mario made it with Luigi, Marrow, Geno—the whole gang. They’re dodging Bullet Bills, Boos, Magikoopas—this is a gnarly place. It begs the question of how did this place go unchecked and unsettled for so long?

Or was this actually a town and Bowser stomped out the original inhabitants? Is all of the Mushroom Kingdom technically a warzone in SMB? I asked this before because—Bowser didn’t just show up armed to the teeth! Where did this guy come from? What’s the backstory on his beef with the Mushroom Kingdom? Was there a MK hero before Mario and Luigi?

What exactly is Bowser’s backstory?

Depending on the game and era, Link’s nemesis Ganon has a backstory. Dr. Eggman in the Sonic the Hedgehog franchise—the comics really fill out his backstory. Most nemesis’ have a backstory except for Bowser it seems. The interesting about it is that it allows him to be…lovably unhinged.

In one game, Mario can brave several Worlds with multiple levels to deal with Bowser in either a false castle or against his Clown Car. You know, just chasing after the princess. Real fireball-throwing, mushroom-eating plumber sh**. Then in another game, he’s racing go-karts with the dragon beast that kidnapped the princess.

Oh, another game and they’re all doing party activities! Now they’re at the Olympic Games! It’s always been interesting, and yes, I’m aware those games are not interconnected. Along those same lines we could ask about how Mario has time to paint, travel time, do music, and dispense ‘scripts. The man’s a mystery, really.

Back to Bowser: How Long Was He Raging?

The thing about Bowser’s reign of terror—he was able to amass an army with many, many goons. Not only that, they ended taking over lots of land and seemingly steamrolled the MK. Then, even after being trounced by Mario and Luigi, Bowser manages to get another army up and going.

Plus, all of his generals have flying fortresses! Super Mario Bros. 3 was pretty bonkers. I’d say it’s the one that should get a Super Mario 64-style 3D makeover because the boss battles would be extremely fun. In 2D, it wasn’t hard to stomp out the Koopalings at all.

At any rate, you’ve got an unchecked Bowser who is able to either get funding or oppress so hard that be takes over areas. He’s probably an extremely ambitious pirate. After all, he has a battleship. That just raises the question of why Bowser’s stuff was do advanced. Looking SMB3, there were no other technological countries or Worlds around that would’ve been a challenge to him or finance him.

Is this thinking to deeply into Super Mario lore? Sure, but we’re in a time where everything has a strong backstory and cartoonish evil or—in Bowser’s case—well-financed mischief isn’t as applauded across the board. At this point, only a handful of series can get away with a character who is evil just because.

Bowser is one of the last of a dying breed in that respect.

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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