I am considered an expert on Nintendo and Nintendo based trivia. I have beaten every Mario game, from Super Mario Bros to Mario & Luigi 2: Partners in Time.Â I am also considered an amateur expert in psychology -Â I once took a psychology class as a requirement in college back in 2003 or 2004. This makes me beyond qualified to metaphorically dissect and literally over-analyze the Super Mario Brothers.
Who Are The (Super) Mario Brothers?
The Mario Brothers are Mario and Luigi, two blue collar Italian immigrants from New York City. Mario – at one time – was a carpenter, but he retired after a giant ape kidnapped his then-girlfriend, Pauline. After that, his relationship with Pauline ended, Mario began to roam the sewers of NYC with his twin brother, Luigi. This somehow lead them to the Mushroom Kingdom (or back to the Mushroom Kingdom depending on the story, I guess). There Mario met Princess Toadstool, whom he constantly defends from the evil King Bowser. Luigi watches.
The most obvious place to start would be with the overabundance of phallic symbols that can be found in the Mario Brothers series. First and foremost, the majority of the games take place in the Mushroom Kingdom. It goes without saying that the decorum has a lot of mushrooms in it. The denizens of the Mushroom Kingdom are little mushroom people, often known as Toads.Â They are under constant attack from Bowser, King of the Koopas. The Toads are soft, spongy, and weak, often defeated by the Koopas Troopas, which are an army of turtles with rock hard, indestructible shells. I think the symbolism here speaks for itself.
Mario and Luigi begin their adventures one graze away from death. They are small and weak, plump and fragile. In order to become intimidating and worthy of challenge, Mario and Luigi must touch a Super Mushroom. The Super Mushroom is the textbook phallic symbol. When Mario touches it, he grows in size and becomes stronger. He can break bricks with his head and crush enemies beneath his feet.Â However, once he is injured, Mario loses his stature and returns to his diminished state. Obviously a reference to an erection. This can also be fit into a metaphor for a man’s pride, as once injured it is difficult to gain the confidence to “stand tall” again.
The second most common power-up in the Mushroom Kingdom would be the Fire Flower. Although there are ways around this, but typically the Fire Flower cannot be acquired unless Mario has already had a Super Mushroom; once his is taller, his skin thicker, ready for action. Flowers are typically considered a vaginal symbol. If you do not believe me, just ask Georgia O’Keeffe. The Fire Flower is no different. Once Mario has grown (erected), he can get a Fire Flower (vagina), and attain the ability to shoot fireballs (semen).
The Mario Brothers have a wide variety of other power-ups and tools at their disposal. Here is a quick list of several questionable items.
- FLUDD – From Mario Sunshine, the FLUDD was a talking water packÂ that could be used for a number of tasks (cleaning, spraying, hovering). In order to show off their new hardware, Nintendo let Mario show off how far he can shoot his stream.
- Goomba’s Shoe – A large green shoe that Mario can climb into from Super Mario Bros 3. Symbolic of a condom? It offers protection against spikes (STDs) and once Mario reaches the climax of the level, the shoe is thrown aside.
- Tanooki Suit – Also from SMB3, the Tanooki suit is similar to the Raccoon tail. However, the Tanooki suit has the added bonus of turning Mario into a rock-hard solid statue, impervious to damage. Naturally this state does not last forever (if it lasts for more than 5 hours, please consult your physician) The suit is based on the tanuki, an animal often depicted with giant testicles in Japanese folklore.
- The Shell – The Shell is from the New Super Mario for the DS. Mario fits himself inside a blue shell, making him harder and able to easily slip into tight areas.
- Bee Suit – From Super Mario Galaxy, the Bee Mushroom gives Mario the ability to don the Bee Suit. In this form, Mario is super adorable and can hover.Â This suit is questionable because the saying “the birds and the bees” did not take a plump Italian into account.
If we would like to delve a little further into the concept of the phallus in the Mushroom Kingdom. We should consider several modes of transportation that the Mario Brothers employ; pipes and dinosaurs.
The warp pipe represents the innate desire to return to the womb and the utter futility of that desire. Having no parental figure, Mario and Luigi have not had opportunity to properly explore their desires. Instead, they climb inside a long shaft that transports them from point A to point B. The pipes often lead to large, cavernous realms. After entering one end, you are forcibly shot out another, back into a bright and colorful world.
Introduced in Super Mario World, Yoshi began as a mode of transportation that eventually evolved into its own character. Yoshi represents an interesting conundrum. On one hand, he originally existed to “enhance” the “length” of Mario and Luigi. Yoshi was a bottomless pit, with a constant desire to pull things within him. However, as he evolved into his own character, Yoshi began to represent a desire to remain in touch with our feminine sides. With a 10 foot long tongue, it’s hard to argue that Yoshi isn’t “all man.” However, when he consumes a creature, Yoshi lays an egg. Aside from the occasional fish, it is the female of the species that typically lays eggs. Coupled with his doe eyes and cutesy-wutesy demeanor,Yoshi is one big, hot tranny mess.
The Father Figure
Lacking a proper father figure, you might say that the Mario Brothers missed out on the chance to express their Oedipal desires. Nothing could be further from the truth. The Mushroom Kingdom has no apparent patriarch, though the closest you might get is the impotent King of the Koopas, Bowser. He rules over a nonspecific realm, leading hordes of beasts and turtles. He desires two things: domination over the world and domination over Princess Toadstool. As such, Bowser is constantly kidnapping her and sometimes trying to get her to marry him.
Bowser represents something that Mario can never be; he is always large in stature, always rock hard, and he is of a higher caste in mushroom society than our blue collar hero. The majority of Mario’s struggles can be traced back to Bowser. Princess Toadstool is the target of both Mario and Bowser’s affection and as such they are bitter rivals. Bowser is the closest thing that Mario has to a “father figure.”Â Mario’s goal is often to defeat Bowser (knock him off a cliff, drop him into lava, shoot him into space) and to rescue the matriarch of the Mushroom Kingdom.
The Mother Figure
Speaking of matriarchs: again, it was revealed that Mario and Luigi were orphans,Â so they missed out on the normal developmental stages a child goes through, like wanting to have sex with your mother. This can often lead to the stages revealing themselves later in life. Princess Toadstool is the matriarch of the Mushroom Kingdom, ruling over a land of phallus. Her name was later revealed to be Peach. I will let Urban Dictionary take this one:
A nicely shaped, and usually freshly shaved vulva, typically characterized by large labia majora (outer lips) and small, if not invisible, labia minora (inner lips). A peach features absolutely no roast beef, and is considered by many men to be the ideal vulva for a woman.
It is pretty clear what Princess Peach is meant to represent.
When Super Mario Bros first debuted, Mario and Luigi existed only as a pallet swaps of each other. Things changes when Mario Bro 2 was released in the US. Mario was faster and easier to control, where Luigi was a bit more spastic, but he could jump higher and stay in the air longer. Over time, Luigi developed a personality. This trend has followed on and off since then, appearing most prominently in Super Smash Brothers.
Mario has shown himself to be quite altruistic. If anyone in the Mushroom Kingdom is in trouble, he will drop what he is doing to help the Mushroom Kingdom, whether they need release from a foreign captor or just a doctor. While Mario is out having grand adventures, Luigi either following blindly or is sitting at home. His personality has shown to be very defeatist, almost depressed.Â He is often treated as the comic relief and recent games have even showed him as having a bit of a masochistic streak – Baby Luigi loves little more than to watch his future counterpart hurt himself.
What is interesting is that there is little to no sibling rivalry. The only times Luigi appears to be on point is when his brother is missing, which causes him to rush to arms. What is interesting is that when Mario goes missing, Luigi does what he can to step out from his brother’s shadow. Rather than hoping and bopping his way to the answers, Luigi will take a more subtle approach and employ tools or using carefully gathered information, as is shown in Mario is Missing and Luigi’s Mansion. It is interesting that on their premiere games for the Gamecube; Luigi, our introverted anal character, uses a vacuum, while the outgoing Mario uses a water pack. Just something to think about.
I realize that this is all quite a lot to swallow, but I find that if you come with a open mind you will find that there are some heavy ideas dangling right in front of you. I’m sure I could go in depth a little further, but as it is, I feel like this post is about to bust!
On the following page, please enjoy a series of images taken from the Mario Brothers series:
Pages: 1 2