He’s a King, War Criminal, Kidnapper, thief, real estate mogul and Olympic contender. Has there ever been a character more recognisable, more tenacious, and more diverse in theme and skill than the self appointed King of Awesome himself, Bowser? In celebration of the re-release of Super Mario 3D World and the introduction of Bowser’s Fury, we’re going to take a look at how this giant dragon turtle thing is one of the most valuable members of the Mario universe through his numerous contributions both in game and out.
Get your plunger and button up those overalls! I’m Scott and today, Scarlett Media presents the top 10 ways that Bowser saves Mario from being boring, the Mario world storylines, and maybe even the franchise itself. If you agree with our points then be sure to jump on that like button, if you don’t and don’t mind being wrong then feel free to challenge us in the comments.
Number Ten. Recognisable
Bowser is probably one of the most, if not the most recognisable video game characters in the world. He stands at the pinnacle of recognisable villains in media, right with Darth Vader, The Joker, Freddie Krueger and the Bear from the old Sugar Crisp commercials, who I’m confident was a downright vandal and thief that regularly stole from the elderly.
Like the others, Bowser is an icon, a mascot of ne’er do wells who will always be instantly identifiable thanks to his distinct design and bright colour palette. Both children and veteran gamers would be able to distinguish Bowser in a line-up any day of the week. You can’t buy that kind of recognition; trust me, I’ve tried.
Number Nine. Marketability
Bowser, like Mario, has an astonishing amount of marketability, but his is of a different variety. Being able to make something marketable is a skill in its own right. There are villains in every franchise that have fallen flat, that couldn’t be made into a toy or didn’t sell well, even if they were. In contrast, Bowser is a cornerstone of Nintendo’s merchandising sector.
Bowser is a bad boy, but he appeals to a very broad demographic and that means he fits perfectly on Nintendo’s merchandise whether that’s his face on a lunchbox, his outline as a keychain or a 700 dollar, 19 inch statue with animated LED flame effects and interchangeable magnetised tongue, because why not?
Number eight. Characterization
Bowser has a lot of character but what’s impressive is his incredible consistency. Throughout the years, Bowser has been a mainstay nemesis to Mario due to his intense desire to be exactly that. In Paper Mario: The Origami King, Bowser clearly states that he believes that he and Mario are nothing without each other. His drive and uncompromising desire to kidnap and terrorise make it so that he will always be a reliable villain, someone who could believably be the cause of mischief in nearly every game. Even when he is outright killed, he just comes back as Dry Bowser and keeps on truckin’. Imagine if your employees kept coming in to work after they died; that level of dedication is hard to come by.
Number Seven. A Family Koopa
Bowser, for all his many, many faults, is actually a surprisingly good father. He works hard to ensure his son has everything that he needs, takes an interest in his hobbies and supports the decisions that his son makes. A strong love for his child is something a lot of people can relate to but it also allows his character far more depth.
Not only does he seem to adore his son, but the Koopalings, whom he treats as though they were his children, are given cushy jobs at his various castles too. This is not only a nice gesture; it’s also nepotism, which is immoral and surprisingly in keeping with his character.
Number Six. Competitive
Bowser has a hand in a considerable amount of villainous activities, but we’ll get into that later. First, let’s address how he also appears to enjoy and find a place in competitive sports that are prominent within the Mushroom Kingdom. On a regular basis, Bowser is invited to and attends events with the other denizens of the Kingdom, where he competes with respect and abides by the set rules.
Whether it’s go-carting or tennis, his respect of the rules makes it so he can join in without ruining everything. Unlike me, I’ll never be invited go-carting with my co-workers again, as apparently throwing turtle shells at other drivers is actually frowned upon.
Number Five. Terrifying
Okay, let’s look at this through a realistic lens. Bowser is absolutely terrifying. While he’s a dragon turtle of an inconsistent size, we know that he is always at least twice the size of Mario and we have seen that he has demonstrated the ability to change his size at will, which is just one of the litany of powers he has shown.
In his arsenal of abilities, he has demonstrated strength, durability, speed, stamina and resistance that far outweigh anything shown by any other Mushroom Kingdom being. His spiked shell is apparently indestructible, he can breathe fire, fly, teleport, control things with his mind and create black holes.
It’s no wonder his Koopa Troopas blindly follow him with that sort of power at his disposal. Then there’s my boss, who can’t seem to be bothered to change the bottle on the water cooler. I wonder if Bowser’s army is recruiting.
Number Four. Adaptablility
Along with his powers and drive to succeed, Bowser has also shown a keen ability to switch things up. He shows a brilliant amount of diversity in his appearances, his vast power and funding permitting him the chance to make a convincing villain, regardless of the premise of the game. Be it in space, or in a castle, or anywhere else, Bowser keeps things interesting by switching things up every time.
Got to admit, he’s a tad more interesting as a villain than someone who just throws barrels at you. Looking at you, Donkey Kong.
Number Three. Award Winning Villain
If our list wasn’t enough, you don’t just have to take our word for it. In 2013, Guinness World Records revealed that Bowser was voted as the number one greatest video game villain of all time by over 5,000 of their readers. Bowser won by a landslide, accumulating over 20% of total votes, beating out Ganon from Legend of Zelda, Glados from Portal, the Joker from Batman’s Arkham series and Gary Oak, the child who trains animals to fight in government sanctioned blood sports.
Number two. Not all bad.
Something that really lends credence to the depth of a character is when they team up with their nemesis to serve a greater good. On at least 5 separate occasions, Bowser has joined with the protagonists to defeat a larger enemy that threatens a greater peace, from Smithy in Dark Bowser in his own lands, to Kaos, Sky Eater, and The Darkness in Skylanders.
Also, Bowser has been shown to be an understanding and benevolent ruler. In Super Mario RPG, he discovered two deserters of his army who had started up lives in a small town and proceeded to tell them he was happy for them and wished them the best before departing. In Mario & Luigi: Bowser’s Inside Story, we learn that, while Bowser can be mean, he cares a great deal about his troops. He rescues captured soldiers himself, forgives traitors and deserters and in Paper Mario, we discover that his troops follow him, not out of fear, but due to a deep and profound respect.
Throughout their long standing and complex relationships, Bowser hasn’t ever killed Mario, or even so much as harmed Peach. In fact, when Bowletta was in disguise as him and ordered a Goomba to destroy Mario, the Goomba instantly suspected something was wrong, as the punishment seemed too harsh for his usual M.O.
Also, here’s a little food for thought: Bowser has been shown to regularly imprison Yoshi’s. I’m sure this would seem like a bad thing to most, however we have seen on several occasions that these omnivorous creatures will eat just about anything and anyone. When something is successfully consumed, Yoshis will lay an egg that very well might contain another Yoshi inside it. This tells us a lot about what sort of creature they must be, and how they affect the ecosystem and infrastructure of the Mushroom Kingdom. All the facts point to Bowser keeping these disastrously damaging dinosaurs detained as humanely as possible until a better solution can found.
You know what they say about making omelettes.
We sure hope you like the video so far. Before we get to the final way that Bowser Saves the Mario franchise, please take a moment to subscribe for more “Ruined or Saved” content from us, covering your favourite films, TV shows and games. Hit that bell notification to make sure you stay notified of uploads and don’t miss a thing.
Number one. Bowser isn’t perfect
A great villain can come in many forms, but one thing they all have in common, is someone who beats them. Mario is an important character but if he couldn’t beat Bowser, he’d be very short lived. Bowser can be defeated, he shows weakness, and suffers regularly from his own short sightedness. He displays an ego and speaks about his deliberate effort towards keeping his “evil king” image intact.
Regularly displaying overconfidence mixed with an intense lack of common sense, Bowser is not unstoppable, as there needs to be an endgame, an eventuality where he can no longer fight and provides the player with the much needed pay off.
In previous titles and the re-release of Super Mario 3D Worlds ‘Bowser’s Fury,’ Bowser has also shown susceptibility to infection and control by foreign substances and beings, requiring him to be saved by Mario.
Also, I’m fairly sure that he has outright died on several occasions and had to be revived by his son. I guess if there was ever a sign of defeat, it’s being killed by a plumber.
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Writer: Laura Townsend
Editor: AB Scarlett
Voice: Scott | http://bit.ly/3bD679R
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