Wednesday, April 4, 2007

Long Live the Frog King

A curious thought: Thought the fat frog called “Wart” has only technically been the last boss of one Mario game, Super Mario Bros. 2, the process of remakes, reworkings and upgrades to the game's engine have quintupled Wart’s appearances.

In short:
  • Doki Doki Panic
  • Super Mario Bros. 2
  • Super Mario USA (in Japan)
  • The Super Mario All-Stars version of Super Mario Bros. 2
  • Super Mario Advance
And that’s not counting cameos in Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening or Animal Crossing. The former is odd because it features him as “Mamu,” which was the character’s name in the original Japanese version of Super Mario Bros. 2, Doki Doki Panic. Presumably that version of the character should have been long forgotten by the time Nintendo cranked out Link’s Awakening six year’s later. The matter is made more mysterious by the fact that both Super Mario Bros. 2 and Link’s Awakening take place in a setting that is later revealed to be the product of a dream. Odd stuff.

Now that I think about it, it’s also strange that all the Super Mario media of my youth — the cartoons, the children’s books, etc. — featured Wart fairly prominently, as Super Mario Bros. 2 had just come out at the time and, from a marketing perspective, it probably seemed like a sure bet that the character would continue in Mario mythos on equal footing to that other big bad, Bowser. But Wart never again appeared in a “new” game and has been all but forgotten now.

A kid today looking at those some low-grade cartoons and books would probably be confused as to who the frog thing is.

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