I’ve been a fan of the Super Mario Bros. franchise for a long time. So I put together a character evolution post on one of the top damsels of the video game world.
1985: Princess Toadstool started out in the original Super Mario Bros. NES game as the damsel in distress Mario and Luigi head out to rescue from King Koopa. Although her look at the time was pretty shoddy as an 8-bit character, it was still exciting to see her in the game. Considering that you had to get through eight different castles to find her.
On a side note, 8-bit characters can be a little misleading. Would you believe I used to think that the Goombas were angry bird heads with feet?
1988: When the Super Mario Bros. 2 NES game came along, there was the option to play as the Princess. I find that as useful as it is interesting. The Princess may have been the slowest runner and the slowest at picking up items, but she could float in the air for long distances with her jumping skill. I wonder if it has something to do with that dress.
1989: In Super Mario Land for Game Boy, Mario rescues the Princess from an alien named Tatanga. It’s revealed that her first name is Daisy, but is it really the same princess? It only took four castles to find this one.
1989: Later that year, Princess Toadstool’s look really started to change when The Super Mario Bros. Super Show premiered. As she travels with Mario, Luigi, and Toad, it’s revealed that she’s not spoiled. (Thank goodness.) The Princess is a fighter and good ruler. She just can’t help getting kidnapped by King Koopa so frequently.
1990: Next up in the Super Mario Bros. 3 NES game, Princess Toadstool provides special items for the Mario Bros. after defeating a Koopaling like magic P-wings and happy faced clouds that let you skip levels. Unfortunately, after getting through World 7, King Koopa kidnaps the Princess again. At least we know where to find her this time.
1991: Then we have Super Mario World for the Super NES. King Koopa kidnaps the Princess yet again. This time it’s in a clown copter. I admit, she sure looks good when she peeks out and screams for help.
1992: At around this time, Nintendo Power magazine started having comics based on Nintendo characters in Manga style animation. One of my favorites was Super Mario Adventures. Throughout this story, the Princess can be pretty fierce when she’s angry. Was King Koopa trying to turn her people into statues again?
1993: When Super Mario All Stars was released for the Super NES, Princess Toadstool had a more graphic look as both a heroine and a damsel.
1993: Samantha Mathis plays the Princess in the Super Mario Bros. movie and is one of several damsels in distress. Her name is Daisy, so maybe the princess in Super Mario Land is the same girl.
1996: After Mario saves the Princess and her kingdom in Super Mario 64, Princess Toadstool decides to prepare a cake for him as a reward. That’s nice. It sure beats a second quest.
1999: I stand corrected on the Princess’s name. On Super Mario Bros. Deluxe for Game Boy Color, Princess Toadstool’s first name is now revealed as Peach. In a perfected version of the original Super Mario Bros. game, along with some newer challenges and extra courses, Princess Peach awards Mario and Luigi with medals for completing their quests. Come on now, Peach. Is this supposed to be a competition based on a nostalgic rescue mission, or something?
2006: When Super Princess Peach came out for the Nintendo DS, things got turned around. Peach has to rescue Mario from King Koopa. On this quest, she’s armed with a talking parasol and vibe power. I never realized how emotional Peach could really get.
2006: Not to worry. Princess Peach goes back to her damsel roots in New Super Mario Bros. DS as Bowser Jr. quickly drags her from tower to castle to tower and so on. I wonder how she manages to keep her dress clean through all that fast dragging.
2007: It wasn’t until the Mario Party games, like Mario Party DS, when we find out that there are two princesses in the Mushroom Kingdom, Peach and Daisy. The difference between them is that Peach is noble and graceful while Daisy is spunky and sassy. I’ll tell ya. Daisy would’ve made a great character on the Super Mario Bros. cartoons as well. Frankly, so would Wario and Waluigi, but that’s beside the point.
2008: Here’s where things really get interesting. On Mario Kart Wii not only is there an option to be either princess, but also either baby princess. They’re both adorable and wild in those vehicles. I wonder if that’s what they were like during their childhood.
2009: Last, but definitely not least, we have New Super Mario Bros. Wii when Princess Peach gets kidnapped by all eight Koopalings and the Mario Bros. chase them while she sits helpless in the airship before getting dragged into King Koopa’s castle. Fighting Bowser is easy. The hard part is dodging those waves of lava as you cross the platforms to where Peach is.
Whether a damsel in distress or a fierce fighter like on Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo Wii, Princess Peach has come a long way as a fan favorite. King Koopa must really have a thing for Peach if he keeps kidnapping her all the time. I can only think of three possible reasons for it. He either wants something from Peach, use her as bait to get to the heroes, or just personal pleasure. It’s hard to say what King Koopa’s motivation really is. There were times when Bowser wanted to marry Peach. Ewe! Apparently, Bowser also wants her kingdom. But he ain’t getting it as long as Mario and Luigi are around.