Bowser: Why We Love Gaming’s Peculiar, Evil Turtle-Man

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chris-littlechild - May 1, 2012

It could be argued that Bowser is the first, and best, gaming bad guy. (Axiomatically because it's true.) The big green bastard with the princess fetish has scarcely given Nintendo's main man a moment's respite since the 1980s, even pestering the guy with prank phone calls when he can't be assed with the whole kidnapping rigmarole. ("You're looking for... Hugh Jass? Hold on, I'll check... ...Everyone's laughing at me! It's you again, isn't it! It's an unlisted number, and I don't even know how you can dial with those fatass claw-hands of yours! Next time, buddy, I'm calling the cops!" Bowser just laughs that baritone turtle-laugh of his and hangs up, because he owns the police. Even if he didn't, the force is largely comprised of hirsute, feral mushroom dudes with stumpy legs and no arms. It's safe to assume he could take them, they're about an inch tall. He can hassle whoever the hell he wants.) Such are the devious ways of this serial princess purloiner.

Bowser first bothered to haul ass off the sofa and make an appearance in Super Mario Bros. As you can see here, he wasn't quite the bastion of masculinity and distilled RAAARGH strength he would later embody. The dreaded 80‘s effect is plain to see. He doesn't have the quintessential huge hair and appalling sideburns, (or a Walkman the size of your average laptop, I've still got that musical monstrosity lurking around somewhere, to beat on aspiring burglars with) perhaps, but he's damn awful-looking nonetheless. He cuts a pitiful figure, with a blurry pound of mince for a face and that diminutive stature. Being about a head taller than your nemesis isn't the optimum way to induce incontinence-inspiring-terror. Still, it was a valiant first attempt at Peach-thievery.

He still hasn't got his massive green ass in gear in this area. Over the years, Bowser has concocted copious schemes to steal her, becoming increasingly ostentatious as he goes (see giant spaceship and general explosive shitstorm from Super Mario Galaxy). When you're a giant monster that resembles the pokémon Blastoise, only with added spikes on every bodily appendage (including that one, I've checked) such petty issues as actually having a motive are utterly moot. However many times he's thwarted, he'll return. And be defeated in the same manner, to boot. Perhaps next time, he'll neglect to install that button that destroys the bridge. At the very least, he should refrain from standing right in front of the damn thing. How many times must your balls be burnt in a lava pit before you learn to stop pulling this kind of crap? For most of us, once would more than suffice. This is why we aren't tyrannical lizard-kings. Well, it's one of many reasons.

Still, the big guy remains one of gaming's most recognisable icons. He revels in the bad, delights in pure balls-out evil for the sake of it. (You can picture him at the breakfast table, enjoying a meal of Goomba on toast and pondering, "I'm going to do something goddamn nefarious today. Just for a laugh. I don't even want that princess, her high-pitched whining gives me a chronic migraine. I just do it to piss Mario off, I hate that Italian bastard. I've been unable to flush my toilet since 1990, he's promised he'll get around to fixing it. Shitting in the yard isn't my style, it's so demeaning." He's the vital character foil to Mario's no-questions-asked heroism. Without Bowser, this beloved series wouldn't exist. At least, in any entertaining form. The alleged plumber would actually have to do some plumbing, and then where would we be? Simulations in which our hairy hero removes condom clogs/huge turds from drains? Sales potential shrivels as quickly as a dude getting in a cold tub, for sure.

Even as a cpu character in Super Smash Bros Brawl, Bowser is unequivocally an ass, as you can see by the wtf ninja voodoo he pulls off here:

Article by Chris Littlechild

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