Nintendo has a reputation for producing games that are made of smiles and sunshine, but sometimes their titles have a dark side. Over at WhatCulture, David Oxford has taken a look at ten moments of Nintendo's questionable behavior. There's sexual innuendo in the Mushroom Kingdom, monsters being boiled alive, protagonists clubbing seals, and villains vomiting up blood.
In New Super Mario Bros. for the Nintendo DS, the battle to close out the first world is a recreation of the classic “fight Bowser on a bridge over some lava” bit from the original Super Mario Bros. Hit a switch, into the hot drink he goes. Nothing new there.
But as you can see above, there’s a twist this time around. Bowser roars and struggles, much like Crocomire, and while not depicted in as gruesome a manner, you can see that the Koopa King and his flesh are soon parted, leaving behind a skeletal form and a blackened shell. For a Mario game, this turn of events was still surprisingly intense, and it’s amazing that Nintendo ran with it.
I remember coming across that moment in New Super Mario Bros. and being legitimately shocked that Nintendo allowed one their most recognizable characters to be graphically cooked. Bowser looks like he's in real pain when his flesh sloughs off his bones. The whole thing is undone by the end of the game and Bowser's skeleton (dubbed Dry Bowser after the Dry Bones skeleton Koopa Troopas) has gone on to become a recurring presence in other games that need their character roster padded (such as Mario Kart sequels), but still... yeowch! It's pretty dark stuff for the series that brought us a "Woo hoo!" with every major jump and the classic "Let's-a go!" when starting a level. I was sitting in the Kombo hotel suite back at E3 2006 when I first came across this moment and I explained to the others sitting around waiting for news to happen what had occurred, but nobody cared. Sure, other games kill their villains all the time, but in Super Mario? That was unheard of. Show some respect; the King of the Koopas was just boiled alive!