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Fridge / Super Mario Bros.

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Fridge Brilliance

  • In the prologue to BS Super Mario USA, it says that Wart and the 8-bits escaped to another dream before returning to Subcon. Considering that in Japan, Super Mario USA came out in 1992, and BS Super Mario USA came out in 1996, it seems plausible that it could have been in another one of Nintendo's games. Which one? The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening of course!
  • On the subject of Mario's accent... Almost nobody from Italy actually speaks with that accent, but some people from New York do. Where did Mario live before he was taken to the Mushroom Kingdom? Think about it.
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  • Why do coins give you extra lives? Because that's what they do in arcades! Alternatively, if one pays a lot of money, one could get a life insurance, and the more one pays, the better one gets (more lives).
  • Mario... is a marionette for the player to play.note 
  • So Shigeru Miyamoto originally based Bowser's design on an ox, which eventually ended up as a part ox-part turtle. So, a creature that's part bovine and part turtle, in a land where characters can change their size by eating mushrooms. Where have we heard that before?
  • In the first seven castles of Super Mario Bros., if you defeat Bowser with fireballs instead of getting the axe at the end of the bridge, he turns into a Mook of some kind while he falls into the lava. It seems kind of random, but it's not really Bowser you're fighting — it's a random Mook magically transformed into Bowser's likeness! Killing that Mook breaks the spell! Not only is the Princess in another castle, so is her kidnapper! This isn't even mentioned in the manual, which only mentions black magic turning the Mushroom Kingdom citizens into blocks and horsehair plants and little else.
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  • The Speedo on Petey Piranha seems to be a pretty silly idea. But his first game was Super Mario Sunshine, which was on an island, and it suddenly made perfect sense! It's also why he has a reggae theme for Mario Strikers Charged.
  • Why do goombas and koopas and the like throw themselves nonchalantly to their deaths? Why do they always come back? Why do none of these battles have any lasting effects? Well, you didn't think you were the only one with extra lives, did you? Other related Fridge Brilliances:
    • Why would 1-up mushrooms be hidden in random blocks in levels? Emergency extra lives for the troops!
    • When an enemy or Mario dies, they usually fall off the screen. Like with Mario, the enemies are going back to the last checkpoint!
  • Have you ever wondered why you fight giant Bowser after you beat Bowser in most games? Look at Mario & Luigi: Bowser's Inside Story. Every time Bowser is nearly dead, Mario and Luigi help make him turn giant. It must usually work on its own, but Bowser inhaling most of the kingdom probably messed it up. Not only that, but this ability was most likely brought about by Kamek back in Yoshi's Island. When he cast that spell on Baby Bowser, it might have had a lasting effect. And since he cast it on Baby Bowser right after Yoshi beat him up, the spell reactivates every time Bowser is near death. This also fits with Bowser changing to Giga-Bowser when you defeat him in Super Smash Bros. Melee.
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  • Wario's Gassholery may not be his defining character trait, but it does add a layer of significance to his rivalry with Mario, a plumber.
  • In both Galaxy games, why Thwomps and Whomps kill you instantly when they didn't in 64? They did 3 damage to Mario's 8-part health meter in 64, but in the Galaxy games, you only HAVE 3 units of health.
  • In later games, it always seems like Luigi's more eager to announce his name than Mario. It seems a bit egotistical, until you see the fact that Bowser and even Princess Peach can't seem to remember his name. Poor guy.
  • Luigi used to be pretty rough and tough early on. Then he got downgraded a bit and nobody seems to care about him anymore. What happened? He missed out on a whole lot of stuff between then and now, and the stakes have been raised since his heyday. He's playing "adventurer catch-up".
  • Why does Bowser keep a button (or in the old games, an axe) in the room where he (or his kids, or a fake, or whatever) is fought that destroys the room's bridge? He keeps it because if he needs to run, he destroys the bridge and open the back door with the key that he usually carries on his person and drops upon death. Why doesn't he make it after fighting Mario? It must be because he usually is in World 8: there is nowhere else he could run. Mario destroyed all his castles. Or he is just dumb, or won't accept a loss to a plumber with a mustache.
  • Bowser has only ever lost a fight with Mario due to the environment. Mario has never beat him in hand-to-hand combat. It's more likely that he includes the switches on purpose to give Mario an opportunity to beat him because he wants Mario to have a chance of beating him so victory will be that much sweeter when he wins. After all, where's the glory in beating someone who didn't have a chance in the first place? Pretty dull victory under those circumstances.
  • Going by release dates, the Shy Guys first appeared in Super Mario Bros. 2/USA, which took place in a dream (or some sort of dream world, it's not clear). Of course, the Shy Guys went on to appear in plenty of other titles, which seems to cause a problem when it was All Just a Dream... except Yoshi's Island has Shy Guys as the main Mooks, and Yoshi's Island takes place before any of the main Mario games. So Shy Guys did exist in the Mushroom Kingdom, and the ones in Subcon were based on Mario's memories of them. Then, what about Birdo, who debuted in Super Mario Brothers 2 as well! Well, isn't Birdo just a strange, more feminine version of Yoshi?
  • The colors of the three princesses' dresses: Peach=magenta, Daisy=yellow, Rosalina=cyan.
    • Their dress designs also appear to reflect the time of day: Daisy=sunrise, Peach=day, Rosalina=night. Guess who either Peach and/or Daisy will look like when asleep...
      • Plus, night is when the stars are most visible.
  • When Mario eats a Mushroom, he grows taller and therefore "Higher" in the air.
    • He snaps out of it once sense is literally smacked into him.
  • This is almost definitely a coincidence (seeing as Mario's accent was a Throw It In by Charles Martinet), but Mario and Luigi are Italian, right? Mario wears red, and Luigi wears green. What colours are on the Italian flag?
    • Charles Martinet didn't start voicing Mario until SM64. The Super Mario Bros. Super Show had Mario and Luigi as Italian descended plumbers from Brooklyn in New York City years before that. The show played heavily on the common Italian foods aka pasta and pizza for some jokes. So most likely his throw it in Italian accent came from hearing that information second hand. To anyone who watched the show as a kid, Mario's Italian accent wasn't so much a stretch as it was logically expected. In fact, Mario's mumbling while sleeping in SM64 (if you let him idle) is him saying different pastas which might actually be a Call-Back to the Super Mario Bros. Super Show.
      • Charles has mentioned that he didn't end up seeing the cartoon until years later and that Mario was just described as "An Italian plumber from Brooklyn" during his audition, the accent he chose he thought was child-friendlier than what usually comes to mind of a blue-collar New Yorker. Also Shigeru Miyamoto has mentioned in interviews that the setting of the arcade game Mario Bros. is set in the sewers of New York City and that Mario is supposed to be Italian-American. So while that aspect ended up being played up by NOA's marketing, it's not something completely fabricated by localization.
  • The choice to have the power-up leaves in Super Mario3d Land give Luigi kitsune traits rather than tanuki/raccoon traits makes sense when you look at the brothers' faces: Luigi's more oval face is closer to what the Japanese call a "kitsune face"note , while Mario's more rounded face is what the Japanese call a "tanuki face".
  • A probable reason that the Koopalings are no longer considered Bowser's children is likely because even children generally know that inheritance typically defaults to the firstborn, and Bowser Jr. would be the youngest. Nintendo doesn't want children asking questions with answers that involve mistresses, concubines, and polygamy.
    • The fact that the Koopalings are all named after 80's rock icons (save for Ludwig) would also reveal an unexpected side of Bowser if the Koopalings were his kids: he named them all after his favourite musicians. This implies that Super Mario Bros. 3 and World take place in our universe and, more importantly, that Bowser is a huge nerd.
  • Mario is generally described as the "best" jumper in the Mushroom Kingdom, despite Luigi clearly jumping higher. However, Luigi generally gains that height by frantically waving his arms around and kicking his feet (this is known as his "scuttle jump"). You'll notice that overall, Luigi is much clumsier than Mario. That's why Mario is the best — while he isn't the "highest" jumper, he's more composed than Luigi and can skillfully and consistently perform tall jumps.
    • More to this, Luigi used to not appear in every mainline Mario game, and even now, he's often a secret character unlocked after finishing the game, and most players just stick with the default character (Mario) anyway. He doesn't have as much time in the spotlight, so when he does, he overworks himself to try to prove his skill.
  • Ever wondered why Mario and his friends are always willing to have a round of Go-Karting with Bowser? Because, if Miyamoto's words are anything to go by, all of the cast are actors playing their parts. Ergo, what better way to unwind after a long day of work by letting loose and having some fun with racing and sports?
  • At first, the Boos' name seems incredibly straightforward; it's a stock phrase used when scaring someone. But when you think about their attack pattern of covering their face when watched and advancing when your back is turned, you realize that it's a deadly game of peek-a-boo.
  • The ability to Ground Pound was probably learned from the Yoshis, who demonstrate other physics-defying stunts like the Flutter Jump.
  • Some Mario enemies and bosses have bandages signifying weak points (Whomps and the Hisstocrats, for example). This isn't just a simple way of marking it — they're weak points because you're hitting them where it already hurts. You're essentially taking advantage of existing injuries and making them much worse.
  • In Paper Mario: Color Splash, you can get a Flute and a Hammer as Things. It seems funny that those two items are Things while the Raccoon Suit and Frog Suit are regular cards, but then you realize: in Super Mario Bros. 3, Mario could only use the Flute and the Hammer on the overworld, and the Raccoon and Frog Suits in levels. Although there isn't any puzzle that these particular items can solve, the Flute and Hammer's status as Things means that you can (try to) use them on the overworld too, while the Raccoon and Frog can only be used in battle.
  • Bowser wants to marry Princess Peach, and has been shown to invade the Mushroom Kingdom whenever she refuses. Why? Because one way or another, he wants to gain control over the Mushroom Kingdom — marrying Peach is the peaceful way to do so. It would not even be farfetched if Bowser initially only wanted to marry Peach for power, but eventually gaining genuine feelings later on.
  • In Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker, several things return from Super Mario 3D World, including Piranha Creepers. However, in Captain Toad, they behave a little differently, as they're knocked back much futher when fallen upon than they were in 3D World — in fact, they're knocked back the same amount as a Ground Pound would deliver in that game. While this initially seems like a gameplay tweak to make them manageable in a game where you can't jump, the reason for the inability to jump actually explains it. Captain Toad can't jump because his backpack is so heavy... but because of that extra weight, he hits as hard as a Ground Pound when he falls!
  • Why is it that Yoshi's first resort in Yoshi's Island upon finding a lost infant and deciding to help him find his family is putting said infant on his back? Furthermore, why is he so willing — eager even — to carry Mario on his back even as an adult? Well, consider how, at least when they were introduced, Yoshis had a natural saddle there. Factoring in the general shape and size of a Baby Yoshi, one can come to the conclusion that they carry their young on their backs until they grow enough to move around independently and acquire their own food. If so, being ridden by others (especially children) may actually be literally instinctive to them.
  • Why do Kamek and Toadette have an Odd Friendship going on? Well, if you've paid close enough attention to Super Mario Maker 2, you might have came to realize that Toadette isn't the most... heedful boss in the world. In fact, many of the Toads resent her for her business tactics and the ways that she treats them.
  • Why is a plumber, of all trades, not only fit enough to take on Bowser's entire military and the turtle dragon wizard himself, with only the aid of assorted foodstuffs, plants, and shinies? And where does he learn to do things like leap multiple times his body height, spin like a top while he jumps, or wield a hammer so well? We finally get an answer when the Mario Bros. travel to the Beanbean Kingdom: Assuming plumbing jobs in the Mushroom Kingdom are anything like they are in the Beanbean Kingdom, the sewers get so nasty that you need those traits. Hell, if we count New York City, he's been training to rescue Peach all his life!
  • In Paper Mario: Color Splash, Roy is the final Koopaling to be fought, and uses your paint against you. Makes sense, as a common mnemonic for remembering the colors of the rainbow is Roy G Biv!
  • A bit of brilliance for Daisy: despite her popularity with fans, she doesn't show up in the mainline games very often, barring as a guest to a party or a go kart race. In-universe, there's a couple of good reasons for this:
    • First, she doesn't live in the Mushroom Kingdom: she's from (and presumably rules) Sarasaland, so whenever Bowser decides to cause trouble in the Mushroom Kingdom, she's simply not in harm's way or near enough by to be a participant.
    • Second, she's Mario's ex. In her debut game, she was his Love Interest, but that's clearly changed (at least there's no hard feelings over it). She still gets invitations to major planned events, but it'd be probably be a little awkward if she spent more casual time around Mario or Peach outside these events.
      • Which gives further brilliance regarding her Genki Girl personality. Of course she's stoked every time we see her; she's at a Party (or Kart Race, or Tennis match, or Golf game, or the Olympics, or what have you)!
    • Not that she'd have time, given that she is, again, part of the ruling class of Sarasaland. Presumably, she's caught up in the day-to-day affairs of her country and wouldn't be able to make time for tea and a double kidnapping outside of diplomatic outreach.
    • As an aside, this would make her (possibly) a subversion of the Girlfriend in Canada trope; Luigi is implied to have a crush on her, and if they did have an active relationship off-screen, it'd be long-distance by nature. This in turn fits well into Luigi's own characterization of being much better off than his Butt-Monkey status would have you believe.
  • Members of the Koopa royal family being named after musicians isn't just a thing with the younger generation.
  • There's not much plantlife throughout the original game, bar background bushes and Bowser's man eating Piranha Plant. Then it hit me: We're already in the Koopa Kingdom by the time the game starts. Since this is the first time Mario's been on an adventure to fight Bowser, he has no idea how dangerous he should make the place, and once he gets reports of Mario breaking into his fortresses and defeating his lieutenants, he starts making hurried decrees to ramp up defense efforts around his castle. After getting his ass handed to him by a mere plumber, Bowser went out of his way to turn his kingdom from a mere desert to a volcanic wasteland and fortified it with as many of his top units as he could.

The Film

  • When Koopa is walking, you might notice that he keeps his hands at chest level, curling them. This is likely a minor evolutionary holdover as Koopa descended from Tyrannosaurus rex who were known to have relatively small arms kept close to their bodies. He is momentarily de-evolved into a Tyrannosaurus in the climax.
    • Also, check out the Tyrannosaurus's coloring, just before it turns into slime. Yellow muzzle and belly, green elsewhere... it's Bowser's color scheme!
  • The Mushroom King is Exactly What It Says on the Tin!
  • Scapelli is Mario's biggest enemy before he meets Koopa. Scapelli is turned into an ape. Scapelli is Donkey Kong. Another thing Scapelli and Donkey Kong have in common? They both sabotaged a construction site in progress...
  • When Mario and Luigi are escaping via police car, they accidentally ramp on top of another car. Meaning their escape is aided by doubling in height.

Fridge Horror

  • In Super Mario Bros. for the NES, part of the plot is that the Mushroom people were turned into inanimate objects like bushes and bricks. The very bricks that you can break by jumping into.
  • It's already established that Bowser is a wizard. Now, think back to how all of the enemies in the old Super Mario games were dull, rarely changed movement without bumping into something, completely oblivious to Mario (usually). Now, remember Boo and all the skeleton monsters? It makes sense to assume the Bowser is a necromancer (discussed in the Headscratchers page)... the enemies like Goombas are zombies.
    • Alternatively, outside of Bowser's explicitly undead forces (Boos and Dry Bones et. al), Bowser's early armed forces are all conscripts with little to no military training. Of course, they're not much threat — they have no idea what to do.
  • Playing the games, we usually sort of come to assume the Toads are the good guys and the Koopas are evil invaders. Yet the existence of occasional friendly Koopas and Goombas (such as in the RPG games) hints that those races are not Always Chaotic Evil... Ever pondered that the enemies ruthlessly stomped by Mario might be innocents forcibly recruited by Bowser? Adds a dark layer to a light-hearted game, doesn't it?
  • In New Super Mario Bros., Bowser is painfully Stripped to the Bone after falling in lava. Back in Super Mario World, four of the Koopalings fall into lava after Mario defeats them.
    • When the four fall into the lava in the SMW remake for the GBA (in order it was Iggy, Lemmy, Wendy O., and Larry), they shrieked. No other Koopalings made any real sound when they were defeated. Also, in the case of Lemmy and Wendy O., they flail as they sink.
    • In New Super Mario Bros, you just get through with effectively killing Bowser and realize his son was in the other room.
  • In New Super Mario Bros. Wii, there are spiny enemies called urchins which float in the water and can change their depth. You can shoot the urchins with an ice flower, and after unfreezing, they lose control of their buoyancy and sink to the seafloor. Why? Because you froze them and burst their internal organs.

The Film

  • Toad's song tells us that in Dinohattan, cars run on electricity because fossil fuels are sacred. But then, how is electricity generated in the first place? Well, since water is a scarce commodity in Dinohattan, not through hydropower. And not through thermal or nuclear power either, because they involve boiling water and using steam to move turbines. What remains? Geothermal? Possibly. But there is one cheap, disposable, renewable resource that dictators have no remorse to exploit. Manpower. Considering Koopa's attitude, electricity in Dinohattan could very well be generated by workers whose job is to use their own muscular force to move the turbines all day. Probably, had such a scene been shot with the naive vision of the 1990s, the workers would have been slaves or prisoners. But the modern cynical attitude would suggest a much more horrific alternative: a Dinohattan with a skyrocketing unemployment rate and Koopa's promise of new jobs, which he implements as gulag-like labor camps, where people are forced to produce electricity for the city and are paid a pittance, faced with the only alternative to get no money at all.
    • According to Word of God, confirmed by concept art, electricity in Dinohattan comes from the meteorite's geomagnetic energy. The meteorite chamber was supposed to be a wide, deep underground abyss, with tunnels at the two extremities, connected by a bridge high above the chasm and with a huge machine above the bridge to collect the energy. The only reason it didn't look like that in the final movie was the budget.
  • Also from the film: How does Scapelli's crew constantly manage to beat the Mario brothers to various plumbing jobs after the Marios are hired? Scapelli is very likely tapping their phone lines.
  • As mentioned on the film page in Evolutionary Levels, there are separate settings on the de-evolution ray for physical and intellectual transformation. This means Koopa intentionally let the King retain his intelligence as a way of tormenting him. This comes back to bite him when the King intentionally chokes the city and helps the Mario Bros.
    • Related to the above, the scene at the Boom-Boom Bar when Lena is downing a drink with a small talking creature who begs for his life. At first, it seems like a minor Black Comedy gag, but then you remember the de-evolution chamber.