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Old 02-21-2010, 08:56 PM   #1
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Exclamation The one about Bowser Jr.

I just readed this and is interesting:

Ah, Bowser Jr. When he first surfaced in Super Mario Sunshine, he was met with so much hate from the fanbase. But the bile gradually declined, and I see more and more people saying he's kind of cool, or otherwise explaining how he's grown on them. Now, I do not endorse embracing fanboyish rage or anything, but I would just like to calmly explain WHY I, as an old-time Mario fan, find Bowser Jr. extremely unappealing. I may be preaching to the choir here, but hopefully there's a couple Jr. fans surfing the Net so we can get some interesting discussion out of this.

Jr.'s first offense: adding to the Baby Bowser/Koopa Kid mess.

Gamers were introduced to Baby Bowser, as well as the Baby Mario Bros, in 1995's Yoshi's Island. Here, it's perfectly clear why they're babies: the game takes place in the past. But lingering on Yoshi's Island too long has reduced me to feverish praise and drooling, incoherent rants in the past, so let's move on. We can assume the same is true in Yoshi's Story, though they're really not explicit about that, and as it is a new generation of Yoshies, with no sign of Baby Mario, this COULD theoretically be a Bowser Jr. appearance. But seeing as it's a sequel to Island (as much as Nintendo tries to deny that now), I doubt it.

Then the Mario Party series really starts messin' things up by introducing a different Baby Bowser: apparently one of many identical tykes that co-exist with the adult Bowser. They do not explicitly refer to them as Bowser's son, and particular items can transform them into Bowser. Baby Mario ignored the small paradox of being the same person as his adult self in Mario Golf, so was Bowser doing that here? Or are these just members of a class of minions with a very disturbing fixation on their boss? Given the fact that half the Mario Parties end up being a play or something anyway (I quit when the series left the 64, so I don't know how later installments are framed), I don't think it really matters. The Cube era helped a little by rebranding them "Koopa Kids" and assigning multiple versions individual colors, which seemed to point to the "unhealthily obsessed minion" category. Aside from showcasing some incredible laziness in character design, Koopa Kid is now free of this mess.

Then along comes Bowser Jr. While Sunshine makes his father/son relationship with Bowser explicitly clear, a lot of people didn't play Sunshine. Thus, seeing him alongside Baby Mario and Baby Luigi (and Peach, and Daisy, and who knows who else in the future) in various sports games, they assume Bowser is doing the whole time-warp thing as well.

Then Alphadream, of all companies, contributes to this tangle by redesigning Baby Bowser (Bowser as a kid, from the past) to look and sound identical to Jr! Argh!

For sorting-out purposes:

Baby Bowser (Yoshi's Island series, Partners in Time): Bowser as a baby
Koopa Kid (formerly Baby Bowser, Mario Party series): palette-swapped sickos
Bowser Jr. (Mario Sunshine, every Mario sports game since): Bowser's son
Koopalings (aka Koopa Kids, but not the Party ones. Nothing in this decade aside from Superstar Saga): Bowser's OTHER kids

Second offense: upstaging the Koopalings

This seems to be the hardest one for newer fans to understand. And honestly, SMB2 and Yoshi's Island have much cooler bosses than the games the Koopalings featured in. But it's just the fact that the Koopalings were seven of eight bosses in both Super Mario Bros. 3 AND Super Mario World. Aside from the wondrous Yoshi's Island, those are my personal "big guns" of the Mario series. Being an icon in either one makes you immortal (hence why we remember Kuribo's Shoe to this day), but both? That is a seriously impressive resume.

Which would make you think they'd have an easier time finding work afterward. They snapped up some roles in Yoshi's Safari and Mario is Missing, but then dropped completely off the map. And when Bowser Jr. appeared in Sunshine, I just had this feeling: Bowser had disowned his first batch of kids.

Alphadream gets credit for bringing them back for one last hurrah in the original Mario & Luigi, but non-speaking mini-boss roles is hardly satisfying for the star villains of the 2nd and 3rd best Mario games of all time. Now, to be fair, the Koopalings had been absent nearly ten years by the time Bowser Jr. even showed up, but he, along with the multiple "Koopa Kids" of Mario Party, just rubbed it in our faces that Nintendo never intends for them to amount to anything again.

I'm not gonna pretend they had personality- any hint of characterization fans attribute to them comes from the cartoons. And even their fighting styles were derivative of each other's. But even so, in the late 80s/early 90s, Nintendo comes up with seven children of Bowser, each looking different from the rest and their father, and come up with four unique fighting styles between them (in each game). Quite the step up from SMB and Lost Levels, and considerably superior to Mario Party's palette swaps and Bowser Jr.'s status as a clone of his father's baby self. Mario Party's dismissable, but you have ONE major villain to introduce in the GameCube's only Mario platformer, and you can't even come near the effort put into an 8-bit game as old as I am? That's not even a matter of preferring the Koopalings, Bowser Jr. just epitomizes lazy character design.

But aside from his lackluster roots, I can kind of understand him being chosen over his much older siblings for the various sports games: as a developer, you could only fit a Koopaling or two in (because you've gotta make room for Baby Peach and Baby Wario and Baby Petey and Baby King Boo), and it would probably be unnecessarily divisive of the old-school fans to reject their favorite. Well, I don't think that'd be quite as bad as alienating ALL the old-school fans with a character that serves THE EXACT SAME PURPOSE in a more generic way, but still, this is passable.

But let's look at New Super Mario Bros. As anyone who played it, or even looked into the game post-release, would know, the game draws just as much from SMB3, SMW, and even SM64 as it does from SMB1. So, foolishly, I got my hopes up for Koopalings. I was also psyched for Yoshi, but that was quashed early on by an interview declaring Yoshi was too recent and "doesn't fit." I do have to call total BS on a game with Red Coins, Unagi the Eel and Petey Pirahna rejecting one of the primary elements of 1991's Super Mario World, but that's neither here nor there. More to the point, as anyone who's played it knows, there are no Koopalings in NSMB. Rather, Bowser Jr. takes a decisive role. And the "only one character slot" excuse isn't gonna fly here: you face Bowser Jr. no less than TEN TIMES in NSMB. And the battles have exactly one variation: later ones force you to throw a shell at him in order to topple him.

So in this game that is way too old-school for Yoshi (that guy's from the NINETIES!) we pass up the villains of SMB3 (1988) in favor of the one from Sunshine (2002)? And NSMB even takes away the "you're just being nostalgic" guilt from my argument, because from every objective sense, the Koopaling boss battles (in SMB3 OR SMW) are superior to the Bowser Jr. ones. Any thoughts that they were cutting corners when they reused 3 fighting styles in both of those games were purged when I realized Bowser Jr. couldn't even offer that many in NSMB.

Galaxy is less offensive objectively, because there's once again only need for one minion, but it does unnecessarily oppose my nostalgic self. Seeing Bowser Jr. riding an airship, battling your way across a fleet to do battle with him and a posse of Magikoopas and Koopa Troopas, and picturing Ludwig or Wendy in that spot...somewhere inside me, a five-year-old boy is crying.

To me, this really comes down to a personal quibble I have with all forms of fiction: change for the sake of change. More particularly: look at the NEW character, and watch how we explicitly demonstrate his COOLNESS at the expense of the old one (who fulfilled a completely identical purpose). The Mario series is guilty of this in a few cases, but this is the one that hits home for me.
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Old 02-21-2010, 09:18 PM   #2
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I'm going to be completely honest, but I actually liked Bowser Jr, and he was one of my favorite characters in Sunshine, and I never followed the Super Mario story(thus I didn't know that the Kooplings in SMW were Bowsers children at the time)much soooo......
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Old 02-22-2010, 12:54 AM   #3
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the koopalings are better
Bowser Jr. i do not like
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Old 02-22-2010, 01:11 AM   #4
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Why all the hate? It's just a character. I don't know why people get so upset about this kind of thing.
This entire issue was taken care of in New Super Mario Bros. Wii.
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Old 02-22-2010, 05:01 PM   #5
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i'm not going to read all of that but what i can say is that he sucks and he sucks even more by beeing bowser's favorite son. i think even iggy could be his favorite but not him.
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Old 02-22-2010, 05:28 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mikematute View Post
i'm not going to read all of that but what i can say is that he sucks and he sucks even more by beeing bowser's favorite son. i think even iggy could be his favorite but not him.
I all but comepletely agree with you matute.
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Old 02-22-2010, 09:36 PM   #7
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too many koopaling fanboys
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Old 02-25-2010, 12:31 PM   #8
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too many koopaling fanboys
Bowser Jr. fanboy
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Old 02-26-2010, 01:36 PM   #9
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bowser jr is awsome i wounder if he can take over the world?
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Old 03-04-2010, 10:54 PM   #10
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bowser jr is awsome i wounder if he can take over the world?
that's reserved for Lemmy or ludwig
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