4cr Minute Special: Nintendo Character Guide

by Gregory Gay

Here, in the 4cr Minute column, we normally share four or five cool things that we saw on the internet over the past day or two. I had a stack of cool links to share with y’all, and I’ll get back to that later this week, but when I saw that Blake Harris (author of Console Wars) had started posting scans from a 1993 Nintendo character guide, I knew that I had to devote an entire column to it.



T. motherfucking Yoshisaur Munchakoopas. That’s why.

Why has that never been a thing? I mean, I love that Mario’s last name is also Mario, but that’s nothing compared to how fantastic Yoshi’s real name is. Or, is that his species? The wording implies name, but Mario is mentioned by his species below that.

Oh, and what does the “T” stand for? Tyrannosaurus? Tiberius?

In all of this confusion, I nearly forgot about that “Mario’s species” thing. Homo nintendonus? Forget Munchakoopas, how has the fact that Mario is part of some heretofore undiscovered member of the homo genus gone unmentioned in the games? It seems kind of obvious in retrospect – no normal human could survive that many blows to the head – but the very idea that Nintendo might have some internal scientific explanation for Mario’s superhuman abilities is utterly delightful.

I thought that this character guide would answer all of my questions, but I’m only left with more and more as I continue to stare at these scans.

Speaking of Mario…


Broken squirt gun? Could it be? F.L.U.D.D.?

Other than the bit about squirt guns, there’s nothing too startling here. The real Mario lore dump is yet to come.


And you thought that there wasn’t much to Mario?

Y’know, I miss Mario being distinctly from Brooklyn. We’ve kind of lost that side to his character over the years. Call me a heretic, but I’ll take a Brooklyn accent over Charles Martinet’s screeching any day.

Anyway, let’s take this one bullet point at a time. Mario is adventurous? Sure, no surprises there. We’re talking about a man who can nonchalantly dive into giant sewer pipes that take him to nightmarish alternate dimensions where the mushrooms can talk. That either takes one hell of a sense of adventure, or an epic dose of stupidity. Possibly both. Mario is brave? See above.

Mario is curious? Fine. I’m beginning to lean towards the stupidity side of the scale. He doesn’t exactly have much in the way of self-preservation instinct.

Mario is resourceful? Hmm.. Perhaps not stupid. Perhaps he just lacks any sort of ability to feel fear. Perhaps he has just seen too much shit in his life to be worried about it anymore.

Mario is tolerant? Yep. That confirms it. Gay marriage? Interspecies love? Mario has seen too much to care about your mundane morality problems.

It makes sense. When your career starts with your girlfriend being kidnapped by an ape wearing a tie, and then a pipe transports you to a kingdom ruled by fungi and plagued by turtle monsters, a little bit of PTSD is probably to be expected.


Bowser hates the idea of happy fungi and throws about evil magic, but wonders why he can’t make any friends?

Bowser clearly has a few misconceptions about how friendship works, doesn’t he? I wonder if, at all of these Mario Parties, Bowser is there because he’s that guy that you invite because you feel kind of bad for him. He wants to make friends, but he just can’t function in social situations.

Man, I’m getting bummed out now. Poor Bowser.


Does Peach’s father not have a name? Is this like being the Pope? When you go from Prince Whatever to being the king, do you just become “The Mushroom King.” That’s actually a surprisingly imposing title, given just how cute most of his subjects are.

Anyways, what actually bothers me more is the use of the word “reanimation.” I assume they mean it in the sense that she will bring hope to her people and fight off the evil Koopas, but when I see the word “reanimate,” I usually assume that zombies are involved. Now, I can’t help but picture Princess Peach as some sort of Lich, surrounded by legions of loyal undead mushrooms.

On the plus side, at least her dress will remain starched and free of corpse stains.

(The art used in the article header comes from Club Nintendo Japan’s new Summer wallpaper set. You can grab the full image here, or a cool Zelda wallpaper here.)

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