For almost as long as Mario has been around to shoot out fireballs, jump on Goombas, and go down Warp Pipes, he’s had Bowser (or King Koopa) as his major adversary. If Mario is one of the most iconic heroes in all of video games, then Bowser is definitely the most famous villain in the industry. Bowser has appeared in over 100 video games and his character has progressively evolved and changed through the years, but the broader strokes have always remained the same.
However, even though many of the general details about Bowser are widely known, there are plenty of misconceptions and nuggets of information that people are uninformed about when it comes to Bowser’s heritage and the other members of the Koopa clan. Accordingly, Here Are 20 Things About Bowser’s Family Everyone Gets Wrong.
20 Bowser’s Real Quest Is To Get Bowser Jr. A Mom
It’s easy to get caught up in the more megalomaniacal behavior from Bowser’s career. It’s pretty standard procedure for him to march his Koopa troop through kingdoms and systemically take them over. That being said, at a closer inspection, Bowser really has a much more human goal. Bowser’s villainy typically revolves around the kidnapping of Princess Peach and upon the reveal of Bowser Jr., it’s revealed that Bowser just wants to give his kid a mom and a complete family. Bowser Jr. even painstakingly refers to Peach as “Mama” in a number of games.
19 Bowser’s An Orphan
There’s a lot of debate that goes on in the nature versus nurture discussion, but many people believe that someone’s upbringing and childhood can have a demonstrable effect on who they became. Titles like Yoshi’s Island and Mario & Luigi: Partners in Time that feature Baby Bowser actually explain that Bowser grew up without parents. Strangely, Bowser appears to have largely been raised by Kamek. Bowser is a tyrant with a chip on his shoulder, but if had loving parents, might he have grown up to be someone different?
18 The Koopalings Are Not Bowser’s Children
One of the biggest misconceptions and debates that stems from Bowser and his family is the character’s connection to the seven Koopalings. The Koopalings make their debut in Super Mario Bros. 3 and were widely considered (and in some cases reported) to be Bowser’s children. They’ve seen been referred to as Bowser’s minions and “bad boys,” but some regional translations still refer to them as his children, even though Shigeru Miyamoto has set the record straight and said that’s not the case.
17 They’re Gamers
Characters like Bowser and Mario are the figureheads of such fantastical adventures that it’s sometimes easy to forget that they also conceivably have downtime and hobbies that they like to do in their spare time. Bowser may sometimes lose the sympathy vote as a villain, but it’s deeply relatable to learn that he and his family are actually fans of video games themselves. During a Nintendo Direct to showcase Nintendo Switch Online, Bowser is seen playing Ghosts 'n Goblins and then later he and Bowser Jr. play Ice Climbers together.
16 Bowser Jr. Does Have A Mother
The addition of Bowser Jr. to the Mario canon brought a whole bunch of questions along with him. If he’s supposed to be Bowser’s son and the heir to the Koopa Kingdom, then who exactly is his mother? Many gamers started to think that there wasn't a mother in this equation and that there was perhaps some kind of asexual explanation, but Miyamoto later spoke to the matter and claimed that wasn't the case. Additionally, he knows who Bowser Jr.’s mother is, but won’t reveal the answer (although he’s joked that it’s Bowser.)
15 Their Anatomy Is Full Of Pipes
The Mario & Luigi RPG series have featured some of the most creative spins on the typical Mario adventures. The DS entry in the series, Bowser's Inside Story, takes a page from out of Fantastic Voyage's book and concocts a story where Mario and Luigi need to go inside Bowser's body and fight the dangers that are plaguing him within. Bowser’s Inside Story examines the nuts and bolts of Bowser’s anatomy and how the King of Koopas can actually perform many of his signature functions. One of the biggest pieces of information that gets revealed is that Bowser is actually filled with a series of pipes that help him do things like breathe out fire. It’s unclear if the Koopalings or Bowser Jr. are also filled with internal pipes that help them out, but it’s not impossible!
14 They're Capable Of Great Intelligence And Some Are Even Doctors
Characters like Bowser, or even Bowser Jr. and the Koopalings, are typically known for their severe brawn as opposed to their intelligence. Koopas are prickly dinosaur-like creatures, after all. Bowser and his family’s strengths may lie in their physical abilities, but their brains shouldn’t be underestimated. The recent Dr. Mario World has Wendy and Ludwig both serve as doctors who assist Dr. Mario in taking down the virus threat. On top of that, it features the debut of Dr. Bowser, himself.
13 Family Is Skilled In The Arts
The Koopalings are typically portrayed as an eccentric lot of characters. If Bowser is the aggressive, in control authority type, then the Koopalings are his wild, more immature impulses. It’s easy to write off the Koopalings as insane, but they’re much more complex than that. Each of the Koopalings have their own theme that incorporates a different instrument and style of music, which perhaps implies they can play that given instrument since it’s meant to represent them. Furthermore, Bowser Jr. wields the Magic Paintbrush, which shows his artistic side and his interests in the area.
12 Bowser’s Final Forms Are Not Necessarily Hereditary
The Super Mario series has always had power-ups and abilities that seemed crazy at the time, but they’ve become even more outrageous as the series goes on. What’s even more interesting is that Mario and friends aren’t the only ones with special abilities and forms. Bowser himself has gone through some ridiculous transformations, such as Giga Bowser, Dry Bowser, Dark Bowser, and Shrowser. However, all of these are just specific to him and not anyone else in his family. You’d think at this point there’d have been a Dry Bowser Jr. if it were something that he had in him.
11 They Make The Cut For The Coveted Title Of Star Children
Various Mario games and side series like to feature characters that are special and “chosen” in some respect. It makes a great recipe for a video game. Accordingly, in the Yoshi’s Island sequel, Yoshi’s Island DS, Kamek reveals that there are seven star children who possess extraordinary powers. A grown Bowser, from the future, attempts to launch an attack on these star children, but one of them is in fact Baby Bowser. Perhaps future offsprings of Bowser will also be star children in the making.
10 The Koopalings Aren’t All The Same Age And There Is A Hierarchy In Place
Since all of the Koopalings enter the Super Mario canon at the same time and are typically a package deal, it’s easy to lump all of the characters together and make generalizations about the lot. Even though the Koopalings all look different, it wouldn’t be crazy to assume that they all came at the same time, but Super Mario Bros. 3 actually reveals the subtleties to their ages. It’s presumed that the Koopalings, from youngest to oldest, are Larry Koopa, Morton Koopa Jr, Wendy O. Koopa, Iggy Koopa, Roy Koopa, Lemmy Koopa, and Ludwig von Koopa, due to how this is the order that they're fought in Super Mario Bros. 3. That being said, only Larry and Ludwig’s placement have been confirmed.
9 He Could Be Related To Goombas
This is perhaps a bit of a more twisted take on Bowser’s family tree, but he’s a character that’s pulled off enough evil schemes that it’s hardly something that’s outside of his wheelhouse. In the original Super Mario Bros., all of the impostor Bowsers that Mario fights before the end turn out to be Goombas that Bowser’s transformed. While unlikely, it’s possible that Bowser maybe did the same thing to form the Koopaliings.
8 His Family Is Skilled In Magic
Once again, Bowser and his kin are characters that easily get shoehorned into the category of brute. They’re dangerous individuals, but their skills go far beyond the physical. Magic is alive and well in the Mushroom Kingdom, but it’s something that Mario surprisingly doesn’t have at his disposal.
However, Bowser and the Koopalings all cast spells and Bowser Jr. wields mystical objects, which implies he’s gifted in the area, too. Plus, there’s Kamek, who could be apart of Bowser’s family tree. Bowser is even sometimes referred to as the “Great Sorcerer King Koopa,” so his magical skills are a big deal.
7 Bowser’s Technically Married to Peach
It’s one thing to create a twisted narrative that you hold onto so tightly that you begin to believe that it’s real, but Bowser has actually married Princess Peach at one point through his many adventures. It stands to reason that with the hundreds of plans that Bowser has attempted that he’d push things through on the marriage front at least once, which is exactly what happens. With the help of Count Bleck, Bowser and Peach do finally tie the knot in Super Paper Mario, even if the circumstances may be highly contentious. At a point, she was technically a member of Bowser’s big, weird family.
6 They're Entrepreneurs
A lot of the time Bowser’s destructive impulses and his desires for conquest are what get focused on, but it’s not as if all of his success has been acquired by stealing it from other people. Bowser clearly has a gift as an invading tyrant, but he and his family have also been able to prove themselves as capable in the business world, too. In the controversial outlier title, Hotel Mario, not only does Bowser have a hotel, but each Koopaling has their own hotel, except Iggy, who's with Bowser.
5 The Family Are Masters Of The Warp Pipe
Warp pipes are so plenty in the Super Mario universe that it’s extremely easy to take them for granted. They’re such a staple of the Mushroom Kingdom that you almost stop seeing them at a certain point and forget to periodically check if they hide secrets underneath. Mario may know his way around a warp pipe, but Bowser and his family have mastered the transportation device on a whole other level. All of the Koopalings (except Larry) heavily use warp pipes defensively in Super Mario World and continue the trend in some capacity after that.
4 They Can’t All Breathe Fire
Koopas are likely victims of prejudice too, just like anyone else. It’s easy to assume that due to their appearance and villainous nature that Bowser and everyone like him are capable of breathing fire as an offensive projectile. Well, that hasn’t always been the case. The facts are that Bowser can, the Koopalings can’t, and Bowser Jr. initially isn’t able to, but shows development throughout the course of the games. He first shows signs of improvement in Mario Strikers Charged, before he gains a hold on the ability.
3 They're Skilled Pilots
So much of the Super Mario games take place on land, or sometimes the water, that the sky is an area of the games that often goes overlooked. Sure, there’s typically not much action up there, but sometimes there are great secrets. Bowser and his kind are well versed in exploring the air. The Koopalings and Bowser Jr. use airships to get around and Bowser of course uses his Clown Car, even when he's a child (Bowser Jr also uses his own version.)
2 They Live In A Cushy Home, Not A Castle
So many of the showdowns with Bowser, Bowser Jr., and the Koopalings are set within some kind of castle that it’d be safe to jump to the conclusion that that’s also where these Koopas hang up their hats at night. The website for Mario Power Tennis reveals some fascinating information that says that Bowser Jr. lives on 49 Lava Cul-De-Sac, Magma Manor. So unless that’s just his mailing address, it stands to reason that castles are just a day thing before they return to modern elegance at night.
1 Lemmy Is The One Koopaling That Fights Defensively
The Bowser battles in Super Mario Bros. are iconic, but all follow a somewhat similar pattern. The advent of the Koopalings in Super Mario Bros. 3 is that they each bring a different kind of battle strategy to the table to try and trip you up. While all of the Koopalings are different, they tend to share in common that they take offensive approaches to battle, except for Lemmy, who’s the black sheep who uses a defensive strategy. Granted, Wendy adopts Lemmy’s strategy in Super Mario World, so maybe he’s able to push his approach on others in the family, but for the most part they’re not defensive creatures.
These are all of the most interesting details about Bowser and his family that we wanted to set the record straight on, but there are even more misconceptions out there. Sound off over your favorites in the comments below.
Sources: TheGamer.com, ScreenRant.com, MarioWiki.com