Congratulations, you just made it through level 1-4. You’ve stomped and kicked and swam through droves of enemies. Treacherous pits didn’t phase you. Hungry plants couldn’t get to you. Little brown walking mushrooms named like so many Italian mobsters were no match for your skills as a Pisano plumber from Brooklyn. After hitting the bridge release, strangely shaped like an axe, King Koopa drops into the lava below. Time to rescue the maiden in distress, right? Nope. Denied. A spunky little fungus pops out and tells you “Our princess is in another castle.” What happens next? Do you go home? Not a chance. Like the love-struck hero you are, you press on. Level 2-4, level 3-4, level 4-4. Wash, rinse, repeat. Then, finally, you make it to level 8-4. King Koopa is finally defeated and you finally reach Princess Toadstool, or Peach to her friends. Happy ending, right? All’s well in the Mushroom Kingdom, isn’t it?
Not on your life. The princess gets kidnapped again by King Koopa, Bowser to his enemies. And again, you survive life-threatening levels and rescue her. And just when you think everything is back to normal…it happens again! Over and over this woman gets captured by Bowser. And over and over you rescue her. Have you ever stopped to ask yourself why you keep doing this? It’s been 25 years, hasn’t she done something to stop this herself? She is royalty after all. I think there might be something more to this story than meets the eye.
We know how much the Princess loves inviting others to different events. Soon after being kidnapped by Bowser, he starts showing up at go-kart races and parties. Next thing you know, he’s part of sporting events and investment deals. The same creature who threatened a kingdom for years starts to play with the same people he intended to harm. Now my understanding of the female gender is minimal at best, but I do know that the “bad boy” attraction only lasts for so long. This proves that there has to be something deeper.
It’s my non-medical opinion that our dear Princess suffers from Stockholm Syndrome. Merriam-Webster defines Stockholm Syndrome as “the psychological tendency of a hostage to bond with, identify with or sympathize with his or her captor.” Peach is a such a shining case of Stockholm Syndrome it amazes me no one has brought it to the resident Mushroom Kingdom psychiatrist. Bowser captures her, Mario rescues her. Does she stay with Mario for protection? No. She goes and gets captured again. And when most women would try to look for a way out, Peach just sits back. While Mario is beating up on Bowser’s minions, the captor and captive are probably talking long into the night. Bowser, and I’m simply speculating here, has kids and needs a woman’s help. She takes over the mother role left by someone, maybe herself.
Again, I’m not a doctor and don’t claim to have any medical knowledge, but it would seem to me that our dear Peach likes spending time with Bowser. As is characteristic of people diagnosed with Stockholm Syndrome, she has come to identify and empathize with her kidnapper. If you’ve played more recent games involving Peach and Bowser, you’ll notice she doesn’t really ask for help from Mario any more. She doesn’t seem to mind being around Bowser.
What amazes me, though, is that Mario still feels the need to rescue her. What was once probably love has escalated to something worse. I couldn’t find a proper medical term for it so I’ll call it Captain America Syndrome or a need to always be the hero even when it isn’t necessary. I mean, Mario’s in the Olympics for crying out loud.
I wonder if the Mushroom Kingdom has their own version of the American Medical Association. If they do, someone should really look into these issues. And while they’re at it, look into the resident Kingdom psychiatrist. I smell malpractice. Class action lawsuit anyone?
Just In Bailey –an homage to the secret code from Metriod, which allowed you to play as Samus Aran without her suit– is an editorial column at Vagary.TV brought to you by Joey Alesia. Each week Joey will challenge you to look at a different perspective of the characters, gameplay, and/or plot in your favorite games. Chat up your thoughts below, or send Joey an e-mail at Joey.Alesia@vagary.tv