#3. Super Mario Sunshine -- Bowser and the Princess's Love Affair
Here's one of the great unanswered questions in the Mario mythos: who is the mother of all of Bowser's children? There are eight of them in all, and Bowser bends over backwards to conquer random desert and water kingdoms for them to use as sandboxes. Yet, we've never seen a Queen Koopa.
Someone had to spawn these wretched abominations.
Super Mario Sunshine addresses this question head-on. In the game, Mario has to rescue Princess Peach (as usual), only this time the kidnapper turns out to be not Bowser, but his previously unrevealed eighth son: Bowser Jr. When asked why he was doing all this crap, he said the reason was because he wanted to protect his mother:
Bitch is straight-up kinky.
And in case you think the boy was just confused or misspoke or that we're taking it out of context, watch the cut-scene yourself:
There are plenty of appropriate reactions to a spiked turtle creature claiming you gave birth to him. Shock, revulsion, outright denial through shouting "inconceivable!" -- which would be an apt word choice in this case. Peach, however, chooses none of the above. Instead, she gets this expression on her face:
... and after a moment of shocked hesitation, says, "I'm your momma?"
The kid replies, "Yeah, papa told me all about it."
At this point she should say, "Well, your dad's confused, because I would remember banging a giant turtle" or "You have me mistaken for someone else -- someone with a much, much bigger vagina."
But, no -- instead, Peach says, "So you're Bowser's son?"
Oh, the perils of magic mushrooms!
That's right. When he called her "momma," it all made sense to her once she found out Bowser was the father. That is, she knew she had banged Bowser, gotten pregnant and abandoned a child at some point, but just needed to know that this was that kid.
"I can't remember most of the 80s, on account of all the coke."
If you're not understanding why this is creepy on a level with giant forest eyeballs, enjoy this video of giant turtles boning:
Now imagine Princess Peach is on the bottom.
The creepiest part is that this does sort of make sense: For every main character in the Mario series there is a female counterpart with the exception of Bowser, so it stands to reason that Peach birthed that monstrosity. We've already pointed out that she keeps allowing herself to be kidnapped, as if she and Bowser had some sort of weird fetish game going on. Add that to the fact that every special event Peach invites Mario to (eating cake, going on vacation, celebrating a festival) somehow turns out to be a death trap, and it's like Bowser and Peach are continually trying to get rid of Mario but he just can't take a hint.
Mario is the only thing standing in the way of a happy family.
And while we're on the subject of interspecies sex ...
#2. Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga -- Post-Op Bowser
Gender-bending is a strangely recurring concept in the Mario series. Birdo from Super Mario 2 was described in the instruction booklet as a boy who thought he was a girl, and a character in Paper Mario: Thousand-Year Door had similar gender-identity issues (made more troubling by the fact that he/she has a crush on Mario).
All the fly ladies have a crush on Mario.
But the Game Boy Advance RPG Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga trumps them all. The game's two main villains are Bowser and some witch named Cackletta. The Mario brothers defeat them both in due time because that's how they roll. But the game doesn't end there, because that would make too much sense. No, instead what happens is that Cackletta's soul possesses Bowser's unconscious body.
There's no way this was consensual.
That's not the weird part, though. What happens is that Cackletta's soul in Bowser's body doesn't just mean Bowser's body has a new rider in the passenger seat, it means that Bowser becomes fused with whatever Cackletta was in the first place, creating something called ... Bowletta.
Which is basically Bowser, but with heaving bosoms.
Bowletta can also turn into Dark Bowletta -- which is basically Al Jolson, but with heaving bosoms.
Anyways, this new villain is so powerful that the Mario brothers are forced to come up with a zany scheme to defeat it that includes making Luigi dress up as Princess Peach -- you know, just in case you thought it was only the villains who had issues with gender identity.
Another disturbing thing here is that if you search "Bowletta" on Google Images, most of the results are fan arts. Apparently, Bowletta's one and only appearance was enough to capture the imagination of dozens of weirdos with DeviantArt accounts. Do not, for all that is holy, search with the filter off.
Just what we wanted to see.
#1. Super Mario Bros. -- The Minus World
The fact that this one was an unplanned glitch only makes it scarier. The Minus World is a hidden level in the original 1985 Super Mario Bros, game, but here's the thing: Nobody put it there. It's essentially a collection of raw game data which, through sheer coincidence, manifested itself in the form of a playable level.
A ghost in the Game Boy, if you will.
The way it works is this: You know the "warp zone" at the end of Level 1-2? When you reach it, there are three pipes that let you skip ahead to a different World, up to World 4.
And this is why nobody has ever seen the rest of world 1.
However, if you enter the warp zone through an alternative path, you can go into the first pipe before a destination level is assigned to it by the game.
Notice there's no "4" above the pipe.
As a result, the game doesn't know where to send you, and you end up in a "non-level." The reason the screen shows a "-1" is because the game always tries to read the symbol above the pipe to figure out where you're going, and in this case, the only symbol is "absolute nothingness." So instead of showing something like "7-2" (World 7, Level 2) it shows you " -1" (World nothing, Level 1).
What you'll find inside the Minus World goes against everything you know as a Mario player: In the U.S. version of the game, Mario is stuck in an underwater level that repeats itself in an endless loop, so it just goes on forever until an enemy kills him or the time runs out. The Japanese version, however, is several levels long, and you can see insane stuff such as underwater enemies on land, a sometimes decapitated flying Bowser and an underwater flagpole without the flag.
Like this game needed to be more insane.
Perhaps more troublingly, a couple times you can see Princess Peach just floating there, minding her own business -- which is pretty bizarre, because she's the rarest character in the game. You only see her at the end. If this is randomly generated, shouldn't that be a turtle or something?
The laws of probability do not apply to this place.
Some dudes have gone even further by hacking the game go beyond the American version of -1. Basically, if you use a level editor to add a flagpole in the middle of the "endless" level, you can force the game to send you to whatever's next. Others have used the same technique to find out what's after World 8 (the final world), and the answer is: even more freaky stuff.
Why would this happen?
It's that corruption of the familiar that makes this so unsettling. Chances are, most people reading this have played this game one or two or 97 times. Finding out all this stuff is hidden inside something so familiar is like accidentally stumbling across a secret room in your childhood home and walking in on your mother doing it with a clown.
Peter File is a mild-mannered reporter by day, but by night, he is usually asleep.
For more games that went too far, check out The 10 Most Terrifying Video Game Enemies of All Time and 6 Baffling Old-School Video Game Commercials.