Bowser, the iconic villain of Nintendo’s flagship Mario franchise first appeared in the 1985 smash hit “Super Mario Brothers”. Since then he has appeared in every major Mario game, his status as Mario’s arch nemesis and as the primary antagonist of the series have made him into one of the most recognizable and important Video game characters to date. Bowser’s plot and role differ a bit from game to game but in most Mario games his primary goal remains the same, kidnap Princess Peach and become the ruler of the Mushroom Kingdom, and in every game so far he has been thwarted and defeated by the platforming plumber and star of the series, Mario.
Bowser was created in 1985 by legendary game designer Shigeru Miyamoto to serve as the villain for Super Mario Brothers. His original appearance was very similar to that of the turtle like Koopas seen throughout the Mario universe, living up to his other title “King Koopa”. He appeared as the final boss in the original game with the ability to breathe fire, and toss volleys hammers similar to the weapons of Hammer Bros.
He has maintained his fire breathing ability throughout the years but no longer throws hammers. Additions to his move pool throughout the years include more advanced fire tactics, ground pounding, and in the Super Smash Bros. series he is able to grind his foes into submission using his spiky backside. Bowser has returned as the final boss for nearly every Mario game, with very few exceptions such as Super Paper Mario and Super Mario Bros. 2.
The etymology of Bowser's name has roots in Korean cuisine: gukbap are Korean soup dishes that include rice ("guk" in Korean is translated as "soup with rice"). The Japanese word for gukbap is kuppa (pronounced "Koopa" in Japan). Mario creator Shigeru Miyamoto used this word as inspiration when naming the character Bowser Koopa. Miyamoto revealed in an interview with Famitsu magazine that he considered naming all of Mario's enemies after Korean dishes in this fashion.
Bowser has shown a variety of different abilities and unique traits throughout the Mario franchise, below are a few qualities that Bowser posses that make an admirable foe for Mario and his pals:
- Incredible Strength. Bowser has shown on several occasions that he can use his increased size and strength as an advantage in battle. When Mario had his 3D debut on the N64, Bowser gained the ability jump high in the air cause tremendous damage upon landing. In some stages Bowser pounds the ground with enough force to release damaging sonic waves, and sometimes destroy parts of the arena. He also uses his strength in the Super Smash Bros. series to fight various opponents with his Flying Slam, Bowser Bomb, and the Whirling Fortress. These moves are strong!
- Fiery Breath. Bowser's greatest asset over his lesser Koopas is his ability to breathe devastating streams of fire, including fireballs that will occasionally home in on Mario and chase him down. Fried enemies, anyone?
- Command of the Koopa Troop. As Bowser is a King he is in charge of a large number of followers, his army is mostly made up of common Koopas and Goombas, but he also has more deadly henchman that he uses less frequently as small bosses including his son Bowser Jr.
- Harnessing Star Power. Ever since Mario 64 Bowser has been utilizing power stars to try and halt Mario from pursuing him. He can use the power from these stars to seal off worlds, power his contraptions, and even create new galaxies.
Bowser does not appear exclusively in main stay Mario games, he has also appeared in numerous spin off games. In many cases Bowser is not even the villain in these spin offs and has occasionally been forced to join up with the good guys. Possibly Bowser's most well known appearance outside of regular Mario games is in the Mario Kart franchise. He usually is one of the heaviest characters, and has his own level, appropriately titled " Bowser's Castle" which is updated in each new installment of the series. He also appears as playable character and anti-hero of sorts in recent games like Mario & Luigi: Bowser's Inside Story, Super Paper Mario and Super Smash Bros. Brawl. As a staple character he appears in some form in nearly every Mario game, and will undoubtedly continue to return in future Mario games and spin offs. Bowser also appeared in the SNES version of Sim City. He played the role of Godzilla, and would come and terrorize your city.
Giga Bowser made his first appearance in Super Smash Bros. Melee. He appeared in the final event in event mode, and he also appeared as a hidden boss. Giga Bowser appeared as a bigger, more fierce version of Bowser. He retained the same move set as Bowser, with incredibly boosted strength in all his attacks and some other extra added effects with certain attacks, such as freezing. Giga Bowser takes a lot of damage before he can be launched and rarely flinches. To fight Giga Bowser, beat Adventure on Normal or higher in less than 18 minutes.
In Super Smash Bros. Brawl, Giga Bowser became a transformation Bowser could execute as a final smash, upon getting a smash ball. He had a limited time in this transformation, but unlike Melee, this iteration of Giga Bowser never flinches, regardless of how he is attacked (although he still takes damage).
Dry Bowser is a skeletal version of the popular Bowser character from Nintendo's Mario franchise. He became dry once Mario pressed the button that destroyed the bridge and made Bowser fall into the lava.
Baby Bowser is a smaller, yet equally as fiendish, child version of Bowser. In most games with Baby Mario, Baby Bowser is there to be the lead antagonist. He is not to be confused with Bowser Jr., who is Bowser's child.
Dark Bowser is the final boss in Mario and Luigi: Bowser's Inside Story. He was created when Bowser inhaled the Dark Star.
Bowser also has 8 children in the family, the Koopalings, and his son Bowser Jr. In the last scene of New Super Mario Bros. Wii, the entire family helped his dad by pushing him right side up but they got crushed by Bowser's Castle due to the large strength.
|Voice Actor Name||Game(s)|
|Isaac Marshall||Super Mario 64, Mario Kart 64|
|Scott Burns||Mario Parties 4-7, Mario Superstar Baseball, Mario Super Sluggers, Mario Kart DS, Mario Hoops 3-on-3, and more|
|Eric Newsome||Mario Party 8, Super Paper Mario, Super Smash Bros. Brawl|
|Kenny James||Mario & Luigi: Bowser's Inside Story, Mario Kart Wii, Super Mario Galaxy,New Super Mario Bros. Wii, Super Mario Galaxy 2|
In all Mario Party games, Bowser has his own signature space and if any player lands on it, then Bowser will greet that person and has you to give coins to him, switch places, and getting items for you. But the worst of them all is playing Bowser minigames when someone lands on it in Mario Parties 4-7. If you lose, then Bowser will breathe fire on that unlucky person and he/she must give up coins or possibly a star!
Super Smash Bros.
With his first appearance in Super Smash Bros. Melee, Bowser is a playable character in the Super Smash Bros. series.
In Super Smash Bros. Melee, he is the heaviest character in the game, sporting strong but slow attacks, low range, and high traction. He is bottom tier on the tier list due to the mentioned flaws. However, with l-cancelling, players can reduce the lag Bowser has when he uses any aerials. He can use his traditional Fire Breath, along with a Ground Pound (as seen in Super Mario Bros. 3), Whirling Fortress, and Koopa Klaw. He is the final boss in the adventure mode, and if the players reaches a certain requirement, the trophy returns and cracks, showing Giga Bowser, a more vicious and threatening variation of Bowser.
In Super Smash Bros. Brawl, Bowser appears once more as a playable character. He keeps all of his moves from Super Smash Bros. Melee with an exception to his Side Special, Koopa Klaw, which has been changed to a more worthwhile move in which Bowser grabs his opponent, jumps in the air, and slams back to the ground. This can be used to suicide. He also has the ability to turn into Giga Bowser for a Final Smash.