Princess Peach is the princess of the Mushroom Kingdom. She was created by Shigeru Miyamoto and first appeared in the game Super Mario Bros. Outside of Japan, Princess Peach was named "Princess Toadstool," ostensibly because Nintendo's western offices felt that it was a more appropriate name for the princess of the Mushroom Kingdom. This western naming convention remained in place until the western release of the game Yoshi's Safari, which became the first game to use her original name outside of Japan. The introductory letter in Super Mario 64 implies that her name really is Toadstool, and that "Peach" is a nickname. The Princess frequently plays a key supporting role in the plots of the Mario games and in some games is featured as a playable character.
Princess Peach is a friend of Mario and Luigi and is portrayed as Mario's love interest. She is also a friend of Princess Daisy of Sarasaland. Her main role in the Super Mario series is as a damsel-in-distress, usually being kidnapped by the evil king of the Koopas, Bowser. This aspect of her character has been the subject of parody, including self-parody in games such as the Paper Mario series, in which her frequent kidnappings have resulted in her learning to plan ahead for the occasion.
Princess Peach first became a playable character in the North American Super Mario Bros. 2. Later playable appearances include Super Smash Bros. Melee and Brawl, Super Mario RPG, and Super Paper Mario, in addition to her appearances in numerous Mario-themed sports games.
Princess Peach has also starred in her own platforming game, Super Princess Peach, in which the classic roles are reversed and she adventures to save Mario and Luigi. In her playable appearances, she frequently uses a variety of tools to deal damage, including a glove slap, a frying pan, a tennis racket, and a parasol.
The voice of Princess Peach has been portrayed by a variety of actresses over the years. Some of these actresses are listed below.
- Jocelyn Benford: In Hotel Mario
- Leslie Swan: Super Mario 64, Super Mario 64 DS, Super Paper Mario and the English version of Mario Kart 64
- Asako Kozuki: Mario Party, Mario Party 2 and the Japanese version of Mario Kart 64
- Jen Taylor: Mario Golf 64, Mario Party 3, Mario Party 4, Mario Party 5, Mario Party 6, Mario Party 7, Super Princess Peach, Mario Hoops 3-on-3 and Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games. Jen Taylor's Peach voice can also be heard in Super Smash Bros. Brawl over the Wii Remote speaker when a player selects Peach.
- Nicole Mills: Mario & Luigi: Partners in Time and Super Mario Strikers. Mills also does the voice for Baby Peach in Mario & Luigi: Partners in Time, Yoshi's Island DS and Mario Kart Wii.
- Samantha Kelly: Super Mario Galaxy, Mario Party 8, Mario Strikers Charged and Super Smash Bros. Brawl
- Peach's first appearance in other media to receive a voice, and her first voiced appearance in general, was in the 1986 anime Super Mario Bros.: Peach-Hime Kyushutsu Dai Sakusen! (Super Mario Bros.: The Great Mission to Rescue Princess Peach) and was voiced by Mami Yamase, a pop singer.
- In the television series The Super Mario Bros. Super Show!, Princess Peach was voiced by Jeannie Elias. Tracey Moore did Princess Peach's voice in the cartoons The Adventures of Super Mario Bros. 3 and Super Mario World.
Princess Peach was, at one point, considered for inclusion as a secret opponent in the Wii game Punch-Out!!. The idea was nixed due to the possible negative perception of violence against women. Though seemingly odd given her inclusion in the Super Smash Bros. series, the characters in Punch-Out!! become very visibly bruised and battered during fights, lending the violence more realism than the arcade absurdity of the Smash Bros. series. Peach's planned appearance was dropped in favor of another well-known Nintendo character.