Reset: Ness is Mario

A large portion of my wake-up routine includes reading news about video games and upcoming movie musings. This heavy reading leads to heavy thinking, and after googling to see if this topic idea has already been discussed in the world, I’m now writing crazy fan theories. Are you ready for this? Are you sure? Okay…… Ness. IS. Mario! Yeah! Think about it. We never see Ness as a grown up, and we never see Mario as a boy. It only makes sense! The evidence is there; Ness and Mario are, indeed, one in the same.

“Try putting that red cap on him,” one parent said to the other. “Ha ha ha! It’s too big, but it looks good on him…” the second parent replied. In one of Ness’s soundstone dreams, we get this dialogue talking about the origin of Ness’s cap (along with his first psychic abilities…we’ll get into that later). If you’ve played Super Mario World 2: Yoshi’s Island, we know that baby Mario was wearing a red cap the entire game and was delivered via the stork to Mario’s adoptive parents at the conclusion.

Why would Ness’s parents randomly have a red cap in their house? Ness is the oldest, so it wouldn’t be a hand-me-down. Maybe the unseen Dad was a baseball player in his youth and that’s why there’s also a cracked bat in the house. More plausibly, though, is that Ness had the cap the entire time, and it came with the “stork” upon delivery (a family friend?). Is there an object from your childhood that you remember fondly? This is likely the same for Mario, and maybe his origin isn’t quite exactly how he remembered it. We’ve all heard the stork story when it comes to childbirth, and Mario’s imagination just filled in the rest. Why is there no M on Ness’s hat? No blue rim? Where is Mario’s brother? Is Tracy actually Luigi? Quiet you. The red hat has always been there.

Besides their obvious attire similarities, their names share a major commonality. Ness is obviously named for the NES, the Nintendo Entertainment System. What was the first iconic game to release alongside the NES back in 1985? Super Mario Bros, of course!

So, lore-wise, why would Mario be Mario as a baby, and then Ness as a boy, and then Mario again as an adult? Simple. Who chooses the name of main character in Earthbound? YOU DO!! “Ness” is a default name; it is a throwback to the system that really propelled Mario’s fame. By choosing the default name, you are choosing to remember Mario’s origin, just as Earthbound’s main plot is based on gathering sounds/memories to complete your self. For future playthroughs of Earthbound, maybe you should reconsider your naming choice!

Okay, Eric, you’re getting a little out there. I don’t think this really makes sense. BUT IT DOES! Both Ness and Mario have moves and abilities that further point to their identical nature. Take a look at the following picture: Ness readies himself to take a swing at whatever projectile is coming at him.

Now, take a look at this picture: Mario readies himself to take a swing at whatever projectile is coming at him.

Additionally, Mario has appeared in sports games all across the board: baseball, golf, tennis, racing, and more. Ness only had his baseball bat, but he was a kid. Was there anything else to do in his house? Nope. My childhood was the same. You take whatever you can find and make a hobby out of it. When you grow up and finally have the means to do more, then you can explore unlimited interests. But what about Ness’s psychic powers? He has supernatural abilities!!! Yes, Ness was born with psychic powers. Even Ness’s friends all had psychic powers (sorry, Jeff – IF that’s your real name). Do Ness’s parents have psychic abilities? No. In fact, do any of the adults in Earthbound have psychic abilities? Nope. Psychic abilities are limited to the kids, meaning that once you hit puberty (or a certain age of importance), it’s probably not so easy to perform those abilities (hence why all the world saving in video games is left to the children). How does Mario make up for this? He uses body and mind enhancing drugs! The PK Fire that used to come so naturally to him now requires a fire flower. Mushrooms that used to make him feel funny and walk in weird directions now have acclimated to his body to help him grow. If you use the “Don’t Care” option when selecting Ness’s signature psychic ability, PK Rocking, the second option is “Hammer.” Coincidence that Mario’s original power-up in Donkey Kong was the hammer? I think not!

Lastly, let’s talk about the ladies: Paula, Princess Peach, and Pauline. The parallels between these three women are uncanny. In both games, our heroes are tasked with rescuing a damsel in distress. Ness is contacted telepathically to rescue Paula, and Mario is sent a letter (in most instances) to rescue Princess Peach. Obviously, as adults, Mario and Peach can’t use their psychic abilities anymore, so they had to resort to the USPS. Meanwhile, Pauline has become sort of a secondary damsel in distress who only appears (until recently) as a character in the Mario vs Donkey Kong games. She first appeared in the original arcade Donkey Kong which was then ported to the…….NES. Mario rescues Pauline on the NES. Pauline sounds like Paula. Ness rescues Paula. WOW. Furthermore, Paula wears a pink dress and Princess Peach sports the exact same color. Where is the influence of Paula on Pauline besides the name? Red dress. BOOM. Mario’s memories of young Paula have manifested into two separate women: Pauline and Peach.

Making all of this content takes a lot of energy and work! If you’re feeling generous and would like to support my projects, consider “buying me a coffee” or two or ten from the following website:

What do YOU think? Can you find any other similarities between the two characters to support this? Do you see any flaws in my reasoning? Of course you don’t! Thanks for reading the first article in my Reset series. I’m looking forward to blowing your mind in future notes!

Published by erichagmann

Arranger / Pianist / Vocalist / Educator / Gamer

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