Believe it or not, Nintendo is the oldest company currently in the video game industry. Sure, Atari might have released its home console while the NES was just a twinkle in Nintendo's eye, but the legendary gaming organization was in existence all the way back in 1889!
Today, Nintendo is synonymous with excellence and high-quality products. There may have been had a few slip-ups in recent years thanks to higher levels of competition, but Nintendo's flagship titles are good enough to sell even their worst systems.
With an extended library of games spanning the decade and having been played by millions upon millions of people, Nintendo's AAA titles are always in the mix for "greatest game of all time." However, these games aren't perfect. Sometimes players notice a gaping plot hole or a backstory that is cloudy and intentionally ambiguous; this only leads to rampant speculation on the part of gamers and hardcore Nintendo fans.
Fan theories can be innocent enough, like claiming that Bowser Jr. drew the secret levels in Super Mario Sunshine or that all of Nintendo's games take place in the same universe. But then there are some theories that delve into the darkest part of the mind, ruining your childhood games and making you wonder just how "family friendly" the company really is.
Here are the 15 Dark Theories Nintendo Fans Will Hate.
15 The Elite Four are Feudal Lords in a Post-Apocalyptic Society
Ever since Pokémon Red and Pokémon Blue came out in the '90s, it was never quite clear where or when in time the franchise was supposed to take place. Was it set in the future? The past? An alternate reality? Obviously, we are not a society that can tame wild animals and train them to battle our enemies for fun. So when and where do the Pokémon games take place?
One particularly dark theory claims that Pokeémon is set in Japan in the aftermath of a nuclear holocaust. The world of the games are characterized not by any sort of government or countries, but rather by "regions." Was this because all forms of modern society were blown to smithereens?
Fans note that many Pokémon designs are based on real-life animals or objects; is this because Pokémon were created when a nuclear blast mutated the animals and gave them powers? One Reddit user took things further and claimed that the Elite Four actually acted as somewhat of Feudal Lords, with Gym Leaders acting as their lackeys.
14 Zero Killed Mega Man
As crazy as it sounds, the Mega Man lore is fairly detailed and deep! Sure, the original games were fairly straightforward, but once we start getting into the Mega Man X, Mega Man Zero, and Mega Man Legends games, things get a little more interesting. The Antihero known as Zero is one of the coolest characters to come out of the later entries of the franchise.
Everyone knows that the villainous Dr. Wily created Zero and then locked him away when he proved too difficult to control. But what exactly happened to the rest of the characters from the original game series?
A popular fan theory says that the unstoppable power of Zero killed off the original Mega Man, plus Proto Man, Bass, Rush, Roll, and all of the Robot Masters before Wily completely lost control of the robot. This would fit with the timeline: Dr. Light went into hiding to create X while Wily was so disturbed by what he had created that he locked it away for the safety of not just himself, but the entirety of mankind.
13 The Animal Crossing Village is a Child-Abducting Cult
Bet you didn't expect to see Animal Crossing on this list, did you? This series is an adorable simulation game in which you play as a human in a small community inhabited by anthropomorphic animals. Players can do just about anything they want in these games, from attending festivals to planting gardens to fishing in the local pond! Animal Crossing is about as laid-back of a title as you can get.
The popular theory that goes with this franchise, however, claims that the human protagonists are here in the village against their will. At the beginning of the first Animal Crossing, the player is brought to town in the car of a turtle/duck creature named Kapp'n. In traditional Japanese mythology, there is a creature named the Kappa; this demon looks like a cross between a duck and a turtle and is said to frequently kidnap children. It doesn't take a genius to put two and two together here!
Furthering this theory is the fact that players are never allowed to leave their village and that the mayor of the town is always lurking around, watching your every move...
12 Ridley is Chaos Incarnate
Fans of the Metroid series are all too familiar with the Space Pirate, Ridley. The dragon-esque general and arch enemy of Samus Aran has appeared in the majority of the entries in the franchise, each time returning more powerful and with a new set of abilities. For the longest time fans have been skeptical of how the villain has kept coming back; most of the games distinctly show him dying when he is defeated, only to have him reappear one or two entries later.
What if this is because Ridley isn't a regular being whatsoever? This fan theory about the Metroid universe claims that the character is the living incarnate of chaos. Think about it: Ridley seemingly has a new gimmick each time he appears. Sometimes it's explained away by "cybernetic upgrades," but what about his ability to physically fly through space or how he can seemingly survive getting the life energy drained out of his body. Then there's the idea that he doesn't want to simply kill Samus, but rather see how far he can push her before his raw power is just too much for her to overcome.
11 Bowser Jr. is Peach's son
You all know the lowdown on Bowser (or King Koopa, if you go by earlier games): he captures Princess Peach, locks her in his castle, and then Mario and his friends have to come and save her. It has happened in almost every main Mario game to date and the evil turtle monster shows no signs of letting up anytime soon. Honestly, it's a little suspicious that Peach has gotten captured this many times...
Which leads us to the idea that Peach wants to be captured. This fan theory says the Princess truly was kidnapped in the first Mario Bros. game. However, she fell in love with Bowser during her time in captivity and, because her family and the kingdom would never approve of their relationship, allows herself to be captured again and again so that the two can spend time together.
Then there's Bowser Jr...He looks nothing like the rest of the Koopa Kids and is always referring to Peach as his "mommy." This is most likely because, well, Peach is Jr.'s real mother!
10 Each Legend of Zelda game is a retelling of the same story
Mario might be Nintendo's mascot, but The Legend of Zelda series has consistently been the company's greatest since the days of the NES. Each new console (minus the Wii U) has gotten its own Zelda game, and each time it seems like the title surpasses the previous one as "the best game in the series." Meanwhile, every gaming magazine has multiple Zelda games listed in their "Greatest Game of All Time" lists!
But what if the events of The Legend of Zelda only happened once? Fans have noticed a ton of inconsistencies when it comes to the games' narrative.
Just how many Links and Zeldas and Gannons are out there? This theory says "one." Each Zelda game is a different culture's interpretation of the original story; this is why sometimes Link is a young boy while other times he is a teenager or an adult. It also explains the different graphical styles of each entry of the series and their inclusions of different gimmicks (like time travel and the kingdom being completely underwater).
So your favorite LoZ game? It's just some village elder telling a story to their children.
9 Zebes is the Mushroom Kingdom in the future
The planet Zebes plays a huge role in the Metroid series. It is the planet where Samus Aran grew up (after the destruction of her home world) as well as the main setting for both Metroid and Super Metroid. The majority of what players see are deep, dark caverns underneath the planet's surface that are riddled with crazy looking creatures that they have to battle.
Upon closer inspection, you will notice that Zebes' environment looks a little bit... familiar. There are green pipes everywhere, lava pits, and giant flowers with teeth galore. The fan theory in question would tell you that Zebes is really just the Mushroom Kingdom far into the future, once the rule of Peach has come to an end and the entire society has crumbled.
Left alone to decay, the evil creatures inhabiting Mario's world evolved to become more brutal and deadly, only to be discovered by Samus thousands of years later.
8 Metal Gear Solid: The Twin Snakes is just Raiden's VR training mission
As much as fans clamored for a graphically-improved remake of Metal Gear Solid, what they got in MGS: The Twin Snakes just felt a little... off.
For starters, it was an exclusive MGS game on the Gamecube; a family-friendly console seemed like an odd place for something as heavy as this franchise. Then, there was the ridiculousness factor: MGS games were always on the corny side, but The Twin Snakes dialed it up to new levels, adding in over-choreographed fights and redubs of the voice acting that sounded like they belonged in a soap opera.
A popular theory says that this extra campiness is in part because The Twin Snakes isn't a remake, but rather an in-universe simulation of the events that took place at Shadow Moses. Metal Gear Solid 2 introduces us to the hero Raiden, who is much more over-the-top and hammy than Solid Snake; if he was training for his next mission based off of Shadow Moses, playing the role of Snake, these changes to the game would make a lot more sense.
Besides, this is Metal Gear Solid, a series known for its constant meta-analysis and fourth wall breaks!
7 Navi dies at the end of Ocarina of Time
You all remember Navi from Ocarina of Time. The little fairy has annoyed gamers for over two decades with her consistent nagging of "Hey! Listen!" Though Navi is seen as an annoyance in an otherwise perfect game, it's not like she didn't grow on you after a while... as long as she stayed quiet. At the end of the game, with Link's quest completed, Navi flies off into the sunrise.
But wait, don't you remember what happens to the rest of the fairies in this game? As soon as they have fulfilled their purpose, they disappear into nothingness! This super dark theory claims that Navi flies away at the end of Ocarina of Time because her purpose had finally been fulfilled, and she couldn't bear to put Link through the horror of watching his friend die in front of his eyes.
Further proof of this theory comes from the game's sequel, Majora's Mask, which begins with Link futilely searching for a lost friend. We're not crying, you're crying!
6 You killed Gary's Raticate
Oh, Gary Oak... is there a character in video games more cocky and overbearing than this guy? In the original Pokémon games, Gary is the grandson of your mentor, Professor Oak. In the opening scene, Gary takes the Starter Pokemon that will best counter your own and goes on to act as your rival for the rest of the game, showing up to do battle at the worst of times.
Early on, Gary has a Raticate that he busts out in your duels. The last time you see this Raticate, however, is in your battle on the S.S. Anne. After defeating Gary he rushes off to lick his wounds and heal his Pokémon. The next time you meet Gary is in Lavender Town, the final resting spot for Pokémon who have passed away; Gary asks you if you know what it is like to loose one of your beloved companions before going on his way.
This theory states that your battle on the S.S. Anne actually killed Gary's Raticate, and that he was in Lavender Town to bury his fallen friend. Yeah, we bet you feel like a jerk now, don't you?
5 Tabuu is an allegory for adults playing with toys
Those who are familiar with the Super Smash Bros. games know all about Master Hand. Super Smash Bros. Brawl took things to a new level when it revealed that the disembodied hand was just a pawn being controlled by the ruler of Subspace, Tabuu. Of course the heroes are able to defeat this big bad, which puts their world back into its proper place.
The name "Tabuu" has always stuck out to fans for its similarity to the word "Taboo." After racking their brains for awhile, fans came up with this (somewhat sad) theory about the character; Tabuu is an allegory for our culture's disdain for adults who play with toys. The first Smash Bros. game shows all of the characters as being dolls that an unseen character was playing with; Tabuu is revealed to control this hand that plays with the dolls, and will attack players with a beam of light shot straight out of his heart.
Could this be saying that the "mastermind" behind the Smash Bros. series is just trying to recapture his childhood spirit of imagination in a world that won't allow it?
4 Mega Man is the first Maverick
At the end of Mega Man 7, the Blue Bomber has his nemesis Dr. Wily right where he wants him. His Robot Masters have been destroyed, Bass was temporarily out of commission, and all of his crazy war machines had been taken care of. However, instead of taking him away to jail, Mega Man tries to straight-up murder the scientist! Though he fails, this was completely out of character for our hero and is never mentioned again in the main games.
However, a popular fan theory ties the ending of Mega Man 7 into the Mega Man X series. The idea is that the original Mega Man is the very first "Maverick," a robot who has violent tendencies and will harm human and robot alike for personal gain.
It all makes sense; Mavericks are robots who go against their programming to never harm humans. Mega Man says that he is "more than just a robot" before he is about to blow Wily's head off. We still don't know what happens to the original characters between the original and X series. Did Mega Man go rogue, killing Wily (and presumably others) after he had locked away Zero?
3 Donkey Kong Country is Communist Propaganda
Wait! Don't go! Hear us out on this one! Donkey Kong Country follows the adventures of the original Donkey Kong's grandson as he tries to regain his precious bananas from King K. Rool and his band of reptilian Kremlings. Players spend the game swinging from vines, shooting out of barrels, and riding atop of rhinos. The game's charming graphics and bizarre sense of humor made it one of the SNES' best.
But is Donkey Kong Country just a front for Nintendo and the game's developers to spout Communist propaganda? At the start of the game, the Kongs have an entire cave piled full of bananas that they distribute equally among themselves. Then, the big, bad capitalist Kremlings show up on the island, start exploiting its resources, and try to enslave its people. If not for Donkey and Diddy Kong, the heroic freedom fighters, the people of DK Island would starve!
Not to mention, K. Rool's lackeys wear what look to be U.S. Military uniforms. Plus, DK himself wears a red and yellow tie. Hmm...
2 Giygas is a Fetus
The second entry in the Mother series of RPG games is considered to be one of the greatest SNES games ever made as well as one of the greatest games of all time. Heck, just to snag an original copy for yourself, you'd have to shell out hundreds of dollars! The series is known for its wacky sense of humor, unique gameplay features, and quirky cast of characters.
And then there's the final boss, Giygas. While fighting this thing, players are treated to a horrific-looking background and music that is spooky as hell. Giygas is known as the embodiment of evil and wants to plunge all of humanity into eternal darkness. Yikes.
As if this character wasn't creepy enough, one popular theory claims that the Giygas you encounter in Earthbound is really the character in his fetal form. Yep, it claims that Ness and his allies traveled back in time to essentially kill Giygas while he was still a fetus.
The visuals support this theory; doesn't the above image look like an ultrasound? Also, the characters have to go through a v-shaped cave opening to get to the final boss.
1 Pokémon GO! is a prelude to the Great Pokémon War
A popular theory posits that it wasn't a nuclear weapon that devastated the regions in Pokémon, but rather a massive war. In Red and Blue, the Gym Leader Lt. Surge claims that his electric Pokémon helped him get through "the war." Fans have speculated that at some point, warring factions of Pokémon trainers used their companions for the sinister purpose of killing other human beings. This theory would also explain why there are so many missing fathers in the Pokémon world; they all were killed in the conflict!
But the theory took one step further with the release of Pokémon GO! This game forced players to pick one of three factions: Team Valor, Team Mystic, or Team Instinct. The primary goal of the game was to catch as many Pokémon as possible and to try and hold as many gyms for your "team" as you possibly could. Is this highly territorial conflict the spark that started the great Pokémon War?
The theory is further proven by the addition of the "raid" system; players can band together to try and catch the most powerful Pokémon of all time, igniting an almost arms race between the warring factions. Crazy? Definitely. Plausible? Yes.
Are there any dark Nintendo fan theories we missed? Let us know in the comments!