Mario may be the biggest video game mascot of all time, but take away his trademark facial hair and the character becomes something much more nightmare-inducing. The princess-saving, Bowser-defeating hero is one of the most memorable characters in video game history, and throughout the Super Mario games his character design has been one of the few things to stay relatively finite as gameplay elements and genres change around him.
However, it's fair to say that there has been the odd shake-up here and there for Mario as a character. Last year, Nintendo broke the news that its mascot was no longer a plumber, although that's perhaps understandable given the amount of time he spends out on adventures, racing go karts, or taking part in golf tournaments. Confirmation that our long-time hero actually punches Yoshi was much less easy to swallow.
Worst of the bunch, though, is a recent fan-made image of Mario without any facial hair - or indeed, any hair at all. The edit, made by Twitter user @yourfavisbald2, takes our Italian hero and removes not only his extremely iconic mustache, but even his eyebrows and head hair as well. The result, which can be seen below, is something that is likely to stick with those who see it for a long, long time, so viewers should make sure they are braced for some rather disturbing imagery. Quite simply, it's not for the faint of heart, and so readers should please proceed with caution.
Thank you for 2,00 baldies!! Wow!!!!!! pic.twitter.com/B1O2QijZxH— Justice for bald Mario (@yourfavisbald2) May 10, 2018
An image such as this raises a fair few questions, particularly as to whether Mario shaved himself or whether it was forced upon the character. There are some other options, too - after all, since Mario spends so long around fireballs, it may well be that he mistimed one of his attacks and paid the price in burnt hair. Alternatively, given that there's an ongoing discussion as to why Mario's hair is brown but his facial hair is black, it may well be that the Nintendo mascot was wearing a toupee, fake moustache, and eyebrows all along.
Mario isn't the only character to become more terrifying with the removal of hair, either. Kratos from God of War had his beard removed, and the result is a character that is somehow more intimidating than the murder machine seen in the recent PS4 release. Although, given that Kratos was already a scary prospect, the impact of Mario sans-hair is perhaps even worse.
Thankfully, this isn't an official Nintendo image of Mario, although it remains to be seen as to whether this gives the developer any ideas. After all, the Switch has many unannounced games coming this year, so maybe Mario's next adventure will see him have a major design shake-up. If that's the case, let's hope there are more warm, sunny climes and less ice levels for the hero - otherwise that windchill is going to be bracing.