Anyone who has played a video game in the last thirty years will recognize Princess Peach. The heroine of the classic Super Mario Bros franchise, Peach started out as the damsel in distress (held in Bowser’s castle for Mario to rescue) before becoming a playable character in her own right. Her bright pink dress, blonde hair and distinctive voice have been delighting gamers for decades, and as the franchise has changed, so has the Princess.
Now, Princess Peach is the star of her own game, as well as being a playable character in a multitude of Nintendo favorites. She also appeared in the series Super Mario’s Super Friends, anime movies, and is a favorite for fan art and merchandising. Although she is no longer the only female character in the franchise, Princess Peach remains the best known, and almost certainly the most loved. In honor of the Princess who finally started saving herself, we’ve rounded up fifteen of our favorite little-known facts about the pink player from Mushroom Kingdom.
Here are 15 Things You Didn’t Know About Princess Peach.
15 She Wasn’t Mario’s First Love…
Princess Peach and Mario are the original power couple of the gaming world, but Peach wasn’t the first girl that Mario rescued from an eight-bit monster. Peach made her debut in 1985's Super Mario Bros, where she was being held hostage by the Koopa King, Bowser. Four years earlier, however, Mario was busy saving a different damsel in distress – Pauline.
The much less well-known Pauline was the female star of Donkey Kong, and many fans have mistaken her for an earlier version of Princess Peach. The two now look very different: Pauline is a brunette in a red dress (and a civilian), while Peach is a blonde in pink. However, earlier games (and far less detailed characters) showed Pauline with a pink dress and Peach with a white dress (and brown hair). It’s easy to see why these two would be easily confused in the early days. Now we know, however, that Pauline is actually a different romantic interest for the little plumber, one that didn't quite stand the test of time.
14 …And Mario Isn’t Her Only Love, Either
Before we start feeling too sorry for Princess Peach and her boyfriend’s romantic history, it’s important to know that Mario wasn’t Peach’s only love interest, either. In the 1986 anime Peach-Hime Kyushutsu Dai Sakusen (The Great Mission To Save Princess Peach), an alternative version of events is presented. In this world, Princess Peach is still kidnapped by King Koopa, and it is up to Mario and Luigi to save her. So far, so similar.
However, the two grocers (not plumbers!) are joined by a little dog named Kibidango, and all three set off to save the Princess from a forced wedding to King Koopa. At the end of the film, when the Princess has been saved, it is revealed that Kibidango is actually a Prince, and Princess Peach’s intended. Prince Haru was turned into a dog by Bowser, and now that Mario has saved her, Haru can become human again and marry Peach.
13 Her Name Was Originally Princess Toadstool
Although she has always been Princess Peach in her native Japan, the Super Mario Bros Princess started out with a very different moniker in the rest of the world. In the US, she was originally known as Princess Toadstool, although this change has never been fully explained. We can assume that (for whatever reason) the name was changed to reflect her place in the Mushroom Kingdom, and her Toad subjects. In this case, it probably would make more sense for the name change to have been to Princess Mushroom, or Princess Toad, but video games in the '80s are rarely strongly rooted in logic.
In any case, North American gamers in the '80s and early '90s called her Princess Toadstool, until Nintendo decided to deal with the confusion by re-naming her Peach in all games. The Princess Peach name first appeared in Yoshi’s Safari in 1993, but was only really made common in 1996, with the release of Super Mario 64. In this game, Peach sent a letter to Mario signed “Princess Toadstool, Peach”, and the rest is history.
12 She Is Based On A Popeye Character
Before creating either Mario or Donkey Kong, a Popeye-inspired video game was in the works at Nintendo. Mario creator Shigeru Miyamoto loved the sailor characters, and Nintendo was even in talks with the owners of Popeye (King Features Syndicate) about licensing the characters for a game. However, when the deal didn’t happen, Miyamoto decided to re-work the Popeye staples into a new game. Popeye became Mario, Bluto became a barrel-tossing ape, and Olive Oyl became the damsel in distress Pauline for the classic Donkey Kong.
When Miyamoto then developed Mario’s next adventure, Super Mario Bros, the character of Pauline was changed to a new damsel, Princess Peach (as we’ve already seen on this list). Therefore, by a slightly tortuous route, Peach is actually originally inspired by Olive Oyl – although the two have little in common beyond a constant need to be saved by the manly hero. Interestingly, later versions of Pauline ended up looking more like Olive, as her dress became red and her hair a darker shade of brown.
11 Her Appearance Has Changed A Lot
Like most characters in video games (and comics, for that matter), Princess Peach has had a few different looks over the years. In her first appearance in Super Mario Bros (in 1985) Peach wore a white dress, and sported red-brown hair. In a strategy guide released in Japan in 1987, she was actually a Toad, with a mushroom cap on her head rather than hair (which may explain the ‘Princess Toadstool’ moniker a little better).
However, her creator Miyamoto wasn’t happy about her original design, and asked another designer to make some changes. Yōichi Kotabe was the man who created the final design for Peach, with some very specific guidelines. Kotabe was told to make her eyes “cat-like” and that she should appear “stubborn, but cute”. Since this design was created, very little has changed other than the overall style of game art – she keeps her blonde hair, white gloves, tiara, and pink dress throughout most games.
10 She Might Be Princess Daisy’s Cousin
The second best-known lady of the Super Mario franchise, Daisy was created in 1989 for Super Mario Land. Like Peach, Daisy is the ruler of a kingdom (Sarasaland), although she is a little more of a tomboy than Peach is. The two look otherwise quite similar, albeit with different coloring schemes. Daisy has brownish-red hair and wears a yellow and orange dress, instead of pink.
Daisy and Peach are very good friends, but some information suggests that they aren’t just royal besties, but that they're actually related. In the Prima Guide for Mario Kart Wii, it is stated that the two Princess characters are in fact, cousins. Despite this, the connection has never been revealed in any of the games, so it’s not generally considered to be canon.
The third Mario princess, Rosalina, is presumably not related to Daisy or Peach, however. Her backstory has her coming from ‘outer space’, which would make a family relation a little complicated – but not impossible.
9 She Has A Few Different Potential Grandparents
To complicate the matter of Princess Peach’s backstory and family a little further, there are a few different characters who may or may not be her parents and grandparents. Princess Peach’s grandparents are often assumed to be Toads – which makes some sense. She is the ruler of the Mushroom Kingdom, and was briefly depicted as a Toad herself (as we have already seen). In Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars, there is an elderly Toad who is referred to as ‘Grandma’, causing many to assume that this is Peach’s actual grandmother. In the players guide, however, this character is listed as ‘chambermaid’. It’s possible that ‘Grandma’ is being used as a respectful title for an elderly woman, rather than proof of relation.
Similarly, Toadsworth is often assumed to be a grandfather to the Princess, but he is officially listed as her steward. To confuse things further, in the 1989 Amada Anime Series: Super Mario Bros, it is two elderly Hammer Bros who appear as ‘Grandma and Grandpa’ to Princess Peach. Ojisan and Obasan are her parents in this version, and the terms ‘Grandma’ and ‘Grandpa’ are translations of the general Japanese honorifics for the elderly.
8 She Was Once Possessed By A Demon (And Quoted The Exorcist)
Princess Peach certainly doesn’t have the best luck. On top of being routinely kidnapped by Bowser since the ‘80s, she’s also dealt with several other mystical threats to her royal person. One of the most memorable foes that Princess Peach has gone up against over the years was the demon Abigor. This takes place in a comic story in the German Club Nintendo magazine. The story was split into two parts, both titled ‘Super Mario in Die Nacht des Grauens’ (Super Mario and the Night of Horror), and featured all of the favorite Nintendo characters.
The story starts with Mario and Peach having dinner at home in their apartment building, when the power goes out and Mario uncovers a plot by the demon Abigor to take over the apartment building. Abigor convinces the super, Wario, to hand over the keys by promising that he would take over Peach’s mind, causing her to fall in love with Wario. Mario, as usual, must defeat the monster to save the Princess, who has turned into a husk of herself, and even delivers the line “your mother scrubs toilets in hell” – a slightly more kid-friendly version of a famous line from the Exorcist (that we won’t repeat here!).
7 She Has Her Own Special Weapons
Like many other video game characters, Princess Peach has a few unique moves and weapons that only she can use in the franchise. In Super Mario RPG: Legend Of The Seven Stars, Peach can use healing abilities Therapy and Group Hug. Her healing powers also appear in Paper Mario: The Thousand Year Door. In Super Smash Bros Melee, Peach has her own attack, the Peach Bomber. It’s similar in name to another Peach-specific attack, the Psych Bomb, but has a very different effect (Peach Bomber creates an explosion on impact, while Psych Bomb causes bombs to rain from the sky over a large area). She is also the only character who can float in mid-air without any special power-ups.
On top of these special abilities, she has some character-specific weaponry. Her parasol, probably her best-known accessory, can be used as a weapon or to slow her when falling. In Legend of the Seven Stars, she also uses a frying pan and a folded fan as weapons -- because gender-specific weaponry seems to be very important in Mario's weird world.
6 She Also Has Magic Powers
More impressive than her ability to bean an enemy with a kitchen utensil is Princess Peach’s first origin story, which makes her far more than just a damsel in distress. In the Super Mario Bros manual, it is explained that Bowser hasn’t just kidnapped Peach in order to have an attractive woman in his castle – it’s actually because she’s the only one who can defeat his magic, so he locked her up for his own protection. According to Nintendo:
One day the kingdom of the peaceful mushroom people was invaded by the Koopa, a tribe of turtles famous for their black magic. The quiet, peace-loving Mushroom People were turned into mere stones, bricks, and even field horse-hair plants, and the Mushroom Kingdom fell into ruin. The only one who can undo the magic spell on the Mushroom People and return them to their normal selves is the Princess Toadstool, the daughter of the Mushroom King.
This gives Peach some powerful magic of her own, and a much more interesting backstory.
5 She Starred In Her Own Game
After decades as the damsel in distress, Princess Peach finally got to be the heroine of her own game in 2005 with the release of Super Princess Peach. This game turns the tables on the traditional rescue scenario, as Peach gets a chance to rescue Mario for once.
In this game, Bowser has kidnapped Mario, Luigi, and the Toads, using the Vibe Scepter to remove them all to Vibe Island. Peach, along with her new friend Perry (who is actually a sentient umbrella, because of course he is), have to go and save their friends using magic and her emotions (joy, rage, gloom, and calm).
While it’s fantastic to finally see Princess Peach star in her own stand-alone adventure game, sadly Super Princess Peach certainly doesn’t challenge any gender stereotypes beyond the inversion of damsel and hero. Although Peach is a playable character in dozens of other games, Super Princess Peach remains her only solo adventure outing.
4 She Had Her Own Adult Film Parody
Porn parodies are big business, and it’s no surprise that the Super Mario Bros feature in a few of them – especially the lovely Princess Peach! What’s more surprising is that Nintendo actually owns the rights to two Super Mario Bros parodies – Super Hornio Brothers and Super Hornio Brothers II. The game company bought the rights in an attempt to halt the distribution of the titles, which they were eventually able to do.
In 2008, Something Awful attempted to get their hands on a copy for a ‘Horrors Of Pornography’ review, which proved incredibly difficult. The site did eventually find a copy of Super Hornio Bros II, allowing us all to enjoy the ridiculous plotlines. Starring Ron Jeremy as Squeegie (Luigi), T T Boy as Ornio (Mario) and Chelsea Lynx as Princess Perlina (Princess Peach), the films find Ornio and Squeegie trapped in a computer monitor, fighting bondage-queen viruses and various other sexually themed villains on their way to rescue the princess. It’s absolutely not the only Super Mario Bros porn (and we do not encourage anyone to Google the rest…), but it’s probably the first, and definitely the only one starring Ron Jeremy.
3 She Was On Forbes' Richest Fictional Characters List
Moving back to more family-friendly topics, Princess Peach is surprisingly wealthy, and has even made it onto Forbes’s list of the richest fictional characters. Peach made the list in 2007, with a total wealth estimated at $1.3 billion. The entry makes some guesses about the wealth of the Mushroom Kingdom and her marriage to Mario, as well as the worth of all those gold coins.
Heiress to the Mushroom Kingdom nearly doubled personal net worth after terms of divorce from hero plumber Mario awarded her a fortune in gold coins. Said to enjoy tennis and go-kart racing, owns over 600 outfits in the same pink color. But life has not always been easy for Peach, who has been kidnapped repeatedly since childhood by Bowser, king of the turtle-like Koopa race. Trauma evident, say friends; Peach fantasizes that she has ability to float in the air for several seconds; mutters about “Goombas,” “Cheep Cheeps,” “Bob-ombs.”
Other characters on the list that year include Scrooge McDuck, Bruce Wayne, and Willy Wonka.
2 She Is In More Mario Games Than Any Other Female Character
This little factoid might not be too surprising – after all, Princess Peach has been in the world of Mario since 1985. However, it’s still worth mentioning that Peach is officially the female character who has been in the most games… and she has been in a staggering amount. She has appeared in over sixty different titles, although her earliest appearances were not as a playable character. In fact, she wasn’t even movable until 1988.
She’s since been a playable character in over forty games, including her own adventure title. She continues to appear in many of Nintendo’s new Mario world releases, especially ensemble games, which means that the other female characters (like the Princesses Daisy and Rosalina) aren’t going to be snatching that most-Mario-games title from her anytime soon. In addition to dozens of games, Princess Peach appears in anime, cartoons, board games and comic books. However, Peach didn’t make it into the 1993 live-action Super Mario Bros movie, where Daisy stole the spotlight instead.
1 She’s Also Been In Legend Of Zelda
As well as appearing in a huge number of games within the Super Mario world, Princess Peach has also made several cameos in other Nintendo titles. She appears in The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening, in the form of a photo. In this game, a goat named Christine is corresponding with Mr. Write, and sends him a photo of Peach, pretending that the photo is of Christine! She also makes a cameo on the course in F-1 Race and in the audience in Kirby Superstar Ultra.
She has been referenced in many more games, including a Peach Kart in Nintendogs (which carries puppies and plays the Peach Beach music), a pair of Peach Sandals that are part of the treasure in Wario Land: Shake It, and a Peach Parasol which can be bought in Animal Crossing: City Folk. As the world of Mario expands, we will undoubtedly continue to see more of the character, but we also love to see her name pop up in other franchises as well.
Do you know of any other obscure factoids concerning Princess Peach? Be sure to let us know in the comments.