War breaking out is never a good thing, yet despite that, there is often a lot support from each sides’ citizens at the beginning. As a war carries on, that support dwindles as an end doesn’t approach, and in many cases the population that once supported military action will protest for peace. This brings us to what is probably the longest war in all of gaming history: the conflict between Mario and Bowser. Two heavyweights whose battles have brought various factions into their conflict, and yet there seems to be no end to their dance of destruction.
We’ve seen the stories of the main players in this rivalry but the ones that are so often ignored are the civilians, and like in most conflicts it is their lives that are turned upside down. First we have to look at the war from the eyes of a subject of the Mushroom Kingdom, and how safe they really are. In any country the security of the leader is paramount, and no scenario is ignored in training no matter how unlikely. Yet the security forces of the Mushroom Kingdom fail time and again to stop the kidnapping of Princess Peach, the sovereign ruler.
It’s actually a miracle that Bowser’s troops haven’t marched into the capital and taken control of the land fully. As a citizen you can only thank Mario and his allies for that, but for how much longer can they fight an entire army? One day Mario will make a mistake and he will be beaten, because for all his heroism he is still just a man. Maybe Luigi can lead the fight but when he gives up the ghost there is no one ready to take the natural role of hero. It’s best to start preparing for that moment now, gathering supplies and allies so when the time comes a resistance is established to push back the troopers. But without training they’d probably be caught early on.
Mario may rescue Peach all the time, but Bowser always gets her. Maybe Bowser is toying with the Mushroom Kingdom, knowing he already holds the power. This is a display of power, showing the subjects of Mushroom Kingdom that the end is near, and when Mario falls no one will be able to hold back the tide. Maybe a display of force is in order, one where the people rise up and end Peach’s rule themselves. Why don’t they a proper army instead of relying on a handful of heroes? Obviously being just a citizen without battle experience, you give them leadership statuses in the new Mushroom military, and march on Bowser’s own lands.
But, from the perspective of Bowser’s population, what is the view towards the ongoing war? One mood would no doubt be utter fear and contempt of Mario. This man has managed to hold off an army with some of the best technology available in modern times. To them, he is essentially a god that won’t just give way to the almighty Bowser. But Bowser himself has proven to be a strong enough leader to keep Mario away from taking his lands, resulting in a stalemate.
As a follower of Bowser you know you could be called to the frontline at any time, and you’d naturally hope that day never comes. The survival rate is incredibly low, and those that do make it back are mere shells of who they once were; broken and defeated by a man in red. It’s understandable why Bowser wants to expand his territory, but at what cost? This stalemate only ends when one side relents, or a leader passes on. In the longterm Bowser’s children will lead, and they have military experience, while Mario and Luigi have no real heirs. Once they die taking the land will be easy, but Bowser wants that glory for himself.
Thousands have died on this side while the Mushroom Kingdom has had minimal casualties. Every Koopa family has a member who fought and lost, but still the fighting continues. Why not stand up and demand peace? Bowser cannot face an opposition from his own people and strike back, as that would lose him all support. Things aren’t bad here as the nation is technologically advanced, and there are no shortages of supplies. Demanding peace will save so many, while continuing to fight a super man only results in death.
Meanwhile in the other bordering kingdoms like Beanbean Kingdom and Sarasaland, citizens look on debating what fallout the war’s end would bring. If Bowser wins then he will look at both territories, with the latter much easier to conquer due to a lack of a standing army. No doubt the people of Beanbean are ready for war, as there is a real army here who could match Bowser’s own forces. As the other war rages on building this up is key, but at least there is a certainty on what happens next.
If Mario wins, the assumption is that peace will be restored, but who is to really say what effect a final victory would have on Mario. The majority of his life has been focused on combat with Bowser, so what happens when that is gone? First he’ll help stabilise his fallen foe’s lands, and end any resistance. He may even become king of the Mushroom Kingdom, but boredom may set in and he could instigate a new conflict to entertain him. All Mario has known is war, and that is a lifestyle which might be hard to shake off. Who is the real instigator here?