While Super Smash Bros fans know Princess Peach only as the floating hell-raiser with a penchant for bashing male adversaries heads in with a golf club, in other games she doesn’t hold such a progressive gender role.
Nintendo’s latest foray into mobile gaming Super Mario Run is being criticized for Peach’s role as the cake-baking damsel in distress. While Mario games since 1985 have followed the same format of Mario venturing out to rescue Peach from the villain Bowser, this year it is bad for some reason.
Despite the fact that Peach is an unlockable playable character, and can do all the running, jumping and animal slaughter that Mario can do, the fact that she says she’ll bake a cake and gets rescued is super problematic.
The retrograde gender politics of Super Mario Run are disappointing, even if this tweet makes me feel like a cliché pic.twitter.com/C9HsitIDn2
— Chris Suellentrop (@suellentrop) December 15, 2016
A contributing game critic at The New York Times, Chris Suellentrop, is leading the charge on criticizing the game. He even says the game is “inappropriate for children,” as if they will somehow be harmed by gazing upon such archaic gender ideas.
— Chris Suellentrop (@suellentrop) December 17, 2016
“In an era where we can watch Frozen or Moana…this is not okay,” he says on a podcast, Shall We Play. “People give Nintendo a pass because they’re family-friendly, you know what? This is not family-friendly.”
“[Miyamoto] doesn’t care and it’s gross and it’s disgusting.”
Peach occupies many goals in many games. From go-kart driver to tennis player to cold-blooded killer. But as long as Nintendo refuses to give their Super Mario titles a 2016-approved upgrade, there will be plenty of outrage over Peach’s gender role.