Games(s): Super Mario Bros. series, Mario Kart series, Super Smash Bros. series, Mario Party series, various cameos
Bowser is one of the most iconic characters in the gaming world. He’s been around for about as long as games have been popular, and is the most well known antagonist in the world by far. He’s appeared in so many games that I couldn’t even begin to list them here, as well as TV shows, comics, and even movies (oh god). It’s only natural that we take a look at what makes King Koopa tick.
First off, Bowser is big, and I mean BIG. In every multiplayer game he’s in, he’s always one of the biggest, heaviest, strongest characters. It gets even more ridiculous in the actual Mario games, where sometimes he comes close to planet-sized (or at least Godzilla sized). He’s also incredibly powerful, durable, and dangerous. Bowser suits his own needs first, and everyone else’s second. This, plus his insatiable desire to rule the Mushroom Kingdom/World/Universe usually puts him squarely in the path of Mario and his do-gooder buddies.
In terms of archetype, Bowser definitely crashes his way into the Juggernaut class, under the Tank archetype. This dude is gonna smash his way to victory every time, and he doesn’t much care who gets in his way. Let’s take a look at his skills.
Bowser is the big koopa in charge, and he knows it. His combat moves, with the exception of his fire breath, all focus on throwing his weight around, using body slams, huge claw slashes, and beefy headbutts to smash through his opponents. If I had to pick a good martial art for Bowser, I would go with Sumo, Combat Sambo, Freestyle Wrestling, or Kodokan Judo (maybe with a few pro wrestling moves mixed in there, hahaha).
In addition to a good heavy workout program (which we’ll cover on Friday), you’ll also want to eat. A lot. Obviously you don’t want to eat crap, but you definitely want to be looking at The Big Guy Diet. Remember, working out decides your fitness, how you eat decides your size (roughly). Now, I’ve also had some people voice concerns that The Big Guy Diet is a bit too pricey. While it’s true it’s going to be more expensive than a calorie restrictive diet, you can actually get tons of calories relatively cheaply. Your favorite foods are going to be chicken, rice, beans, eggs, and olive oil. Granted, this is oversimplifying, but sticking with those, a good protein supplement, and whatever veggies you can fit in, and you can pack some serious calories and protein into your diet.
Bowser is the leader of his own army. Seriously. That’s not too frequently emphasized in the video game world, since Mario games aren’t particularly known for their in-depth storytelling, but it’s quite apparent that Bowser has some serious loyalty from his koopa baddie subjects. Even after getting kicked out of his own castle in Super Mario RPG, he still has die-hard followers drilling with him when Mario and Co. happen upon the evicted King.
This kind of loyalty is earned, not bought. Bowser rules with an iron fist, sure, but if he mistreated his “subjects,” all the time, he wouldn’t get any real loyalty out of them, just a begrudging following that would dissipate as soon as he lost power. Instead, even after being defeated by Mario time and time again, Bowser still has followers.
There’s plenty of books and stories out there on leadership, but if I had to shorten Bowser’s preferred method of rule I would probably sum it up thus:
Explicitly reward good behavior, and crush insubordination absolutely.
Have you ever had a boss who was a hard-ass, but you really enjoyed working for? How about one that you couldn’t stand? What was the difference between the two? Most likely, it was consistency, and fairness. Bowser may be selfish in regards to himself, but that doesn’t mean he needs to be unfair or inconsistent with his subjects. If you randomly act like a jerk to people under you, they won’t appreciate it. However, if you have very clearly delineated lines about what they should and should not do, and you punish the crossing of those lines near-absolutely, but reward good behavior universally, you will most likely be perceived as “tough yet fair.”
That’s the kind of person that people can rally behind, and also the kind of person no one wants to cross.
An Iron Fist
Bowser’s claws are some of his most fearsome assets. He uses them to grab, smash, and crush his opponents. They can be quite intimidating even when not being actively used in a violent manner. You may not have giant claws on the end of your arms, but you can build power in your hands. It can be useful, too, especially when interacting with other people. In social situations, people react much more favorably to a firm handshake (note: firm, not bone-crushing), whether it comes from a woman or a man. Men will also sometimes get a ‘feel’ for another guy by seeing how they react to an extra-firm handshake. If you can reciprocate, it subconsciously inspires respect in the other person.
In a combat sense, strong hands are an awesome attribute, especially in the martial arts I listed above. Getting a solid grip on your opponent can be invaluable, especially since most street fights and self defense situations will involve some sort of a clinch or ground fight.
We’ll talk more about hand strength in the workout section, but suffice it to say, we’re going to be building you your own claws.
Okay, so stop brushing your teeth. Ever. Eat lots of garlic. Boom.
No, seriously though, fire breathing is really awesome. Fun to see, and from what I’ve heard fun to do. You’ve probably seen these folks before, filling their mouths with flammable liquids and spitting them at torches. I’m going to link to a few guides here, but with the disclaimer that you should not attempt to teach yourself fire breathing, or learn fire breathing on your own. That’s a nice way to burn your face off. Seriously. Find an experienced practitioner to work with.
Where do you find an experienced fire breather? Good question! You want to see if you’ve got any poi or fire arts communities in your area. Google is probably your best friend here. Beyond this, you can also see if there’s any stage musicians in your area, these guys frequently do fire breathing as well. Here’s a few communities to start looking in:
And some tutorials to give you an idea of what fire breathing involves (but again, please do not practice solo):
Happy burning! =D
The Bowser Workout is coming up on Friday, and hopefully I’ll have the videos done in time to go live with the write up! I’ll see you in two days! In the meantime, stop in on the forums and say hey! Until next time, remember to live boldly, change the world, and continue to be awesome!
Dan “DaRatmastah” Wallace