That Was Just a Dream

Since Super Mario Bros. 2 takes place in a dream world, perhaps there’s something in the fact that Mario and his companions begin the adventure by falling down a dark, vertical passage, like Alice in the rabbit hole.

You could perhaps also say that Subspace is similar to the looking-glass world, but the main Alice reference in the series is the idea that a magic mushroom will make Mario grow in size. In fact, New Super Mario Bros. adds mushrooms that can make Mario giant or tiny. The similarity to the Caterpillar’s mushroom is almost certainly not coincidental. And yes, it was probably a drug reference in the first place, driven home even more by the fact that the Caterpillar smoked a hookah.

Not that this necessarily means Lewis Carroll himself did hallucinogenic drugs, although I suppose we’ll never know for sure.

I’ve mentioned some aspects of SMB2’s dream theme before, and the ending suggests that the entire game took place in Mario’s dream. (Strange that, in his own dream, his brother and friends are much more useful than he is.)

Does this mean the game never actually took place in general Mario continuity? It’s hard to say. Some of the enemies introduced in this game reappear in others, and how is that possible if they’re just dreams? In fact, Shyguys show up quite often in Yoshi’s Island, and that’s a prequel to the other games. Maybe the monsters who tried to destroy Mario when he was a baby have become symbols of fear to him, and hence appear in his dreams. If so, they’re not very effective symbols of fear, as all they do is walk forwards.

Well, except for the ones on Autobombs. It’s typical for the people you meet in your dreams to have the appearance of people you’ve met in real life, right? Perhaps that applies to weird beings from the Mushroom Kingdom as well. Still, it must be pretty surreal to see a creature you first encountered in a dream to show up to play sports with you.

Some of the inhabitants of Subcon, including Wart himself, have yet to reappear in waking-world Mario games, but I have to say I still like the idea of their being real. Mind you, I grew up on the Super Mario Bros. Super Show, and the cartoons brought in pretty much all of the SMB2 enemies, and they didn’t take place in dreams (at least as far as we know). Did Wart perhaps transport real creatures into the dream world, or vice versa? I suppose we’ll never know for sure.

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9 Responses to That Was Just a Dream

  1. Ozaline says:

    Since the falling sequence was a part of Doki Doki Panic

    In which the ending was not a dream:

    I doubt the falling sequence has any connection to Alice, rather it’s meant to demonstrate the way that the original game Doki Doki panic starts, with the characters being sucked into a book… and they litterally fall into it.

    The dream sequence was most likely Nintendo’s way of acknowledging the fact that since it was a reskinned Japanese game and not a part of the mario franchise in Japan these characters would never be seen again…

    Except for the fact that Super Mario USA ended up being a huge hit in Japan, and thus it ended up working out for the best for Birdo!

    • Nathan says:

      Was the place not called Subcon in Doki Doki Panic, then?

      • Ozaline says:

        As far as I know it was just an Arabian themed book and didn’t have a specific name… but the game in it’s very early build was a Super Mario prototype and Doki Doki panic did have mario elements (coins, star-men, warp zones).

        The only dream element is in the title the full title is “Dream Factory: Doki Doki Panic” but dream factory was a festival held by Fuji TV that the game was meant to promote.

      • Nathan says:

        I wonder if someone who did the English translations took the “dream factory” part literally (perhaps being unaware of the festival), and that’s where all the dream references come in. I believe the manual does refer to Wart using a Dream Machine to take over, suggesting that Subcon is a literal dream factory.

  2. Ozaline says:

    Shoot! linked the intro twice…

    Here is the Doki Doki ending.

    • Nathan says:

      I noticed someone in the comments mentioned Yoshi’s Story, which takes place within a storybook. I wonder if that was Nintendo’s nod to the original plot of SMB2.

  3. Ozaline says:

    Oh hey one more thing I remembered Wart (or Mamu his name in Doki Doki Panic) does appear in another game… Links Awakening (which also features a lot of mario characters, Goombas, Bloopers, Yoshi Doll, Chain Chomps)… Interestingly you’re trapped in someone else’s dream in that game.

  4. Pingback: In Your Dreams | VoVatia

  5. Pingback: You Aren’t Going Nowhere, Fungus | VoVatia

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