Everyone’s Your Friend in Mushroom City

I watched a playthrough of part of Mario Party Advance for research purposes. It sounds silly saying that, even if it’s technically true; it’s not like I’m writing a scholarly study on Mario. But I was interested in what it added to the world, and there’s a weirdly significant amount of stuff there. The game is somewhat unusual as far as Mario Party goes. At the beginning, you learn that all the mini-games and relevant items have fallen out of Party World in the sky to Shroom City.

You then have to find them all by fulfilling quests in the city, which is an interesting place in and of itself. One of the locations in Mario Kart: Double Dash!! is called Mushroom City, and it’s a place with mushroom-shaped towers.

Whether these two places are the same isn’t addressed, but I’ve seen attempts to map it as if it is. There’s also a Shroom City in Paper Mario: The Origami King, but this almost certainly isn’t the same place.

It’s located in the Scorching Sandpaper Desert and doesn’t have skyscrapers, instead featuring Middle Eastern style architecture. It was the home of the ancient King Shroomses, whose palace was later converted into a hotel. I like that sort of look at Mushroom Kingdom history, but I doubt there’s any real plan to it.

I thought it was interesting that the Nintendo Power guide to Super Mario Bros. 3 referred to the ruins of the Mushroom Pharaohs and the Great Pyramid of Mushroomkhamen in Desert Land, and the cartoon based on the game has a mummy called Queen Mushroomkhamen with a son who looks like Mario.

Neither of these are official sources, but there is also a ruined city in Dry Dry Desert in the first Paper Mario, so there’s definitely a tradition of Egyptian-style rulers in the land’s past.

And the Shroom City in the desert was settled by Snifits after the Toads disappeared, and they remained there afterwards, causing a change to the city’s name. One of the Toads suggests calling the place “Shnroomf City,” which kind of sounds like onomatopoeia from the Super Mario Adventures comic.

And obviously none of these are the same as the Shroom City in Eric Shanower and Glenn Ingersoll’s Trot of Oz. Of course, in the real world, plenty of places have the exact same name. It’s one of those cases where I want fantasy to make more sense than reality.

The MPA Shroom City is partially desert, but includes several other biomes as well, including jungle and snow areas. This part of the game is all single-player, although you can switch between Mario, Luigi, Peach, and Yoshi as your character. Some quests can only be accomplished by one of them. You ride around the map in a boot-shaped car, something that also appears in Origami King.

It has pretty cool theme music, too, appropriately bouncy.

There are a lot of different characters living in town, including a Koopa who works at the bank, a Mechakoopa who’s a mathematician, Mr. Blizzard who pitches for a baseball team, a Bullet Bill who’s a champion sprinter (guess he doesn’t need to be fired out of a cannon to move), a Paratroopa with an item shop, a lonely Thwomp, and some rapping Toadies.

Toad inhabitants are the police detective Shroomlock from Toadland Yard, his wife, the mystery-seeking Mr. E who’s generally afraid of what he finds, and the nerdy Mushbert, one of a few different characters who are fans of a show called Toad Force V. Even Bowser is shown to be a fan.

I’m not sure that’s accurate, Shroomlock.
And there are some weird romantic pairings, like a Flutter who has a crush on a Mr. I, who in turn has feelings for Peach, while a Petal Guy has unrequited love for Flutter.

What’s kind of annoying is how few of these characters have individual names; most are just called by whatever species they are. Even when this isn’t the case, there isn’t a lot of variety; Goombas are called Goombob and Goombetty, and Bob-omba is a Bob-omb. The main exception is that a Spear Guy (Spear Gal?) dance instructor is called Hulu. Do all Goomba names have to start with “Goo”? I checked a list, and I guess Professor Frankly and Gary from Super Paper Mario might be exceptions. But I do like the idea of all these types of beings just living their everyday lives.

The Koopa Kids, exclusive to the Mario Party games, are quite odd.

Sometimes called Baby Bowsers (but not the same as the actual Bowser as a baby) or Mini Bowsers, they’re henchmen to the Koopa King who also look a lot like him. Their exact relationship to him isn’t clear; apparently there is a game where they call him “Dad,” but more often they address him as “Mr. Bowser.” It doesn’t help that the Koopalings are also sometimes called Koopa Kids. The main Koopa Kid in MPA is an obnoxious sycophant, while others appear in minigames.

They’ve been phased out of the more recent games in the series.

For what it’s worth, I’ve long had the idea of a map of the Mushroom Kingdom that includes locations from non-game sources like the DiC cartoons. Other fans who have an interest in mapping the place tend to stick to the games, and it’s not like they’ve been entirely sorted out by any means. But I did see these two on the Marioverse Reddit, credited to Ven457 and Starwall, respectively.

I have some of my own ideas about the locations of those places, like grouping places from the Super Show where the inhabitants have British accents together, or how the Red Sauce Sea forming the border of Pyramid Land meaning it’s near Pasta Land, while Car Land probably isn’t near there because tomato sauce is a precious commodity there. And I don’t know of any map that includes Mount Morel, said in Leaping Lizards to be the tallest mountain in the Mushroom Kingdom. The Nintendo Adventure Books also say that the Koopa family’s summer home is Fort Koopa in the Koopahari Desert, and the Princess had relatives called Duchess Puffball, Count Morelli, and Queen Shiitake. I assume these books are out of print and not easily scanned, which is why they aren’t discussed as much as the cartoons or comics. I know I had all of them at one point, but I only know for sure that I still have two.

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