Bowser is best known as the spiky foil to Nintendo’s golden boy Mario. He’ll lend a claw to Mario’s cause when it suits him, but he’s still an obsessive kidnapper of ladies who tangles with the mustachioed plumber on an annual basis. But there’s another, softer side to this fire-breathing, turtleshell of evil. Bowser is an attentive and loving father.
I’ve got the proof from Nintendo right here. As part of a demonstration of the Switch’s parental controls, Nintendo chose to spotlight the relationship between King Koopa and his son, Bowser Jr.
Mushroom Kingdom isn’t exactly crawling with iconic parents, so this seems like an easy dad grab. Bowser, much like my own father, does not appear to be immediately tech savvy. He sees his son playing with the Switch and it puzzles him.
But like any good dad, Bowser takes an interest in what his son is up to. He learns how to set restrictions on his son’s play, time but otherwise he operates on an honor system. He trusts Bowser Jr. to quit when it’s time, rather than just having the Switch kill the game. When little Bowser gets into trouble online, big Bowser steps in to flame away the trolls. (Can Bowser be my dad? He can have access to my Twitter account.)
Honestly, Bowser might be too nice of a dad. The parentage of the Koopalings is blurrier than it once was, but once upon a time Bowser set his kids up with plush jobs at their own castles. Bowser Jr. is set to come into one hell of an inheritance when he’s of age. His mom may be out of the picture, but Bowser is even trying to fix that — in his own dysfunctional and criminal way.
Being a single dad isn’t easy, but at least father and son can bond over their favorite activity: punking Mario.