Monday, October 6, 2014

Princess Peach

For the past couple of days I've been getting reacquainted with my main fighter from the past several Smash Bros installments: Princess Peach. After reading an article about her recently, it occurred to me that perhaps I should detail my own history with this character I may or may not beat you with on Smash Bros. (I'm not really that good, but my friend code is 4296-3311-2359.)

Like the lady who wrote that article, one of my first experiences with Peach's "personality" was her portrayal in Nintendo Power's Super Mario Adventures: a take-charge, inspiring leader who engineered her own escapes and just generally kicked butt. She was pretty well fleshed out as a character, basically.

That depiction kind of jived with the version of her from the Super Mario Bros. Super Show, in which she was again often smart and capable, even if she still got captured a lot.

These two depictions colored my image of her in the games, especially when she was playable in some way. In Super Mario RPG and Paper Mario I would see a lot of the Super Show/Adventures Princess in her, even if she never quite got to be that kick-butt princess I admired so much.

And the there's the Smash Bros. version. Ugh. Every time she wins the battle she looks all innocent and asks in the most air-headed way possible, "Ooh, did I win?"

What? Where did this come from? Where's my kick-butt princess? Where's my intelligent monarch? Where's the learned ruler who offered her heroes helpful tips about the worlds they were exploring? Why do you suddenly sound like you have no idea what's going on?

I think that was around the time I could no longer stand the Princess Peach of mainstream Mario games. There was suddenly a disconnect: on the one hand we have this air-headed, ineffective ruler who keeps getting kidnapped, and on the other we have a strong, active leader whose ingenuity helps in her rescue, when she needs help at all.

In the mainstream games, my attention turned toward Princess Daisy instead: a princess whose profile suggests someone a little less girly, which is nice since I have trouble relating to really girly girls. Plus, she's clearly a pretty solid monarch, what with Sarasaland being a pretty stable country besides that one time (ONE TIME!) a hostile alien invasion tried to take it over. Plus, there's Kevin Bolk's interpretation of Daisy, which I appreciate.

So, when I discovered I was pretty good with Peach in Smash Bros, I got into the habit of changing her color scheme to the Daisy one. It didn't fix the dumb voice, but it was enough for my imagination to do the rest.

It's a real shame, though. Peach showed a lot of promise once, before Nintendo started really focusing on making their characters sort of consistent. Now they make her consistently awful in the personality department, and not even the RPG games seem to be fighting back anymore.

Still, she handles a beam sword in Smash like nobody's business, so I'll keep using her. Ho hum.

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