Thursday, April 10, 2014

The Dark Truth Behind: Princess Peach

  Chances are if you've played games as long as I have, you have saved at least one princess.  It's a story that dates back as far as you can go.  The damsel in distress, the dashing hero, the evil dragon/king.  There is no better example of this trope in video games than Princess Peach.  But I'm going to suggest to you, that there is something far deeper at play than the simple-sounding story would suggest.

  I am going to go far, far deeper.  Examining a rather disturbing trend of hers which I think needs to be addressed.

  Princess Peach is no damsel.  She is a severely insecure woman who's very approach to her politics, social life and self-image is dependent on being validated by others in the most extremely unhealthy ways.  Stuck in a vicious self-destructive lifestyle of being abducted only to be rescued.  Never making any effort to bolster security or deal with the threat at hand permanently.

  Many people have brought this up before.  I am hardly the first to suggest that Peach either accepts and embraces being kidnapped as a fact of life.  I want to gather bits and pieces from whatever games I have to gain some insight into her problem.

  I think the best place to start is with the Nintendo DS game Mario & Luigi: Partners in Crime.  It's the best example I can find for an early sign of developing emotional issues.

Peach was not a happy baby

  This game, as well Yoshi's Island DS feature the few glimpses into Peach's younger years.  Granted she was only a baby and her real social development hasn't begun but it is the closest we have to a lead to verify my theories.

  Throughout Partners in Time, Baby Peach is shown to be extremely temperamental and unhappy.  Constantly on the verge of tears when not crying already and only was broken free of that funk when adults around her were either hurt or forced to perform elaborate tricks.  Who were those two receive the brunt of the pain?  Why it was Mario was Mario and Luigi, visiting from the future.

  Peach, at a very young, developing age learned to stop crying by forcing these two brothers to bend to her whim.  Only then did she smile and laugh.  What the Mario Brothers didn't realize is that little time paradox created some real issues when they returned.

  Fate was set in motion and Peach would instinctively rely on subservience for gratification, allowing herself to be inadequately defended just so her selfish impulse can be satisfied.

  I have less to say about Super Princess Peach though I think it's probably better at showcasing her fragile state of mind at face value.  When the roles have been reversed and Mario has been kidnapped, her mind begins to fracture and her mood is in a constant state of flux.

  Throughout the game all her abilities are based on emotional states.  Happiness, sadness, anger, laughter.  When her system of "Get kidnapped, feel good that they come rescue me" is compromised she has a breakdown.  Crying, laughing and generally acting like a maniac all the way untill the end of the game.  Her little game is saved and she can go back to getting kidnapped.

Scream all you want Peach.  You're just crying out for attention.

  Peach has a textbook case of Dependent Personality Disorder.  She can't lose Mario.  It's the only thing holding her fragile mind together.  She needs constant proof that he cares even if it means jeopardizing the lives of herself and everyone in her kingdom.

  What should be done.

  Mario needs to sit her down, discuss on options to either strengthen her defense or in a less humane scenario try to rid the world of her captor.  They need to plan long term.  Perhaps negotiation with the koopas is probably a plan of action.  Bowser's clearly infatuated with her.  Perhaps he just needs a friend.

There are steps.  But one should never reward bad behavior.  Peach is equally at fault and a line needs to be drawn where Mario says "This is when I'll stop rescuing you"

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