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Wednesday, July 10, 2019

Perilous Pill Popping: A KoopaTV-Exclusive Investigation Into Dr. Mario

By LUDWIG VON KOOPA - We went deep into his practice and found startling things.

One of the most sympathetic lines of reasoning we Koopas have used since the beginning of our multi-decade quest to convince the universe of the diabolical and evil nature of Mario is to ask people to think through his medical profession. To all but his most unreasonable supporters, Dr. Mario makes no sense. Exactly how does a lazy dimwit plumber suddenly invent the Megavitamin and become a doctor overnight and start treating people without a medical education or training? Some have tried to rationalise Dr. Mario by claiming he's actually a different person entirely from Mario. That's... entirely false.

What's more, this whole narrative that Dr. Mario is curing diseases and is a hero for doing so by inventing the Megavitamins to subdue flu-causing Viruses is... also false. It's a fiction. In fact, the truth is significantly more sinister, and proves that Mario, no matter what profession he's pretending to be, is a villain of destructive ends.

Today (well, apparently it was actually yesterday despite official announcements indicating otherwise) Dr. Mario World released to the world of mobile devices on the Apple Store and Google Play. Many eyes are on it, including Koopa Kingdom's. In anticipation, King Bowser instructed the two Koopalings assigned to working on KoopaTV—myself and Wendy O. Koopa—to infiltrate Dr.  Mario's medical practice and find out what we could.

And so we did, as publicly shown by Wendy and Ludwig being the only Koopalings who appear as doctors in Dr. Mario World:

Dr. Ludwig von Koopa Wendy O. Koopa Mario World versus mode Koopalings Koopas
Dr. Ludwig and Dr. Wendy at your service. But not Dr. Mario's.

First, let me explain the bombshell of what the Viruses—the creatures that Dr. Mario combats with his Megavitamins—really are. Viruses (capital V) are, in fact, not viruses in the biological sense. A virus is a parasite of microscopic proportions. They're very small, even smaller than bacteria. They don't even have cells... and aren't considered living organisms, unlike bacteria. Antibiotics don't even kill viruses—they kill bacteria. But Viruses aren't bacteria either. They are clearly much larger than that, and have much more than just one cell. (Bacteria are single-celled organisms.)

Dr. Mario 64 title screen sequence Megavitamin running Viruses red yellow blue
The Viruses (right side) are clearly much larger than a microorganism. They're even bigger than the Game Boy Micro.
Note the size of the Megavitamin, too. That's no ordinary medication.

So... what are the Viruses, and who provided them such an inappropriate name? (Let's assume Mario did.) Well, they appear to be aliens from space, brought by an Unidentified Flying Object (UFO).

Dr. Mario Viruses UFO cutscene abduction tree
Rare, unDOCTORed photograph of the three Virus types and the mysterious UFO.

Now, with all of the space travel that goes on, aliens aren't uncommon. Cappy is an alien, too, though obviously from a different planet than the Viruses. The point is more that they aren't native to our world, but that doesn't mean that the normal biological classifications stop applying. (The point isn't that Viruses are great and friendly. I wouldn't want them as my neighbours.)

It does make one wonder, however, how Dr. Mario was able to research a “cure” for these space alien Viruses. He doesn't have the analytical equipment to extract the necessary genomic information from the Viruses. He doesn't have the laboratory or the knowledge to take action on that information, if he had it. Quite frankly and most importantly, he doesn't have the attention span.

What if the Megavitamins don't actually kill the Viruses? Well, I mean, they die, but what if that's not the primary purpose? What if you could kill Viruses conventionally, and the Megavitamins do something else entirely?

Mario & Luigi Superstar Saga Virus Woohoo Hooniversity hammer counterattack
See? Viruses take damage via conventional weaponry.
Enough hits, and they'll perish like any other creature.

Clearly, one doesn't need any special method to kill Viruses. Simple jumps and hammers do. Mario obviously knows that (what do you think his first instinct is?), so the pills must serve another purpose. You see, the Viruses are actually a scare tactic to get people to accept Megavitamins, which are recoloured pills from a third-party source that we're still investigating. Here's what eating too many Megavitamins at one time does to you, and it looks like a nasty “side”-effect:

Dr. Mario 64 Vampire Wario cutscene eaten the Megavitamins
Wario has eaten the Megavitamins... and turns into a VAMPIRE?
I mean, I do like vampires, but... how does that happen from virus-busting technology?
Unless it's not designed to be virus-busting...

It is now that I'd like to point out that Dr. Mario used to prescribe a “match four” with Viruses and Megavitamins. But when Wendy and I went undercover, we discovered the new policy as of Dr. Mario World is a “match three”. The pills are getting increasingly potent—and more than the Viruses are evolving to adapt to them. We also discovered a policy of limiting the supply of Megavitamins that doctors may bring—it's no longer on an infinite basis. Not that it was ever truly infinite, but ordering more Megavitamins past a certain point is now deducted from the doctor's compensation rate, and you got to order more from the head office as opposed to them being very free-flowing. Sometimes that's not worth it, so they leave the patient as-is.

The increasing potency is quite similar to the opioid epidemic going on in the United States of America (see my encounter with Phoenix Wright in Los Angeles a month ago), and the material scarcity the doctors working for Dr. Mario are facing may be related to an overall increase in demand. He's a bit too successful in getting the population hooked on Megavitamins in order to combat a Virus threat that has never been scientifically proven to cause any outbreak of diseases.

Let's review. The Viruses fought by Dr. Mario are not actual biological viruses, but are just run-of-the-mill alien organisms that can be killed by run-of-the-mill means that Mario uses for run-of-the-mill murders at home. The native population doesn't necessarily know that, and believe that the Viruses have grave public health implications despite there being no body of research backing that up. Thus, they willingly allow Dr. Mario's business and his prescription of consuming Megavitamins, which have no medical research describing their effectiveness. The Megavitamins are becoming more and more potent (and scarce), and have incredibly dangerous side-effects including involuntary bodily transformation. They may be addictive, though it's hard to tell when a lot of the demand for them is driven by fear.

Here's what Wendy and I can't figure out, because I'm not sure Mario himself knows: Why are UFOs dumping the Viruses here to begin with? Or is that arranged by Mario and it's no mere circumstance he's taking advantage of? What is the true purpose of the Megavitamin? What are all of its effects? Is Mario's main purpose in this just a get-rich-quick-scheme? Are they really brain-bending psychotropic drugs? Does Mario want to get the world on drugs? There's very obvious benefits to that, but he literally has an alliance with Cappy. I don't see the need for drugging everyone when he can just possess them, and I don't see the benefit in controlling a drug-addled body once they're captured. Obviously this isn't something I want to... personally test.

One last bit: We encountered some disturbing personnel decisions at Dr. Mario's practice. Well, it was already weird enough that he hired Wendy and I, and we had the flimsiest of disguises. But he's also working on hiring literal babies to be the next generation of doctors. That's really bad news. Patients surely cannot expect a quality level of care from babies. Clearly, positive medical outcomes aren't the main purpose. I don't know the economics of hiring additional doctors when he's limited on the amount of Megavitamins he can give people, but hey, I'm not saying Mario is a brilliant businessman. Maybe he'll replace everyone with more cost-efficient babies at some point.

Publishing this article publicly probably means that Ludwig and Wendy can't continue to work at Dr. Mario's practice to find out the remaining mysteries, since this seems like a firable offence. Ludwig has observed that it's a common observation among Earth dwellers that there is no way that Mario has practiced for enough years to get a doctor's license and so he's operating illegally, but Ludwig doesn't care for that argument because he is philosophically opposed to occupational licensing, and he thinks that with Princess Peach in on this scheme as well (as Dr. Peach), the faux-doctor would get a license by political cronyism anyway, if the Mushroom Kingdom had that kind of governmental licensing arrangement. (Please don't think the Mushroom Kingdom has the same standards as, say, New York.) Ludwig is so bad at biology that he had to consult Wikipedia extensively while writing this article to make sure he had his virus/bacteria facts correct. He had no idea about the no-cell/single-cell stuff, for example, but once he did, it was obvious that the Viruses weren't those.

It's pretty obvious why Dr. Mario is making so many weird personnel decisions. Here's Ludwig's theory.
Two years later, the rest of the Koopalings were also hired to be Megavitamin distributors, but Dr. Mario is ending his practice.


  1. I was totally ignorant of all the controversies surrounding Dr. Mario, and now I am astonished that Mario has not been sued for malpractice yet due to all of the misdiagnoses and pain he has inflicted upon his patients. To make matters worse, he is even employing infants, a clear violation of child labor laws if I have ever seen one. It is long overdue for his license to practice medicine be revoked. Thank you Ludwig and Wendy for this phenomenal investigative journalism. Hopefully, this piece will go viral and Mario loses his job in the medical field and goes back to being a plumber.

    1. Princess Peach is in on the practice, either as a nurse or a doctor.

      The Mushroom Kingdom isn't a constitutional republic or anything. It's a monarchy. Good luck suing a royalty-sponsored entity for redress.
      (We wouldn't entertain such lawsuits in Koopa Kingdom, at least, but we also don't tolerate outrageous things like a fake doctor's office to begin with.)

      Hopefully he loses his job in the medical field... and his life with it.

    2. Mario is not even an ethical plumber. He goes to peoples' homes looks at the pipe once, leaves and then charges a full price.

    3. What's he supposed to do? Fix their stuff?


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