Despite the majority of their adventures taking place in the mythical Mushroom Kingdom, for one day in 1990, the Mario Bros. forgot about saving a princess and had to save the President of the United States instead.
Between 1989 and 1990, Nintendo had two different Super Mario Bros. cartoons made, as part of the same multimedia push that had seen the Kyoto-based company think a futuristic Mario movie was a good idea. The first of those was called "The Super Mario Bros. Super Show!". If you've ever seen a Mario cartoon show, that's probably the one you saw.
When that series came to an end in 1990, however, a second, short-lived show was commissioned, called "The Adventures of Super Mario Bros. 3". And it's in an episode of that series, called "Reptiles in the Rose Garden", that things get political.
See, on Bowser's daughter's 16th birthday, she gets all spoiled and uppity. Doesn't want jewels, doesn't want a car, doesn't want a new nose. Instead, she only wants one thing.
"I want America for my birthday".
So Bowser - or, as he was known in this series, King Koopa - obliges. When his little girl (Kootie Pie Koopa) proclaims she wants to be "Empress of America", what else was he going to do?
Using his mighty Doomship, Bowser and his minions fly through a warp pipe and emerge directly above the White House. Where he spies on George Bush yammering away on the phone. Then proceeds to steal the White House and relocate it to the Mushroom Kingdom. The whole damn building, Executive Branch and all.
With Kootie Pie Koopa now installed as Empress of America, she is free to issue a number of decrees. Such as "every kid in America must give Kootie Pie their toys". And "all the gold in Fort Knox will be melted down to make a lifetime supply of charm bracelets for Kootie Pie".
Not content with this act of geodimensional terrorism, Bowser then sees fit to cement his daughter's rule by sending both the White House and President to the bottom of the ocean.
Of course, Mario, Luigi and Princess Peach save the day - complete with frog suits and even a little plumbing - with both the President and White House returned to their rightful positions of power.
It's funny, while they never actually show the President's face, both his silhouette and the fact the show was run in 1990 strongly suggest that it's George Bush Snr. Especially since they're only too happy to show Barbara Bush's face every two minutes.
Fictional heroes they may be, but for one day in the late 20th century, the Mario Bros. saved more than just a make-believe Kingdom full of toadstools. They saved America.
Total Recall is a daily look back at the history of video games through their characters, franchises, developers and trends.