In case you didn’t know Toad is at the center of a heated, ongoing debate. On one side are the people who think the mushroom on his head sits there like a hat. On the other side are people who think the mushroom is part of his head. Thanks to the latest Boundary Break video, we have some new evidence to consider.
While the debate has been raging for aeons, it was recently brought back to the fore thanks to Super Mario Odyssey. There are a bunch of toads in the game and some of them are wearing hats. Like, real ones. On top of their mushroom part. This seemed to suggest the pro-head people have been right all along.
A post over at Dorkly that laid out the debate in detail earlier this month also explained that Toad’s mushroom can’t be a hat because Cappy, Mario’s companion in the game, can only possess creatures who aren’t already wearing hats. Mario can possess toads in the game, ergo the mushroom must not be a hat.
This all led YouTuber Shesez, who runs the Boundary Break channel which explores hidden parts of games by manipulating their cameras, to investigate the issue for himself. Surveying a number of different Mario games in which Toad appears, Shesez found discovered something important: his mushroom and his body are always rendered as part of the same object. Taking a peek inside the red-dotted fungus, Shesez found...absolutely nothing.
Nintendo and other studios who have worked on Nintendo licensed games could have been rendering the mushroom as part of Toad to save time. Even in those cases though, Shesez speculates it would have made sense to render them separately if only to allow for situations in which more of Toad’s head needed to show to accommodate different physics or animations.
Plus, in Mario Party 4, Shesez discovered that other characters did have hidden parts of their bodies rendered. Goombas wearing hats had bald heads under them while Bowser has a fully-rendered back despite it being beneath a Koopa shell the whole time.
In games ranging from Mario Superstar Baseball to Smash Bros. Brawl, Shesez found the same thing. Toad had no head. The inside of the the mushroom was just an empty void. Or to put it differently, Toad did have a head and half of it was in the shape of a mushroom. While his findings are in no way definitive, it’s certainly shaken my faith in the hat theory. And as much as I hate to think of each toad as a cute little Hector Hammond, I’m not one to shirk science.