Everything’s Coming Up Peachy

Nintendo fans and fans of underdogs alike were able to have their cake and eat it too when the popular gaming company announced that 2013 was officially the “Year of Luigi”. The year, which stretched into 2014, celebrated Mario’s oft-overlooked younger brother by giving him a slew of new games and generally showing the green mustachio a lot more love than he’s probably had in decades. Now that the plumber’s party has died down, some people are wondering “what’s next?” Well, wonder no more! Fans of the Mushroom Kingdom and its inhabitants have quickly decided that this year’s festivities will feature much more royal clientele. Yes, 2015 is slated to be the “Year of Peach”.

Though at the moment the Year of Peach is entirely unofficial and driven by fan input—seemingly inspired in no small part by the efforts of Tumblr user nintendopoe—there is some really good reasoning for it. In fact, it’s the same exact reasoning behind the Year of Luigi: 2013 happened to be the 30th anniversary of Luigi’s first appearance (Mario Bros.) and now 2015 is the 30th anniversary of Princess Peach’s first appearance (Super Mario Bros.) as well. I wouldn’t argue that every character deserves a special year dedicated to them. I think we can all do without the “Year of Toad”, for example, despite how much people seem to love Captain Toad Treasure Tracker. However, Peach is such an integral part of the universe (what would Mario be doing if not saving her? Or Bowser, for that matter?) that it would most certainly be a shame for Nintendo to let this chance slide.

There are no doubt other issues for Nintendo to take into account other than worries of character popularity. While a hit among fans and and video game enthusiasts, the Year of Luigi was reported as bringing a net loss of around $228 million for the company (with an operating loss of $456 million). Said year saw the release of four new stand-alone games, so the monetary losses aren’t exactly the best precedent heading forward. Luckily, with the WiiU gaining popularity due to the release of games like Super Smash Bros 4 and the aforementioned Captain Toad, along with the hype around their new console that is in the works, perhaps the worry of financial suicide isn’t as great as it was previously. Yet to devote marketing time and production cost to putting out new games featuring the character d’année still puts a tremendous pressure on the company, and I couldn’t exactly blame them if they didn’t hop on this.

Some people didn't like this game, but I still think it was important.

Some people didn’t like Super Princess Peach, but I think it was important.

On the less business-oriented side of things, though, I do believe it would shine an even better light on Nintendo in the fan perception than has been garnered thus far, what with their games actually working on release and their innovative mindset. We’ve talked a bit on the blog about how Nintendo is actively adding women and girls with purposes outside of being a prop into their (upcoming) games. And while some other companies are getting better at this as well, the need for female representation has never been greater, nor has it ever been more fervently requested. As proven in some cases as with Life Is Strange, some publishers just aren’t willing to let go of that boy’s club mentality or admit that people who play video games are more concerned with competent gameplay, a good story, and the ability to actually play the game on the release day than who the main character is. As such, Nintendo would be a great company to lead the way with a year entirely dedicated to an influential female game character. And while Luigi had the in-game mechanics of being able to run faster and jump a little higher—which is why a re-purposed version of New Super Mario Bros. U even worked in the first place—Peach has the ability to hover/fly, and there’s so much that could be done with that. With Nintendo’s type of polish, I’m sure it would be a hit.

Additionally, while people look towards Sony and Microsoft for fine-tuned, “professional” games, I believe that people look more towards Nintendo for actual innovation, at least in terms of hardware. But there is no other company that focuses as much on family entertainment, in my experience, either. Imagine younger girls being able to see Princess Peach being revered for a whole year. Being able to buy the special Peach 3DS, maybe having a Paper Mario title that features Peach, or another installment of the Super Princess Peach games: I know for me as a child, I would have been ecstatic. I can play as a girl and I’m being given lots of options to do so. It’s exciting! While some may argue that Peach isn’t the best ambassador for female representation in video games (what with her status as professional damsel), I believe it’s a fantastic start. Starting as early as her inclusion in Super Mario RPG (1996), Peach has been slowly developed from a prop into someone a player would want to get to know and play as. She’s a princess, yes, but she’s also hardworking and determined (as shown by Paper Mario: The Thousand Year Door), a ready and able diplomat (SSBB and the Mario and Luigi series), and able to keep up with Mario on just about every aspect. Although with more-recent games like Super Mario Galaxy she’s taken a step back into damsel-mode, presenting a year like this would give them a good opportunity to prove once and for all that she’s so much more than a trophy for someone to steal or save. Not to mention Peach is a fun, a capable fighter, and appeals to a set of gamers—young and old—who aren’t typically marketed to. Maybe it’ll break the rut the rest of the gaming industry is in, too, but I have lower hopes for that.

Nintendo has a lot on their plates right now with many of their new IPs slated for release this year and, and they’re also focused on bringing the audience which they previously lost back with new ventures into the Wii U and their new console. (Hell, it’s Nintendo. They could probably work in some sort of tie-in with these new games for the Year of Peach.) The company has so much on its plate, and yet I still hope that it’ll catch wind of this enthusiastic group of people and says that yeah, Peach does deserve her own year. Not only for the sake of representation, but just to celebrate a monumental character in the video game world who has come out of being the typical damsel and has really developed into a character of her own. The Year of Luigi was announced in February, so who knows; it might be coming! Until we know for sure, I’ll celebrate the unofficial Year of Peach in my own way: by learning how to actually play her on SSB4 and reclaiming her as my main.

Super Smash Bros Wii U Peach


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About Tsunderin

Greetings and salutations! Feel free to just call me Rin—we’re all friends here, or nemeses who just haven’t gotten to know each other well enough. I’m a video game lover from the womb to the tomb, and Bioware enthusiast until the day they stop making games with amazing characters that I cry over. And while I don’t partake as often as I used to, don’t be surprised to find me poking around an anime or manga every once in a while either. A personal interest for me is characterization in media and how women in particular have been portrayed, are being portrayed, and will be portrayed in the future. I’m not going to mince words about my opinion either.

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