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Unsolved Mysteries of the MarioCube

A large Mario manifests in the corporeal world to dance with the plebeians. Photo: Dave Kotinsky/Getty Images for Nintendo of America

One of the hallmarks of cultural consumption in the 21st century is overthinking things to an absurd degree. The existence of the internet, and its unlimited, infinite, democratic publishing capabilities has created the conditions for a flood of bizarre and compelling fan theories, engulfing every cultural product and filling in the gaps and unanswered questions.

Today, the world has been presented with a new game in the most successful series ever made about a plumber: Super Mario Odyssey. The Mario universe is a perfect series for overthinking, due to its iconic status and its narrative scarcity. Here is what we know: Mario is a former plumber who has to save Princess Peach, his romantic partner, from a monstrous turtlelike creature called Bowser. Along the way, he gets help from his brother, Luigi, a small mushroom man named Toad, and the dinosaur Yoshi, as well as many other colorful characters. That’s really about it: Any questions you have, you need to answer yourself, or settle through long-standing debate on the internet.

This mysterious space — between what is known and what can be inferred — is where fandom thrives. Who is Bowser Jr.’s mother? (Shigeru Miyamoto.) Are Wario and Waluigi — Mario and Luigi’s evil arch-rivals — related? (No, Waluigi just showed up to play tennis one day; I have killed the vibes of multiple parties by yelling about this.) What if Mario and Wario are the same person? (No comment.) Here’s Mario’s dick. (This isn’t a question, but the simple existence of content like this demonstrates … something about the oddity of fandom.)

Here at Select All, we’ve become obsessed with a theory known as the MarioCube. Like the Grand Unified Theory pursued by modern physicists, MarioCube presents an elegant model of the Mario universe — but it also raises even more questions. It’s been floating around Tumblr for a while, so I’ll let those users explain.

In short, according to the laws of symmetry, if Mario and Luigi each have an aristocratic romantic partner — Peach and Daisy, respectively — then surely their mirror-image rivals, Wario and Waluigi, must have their own, mirror-image, evil romantic partners: “Wapeach” and “Wadaisy.” And yet, somehow, we’ve never met them. Curious …

According to an old interview about Mario Tennis, which introduced Waluigi, in Nintendo Power, there is a simple reason for this. Shigeru Miyamoto, Mario’s creator, simply would not entertain the idea of Wario and Waluigi as romantic beings.

With all due respect to Mr. Miyamoto, I needed to see these characters; the absence of Wapeach (also known as Weach) and Wadaisy was an itch I just had to scratch. Wapeach and Wadaisy exist! They are real and they are out there and they deserve the chance to shine. To that end, I enlisted the help of one of our most important artists — K.C. Green, of “This is fine” fame — to draw these two characters and pull them through the membrane that separates the theoretical from the real.

So here they are, Wario and Waluigi’s female counterparts, Wapeach on the left and Wadaisy on the right.

Illustration: KC Green

“I haven’t heard of the MarioCube theory before,” Green told me, “but it’s not a long step to assume that if there are bad versions of Mario and Luigi, there could be more for others. And I know I’ve seen other interpretations before around on Tumblr and Twitter, so I did a search of what has been done so far in the Wapeach and Wadaisy department.”

He continued, walking me through his creative process:

Some were just Wario in a Dress, which seemed disingenuous to the whole idea. Wario is the bad Mario. The WA comes from the Japanese word warui meaning bad. Which is pretty bland, but so is Mario. His character is the middle-of-the-road choice in all the party or sports games. He’s heroic and selfless. So Wario, being the opposite, is greedy and shitty. So what’s the opposite of Peach? Of Daisy? Both have had little characterization throughout the years, save for weird voice samples from Golf and Tennis games. Peach seems kind and selfless in the same way Mario can be. Daisy seems more spunky, but in the same boat otherwise.

So I took the opposite of those. Wapeach would be colder and more distrustful. Wadaisy would be slothful. Less spunky, more insular and selfish. The designs followed pretty close behind, and it keeps with the Wario/Waluigi theme of one short and stout, one tall and lanky. The colors followed again going with the color scene behind both the Marios and the Warios (I know Waluigi isn’t related to Wario, just let me have this), Mario’s red is the compliment to Luigi’s Green. Wario’s Yellow is a compliment to Waluigi’s violet. Peach’s pink and Daisy’s Yellow aren’t directly complimentary to one another, so I just took both’s opposite color. A sickly green for the cold queen, and a dark, deep blue for the slothful princess.

Makes sense to me! “I think it would be a sick change of pace to have an evil queen be a nemesis for the Luigi Boys, but I’m not gonna hold my breath that they’ll be in the next next Mario game officially,” Green wagered. “Hell, Wario is barely official, I don’t think he’s been in any main series Mario game. The Mario & Luigi RPG games are pretty good about letting new villains and characters pop up, or the Paper Mario series. Who can say! Maybe they can make a debut in the next Mario DDR franchise installment. That’s been due for a sequel.” Nintendo, the ball is in your court. We’ve done the heavy lifting, now it’s time to make the MarioCube whole by entering Wapeach and Wadaisy into the canon.

Unsolved Mysteries of the MarioCube