Birdo, as seen in Mario Party 9.
|First appearance||Super Mario Bros. 2 (1988) (Yume Kōjō: Doki Doki Panic)|
| Voiced by |
| Jessica Chisum (2000)|
Jen Taylor (2001)
Kazumi Totaka (2003–present)
Jeannie Elias (The Super Mario Bros. Super Show!)
| Voiced by |
|Jun Donna, Rika, and Akemi (BS Super Mario USA)|
Birdo, known in Japan as Catherine (キャサリン Kyasarin ), is a fictional, anthropomorphic dinosaur-like creature featured in Nintendo's Mario series of video games. Nintendo has never made the exact nature of Birdo clear, appearing as both a particular character and a species of character, just as Yoshi from Super Mario World can refer either to a class of video game dinosaurs or a particular one. Birdo first appeared in the Japanese game Yume Kōjō: Doki Doki Panic as a minor boss appearing at the end of many of the levels. Yume Kōjō: Doki Doki Panic was later remade into Super Mario Bros. 2 for worldwide release, later known as Super Mario USA in Japan.
Concept and creation
Birdo is a pink, anthropomorphic creature who wears a red bow on her head, and has a round mouth that can fire eggs as projectiles. Birdo also wears a large diamond ring on her finger. In the early version of Birdo, the character had an orange tone. Birdo's name was mistakenly switched with another Super Mario Bros. 2 enemy, Ostro, both in the manual and in the end credits. The mistake persisted in the version of Super Mario Bros. 2 included in the Super Mario All-Stars compilation, but was corrected in the Game Boy Advance re-release titled Super Mario Advance.
Since the character's North American introduction, Birdo's gender has been an issue of discussion and speculation. The Japanese manual states the character's name is "Catherine", but it would rather be known as "Cassie." However, in the first edition manual for the North American release of Super Mario Bros. 2, Birdo is referred to as a male who believes he is female and would rather be called "Birdetta". In later printings, the second sentence was omitted, and no mention of Birdo being male was included in most later games featuring the character. In the Japanese version of Super Smash Bros. Melee, Birdo, called Catherine, is described similarly to the original manual, though wanting to be called "Cathy". In Super Smash Bros. Brawl, it is said that Birdo is of "indeterminate gender". Birdo appears in the Wii Japan-only video game Captain Rainbow, which delves into Birdo's gender. Birdo is often lauded as the first transgender video game character. The character was given a female voice actor in Super Mario Advance, a remake of Super Mario Bros. 2. The Spanish language website for Mario Smash Football, while describing Birdo, suggests that the character's gender is indeterminate. The European website for Mario Strikers Charged Football refers to Birdo as a male character.
In Mario Tennis and Super Mario Advance (a remake of Super Mario Bros. 2), the character was given a high pitched female voice provided by Jen Taylor. However, in Mario Golf: Toadstool Tour, Birdo uses a muttering noise which has been used in subsequent games.
Birdo first appeared in the Family Computer Disk System video game Yume Kōjō: Doki Doki Panic and its Western Nintendo Entertainment System conversion Super Mario Bros. 2 as a boss. The Super Mario Advance remake of Super Mario Bros. 2 features a large robotic version of Birdo called "Robirdo". Birdo/Catherine was prominently featured in the cut-scenes for the Japan-only, Satellaview pseudo-sequel of Super Mario USA (Japanese title for the western version of Super Mario Bros. 2), known as BS Super Mario USA. In this version, three "Super Catherines" were voice-acted by Jun Donna (Pink, described as "slightly mischievous"), Rika (Red, "whose finances are always in the red"), and Akemi (Green, described as "cultured and affluent"). The voices were that of gay men or transgender women.[not in citation given] A Japanese advertisement for Super Mario USA also showed a costumed actor as Catherine lounging on a bed, with a low male voice.
Since the character's appearance in Super Mario Bros. 2, Birdo has made several cameo appearances, including an early one teaching players the rules of the video game Wario's Woods. Throughout Wario's Woods, Birdo's main role consisted of being the helper to Toad as Birdo provided encouragement to him as Toad attempted to save the Mushroom Kingdom from Wario's clutches. Aside from her brief appearance in Wario's Woods, she has not entered any other Mario mainstream game since Super Mario Bros. 2.
Birdo has made frequent appearances in later Mario spin-off games, including Mario Tennis, mario party8 and Mario Golf, first appearing in the Mario sports games with the Nintendo 64 Mario Tennis. Though, Birdo was to be included in the Virtual Boy video game Mario's Tennis.. Birdo returned again in Mario Golf World Tour this time she is unlockable. Birdo also made her first appearance in the Mario Kart series with Mario Kart: Double Dash!!, where Yoshi acts as her partner. And reappeared in Mario Kart Wii.
Birdo also makes an appearance in Super Smash Bros. Melee as part of the Mushroom Kingdom 2 stage, but is not a playable character. Instead, she appears from either side of the screen and shoots eggs at combatants and can be attacked and defeated by players. She also appears as a collectible trophy in that game; when this trophy is obtained, it unlocks Mushroom Kingdom 2. Birdo also makes a cameo in one of the backgrounds of the Super NES title Kirby Super Star, alongside Mario, Luigi, and Toad. This is unusual in that Birdo had not joined the ranks of Mario regulars at this point.
Although never appearing in any of the 3 Paper Mario games, Birdo has appeared in Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars and Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga. In the former game, Birdo was a minor boss character that appeared in the castle of Nimbus Land; Birdo's egg must be cracked and broken before Birdo actually appears. In the latter game, it is revealed that she was magically disguised as Princess Peach when the Mushroom Kingdom got word that there was going to be another kidnapping attempt on her; when Cackletta and Fawful steal Peach's voice, they really steal Birdo's. She appears when the deception is revealed, and later becomes enamored with Popple the thief (or she could be teasing him), joining him for his second last battle against Mario and Luigi; but leaves him after they are defeated. Birdo is referenced in Super Paper Mario. In the Sammer Kingdom, there is a Sammer Guy who named himself Squatting Birdo.
Mario Kart and sports
Nintendo had left Birdo out of most Mario titles before the Nintendo 64 installment of Mario Tennis, where she made her first-ever appearance as a controllable character, and was Yoshi's default tennis partner for doubles matches. Since then, Birdo appeared as a playable character in several Mario sports titles: Mario Golf: Toadstool Tour, Mario Kart: Double Dash!!, Mario Superstar Baseball, Mario Hoops 3-on-3 and Mario strikers charged.
As a race, Birdos appeared in the stands of Mario Power Tennis, as opposed to a playable character like its predecessor. In Super Mario Strikers and Mario Strikers Charged, the Birdos are both a generic color-swap character that the player can use and spectators of the games.
Mario Party 7 is Birdo's first appearance as a playable character in the Mario Party series. To unlock Birdo, get 1,000 mileage points, then buy her at the Duty-Free Shop. Note that her ring in Mario Party 7 is used to classify her from other Birdo. Birdo is also now playable in the Wii game Mario Party 8.
Birdo has appeared several times in promotional items, including figurines, plush toys, and other collectibles such as a chess set. A mother Birdo was featured in the episode "The Bird! The Bird!" of The Super Mario Bros. Super Show!, kidnapping Toad due to being nearsighted, and believing Toad to be her lost son Cheepy. "Birdo", the first track of Horse the Band's album The Mechanical Hand, heavily references the character.
Birdo is most frequently depicted as pink, although red, green, blue, yellow, orange, and gray Birdos are also seen in Super Mario Bros. 2 and other games; gray Birdos were changed to green in the remakes due to their attack patterns matching. In Super Mario Bros. 2, Birdo would spit out eggs and/or fireballs from her tubular snout.
After defeating Birdo by grabbing her eggs while riding them and throwing them at her three times, Birdo would drop a crystal ball that would allow the player to open up a gate called "Hawkmouth", which led to the next level. Although it would appear that the crystal ball drops out of Birdo's stomach, promotional art for Super Mario Bros 2 and Yume Kōjō: Doki Doki Panic show that Birdo is actually holding the object in his hands. This would later change in the Super Mario Bros. 2 remakes in Super Mario All-Stars and Super Mario Advance, in which Birdo spits the crystal out of his mouth after being defeated. In the final level of Super Mario Bros. 2, World 7-2, Birdo actually drops a key, which the player must use to open a locked door and finish the level.
Birdo can also be helpful, such as in World 4-3 of Super Mario Bros. 2, where the characters can jump onto an egg and ride it over an extra-wide chasm, much as they can ride on an Albatoss in other levels. Birdo is not carrying anything in this level.
In later games such as Mario Tennis, Birdo's personal icon is her bow ribbon, much as Mario's is the red "M" logo from his hat. Though Nintendo's official drawings of Birdo have always depicted her as wearing a bow, it did not actually appear on her head in games until the Super Mario All-Stars revision. In Super Mario Advance, Birdo's bow can actually be taken off her head and thrown away; if it hits Birdo, it will simply reappear on her head. Super Mario Advance also features a new boss character in the form of Robirdo, a giant, robotic Birdo.
In the The Super Mario Bros. Super Show!, Birdo could fly and had a nest set atop a high peak. However, Birdo has later been confirmed unable to fly in the game continuity.
Robirdo jumps, shaking the ground and stunning Mario, Luigi, Princess Peach, or Toad if they are on the ground. Then, it runs forward. Another attack is spitting two giant eggs. All three of these attacks can be evaded by climbing the chains that hang down in the room. Like the regular Birdo, Robirdo can be defeated by throwing eggs back at it.
Birdo has received mostly mixed reception. 1UP.com editor Jeremy Parish described her as a favourite among fans. Official Nintendo Magazine listed her as one of the "unsung heroes" amongst the Mario series, stating that while "Birdo does get more exposure than the other characters in this section (he's showed up in a few Mario spin-offs), but she/he's still not as popular as we'd like." In a poll by Official Nintendo Magazine on its users, Birdo tied for eighth-best female character on a Nintendo platform along with Midna and Kazooie. GamePro editor "The D-Pad Destroyer" called Birdo "everyone's favorite". In Prima's Official Strategy Guide for Super Mario Advance, author Bryan Stratton describes Birdo as the hardest-working boss in video games due to her appearing more than a dozen times as a boss in Super Mario Bros. 2. N-Sider editor Anthony JC commented that Birdo was a "pushover" compared to the other bosses in Super Mario Bros. 2. In an article on MTV Multiplayer discussing the best birds in video games, Birdo tied for second place with the chickens from Chicken Run.
IGN editor Lucas M. Thomas called her the "transgender question mark", stating that Birdo was nearly as recognized as Yoshi in the Mario sports and racing games. GamePro editor "The Watcher" praised the roster of Mario Superstar Baseball, commenting that while "well-known" characters like Princess Peach and Yoshi make appearances, so do "lesser-known" characters such as Birdo and Dry Bones. In the book Life on the screen: identity in the age of the Internet, author Sherry Turkle uses the pattern Birdo uses in boss battles as an example of something that, while complex, sustains the sense of a reassuring, rule-based world. GameDaily editor Chris Buffa listed her as one of the most unappreciated Nintendo characters, commenting that Birdo had appeared across web sites "in less-than-flattering articles". UGO Networks listed Birdo as the 20th "unsexiest sexy video game characters". Birdo was ranked the ninth ugliest female video game character by ScrewAttack, who described her as resembling a "retarded anteater". ScrewAttack also listed Birdo as one of 15 reasons why they "hate" Super Mario Bros. 2, claiming that they still have no idea exactly what Birdo is. Games.net placed Birdo at #8 of their "Top Ten Disturbingly Sexual Game Characters" list. GameDaily listed Birdo as one of the 10 worst Mario characters, stating that "if Birdo wants to dress like a chick, all power to him. Eggs from the mouth, however... that's nasty." MTV Multiplayer editor Jason Cipriano questioned why Birdo and fellow Super Mario Bros. 2 enemy Shy Guy have been included in so many spin-off titles in the Mario series, commenting that they both "kinda suck", but enemies such as Wart and Mouser do not.
Wired editor Chris Kohler described her as well as other characters from Captain Rainbow as "forgettable". IGN editor John Tanaka found Birdo to be one of the more enjoyable guest characters in Captain Rainbow, associating his enjoyment with developer Skip's plot, which involves crossdressing and toilet humour.
Birdo has been the subject of discussion relating to her gender identity. Simon Carless, writing for Gamasutra, described Birdo as "infamously gender-confused". It is speculated by Wired's Chris Kohler that the gender issue was retconned to make her female, while video game developer Jennifer Diane Reitz suggests that she underwent a sex change operation. In the book Vintage Games: An Insider Look at the History of Grand Theft Auto, Super Mario, and the Most Influential Games of All Time, the authors describe Birdo as the most notable character in Super Mario Bros. 2 due to being the first transgender character in video games. In three different articles for GamesRadar, Chris Antista commented about her gender confusion and stated that the revelation was similar to when "lead singer of Judas Priest came out to a legion of homophobic metalheads dressed to the nines in skin tight leather left wondering if their dicks will fall off."
In his article "Too Gay for the U.S.A.", Andrew Webster of The Escapist used the history of Birdo in the lead-in to his article, commenting on how Nintendo tried to hide Birdo's gender confusion, and how "He's just one of a long line of Japanese videogame characters forced to hide their true sexual identity". GamesRadar UK listed Birdo as one of "gaming's most repelling anti-babes", describing her as a "pink, egg blowing, transvestite dinosaur with a mouth like a burst fire hose," thereby describing her as "terrifying". Morgan Webb of X-Play created a video titled "Birdo WTF", commenting that everyone initially thought of Birdo as a "cute little dinosaur". She also describes her as a very feminine male character if she really is transgender. Nintendo Power listed Birdo as one of three weirdos, citing her change from being male to being a love interest for Yoshi. They described her gender as one of life's biggest questions, commenting on how she shoots eggs out of her mouth as another oddity. IGN's Lucas M. Thomas commented that Birdo is "the most gender-confused character in the history of Nintendo". He also commented on the relationship Yoshi and Birdo formed in Mario Tennis, stating, "They were both sexually chaotic as individuals" as "Yoshi is supposedly a male, but lays eggs like a female. Birdo is supposedly a female, but was originally called a male."
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 "The Top 10 Worst Mario Characters". GameDaily. 2007-11-30. Archived from the original on December 3, 2007. http://web.archive.org/web/20071203155209/http://www.gamedaily.com/articles/galleries/the-top-ten-worst-mario-characters/110/?page=4. Retrieved 2009-10-16.
- ↑ "Top 10 Underrated Games". Crave Online. 2007-09-27. http://www.craveonline.com/gaming/article/top-10-underrated-games-65303/2. Retrieved 2009-10-16.
- ↑ The Super Mario Bros. 2 character credits, featuring all enemies and characters from the game, mistakenly refers to Birdo as Ostro, and vice versa, in Super Mario All-Stars.
- ↑ The character credits, featuring all enemies and characters, fixes the mistake of referring to Birdo as Ostro, and vice versa, in Super Mario Advance.
- ↑ Super Mario Bros. 2 manual. Nintendo. 1988. p. 27. "He thinks he's a girl and he spits eggs from his mouth. He'd rather be called Birdetta"
- ↑ 6.0 6.1 Loguidice, Bill; Matt Barton (2009). Vintage Games: An Insider Look at the History of Grand Theft Auto, Super Mario, and the Most Influential Games of All Time. Focal Press. p. 280. ISBN 0-240-81146-1.
- ↑ 7.0 7.1 "Captain Rainbow Preview". IGN Entertainment. IGN. http://uk.wii.ign.com/articles/906/906486p1.html. Retrieved 2008-09-02.
- ↑ 8.0 8.1 "The First Transsexual Video Game Character?". Transsexual.org. http://www.transsexual.org/birdo.html. Retrieved 2010-04-13.
- ↑ "First Impressions: Super Mario Advance". IGN. 2001-03-22. http://gameboy.ign.com/articles/092/092645p1.html. Retrieved 2009-10-16.
- ↑ "Mario Smash Football". Nintendo. http://mariosmashfootball.nintendo-europe.com/player.cfm?lang=es. Retrieved 2009-10-14.
- ↑ "Mario Strikers Charged Football". Nintendo. http://mariostrikers.nintendo.co.uk/. Retrieved 2009-10-18.
- ↑ "What Happens When You Beat Mario Advance (Part 1)". IGN. 2001-03-23. http://gameboy.ign.com/articles/092/092746p1.html. Retrieved 2009-10-16.
- ↑ "BS Super Mario USA Ending". http://www.vgmuseum.com/end/bsx/a/bsmario.htm.
- ↑ "Furuta Choco Party Super Mario Puzzle Figure Birdo". Hottest New Toys. 2009-11-01. http://www.hottestnewtoys.com/toy/furuta-choco-party-super-mario-puzzle-figure-birdo/. Retrieved 2009-11-20.
- ↑ "Super Mario Chess Collector's Edition in April – Page 1". GameSpy. http://www.gamespy.com/articles/971/971918p1.html. Retrieved 2010-09-01.
- ↑ "Sex, Drugs and Nintendo". Daily Emerald. 2007-04-19. http://www.dailyemerald.com/2.2360/sex-drugs-and-nintendo-1.199085. Retrieved 2009-10-16.
- ↑ "Solid Gold: The Best of the NES from 1UP.com". 1UP.com. 2006-10-26. http://www.1up.com/do/feature?cId=3144816. Retrieved 2010-04-13.
- ↑ "Feature: Unsung Mario Heroes". Official Nintendo Magazine. 2009-08-15. Archived from the original on 2011-01-07. http://web.archive.org/web/20110107160202/http://www.officialnintendomagazine.co.uk/article.php?id=10724. Retrieved 2010-09-01.
- ↑ "Feature: Leading Ladies". Official Nintendo Magazine. 2009-09-12. Archived from the original on 2009-09-14. http://web.archive.org/web/20090914102921/http://www.officialnintendomagazine.co.uk/article.php?id=11431. Retrieved 2010-09-01.
- ↑ The D-Pad Destroyer (2003-05-15). "Mario Kart: Double Dash!! Preview from". GamePro. Archived from the original on 2011-12-01. http://www.webcitation.org/query?url=http://www.gamepro.com/article/previews/29298/e3-2003-mario-kart-double-dash/&date=2011-11-30+22:19:47. Retrieved 2010-09-01.
- ↑ Stratton, Bryan (2001). Super Mario Advance: Prima's Official Strategy Guide. p. 9.
- ↑ "Review: Super Mario Advance (GBA)". N-Sider.com. http://www.n-sider.com/contentview.php?contentid=103. Retrieved 2010-09-01.
- ↑ "The Best Video Game Bird In History Is... – MTV Multiplayer". MTV. 2008-04-30. http://multiplayerblog.mtv.com/2008/04/30/the-best-video-game-bird-in-video-games-is. Retrieved 2010-04-13.
- ↑ Thomas, Lucas M. (2007-07-05). "Super Mario Bros. 2 Review – Wii Review at IGN". Wii.ign.com. http://wii.ign.com/articles/801/801793p1.html. Retrieved 2010-09-01.
- ↑ Watcher, The (2008-08-09). "Mario Superstar Baseball Review from". GamePro. Archived from the original on 2010-03-08. http://web.archive.org/web/20100308101014/http://www.gamepro.com/article/reviews/48010/mario-superstar-baseball/. Retrieved 2010-09-01.
- ↑ Tuckle, Sherry (1997). Life on the screen: identity in the age of the Internet. p. 67.
- ↑ Chris Buffa (2008-09-03). "Gallery and Images". GameDaily. Archived from the original on September 11, 2008. http://web.archive.org/web/20080911095227/http://www.gamedaily.com/articles/galleries/most-unappreciated-nintendo-characters/?page=9&cp=6. Retrieved 2010-09-01.
- ↑ Meli, Marissa (2010-03-27). "Top 20 Unsexiest Sexy Video Game Characters". UGO.com. Archived from the original on March 22, 2010. https://web.archive.org/web/20100325103612/http://www.ugo.com/games/unsexiest-sexy-video-game-characters. Retrieved 2010-08-05.
- ↑ "Top 10 Ugly Chicks in Games". GameTrailers. 2009-08-21. Archived from the original on August 26, 2009. https://web.archive.org/web/20120527015039/http://www.gametrailers.com/video/top-10-screwattack/54700#_text. Retrieved 2009-10-16.
- ↑ Craig. "15 Reasons We HATE Super Mario Bros 2". ScrewAttack. http://www.screwattack.com/news/15-reasons-we-hate-super-mario-bros-2?utm_source=zergnet.com&utm_medium=referral&utm_campaign=zergnet_29190. Retrieved October 2012.
- ↑ Karl, Ben; Rudden, Dave (2007-10-05). "Top Ten Disturbingly Sexual Game Characters". games.net. http://www.games.net/article/netten/1/116901/top-ten-disturbingly-sexual-game-characters/. Retrieved 2007-10-12.
- ↑ "The Inexplicable Wackiness of Super Mario 2". MTV. 2007-07-02. http://multiplayerblog.mtv.com/2007/07/02/the-inexplicable-wackiness-of-super-mario-2. Retrieved 2010-04-13.
- ↑ Kohler, Chris (2008-08-27). "Hands-On: Chibi-Robo Devs’ Latest Weirdness, Captain Rainbow | GameLife". Wired.com. http://www.wired.com/gamelife/2008/08/hands-on-chibi/. Retrieved 2010-09-01.
- ↑ "News – Nintendo Launches GameCube Mario Party 7 Hardware Bundle". Gamasutra. 2005-10-11. http://www.gamasutra.com/view/news/6808/. Retrieved 2010-09-01.
- ↑ Kohler, Chris (2008-08-28). "Captain Rainbow: Birdo's Gender Crisis". Wired. http://www.wired.com/gamelife/2008/08/captain-rainb-1/. Retrieved 2009-10-16.
- ↑ Loguidice, Bill; Matt Barton (2009). Vintage Games: An Insider Look at the History of Grand Theft Auto, Super Mario, and the Most Influential Games of All Time. p. 280.
- ↑ "The Top 7... "That’s a Dude!?" game characters". GamesRadar. 2008-08-25. http://www.gamesradar.com/f/the-top-7-thats-a-dude-game-characters/a-20080825125523210002/p-2. Retrieved 2010-09-01.
- ↑ "10 things you didn't know about Super Mario Bros 2, Super Mario 64 DS Features". GamesRadar. 2010-08-27. http://www.gamesradar.com/ds/f/10-things-you-didnt-know-about-super-mario-bros-2/a-20100525163414286035/g-2005120716533304644775/p-2. Retrieved 2010-09-01.
- ↑ "Who was your first gaming crush?". GamesRadar. http://www.gamesradar.com/f/who-was-your-first-gaming-crush/a-200904219410533090/p-2. Retrieved 2010-09-01.
- ↑ Yang, Robert (2009-10-06). "The Escapist : Too Gay for the U.S.A". Escapistmagazine.com. http://www.escapistmagazine.com/articles/view/issues/issue_222/6610-Too-Gay-for-the-U-S-A. Retrieved 2010-09-01.
- ↑ "Gaming's most repellent anti-babes". GamesRadar. http://www.gamesradar.com/f/gamings-most-repellent-anti-babes/a-2008071012115421032/p-2. Retrieved 2010-09-01.
- ↑ "Birdo WTF?! Videos – G4tv". G4TV. 2007-11-13. http://g4tv.com/videos/18996/Birdo-WTF. Retrieved 2010-04-13.
- ↑ Nintendo Power 250th issue!. South San Francisco, California: Future US. 2010. p. 46.
- ↑ Thomas, Lucas M. (2010-07-07). "Yoshi: Evolution of a Dinosaur – Wii Feature at IGN". Wii.ign.com. http://wii.ign.com/articles/109/1091970p6.html. Retrieved 2010-09-01.