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Birdo
Mario series
First appearance Doki Doki Panic

Birdo is a fictional character of indeterminate gender in the Mario series of video games. She first appeared in Super Mario Bros. 2, and has since become a recurring character in the series. Ever since the North American release of Super Mario Bros. 2, her gender has been at issue. The manual asserts that she is a crossdressing male, saying that she would rather be called "Birdetta". Later versions of Super Mario Bros. 2 make no mention in either the manual or the video game itself. Later works from Nintendo have changed the gender back and forth, including Birdo as a love interest for Yoshi. Her gender confusion is given specific mention in Super Smash Bros. Brawl and Captain Rainbow, the latter involving a plot that requires players to prove Birdo, called Catherine, is a female.

Concept and creation

Birdo was originally a mini-boss in the Nintendo Entertainment System video game Doki Doki Panic before it was converted to Super Mario Bros. 2 for North American audiences.[citation needed] In early art of Birdo, she had an orange tone to her.[citation needed] Since the character's North American introduction, Birdo's gender has been an issue of discussion and speculation. In the Japanese manual states her name is "Catherine", but it would rather be known as "Cassie."[citation needed] However, in the first edition manual for the North American release of Super Mario Bros. 2, Birdo is referred to as male that believes she is female, and would rather be called "Birdetta".[1] In later printings, the second sentence was omitted, and no mention of Birdo being male was included in most later games featuring the character.[2]

It is speculated by editor Chris Kohler that her gender issue was retconned to make her female, while transgendered video game developer Jennifer Reitz suggests that she received a sex change operation.[3][4] In Super Smash Bros. Brawl, it is said that Birdo is of "indeterminate gender" in its trophy.[citation needed] Birdo appears in the Wii Japan-only video game Captain Rainbow, which delves into Birdo's gender.[5] Birdo is often lauded as the first transgendered video game character.[2][3] She was given a voice actor in Super Mario Advance, a remake of Super Mario Bros. 2.[6] Her name was mistakenly switched with another Super Mario Bros. 2 enemy, Ostro, both in the manual and in the end credits.[7]

Characteristics

Birdo is a pink, anthropomorphic dinosaur who wears a pink bow on her head. She has a round mouth that she can fire eggs as projectiles out of.

Appearances

She first appeared in the Nintendo Entertainment System video game Super Mario Bros. 2 as a mini-boss, appearing frequently throughout the game. She would later make multiple cameos, including several appearances in the Mario Party series, multiple sports titles in the Mario series, and some appearances in Mario role-playing games. Her most recent appearance was in Captain Rainbow. The Super Mario Advance remake of Super Mario Bros. 2 features a large robotic version of Birdo called "Robirdo".[8] In later games in the series, multiple variations of Birdo appeared, including brown and orange variations.

In other media

Birdo was featured in the episode "The Bird! The Bird!" of The Super Mario Bros. Super Show! where she kidnaps a Toad due to her nearsightedness, believing Toad to be her child.[citation needed] Birdo appeared in both Super Smash Bros. Melee and Super Smash Bros. Brawl in the form of collectible items. In Melee, she was visually two dimensional.[citation needed] Birdo was included in a set of chess pieces themed in the Mario series.[9] Birdo's name was in the first track in band HORSE the Band's first track of "The Mechanical Hand".[10]

Reception

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.[5] Birdo is nearly as recognizable as common partner Yoshi in Mario spin-offs featuring her.[11] She has received praise from transsexuals, including transsexual video game designer Jennifer Reitz[12] She was ranked number one on the top seven "That's a Dude?!" video game characters list on Games Radar, which states that the revelation is just as shocking now as it was when she fist appeared in the Mario series.[13] She ranked second on the most disturbing video game bosses list, commenting that Birdo resembles a toy that a mother would place in a child's crib, yet would readily remove when she discovered her gender.[14] She was ranked the sixth worst character in the Mario series by GameDaily, owing to her ability to shoot eggs, which they describe as disgusting.[15] She was ranked the ninth ugliest female video game character by ScrewAttack, who described her as resembling a "retarded anteater".[16] She was listed amongst the "freaks" section on Games Radar's list of gaming's most "anti-babes", describing her "burst fire hose"-like mouth as terrifying.[17] She tied for eighth place on the top 10 best female video game characters by members of the Official Nintendo Magazine's forum, which the ONM staff considered whether she could be included due to her gender confusion.[18]

References

  1. Super Mario Bros. 2 manual. Nintendo. p. 27. "He thinks he's a girl and he spits eggs from his mouth. He'd rather be called Birdetta" 
  2. 2.0 2.1 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 0240811461. 
  3. 3.0 3.1 http://www.transsexual.org/birdo.html
  4. http://www.wired.com/gamelife/2008/08/captain-rainb-1/
  5. 5.0 5.1 "Captain Rainbow Preview". IGN Entertainment. IGN. http://uk.wii.ign.com/articles/906/906486p1.html. Retrieved 2008-09-02. 
  6. http://gameboy.ign.com/articles/092/092645p1.html
  7. http://www.craveonline.com/gaming/article/top-10-underrated-games-65303/2
  8. http://gameboy.ign.com/articles/092/092746p1.html
  9. http://inventorspot.com/articles/super_mario_collectors_edition_chess_set_has_nintendo_fans_pawne_31363
  10. http://www.dailyemerald.com/2.2360/sex-drugs-and-nintendo-1.199085
  11. http://wii.ign.com/articles/801/801793p1.html
  12. http://www.wired.com/gamelife/2008/08/captain-rainb-1/
  13. http://www.gamesradar.com/f/the-top-7-that-s-a-dude-game-characters/a-20080825125523210002
  14. http://www.spike.com/blog/10-most-disturbing/84677
  15. http://www.gamedaily.com/articles/galleries/the-top-ten-worst-mario-characters/110/?cp=9&page=4
  16. http://www.gametrailers.com/video/top-10-screwattack/54700
  17. http://www.gamesradar.com/f/gamings-most-repellent-anti-babes/a-2008071012115421032/p-2
  18. "Nintendo Features: Leading Ladies". Official Nintendo Magazine. 2009-09-12. http://www.officialnintendomagazine.co.uk/article.php?id=11431. 

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