Nintendo Games Royalty: A Respectful and Courteous Bunch
Nintendo games are a treasure trove of royals, and unlike their real-world counterparts, they are relatively less controversial. You won’t find them making outrageous claims or yawning during military parades. And thankfully, there are no paparazzi hiding in the bushes to capture their every move.
In the Nintendoverse, tabloids are a lot more respectful and courteous. So, we’ve rounded up some of our favorite sovereigns from Nintendo games, from the Mushroom Kingdom to Hyrule and beyond. You’ll find a mix of big cheeses and lesser-known royals here.
This list is by no means exhaustive, but it includes some of the most memorable and iconic blue-bloods in video gaming. We could have easily filled this list with lords and ladies from the Fire Emblem series alone, but we’ve tried to keep it varied.
So, without further ado, let’s take a trip down memory lane and revisit 24 of the most remarkable rulers in Nintendo games. And don’t forget to cast your vote for your favorite royal at the end!
In the Mario world, King Boo reigns supreme over all things Boo. He first appeared in Luigi’s Mansion, where he donned a fashionable jeweled crown (which was later toned down in his Super Mario appearances). This mischievous monarch has a penchant for opulent decor and paintings, but even though he doesn’t have much love for Luigi’s green-clad sibling, he still manages to find time for golf, kart racing, and baseball. If you hear his devious little chuckle, be on your guard, as it could mean trouble is on the horizon.
Is it possible that Queen Ambi, the reigning monarch in Oracle of Ages/Seasons, did not immediately come to mind when you thought of notable royalty in The Legend of Zelda series? While some fans may consider her a top contender, others may have different opinions based on their experiences with the games. It’s worth noting that Queen Ambi is briefly possessed by Veran in the game, which some players may find unfortunate. Nonetheless, she does reward Link with some beautiful statues in the end.
Bowser, King of the Koopas
It’s unclear what shade of blue Bowser’s blood may be, and some speculate that he simply gathered a group of Koopas and declared himself ruler. But then again, many dynasties throughout history began with similar methods, so who’s to say?
Regardless of his rise to power, there’s something endearing about the Koopa King. Despite his villainous tendencies, he’s shown to be a loving father and a formidable foe who never gives up – even when his repeated attempts to kidnap princesses prove futile.
The representation of gender equality among royals in games is undoubtedly unbalanced in favor of male monarchs. Even when female rulers do appear, they often have questionable moral alignments or are depicted in insectoid forms. The queen in question falls into the latter category, and it’s uncertain whether she leans toward good or evil. It’s understandable that being subjected to experiments by Space Pirates would leave anyone in a bad mood, not to mention having one’s subjects targeted by a ruthless bounty hunter.
Nevertheless, the queen’s resilience is impressive in the face of such adversity.
King Dedede, the self-proclaimed king of Dream Land, is often portrayed as an intimidating figure, but many find him to be quite cute. Despite being Kirby’s “frenemy,” this lazy and selfish ruler harbors envy towards Kirby’s powers and strength. Nonetheless, the two have formed an unlikely alliance on multiple occasions. King Dedede is never seen without his signature hammer, which he wields with skill and precision. He’s also proven to be a formidable adversary in the popular fighting game, Smash Bros.
Princess Toadstool made her debut in Super Mario Bros. and has since captivated players with her affable charm and kindheartedness. Over time, she has become more engaged with her subjects and can often be seen actively involved in managing the kingdom, often accompanied by a pair of heroic plumbers. While she maintains a well-kept castle, there are concerns about the security measures in place at her numerous palatial estates. With the Princess being kidnapped so many times, it’s reasonable to question whether additional protection from the Secret Service may be necessary, as much as the toad companions are adorable.
King Bob-omb made his debut in Super Mario 64, where he presides over the first world, Bob-omb Battlefield, atop his polygonal mountain. His impressive mustache has undergone some changes over the years, becoming fuller and less pointed, but he remains the beloved ruler of one of Mario’s most iconic World 1-1 levels. In fact, the bomb king’s popularity is such that he even makes a memorable cameo in the Super Mario Bros. Movie, solidifying his position as a beloved character in the franchise.
Princess Zelda is a prominent figure in the Legend of Zelda franchise, holding the position of either the reigning monarch or heir to the throne of Hyrule, depending on the particular game (curse that Zelda timeline!). Undoubtedly, she is one of Nintendo’s most recognizable royal characters. Fans remain hopeful that this beloved “people’s princess” will be a playable character in Tears of the Kingdom, although the chances of that happening seem to be dwindling with each passing day.
King K. Rool
Underdog stories always seem to captivate us, and the story of a young pirate crocodile rising up to become a monarch is no exception. While it’s true that he repeatedly resorts to kidnapping members of the Kong family in order to get his hands on their bananas, there’s something undeniably compelling about his relentless pursuit of power.
Whether you know him from Donkey Kong or from the popular fighting game, Smash, there’s no denying that K. Rool’s methods are far from admirable. While his determination is certainly admirable, his actions are not “kool.”
Daisy, the spunky and athletic counterpart to Princess Peach, has a devoted fan base within the Mario franchise – and for good reason. Although she made her debut in Super Mario Land and hasn’t appeared in many mainline games since, her energetic and vivacious personality has made her a standout character in various spin-off titles, from tennis and golf to party games.
It’s no surprise that many fans, including VGC features editor and NL contributor Chris Scullion, hold a special place in their hearts for Princess Daisy. However, it’s a shame that she hasn’t been given more time in the spotlight beyond her appearances in sports-themed spin-offs.