Mario franchise

  • Developer: Nintendo
  • Publisher: Nintendo
  • Year: 1981 – 2016
  • Genre: Various
  • Platform/s: Various (Nintendo)

The Mario franchise has had several references to queer characters and themes throughout its long history. One of the most well known is Birdo, who many consider the first transgender character in videogame history because of a description in the original manual (see gallery image below), although later reprints of the manual removed the description. In-depth discussion of the controversial history of Birdo's gender has been included in the character's Wikipedia page, with many games publications debating the character's gender and Nintendo's intent.

In the Japanese version of Paper Mario, Vivian is described as transgender. Her gender is reportedly made fun of in the Japanese translation, with this dialogue made to be about appearance more generally in the English version.

Another interesting take on gender in Mario are the Toads, who are said to be genderless but to take on gender characteristics through choice.