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23rd May 2024

New Mario game confirms one of its lead characters is transgender

Warning: contains spoilers for Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door

Charlie Herbert

English versions of the game had previously removed references to the character’s gender identity

A remake of a hit Mario game has confirmed that one its lead characters is transgender.

On Thursday (May 23), Nintendo released a remake of Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door, the hit game released on GameCube back in 2004.

Along with redone graphics, animations and music, the remake has also confirmed that one of the game’s main characters, Vivian, is transgender.

In the game, Vivian is one of villains who tries to track down and defeat Mario alongside her sisters Marilyn and Beldam. But she ends up joining forces everyone’s favourite Italian plumber because of bullying from her siblings.

New Mario game confirms one of its lead characters is transgender.

The original Japanese version of the game makes it clear that Vivian is a trans woman and that her sisters bullied her because of this. But English-language versions removed this, and instead said Beldam called her ugly, IGN reports.

This has now been amended in the new version of the The Thousand-Year Door.

When Vivian travels with Mario in chapter four of the game, she tells him her backstory, saying: “Truth is, it took me a while to realize I was their sister… not their brother. Now their usual bullying feels heavier.”

Vivian is confirmed as a trans woman in English-language versions of the game

The remake of the game has also toned down Beldam’s bullying of Vivian.

In the original scripts from the 2004 Japanese, Vivian is consistently misgendered by Beldam and in the in-game description of her character.

The 2024 remake is much clearer about her gender identity, and her character bio reads: “Vivian was one of the Three Shadows but has now chosen to leave her two sisters behind.”

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