Nintendo 'Paper Mario' remake sparks debate over trans-identifying character 'Vivian'

People visit a Nintendo store in Shibuya district of Tokyo on May 2, 2024.
People visit a Nintendo store in Shibuya district of Tokyo on May 2, 2024. | PHILIP FONG/AFP via Getty Images

The remake of the Nintendo game "Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door" will include a trans-identifying character after dialogue referring to the character’s gender identity was removed from the original U.S. version of the game.

The Paper Mario game was originally released for the GameCube in 2004, and Nintendo released a remake for the Nintendo Switch gaming system earlier this month. In the remake, Vivian, a purple ghost that wears a striped hat, now has an exchange with Mario in which he discusses his self-declared gender identity.

Vivian initially serves as a villain in the game alongside his sisters, Marilyn and Bedlam, but he later joins Mario’s team because the Italian plumber is kind to him, whereas his sisters frequently bully him.

Get Our Latest News for FREE

Subscribe to get daily/weekly email with the top stories (plus special offers!) from The Christian Post. Be the first to know.

According to a review of the game by Nintendo Life last week, Vivian, who was born a boy, was written as a trans-identifying character in the original Japanese version of the game intended for the Nintendo GameCube. The 2004 U.S. version of the Mario game removed the lines discussing Vivian’s gender identity, but the remake has restored them. 

“Truth is, it took me a while to realize I was their sister, not their brother. Now their usual bullying feels heavier,” Vivian tells Mario in the 2024 version, according to a photo of the game’s remake shared last week by the X account No Context Super Mario. 

The news of the remake of the Paper Mario game hasn't been without its share of controversy, however. In a Thursday X post, Libs of TikTok accused Nintendo of going “woke,” while others argued that Nintendo was correct in including what was already in the original script.

“They just introduced a transgender character in a kid’s game,” Libs of TikTok wrote. “Vivian discusses [his] gender identity and [his] sisters’ transphobia with Mario. [He] says [he] realized [he] “was their sister ... not their brother.”

Trans-identified writer Ari Drennen applauded the decision in a post on X, writing, “Hell yeah Nintendo” in response to Libs of TikTok’s post about the game. 

“Vivian was originally portrayed as transgender in the 2004 Japanese version of this game,” Drennen wrote. “This was censored in the United States, land of the free. The remake was not censored in the same way.” 

Nintendo did not immediately respond to The Christian Post’s request for comment. 

The remake of "Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door" is not the first game aimed at younger audiences to feature a trans-identifying character. 

Last year, the creators of “The Sims 4,” the fourth entry in a series of life simulation games, announced a new feature that would allow players to express themselves and “customize every detail.” 

The new features included the ability to add so-called “medical wearables” such as breast “binders,” which are worn by girls who identify as boys to flatten their chests. In addition, players could have their characters wear shapewear that creates a bulge in underwear so a female who identifies as male could look like she has male genitalia. Another feature allowed players to give their characters a “top surgery scar” to signify breast removal. 

In a now-deleted X post, Chaya Raichik, who runs Libs of TikTok, stated: “The Sims game announced a new update which has the option to make a teen character non-binary or transgender by giving them double mastectomy scars and chest binders. The Sims is advertised for ages 12+. They’re teaching young, healthy girls that it’s ok to chop off their breasts.” 

Chloe Cole is a young woman who underwent a double mastectomy to remove her breasts and took cross-sex hormones when she identified as a boy due to gender dysphoria. Cole has since destransitioned, and she has spoken publicly about the physical and mental side effects that stemmed from her transition. 

“My body has been irreversibly damaged, and years later, my chest is still in bandages. My doctors have abandoned me. New doctors look and shrug. As a result, I am suing those professionals who steered me into taking these destructive steps that have permanently scarred me,” Cole said during a Disney shareholders meeting last month. 

Samantha Kamman is a reporter for The Christian Post. She can be reached at: Follow her on Twitter: @Samantha_Kamman

Was this article helpful?

Help keep The Christian Post free for everyone.

By making a recurring donation or a one-time donation of any amount, you're helping to keep CP's articles free and accessible for everyone.

We’re sorry to hear that.

Hope you’ll give us another try and check out some other articles. Return to homepage.

Most Popular

More Articles