Meri is digging through some old X-Men comic issues right now, and showed me a hilarious advertisement for Sears, and specifically their Nintendo inventory. Check this out from The Uncanny X-Men issue 247 from 1989:

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The first thing we noticed was the swapped screenshots for Zelda II and Castlevania II. It also lists Super Mario Bros. II and shows a screenshot from the first game (and clearly from 1-1 of SMB1, and not the Japanese SMB2).

What really got me though was the representation of Bowser, King of the Koopas. Take another look at him:

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He is really freakin’ scary, there. The thing is, it’s not all that far removed from how he is actually represented in the first Super Mario Bros.:

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He was very clearly more “dinosaur”-inspired in the 1980s, and a rather frightening turtle-dinosaur-monster-man-thing at that. To today’s crowd, he’s almost unrecognizable in this original form. Bowser has become a rather sympathetic character over the years. Between his bumbling ways in the American cartoons, his constant team-ups in the Mario RPG series, collaborative sports events with the heroes… even when he is being evil, he’s a very lovable evil monster. Take a look at a modern representation of Bowser from Super Smash Bros. Brawl:

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He is much more rounded-off, has more color to him (remember, “bright” = “nice”, and “dark” = “evil”…!), smiles a lot more… you just want to reach over and hug him!

As you can tell, I do not have a whole lot of commentary to add; I mostly just find it fascinating how characters change and evolve over time (both in- and out-of game), and wanted to share!