Canonicity

Stumpers

Hammer Bro.
Retired Wiki Staff
This is long, but please be sure to read it all! :)

I’d like to start a discussion here regarding what we consider canon and what we consider alternate canon. Currently, the video games are our basis for an “ultimate canon,” while the other forms of media and games such as endutainment titles and Hotel Mario are considered “alternate canon.” I am aware that simplifies the task of determining the storyline, and something like this would obviously apply to many other series, in which the content of these alternate forms of media are retellings or directly conflict with another form on a significant level. But, not all of the “alternate canon” titles are retellings in the Mario series.

I can understand that our separation of mediums can prevent unnecessary speculation in certain cases. You look at this method, and it makes sense for the obviously alternate storylines such as the various anime and the live-action movie. However, like I mentioned, certain of these titles actually fit in to the timeline (we can discuss individual works later in the thread).

I believe that we’ve created a blanket statement based on the canonicity of other series and assumed it applies to the Mario universe as well. Son of Sons argues on the “MarioWiki:Canonicity” page that this separation does exist: based on the presence of the Official Nintendo Seal on the product (originally the Official Nintendo Seal of Quality). It makes sense, doesn’t it? The problem with this line of thought is that the seal is only used on video games that have been published by Nintendo. The seal is a signal that Nintendo was involved to a certain extent with the product, but it does not say whether the involvement is like that in “Yoshi Topsy-Turvy” (not much) or “Super Mario 64” (completely in-house). Is there really any difference from when Nintendo gives a 3rd party the right to create a Mario game and publishes the final result (“Mario Hoops,” anyone?) as opposed to when the 3rd party publishes it itself? (Hotel Mario, endutainment titles, Mario v. Sonic). The only difference is the localization team, if any is required. Also, Nintendo did not publish/distribute TV shows or movies during the ‘80s and 90’s, when most of the other forms of media were created, so it is logical that they would not have distributed them. Nintendo was tied up with video games when they gave permission to DiC to create the three American TV shows, for example, so little involvement was given. The same goes for video games created when Nintendo is occupied with in-house games: other projects are given to 2nd and 3rd parties and are considered part of the canon. By arguing that a series’ canon relies on whether or not the same company published the various works that encompass it, you are breaking up many canons that are meant to be together, for example Mario Kart (the arcade titles were published by Namco). If you want a non-Mario example, look at Banjo-Kazooie.

So, the Official Nintendo Seal really means nothing regarding canon, but simply means that this particular part of the overarching canon was published in-house by Nintendo and was a video game. In other words, by basing our canonicity assumptions on the Seal, we are making the assumption that no part of the main canon would ever be told through any method except through video games, and that Nintendo should be regarded as a supreme, sacred company that can publish everything it wishes to be in the canon regardless of its current physical ability to do so.

So where does this leave canon? Of course, you’re going to want to keep the video games because you’re writing about a storyline common throughout, but what about everything else? Here’s a list of everything I know about that is “alternate canon” currently: the American TV shows (four including King Koopa’s Kool Kartoons), the Japanese anime (four of them), the movie, the comic books, and everything else down to the movie’s children’s book.

It is my opinion that we should be evaluating each of these works individually rather than applying a blanket judgment. The movie obviously follows a different storyline from the video games (Luigi is younger than Mario, Daisy’s kingdom is in an alternate Earth unlike the Mushroom World), but “The Super Mario Bros. Super Show” features characters and storylines that don’t necessarily contradict the continuity of the games. So, I would consider the movie alternate canon and the TV show canon, placing its storyline between Super Mario Bros. 1 and 2 (Japanese version) due to clues given in show. We need to argue and debate all of these, though, so please do so below.

However, I’m sure there are those of you who are thinking right now about the significant differences in style between the different forms of media, and may have written them off as alternate canon as a result. But, Miyamoto himself in a recent interview (http://www.next-gen.biz/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=8096&Itemid=2&limit=1&limitstart=0) stated that he felt the Super Mario Bros. movie did badly because it tried to stay to close to the format of a video game, when really it needed to follow the format of the movie. In other words, Miyamoto approves of the use of creative licenses in the Mario series for the purpose of improving the overall product and making the series work in the context of a movie, or a TV show, or a comic book. Please also note that Miyamoto does not shoot down the movie because it wasn’t distributed by Nintendo; he actually states that his problem with the movie was that it was too true to the video games. Seriously, read the article. It’s the closest thing I’ve ever seen to Miyamoto flat out telling us what is part of the overarching storyline.

Please also remember that the video games themselves deviate tremendously from one another. You wouldn’t ban Luigi’s Mansion, Paper Mario, Mario Pinball Land, or Mario Party from the timeline because they aren’t platformers. In the same way, we shouldn’t be banning a TV show from the timeline for the sake of it being a TV show. Super Mario Galaxy director Yoshiaki Koizumi recently stated in an IGN.com interview (http://wii.ign.com/articles/838/838587p1.html) that, “One of the best things about being able to develop a Mario game, is that the very concept of a Mario game is free and open. There are not that many fixed ideas. So we're able to go with whatever gives us the best options in development and whatever we can use to make the most fun game for the player.” Again we have, straight from Nintendo, the concept that differences in the telling of a certain event do not render it from the main Mario continuity.

In short, other forms of media cannot be banned from the main continuity because of Nintendo’s lack of involvement: many games lack the involvement even though they are published by Nintendo. You also cannot say that other forms of media are inherently not part of the video game continuity: differences between individual games are too great.

What we have to do to determine canonicity is see if the storyline of the work itself makes sense with previously accepted works. Like I mentioned previously, some alternate forms of media are accurately separated from the main storyline because they tell an explicitly different storyline, but others have been banned solely because they do not fit our fan-based preconceptions of what the Mario timeline should be like. Banning one of the latter from the continuity is as conjectural as banning Super Mario RPG from the main continuity because Bowser worked with Mario, a story element which hadn’t appeared before.

So, I challenge all of us to now look at every “alternate canon” source and analyze why it isn’t canon based on its connection to the world of the video games or the world of another accepted source rather than its existence as a non-video game or as game published by another company than Nintendo.
 

Ghost Jam

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I've always felt that we were going in the wrong direction with all this canon talk. Mario games don't have a flowing storyline like Metroid does. Rather, it has a series of individual storylines. IE: Mario Party is it's own separate series with it's own separate cannon, as is the case with Paper Mario, Mario Kart and the various sports games.

I also don't see the benefit to arguing about it. Our job is to document information on Mario, not debate information that has not been presented.
 

Stumpers

Hammer Bro.
Retired Wiki Staff
Just checking in real quick to clarify... I hope to be with you guys more this weekend maybe?

Ghost Jam: Your second paragraph is what I wanted to get at -- we're placing too much emphasis on connecting the works instead of showing what happened. As I mentioned, that interview was the closest thing we had to an official statement of non-video game related canonicity. I wouldn't focus on "separate canon", but rather separate tales in the same universe. Saying different canon implies different characters to a certain extent, which I don't think is what you're saying.

Uniju: Yeah, as a Wiki I feel we do need a canon to work with, so I'm with you there. My issue is, as you know, that we seem to be taking the easy way out and excluding.
 

Ghost Jam

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Stumpers said:
I wouldn't focus on "separate canon", but rather separate tales in the same universe.
For the purposes of documenting information, my thought was to assume that each Mario-thing is it's own universe. IE: Paper Mario universe, Mario Kart universe, Mario Party universe. This way, we can assume that everything happened in the order the games were released and not worry about placing EVERYTHING in some kind of event order that more than likely doesn't exist.

The Marioverse could be considered to be like the Marvel Multiverse. Things happen one way in one place and differently in another.
 

Stumpers

Hammer Bro.
Retired Wiki Staff
You're right that a certain continuity probably doesn't exist, which is why we're relying on release date order, but if we argue for separate universes, wouldn't you want to subdivide character articles into sections based on Paper Mario, Platformer, etc. instead of having one large Biography section? I'd feel better about what you're saying if you could provide some more support for how game continuity doesn't line up. I gotta say, this topic is one of the things I overlooked in my rant.
 

Ghost Jam

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Stumpers said:
You're right that a certain continuity probably doesn't exist, which is why we're relying on release date order, but if we argue for separate universes, wouldn't you want to subdivide character articles into sections based on Paper Mario, Platformer, etc. instead of having one large Biography section?
Right off the top, I don't think arguing for a multiverse is a good idea either. My thought was that we should just assume that until we are given more information from the source. Thus, we can stop messing about with all this and continue with the documentation. There is a fine line between fact and fanon.

But to actually address the point, I don't think having separate biographies will be necessary. Consider the following:

Colossus (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Colossus_%28comics%29) is a prominent comic character. In most universes, he's just about the same as he is listed in the link. However, Ultimate Colossus is significantly different in mannerisms, dress, speech and power. At one point, wikipedia had a separate article for this version (until the deletionists had at it)

We wouldn't need to do this as the difference between, say, Birdo in the 'Mario Kart universe' verses Birdo in the 'main universe' is minor at best.

I'd feel better about what you're saying if you could provide some more support for how game continuity doesn't line up.
I'm not saying that it doesn't line up, only that we have no real clue HOW is lines up, besides release dates. My point is we should forget about trying to get the storyline of Mario straight considering we have no real, solid indication that there IS a storyline.
 
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Blitzwing

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I don't care much about this canonicity stuff, it just annoy me that the obscure third-party games (The education title, Hotel Mario ect) are labeled as "non-canon" because they don't wear the Official Nintendo seal of quality. Nintendo gave the right to the makers of these games to use the Mario license, as crappy as Mario is Missing! is, it still count.
 

Smiddle

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Ghost Jam said:
Stumpers said:
I wouldn't focus on "separate canon", but rather separate tales in the same universe.
For the purposes of documenting information, my thought was to assume that each Mario-thing is it's own universe. IE: Paper Mario universe, Mario Kart universe, Mario Party universe. This way, we can assume that everything happened in the order the games were released and not worry about placing EVERYTHING in some kind of event order that more than likely doesn't exist.

The Marioverse could be considered to be like the Marvel Multiverse. Things happen one way in one place and differently in another.
I think so, too.
 

3Dejong

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IMO, everything in the Marioverse is canon except the movie, the remakes (SM64DS), and anything not bearing the seal of quality. Even Yoshi Touch & Go has a place, along with Yoshi Topsy Turvy. I don't think too deeply. :smug:

Nice rant, Stumps.
 
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Blitzwing

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3Dejong said:
IMO, everything in the Marioverse is canon except the movie, the remakes (SM64DS), and anything not bearing the seal of quality. Even Yoshi Touch & Go has a place, along with Yoshi Topsy Turvy. I don't think too deeply. :smug:
So what is bassicaly a glorified minigame is more canon that Hotel Mario, an actual game with an actual (if awful) story?

Nintendo gave Phillip the right to use the Mario License for Hotel Mario, as awful as it may be, it still count (Beside, putting the seal of quality wouldn't have made much sense, that game was released on the CD-I, not the SNES).
 

3Dejong

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YTT had a story, as awful as it was.

I am hereby adding HM to my canon list.
 

PaperStriker

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3Dejong said:
YTT had a story, as awful as it was.

I am hereby adding HM to my canon list.
He meant YT&G.
And why don't you consider SM64DS as canon? It is the only canon remake, I think...
 
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Blitzwing

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PaperStriker said:
3Dejong said:
YTT had a story, as awful as it was.

I am hereby adding HM to my canon list.
He meant YT&G.
And why don't you consider SM64DS as canon? It is the only canon remake, I think...
Yes, I meant Touch & Go.
 

3Dejong

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PaperStriker said:
3Dejong said:
YTT had a story, as awful as it was.

I am hereby adding HM to my canon list.
He meant YT&G.
And why don't you consider SM64DS as canon? It is the only canon remake, I think...
It's. A remake.

Actually, YT&G is more like a remake too.
 

PaperStriker

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3Dejong said:
PaperStriker said:
3Dejong said:
YTT had a story, as awful as it was.

I am hereby adding HM to my canon list.
He meant YT&G.
And why don't you consider SM64DS as canon? It is the only canon remake, I think...
It's. A remake.

Actually, YT&G is more like a remake too.
The Wiki considers it still as canon, I think. It's listed in Mario's, Luigi's, Peach's, Yoshi's, Bowser's and Wario's article. The Mario, Luigi, Yoshi and Wario article have an extra section about it.
 

Stumpers

Hammer Bro.
Retired Wiki Staff
Cool. So, nobody has any major objections, then? What I'm hearing is that we may also want to consider neglecting our assumption that events occured based on release date. I finally get what Ghost Jam was saying! :D Silly me. Oh, Ghost Jam: would you consider the characters from the Mario movie deserving of a different page? Mario, Luigi, Yoshi, Daisy, and Bowser are very different. At least Mario and Luigi are. The others are a little less so. Bowser is still diabolical (but he's also... sleazy) and Daisy is still spunky (but less kooky) and Yoshi is still a sweet loving dino (but he likes human flesh and is less sentient).

But back to canon, here's more issues you've brought up and how they would apply to canon according to my rant:

Remakes: If we do what Ghost Jam has suggested, these can be positioned next to the originals on character pages, but we should only note what changed. So, for Super Mario 64 DS, you would note that "In the remake SM64DS, Mario was accompanied by Luigi, Wario, and Yoshi."

Movie: Oh, yeah. Definately not part of the central storyline. Still canon, though. Just not canon to the main story. I think I mentioned this earlier?

Seal of Quality: 3Dejong brought this up. Please check out the rant again and tell me what about my argument against the Official Seal that you disagreed with.

Yoshi Touch & Go: We can't say this isn't canon because Nintendo hasn't mentioned anything about it. We can note that it appears to be a retelling of the events of Yoshi's Story (Mario falls from the sky, Yoshi adventures across varied landscapes, Kamek is in pursuit). I would mention it on its own in a character article and as a sub-section of the Yoshi's Island section. That's just me, though.

I hope that clears up some stuff! Oh, and PaperStriker: you said the Wiki considered Super Mario 64 DS canon. If we follow my rant, what the Wiki considers, which is very disjointed and varies by article, is a bad guideline. Remember, when you come down to it, the Wiki is a fan-based work, not official, so our opinion doesn't effect the storyline. It just effects how we talk about it.
 
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Blitzwing

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I don't know why the official Seal of Quality is given so much importance, it was only created because of the abundance of pirated games in the 80 and 90 and is there to tell you "Hey! That game is official and legetimate!. Otherwise, it doesn't mean Jack Squat.
 

3Dejong

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The Seal means Nintendo accepts it into its circle of canon.

The Movie had no seal. All the Pokemon movies, no matter HOW crappy, had a seal. Nintendo abandoned the movie from the start.
 

Stumpers

Hammer Bro.
Retired Wiki Staff
3D, do you have any evidence to support that the seal = canon? I haven't read that anywhere. Actually, I don't know of Nintendo even addressing the issue of canon anywhere. Maybe just to say that players shouldn't think about it in regards to a certain game (DK: Jungle Beat or Donkey Konga, I think), but that's it. Blitzwing is right: it was to say, "Hey, this is Nintendo. We approve of this. Over and out." Nintendo has written about the seal, though:

"This official seal is your assurance that Nintendo has approved the quality of this product. Always look for this seal when buying games and accessories to ensure complete compatibility with your [Nintendo system]"

^ The "Official Seal of Quality"

"The official seal is your assurance that this product is licensed or manufactured by Nintendo. Always look for this seal when buying video game systems, accessories, games, and related products."

^ The "Nintendo Official Seal"

Look in the second one: licensed or manufactured is there. That would mean it would include the Pokemon movies. But, if I'm not mistaken this separate seal came about after the Mario movie. In other words, to put the current Official Seal of Quality on the Mario Bros. movie would be to say it was a one of Nintendo's "games and accessories" that has "compatibility with your [Nintendo system]". Doesn't sound very applicible to a movie to me.

So, not only does Nintendo not mention this as canon v. non-canon, with this further research we know that the seal only applied (past tense) to games on Nintendo systems. Meaning that a game on the CD-I, a comic book, a TV show, or a movie wouldn't get it. Yes, the seal has been updated to include alternate forms of media, but we cannot use it to determine canonicity for works that were released prior to the "Official Nintendo Seal", which happen to be all of the works in question.
 

3Dejong

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I didn't know there were two seals.

You take this stuff a little to seriously.

They're games. We're a Wiki. We have the games over here, the systems over here, the remakes over there, and the shows over there, and that movie nobody likes as part of the MarioVerse over THERE.
 

Stumpers

Hammer Bro.
Retired Wiki Staff
Wait... so you'd rather have incorrect information posted as long as it makes it simpler? 3D, we're a Wiki. That's the point. We should be factual not conjectural.
 
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