Bowser, Bowser Sr., or King Koopa, is the main antagonist of the Mario series, and the archenemy of Mario and Luigi. He is the most recognizable video game villain ever, having been in the original Super Mario Bros., and in most Mario games ever since. He frequently kidnaps Princess Peach, whom he has feelings for, in an attempt to rule the Mushroom Kingdom.

He is the king of the Koopa Troopas and has 1 child: Bowser Jr. Ludwig von Koopa, Lemmy Koopa, Roy Koopa, Iggy Koopa, Wendy O. Koopa, Morton Koopa Jr., and Larry Koopa, also known as the Koopalings, are officially simply unrelated "mini-Bowsers."

In unusual circumstances, Bowser is known to help Mario if he must. Notable examples would be in Super Mario RPG: the Legend of the Seven Stars, Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga, and Super Paper Mario.

Bowser is portrayed as a large, fire-breathing reptilian beast in turtle-like appearance with a turtle-esque carapace and a deep, rumbling roar. While an intelligent being and often warlock-like in behavior, Bowser seemingly suffers from an inability to learn from his mistakes, in particular when it comes to his repeated battles with Mario.

Of particular note is Bowser's ever-varying size — starting as tall as Super Mario in Super Mario Bros., he has since varied from about twice Mario's size to positively gargantuan, as seen in Super Mario Sunshine, and Super Mario Galaxy 2.


Super Mario Bros./Super Mario Bros.3/Super Mario World

Bowser's first appearance was in Super Mario Bros. for the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES). Bowser stole the Princess, turned most of the Toads into blocks and mushrooms, and planned to take over the peaceful Mushroom Kingdom. Peach's ability to nullify Bowser's black magic is apparently the reason behind her kidnapping in this game; in some later games Bowser's motivation is less clear. In this game, Bowser is the final boss, and has many other followers be disguised as him to fool Mario. When Mario faces the real Bowser, Mario has to just hit the switch at the end to make him drop into a pit of lava, like with the others.

Bowser (Super Mario Bros. 3)

Bowser in Super Mario Bros. 3.

His next appearance was in Super Mario Bros. 3, which introduced seven of his children, known as the Koopalings. In this game, he sends out the Koopalings to take over all the lands of the Mushroom Kingdom, and he also gives each one a special airship. In the final world, Bowser has army tanks and traps placed all over, and puts the castle where he waits for Mario in the middle. Other than planning to take over the Kingdom, he also has the seven kings turned into animals by their own stolen Magic Wands.

Bowser, as seen in Super Mario World.

Soon after his defeat at the hands of Mario in the events that took place in Super Mario Bros. 3, he decides to place his next stronghold in Dinosaur Land, which he targeted specifically for its abundant natural resources. He captures all of the peaceful Yoshis, and makes sure that his army is spread throughout the land. While Bowser is causing havoc across the land, Mario, Luigi, and Peach go to Dinosaur Land for a vacation totally unaware of what is happening. Once they arrive, Peach is suddenly kidnapped by Bowser, and Mario goes out to save her, saving Yoshi and his friends in the process.

Super Mario 64/Super Mario 64 DS/Super Mario Sunshine

Bowser's 3D debut was in Super Mario 64, in which he captures Peach, traps her in a painting, and steals her castle's Power Stars. Bowser returns in Super Mario 64 DS, though this time, Luigi, Wario, and Yoshi help Mario save the princess.

Bowser only makes a short appearance in Super Mario Sunshine as the final boss, although his son, Bowser Jr., is the main antagonist. It is made clear, however, that Bowser has been orchestrating events from behind the scenes and guiding his son's actions; he even tells his son that Peach is his mother and Mario the serial kidnapper. (Bowser Jr. was apparently only briefly fooled if at all, the desire to capture Peach seemingly innate in the Koopa lineage.)

New Super Mario Bros./New Super Mario Bros. Wii/Super Mario Galaxy/Super Mario Galaxy 2

With the lack of new mainline Mario games for a long time, Bowser wasn't the main villain, as several other characters have stolen his thunder, especially in the Mario RPG games. Bowser becomes the overarching antagonist again in New Super Mario Bros. Death does not stop him here with Dry Bowser rising from the lava to get his revenge. In Super Mario Galaxy, he aims to conquer the entire universe. In New Super Mario Bros. Wii, the game concludes with an epic battle against the beast who became enlarged with the help of Kamek's magic.

In Super Mario Galaxy 2, Bowser grows to new heights as he towers over Princess Peach's Castle, once again kidnapping her and taking her into space. The fights against the Koopa King have Mario jumping on spheres that emerge from the ground and float in the air and ground pounding them, delivering enough force to send the planetoid crashing into Bowser. Bowser's attacks consist of punching the planet Mario is on, generating shock waves and breathing fire.

Super Mario 3D Land/New Super Mario Bros. U/Super Mario 3D World

Bowser's ambitions are scaled back after the adventures of the Galaxy games with a straight forward kidnapping of Princess Peach in the Mushroom Kingdom in Super Mario 3D Land. In this game, he learns to use the power-ups primarily the Super Leaf. He gets trounced again, but he revives his Dry Bowser form for some of the post-game.

In New Super Mario Bros. U, Bowser gets devious and traps Princess Peach in her own castle. Meanwhile, Mario and crew are tossed all the way to Acorn Plains. He sorts to Kamek's magic again to make himself big for the fight on top of Peach's Castle.

In Super Mario 3D World, Bowser decides to change the focus of his ambitions from the Mushroom Kingdom to the Sprixie Kingdom. He is just as tricky as before, spreading around his army using trains and flying circus tents. He also gets a cool ride of his own. He makes good use of the game's new power-ups in the final fight, becoming Meowser with the Super Bell and making clones with the Double Cherry.

Super Smash Bros. series

Bowser, as he appears in Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS and Wii U

Bowser has appeared in Super Smash Bros. Melee and Super Smash Bros. Brawl as a playable character. He is an extremely heavy fighter and attacks by blowing fire, ground pounding, punching with his fists and using his spikes on his shell. In Super Smash Bros. Brawl his Final Smash turns him into the colossal Giga Bowser. Bowser plays a prominent role in the Subspace Emissary in Super Smash Bros. Brawl and eventually joins forces with Mario, Link, and others in taking down the antagonist Tabuu after being an enemy to the group for so long. In Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS/Wii U, Bowser was completely revamped, making him much faster and agile as well as standing upright.

Bowser also appears as a playable character in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate where he is really close to his Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS and Wii U incarnation. One of the major change from his Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS/Wii U incarnation is his final smash, which is now way more direct and automatically eject the fighters who got hit by Giga Bowser's fist.


Mario Kart series

In all games of the Mario Kart series, Bowser is classified as a heavyweight character with great weight and poor speed.

Mario Party series

In Bowser's relation to the Mario Party series, he is usually the main antagonist. Bowser even has his own minigames to challenge Mario and his friends. Also he is the final boss most of the time. On the game boards Bowser spaces exist. As a result of landing on a Bowser space, Bowser can take coins and stars from players, or challenge the players to a minigame. In Mario Party 10, however, one of the player can control him and challenge the four other player in various minigames. Bowser appears as a playable character in Super Mario Party, making his first fully playable appearance in the Mario Party series, leaving his role of causing misfortune to player to Kamek whenever players land on the Bad Luck Spaces, which have replaced Bowser Spaces.


Bowser apparently has a rather unrelenting obsession with Peach. He has been shown to frequent her fan site (may not be canon) and has made wishes such as "I wish Princess Peach would like me." It is also revealed in Super Paper Mario that he may have a crush on Peach as he jumped at the chance to wed her.

His obsession is supported by the fact that in Mario and Luigi: Bowser's Inside Story, while in Bowser's brain, Mario, Luigi, and Starlow discovered that Peach is Bowser's most well-preserved thought. Also, another supporting fact is that on the Super Paper Mario website, Bowser says, "Finally married hot princess,".

Bowser is one of the strongest characters in the series, being the Koopa King and more. One of his signature abilities is the ability to breathe fire. Ever since his first appearance he has been known to do it. He can shoot fireballs, or a constant stream of fire that can reach great distances.

Bowser is Lawful Evil in alignment.


As Bowser appeared in Super Mario Galaxy, a trading card was made. It reads:

"Mario's archnemesis returns to the Mushroom Kingdom with a dastardly plan in hand. He surprise-attacks during the Star Festival, descending in his air fleet, and kidnaps Princess Peach! He takes her and her entire castle away into the far reaches of the universe, where Mario must travel to rescue her and restore order to the Mushroom Kingdom."

List of appearances


Other media


  Main article: Bowser/gallery


Language Name Meaning Origin
Japanese Kuppa Kuppa (Korean dish) From a Korean dish called Kuppa.
Spanish Rey Bowser Koopa

Genitive: Regus Bowserus Koopes

King Bowser Koopa The name is a borrowing from his English name, King Bowser.
Portuguese O Rei Bowser Koopa

Genitive: Regos Bowseros Koopes

King Bowser Koopa The name is a borrowing from his English name, King Bowser.
Italian Il Re Bowser Koópa

Genitive: Regus Bowsérus Koópes

King Bowser Koopa The name comes from his English name, King Bowser.


  • Bowser won the award for Best Overall Villain in the 1991 Nintendo Power Awards for his appearance in Super Mario World.
  • He was named overseas after Sylvanus Freelove Bowser (1854-1938), inventor of the gasoline pump.
  • It is revealed that Bowser has a secret nice spot which is shown in some games.
  • Bowser is one of the established video game characters that makes an appearance in the 2012 Disney animated film Wreck-It Ralph.
  • Bowser appears to dislike vegetables, because in Mario & Luigi: Bowser's Inside Story, when he yanked the giga-carrot in Dimble Forest, he shouted to Wiggler "vegetables is GROSS!!! WHERE IS meat?!".
  • Bowser is portrayed as a hero in Skylanders: Superchargers.
  • Bowser is one of two Nintendo characters to appear in Skylanders: Superchargers the other being Donkey Kong.