Her Campus Logo Her Campus Logo

I Used to Hate Princess Peach; Now, I’m Her Biggest Supporter

Updated Published
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at JMU chapter.

Even if you aren’t a fan of video games, you probably know the characters Super Mario, Luigi, and Princess Peach. Pretty much every Mario game until recently followed the same tired formula: Peach gets captured by Bowser and Mario goes to save her. She was a pretty princess who wore a pink dress, baked cakes, and couldn’t do much of anything.

I hated her with a passion.

It killed me to hate Princess Peach so much. Her favorite color was pink (the same as mine), she was a princess, she loved to bake cakes, and was just overall the sweetest. What I hated was that she didn’t DO anything besides those things. When playing Super Mario, I had to play as Mario and go save the princess. What I wanted was to play as the princess and be just as cool as Mario, if not cooler. Even in games like Mario Party or Mario Kart I refused to play as Peach, opting instead for Princess Daisy or my all-time favorite Princess Rosalina. Princess Peach seemed helpless to me, and no amount of pink, cakes, or power-up candies could convince me otherwise. What did start to turn the tide, however, was when she got her own game.

Super Princess Peach was released in October 2005 on Nintendo DS, but I would find it in the “used” section of my local GameStop almost ten years later. The idea of Princess Peach having her own game excited me, and I saved up my allowance for weeks to purchase it. It ended up being the first video game I ever bought on my own. The mechanics were simple while still providing a challenge, and the levels required a decent amount of strategy for me to complete. Armed with a magical parasol named Perry (Perry the Parasol), Princess Peach’s emotions became her superpowers (happiness caused her to fly, sadness would cause her to cry floods of tears that could wipe out enemies, etc.), and she was determined to save Mario, Luigi, and Toad from Bowser. This was exciting for me, as I finally had a Mario game that allowed me to play as a heroic princess. It became my point of obsession for many months, and I eventually completed the game at 100%. This was the only game of its kind, though. It would be 18 years until Princess Peach took center stage (no pun intended) again, with Princess Peach: Showtime! at the height of her popularity.

In early 2023, Nintendo and Illumination partnered to release The Super Mario Bros. Movie. The movie was eagerly anticipated and somewhat feared by those who love the Mario franchise. The movie ended up being a huge success, netting $1.6 billion worldwide and achieving the “green-light” for a sequel set to be released in 2026. Many of the movie’s raving reviews credited its depiction of Princess Peach. The central focus of the movie wasn’t Mario and Luigi saving Princess Peach; instead, Peach and Mario teamed up to save Luigi from Bowser. Princess Peach wasn’t a damsel in distress- she was more powerful than Mario in the movie! She lived up to the title of Princess by leading efforts to protect her people, teaching Mario how to survive in the Mushroom Kingdom, and even taking charge in the fight against Bowser at her wedding. Princess Peach flipped her previous persona on its head, and she did it while wearing a crown, a ballgown, and heels (as well as leggings under her dress, like an icon). This flip excited me, as she became a complex character with dreams, fears, and aspirations. She refused to let anyone overshadow her. This was the powerful Princess Peach I had seen in Super Princess Peach eight years prior, and I was thrilled to see her again in the mainstream media. A little over five months after the film was released, Princess Peach Showtime! was announced via one of Nintendo’s famed Nintendo Directs. This promised to give Princess Peach the spotlight once again. Tasked with saving the Sparkle Theater from the evil Sour Bunch, Peach undergoes several fantastic transformations (I am personally obsessed with Patisserie Peach!) to help save the different plays and the theater itself. Even after playing the game for just a few hours, I fell head over heels in love. While the gameplay itself isn’t too challenging (minus the Patisserie level, which had me STRESSED), the story is amazing, and I felt like a little kid again. Nothing beats getting to play a powerful princess and save the day.

I was not the biggest Princess Peach fan as a kid. In fact, I would try to convince people that they should like Daisy or Rosalina instead, solely because I didn’t like how one-dimensional Peach was. Now, even though Rosalina is still my favorite Mario princess, Princess Peach holds a special place in my heart. She has become the strong princess character who I craved as a kid, proving that she can be pretty and hold her own in a fight. She’s ready to see the world, go on adventures, and kick some serious butt. And now I will be there too, cheering for her.

Isabel is currently an English major at JMU who loves dancing, crocheting, and reading romance novels. You can find her working on a new project, trying to make a dent in her TBR, or rolling dice at her weekly D&D sessions.