Did Super Mario Bros. Wonder Demo Hack Reveal New Mario Actor?

Update 10/13/2023 3:25 p.m. ET: The speculation surrounding who voices Mario has been brought to an end. Kevin Afghani, who also voices Arnold in Genshin Impact, confirmed on X (formerly Twitter) that he had stepped into the plumber’s boots.

The Verge reports that Nintendo also confirmed the news via an email which stated, “The voice actor’s name is Kevin Afghani.”

The original story follows below.

Fans believe they might have discovered who the new actor for Mario is in Super Mario Bros. Wonder.

In June, Nintendo revealed an all-new 2D side-scrolling Mario platformer called Super Mario Bros. Wonder. While one section of the internet was captivated by the upcoming game’s new power-up that transforms Mario and friends into elephants, other keen-eared fans were distracted by how “off” the Italian plumber’s various utterances sounded in the trailer. Nintendo confirmed in August that longtime Mario voice actor Charles Martinet was stepping away from the series, transitioning to an honorary role as a “Mario ambassador” for the company. Now, one Mario fanatic claims to have committed what the kids call a “cool crime” to figure out who the unannounced new Mario voice actor is.

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According to Video Games Chronicle, an anonymous 4chan user claims they acquired a “kiosk demo” of Super Mario Bros. Wonder from a retail store in the U.S. and has hacked into it to obtain previously unrevealed information. On Wednesday, the anonymous user posted images of an unverified list of voice actors, which filtered out across other websites like ResetEra and Twitter. Although the list gained an air of credibility thanks to attached screenshots of previously unseen levels allegedly from World 1 of Wonder, it didn’t specify what roles the name-dropped actors would be voicing. This in turn led to a bit of online investigating on fans’ part to narrow down the potential Mario actor by cross-referencing each actor’s previous works.

After Famiboards user MondoMega whittled down the 21-person list by removing any female, foreign, or returning Mario cast member names, the list of potential western Mario actors came down to just two: Kevin Afghani (Arnold from Genshin Impact) and Mick Wingert (Heimerdinger from Arcane). The running theory in this makeshift Mario Wonder actor ARG is that the plumber’s new voice is probably Wingert. Why Wingert? As VGC notes, Afghani’s performance as Arnold sounds similar to Wonder’s talking flower, which would make veteran voice actor Wingert the likely pick for Wonder’s Mario.


Read More: Super Mario Bros. Wonder Is A Whole New Approach To 2D Mario Games
Pre-order Super Mario Bros. Wonder: Amazon | Best Buy | GameStop

After giving Wingert’s demo reel a quick listen and discovering that he’s voiced a wide range of similarly plucky-sounding characters over his career—from Baki Hanma’s Kaku Kaioh, 13 Sentinels: Aegis Rim’s Shu Amiguchi, to virtually every character in the Kung Fu Panda: Legends of Awesomeness game—I wouldn’t be surprised if he were the new voice of Mario. Plus, Wingert’s high-energy voice print maps nicely to Nintendo’s adventurous plumber. Of course, we’ll find out come October 20 if Wingert is in fact the new voice of Mario or if a bunch of internet sleuths just got in a tizzy over nothing.

Super Mario Bros. Wonder Leaks Online, Raise Spoiler Shields

Super Mario Bros. Wonder, the latest 2D platformer from the masters of the form at Nintendo, is due out this week, on October 20. So it’s unfortunate news for both the Japanese gaming giant, and everyone who wants to avoid spoilers, that it’s already leaked online.

In what is unquestionably now a routine pattern, the first-party Switch title has found its way to the darker corners of the internet days before its official release. Beginning as early in the Switch’s lifetime as 2018, when Super Smash Bros. Ultimate appeared online two weeks before its release, and now regularly occurring with games like Pokémon Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl, Metroid Dread, Pokémon Scarlet and Violet, and Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom, this is a perennial issue for the publisher. As it happens—although it’ll be little consolation to Nintendo—this Wonder leak comes somewhat later compared to the two weeks early that most of their titles have appeared.

Pre-order Super Mario Bros. Wonder: Amazon | Best Buy | GameStop

This could be in part due to Nintendo’s shock-and-awe response after TotK’s leak. This six-day-early leak most likely comes from that far more old-fashioned method, where stock arriving into stores ahead of sale gets filched by a member of staff, then ripped and uploaded.

What makes the Switch’s predicament so unique is that it’s a present-day console that’s already being emulated on PC. This is an unusual situation, with console emulation usually operating a good couple of generations behind, meaning the pursuit rarely impinges on current software sales. (It’s also why PC gaming has been embroiled in the misery of DRM (digital rights management) far longer than console games, as it’s always been easy to copy and run PC games, with no emulation required.)

Right now, emulators are just about managing to replicate the PS3 and are making headway on Xbox 360. There are early, mostly non-working PS4 emulators, and nothing at all for the Xbox One. So while it’s a minefield of unestablished copyright issues, it’s also not something that demonstrably harms sales for developers or publishers (it’s as likely that it helps boost interest in official re-issues and remakes, although the copyright holders would vociferously disagree).

That’s clearly not the case when it comes to Nintendo’s situation, where its latest games are routinely appearing online ahead of release, for emulators that already out-perform the console itself. Switch emulators can run games in 4K, for instance.

It also makes life pretty miserable for those who are looking forward to a game’s release, as the internet quickly fills up with significant spoilers. For Tears of the Kingdom, it became a case of unplugging your router for a couple of weeks, in order not to find out every detail of the game ahead of launch. And now for those looking forward to all the surprises Super Mario Bros. Wonder has to offer, you might want to drop your phone in a well until Friday.

Pre-order Super Mario Bros. Wonder: Amazon | Best Buy | GameStop

Leaked Copies Of Super Mario Bros. Wonder Modded With F-Bombs

Another big Nintendo Switch exclusive has leaked way ahead of schedule. With early copies of Super Mario Bros. Wonder, the handheld hybrid console’s big holiday 2023 release, already making the rounds online, modders have taken it upon themselves to make the new talking Talking Flowers in the game curse Mario off.

Super Mario Bros. Wonder isn’t officially out until October 20, but like The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom before it, physical copies appear to have made their way into the wild late last week, at which point it was only a matter of time before the ROM got dumped online. While Nintendo is no doubt worried about piracy, fans have been trying to avoid spoilers for the first new 2D Mario platformer since 2012’s New Super Mario Bros. U.

Pre-order Super Mario Bros. Wonder: Amazon | Best Buy | GameStop

Emulation enthusiasts and modders, on the other hand, are already finding ways to improve or alter the game. DSOGaming reports that Super Mario Bros. Wonder already runs in 4K at 60fps on PC, while clips circulating on social media show the game’s serene, trippy levels defiled by foul language. As previously revealed in trailers and gameplay videos, Super Mario Bros. Wonder revolves around a new Wonder Flower power-up that turns levels into Yellow Submarine-like psychedelic sequences. It also features Talking Flowers that shout at Mario and his friends as they walk by.

Normally they say inoffensive things like, “Heya!” and, “Onward and upward!” But a recent update to the Switch toolbox mod kit has seemingly made it easier than ever to edit the onscreen text. Insert a new audio file or two and you end up with a very different version of the game than Nintendo intended.

Modder ContendoYT shared a clip on Twitter showing the Talking Flower saying “Fuck you!” as Mario ran by. User AndratVA shared another where the plant shouts, “That Goomba looks so fucking serene!” But my favorite clip doesn’t involve any F-bombs at all; it simply shows the Talking Flower gloating before dropping into a pit of lava and screaming.

“The [Talking Flowers] are scripted to talk as you approach,” AndratVA, maker of the Mario Kart 64HD texture pack, told Kotaku in a Twitter DM. “Their text and voices are all stored in the files, so changing them is easy if you have the proper tools.” Instead of just editing the text, they went the extra mile of recording their own voice-over lines. Nintendo fans are a special breed.

Of course, modded versions of Wonder can only be played on hacked Switches or PC (which also involves hacking a Switch). The overwhelming majority of actual players will only be able to experience the game as the original creators intended. Even Nintendo recognized the Talking Flowers might get annoying after a while, however: The game has options in the settings menu to mute the plants entirely.

I’d like to predict that Nintendo might eventually add official voice and script editing for the Talking Flower into an inevitable Super Mario Maker 3, but I think we all know that would be a moderation nightmare. The existing list of banned words on Switch continues to grow with every big firmware update.

Update 10/18/2023 11:22 a.m. ET: The videos of potty mouthed flowers in Mario Bros. Wonder have been removed from the internet after copyright claims by Nintendo. I’m sure they’ll be back.

Pre-order Super Mario Bros. Wonder: Amazon | Best Buy | GameStop


Super Smash Bros. Fans Freak Out About New Nintendo Rules

Nintendo’s relationship with the grassroots competitive scene around its Super Smash Bros. games has never been great, But today it may have hit an all-time low. Fans of the company’s enormously popular fighting game franchise are collectively freaking out about a new set of tournament guidelines that some believe would essentially destroy the existing Smash esports scene.

Posted on October 24 on Nintendo’s UK, Japan, and North America websites, the rules set strict limits on all “community” tournaments. According to the new guidelines, in addition to being nonprofit events, Smash tournaments would also be limited to 200 participants, unable to set prizes above $5,000, unable to have sponsors, and forbidden from using modified versions of Nintendo games, like the popular “Project M” hack of Super Smash Bros. Melee. Tournament organizers wouldn’t even be allowed to sell food, beverages, or merchandise.

While the guidelines don’t ban all commercial tournaments outright, they do require the companies behind those events to get special licenses directly from Nintendo. However, the company states that it’s “up to Nintendo’s sole discretion whether or not a licensee will be granted to a corporation or organization.” Given Nintendo’s track-record, many fans are worried this will lead some of these restrictions to trickle down to bigger esports events, or make holding a Smash Bros. tournament too much of a headache to even bother with in the first place.

“Ah yes, it is that time of the year where Nintendo remembers to ruin the day of every Smash player,” tweeted Samuel “Dabuz” Buzby, one of the top-ranked players in the world. “Fuck Nintendo, they are like a 5 year old screaming for attention at all times when it comes to competitive Smash,” tweeted Adam “Armada” Lindgren, long considered one of the “five gods” of Smash Bros. Melee.

Juan “Hungrybox” DeBiedma, one of the other “five gods,” threatened to continue running his own tournaments until Nintendo’s lawyers reached out to him in person. “I’m running Coinbox,” he said during a recent livestream. “I’m gonna keep running it in January, I’m gonna keep running it in February, March, and April, I will run it every fucking week until I receive word from them directly. I’m not going to stop out of fear. They have to come to me directly with the document. Until then I’m calling their fucking bluff.”

DeBiedma has long criticized Nintendo for failing to back its competitive community the way other video game companies do, most notably Capcom with Street Fighter. Nintendo famously tried to ban the Melee finals from being broadcast at Evo 2013 before eventually backing down in the face of a massive backlash. But that neglect has been turning hostile in recent years, with Nintendo accused of shutting down various tournaments over their inclusion of third-party, fan-developed services and modifications to its games. Then after Sony bought Evo in 2022, organizers of the biggest fighting game tournaments of the year, Nintendo pulled Smash Bros. from the event entirely.

The company was supposed to have its own Smash Bros. league organized by Panda Global. However, following a drama-filled cancellation of Video Game Boot Camp’s Smash World Tour event in 2022, many accused Nintendo and Panda Global of colluding to squash competing tournaments. An ensuing boycott of Panda’s league eventually led it to disband at the start of 2023. After Nintendo announced its new tournament guidelines today, someone allegedly leaked a Panda Global pitch deck for its Smash Bros. league, and it appeared to point toward a generous collaboration between Panda Global and Nintendo—the type of competitive circuit pros have long asked for, with sizable payments to host organizers to help with costs.

Nintendo’s new guidelines into effect beginning November 15, 2023. That happens to be right after the dates for Port Priority 8 in Seattle, Washington, one of the many tournaments that would be banned under these new rules. Nintendo did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Update 10/25/2023 8:20 a.m. ET: Added a link to the North American guidelines which are identical to the European and Japanese sets.



Super Smash Bros. Got YouTuber Ludwig In Trouble With Nintendo

Gaming YouTuber Ludwig Ahgren, widely known as Ludwig, has claimed that Nintendo came for his throat with a “baby cease-and-desist” letter a few months ago. The move was prompted by modifications he wanted to make to the company’s supremely popular crossover fighter Super Smash Bros. Melee for the sake of a tournament he was running.

Read More: Nintendo Says It ‘Cares’ About Smash Bros. Fans As Tournament Dispute Continues [Update]

In an October 25 video titled “I Got Sued by Nintendo,” Ludwig revealed that a few months prior, Nintendo had sent him a Notice of Infringement of Intellectual Property, a formal document stating the person in question is using an IP without proper authorization by the copyright owner. At the time, Ludwig was considering using a version of Super Smash Bros. Melee’s Pokémon Stadium stage in his tournament—the Ludwig Ahgren Championship Series—that had been modified so that it didn’t randomly transform.

“I’d show you the paperwork and verify it, but [Nintendo] did post my address in, like, ink in the background of every single piece of paper in this notice of infringement, so I can’t actually show you,” Ludwig said. “But to my very, very small understanding—I am a YouTuber after all—it’s basically like a baby cease-and-desist. Because rather than saying, ‘Hey, you must stop and never do this,’ [Nintendo’s] like, ‘Hey, you must stop and then follow our rules. You cannot use your rules.’”

Mogul Mail

On October 24, Nintendo announced a slew of new restrictions that fundamentally change Super Smash Bros. tournaments. Now, any event connected to the game must have a maximum of 200 participants, a $5,000 prize pool cap, no sponsors, and make use of an unmodified version of the game. Commercial tourneys by larger organizers, such as Video Game Boot Camp (VGBC), must get a special license from Nintendo to happen. This has led the community, from casuals to pros, to mourn what could be the end of the game’s esports scene.

It makes sense that folks feel some type of way about this. Nintendo doesn’t have the greatest track record of supporting the grassroots efforts of the Super Smash Bros. community. Late last year, in fact, the company was caught in a tense dispute with pro players and tournament organizers over the canceled Smash World Tour event. Things got so heated that folks began boycotting events with partnered Nintendo orgs like professional esports outfit Panda Global. It’s hard to say what the future of Smash Bros. events will look like.

Kotaku reached out to Ludwig and Nintendo for comment.

Read More: Nintendo Shuts Down Smash World Tour, Organizers ‘Losing Hundreds Of Thousands Of Dollars’ [Updates]

One thing is for sure, though: Nintendo can’t kill people’s love of the game. As pro player Joseph “Mang0″ Marquez says in a quote Ludwig plays at the end of his video: “I’ll play Melee in my fucking mind. As long as Melee lives, I will play [it], and if you take it all, we’ll fucking play [it] in a garage.”