The Strict Scholar Behind Supper Mario Broth
We spoke with the man responsible for the most interesting collection of Mario trivia on the internet
In Mario Kart 7, characters have high-polygon and low-polygon models for use in close and far proximity to the camera respectively. Notably, Luigi’s low-poly model has a more pronounced smile than his high-poly version. This fact brings me joy and I can’t completely explain why. What I do know is that I’m not nearly alone in feeling this way and that myself and thousands of others wouldn’t have known about Luigi’s sometimes-smile at all were it not for Supper Mario Broth.
Mitchell Wolfe: What is your pitch to someone who likes Mario in a passive way? Why should they care about the kind of Mario obscura that you’re putting out?
Supper Mario Broth: My honest answer is that they shouldn’t. They shouldn’t care about it. It’s not for them.
If you follow video game Twitter, you’ll probably recognize Supper Mario Broth.
Supper Mario Broth is run by only one person. When I reached out to try to learn a bit more about the person behind the account, he asked me to refer to himself simply as “Broth.”
Broth took over the Supper Mario Broth blog in 2016 and has since been curating both the official blog and the Twitter account. If you have only seen one of these platforms, it might be worth it to take a look at the other. Each has entirely unique content. “It’s specifically my policy that there’s absolutely zero overlap between them,” Broth noted, correcting my assertion that there wasn’t much overlap.
According to Broth’s latest Transparency Report, there were 29 posts on the main blog and 31 posts on the Twitter account over the past week. Each post contains a notable piece of Super Mario Bros. trivia. A total of 19 of them were his own discoveries.
And yeah, he keeps weekly transparency reports. Broth is a serious guy. All of his posts are completely and totally factual. He has a veracity policy that he strictly adheres to and will delete any post found not to meet his unwavering policies. For example:
Broth was a contributor to the Supper Mario Broth blog since its inception, but before he took on the role of sole owner and contributor, there were a number of posts from other curators that edged more on the side of jokes than facts. When Broth took over, however, he went back through the archives and deleted every single post that wasn’t a completely verified Super Mario fact.
Broth: “People that have followed the blog for a very long time know that in the first four years of its operation, there had been joke content on the blog and that was all content by that other person [the original owner]. There was a, well I wouldn’t call it a scandal, but I was very afraid that people were really mad at me when I deleted these things. … Obviously, I like facts and I didn’t find all of the joke material fitting, so I had full permission to delete the material, but the fans didn’t like it.”
Broth went on to explain that he is slowly finding and archiving all of the previously deleted posts to an imgur album, each with a painstakingly written description of the post’s original context and the reason for which it was deleted. In this way, even deleted joke content is being given all of the Supper Mario Broth-standard attention to detail.
Despite not having much interest in publishing posts that are purely jokes, much of Broth’s output is still pretty funny. Here is my favorite:
TL;DR: Broth used a poll from 2004 to back-up the fact that, statistically speaking, Ashley from WarioWare has more friends than the average reader. Of course, he had to delete the original tweet that said this and issued the above corrective tweet including both a poll that backs up what he originally said and the following reason the original tweet didn’t meet his usual standards:
It was taken by many as a joke, despite my best efforts to make it clear that no post on my account is a joke.
The disparity between his no-joke policies and his posts’ abundant sense of humor seemed odd to me at first, but his explanation makes quite a bit of sense.
Broth: “Things that are humorous are often the ones that are interesting. I choose things that are interesting because, obviously, I have so much material that I could show people but most of it wouldn’t interest absolutely anybody… And so I have to pick out things that could be interesting not to just me, but to a wider audience and often these things turn out to be humorous. But, this is merely a side effect. It’s just something that is intrinsically part of it. I do not pick things out based on humor.”
The near-unintentional comedic value of Broth’s findings alone might be enough convince the average Nintendo fan to follow his work, but it goes beyond that. Here’s a recent string of tweets regarding the here-to unknown Mario character, “Goombo.”
Enlisting the help of his mass of followers, Broth was able to confirm that Goombo, a Goomba-like creature from Super Mario Land, is indeed a unique character. This discovery was only codified this month, nearly thirty full years after the game’s original release.
In a strict sense, it’s not necessarily important to know that Goombo exists. It’s hardly rocked any boats. Nevertheless, Goombo does exist, and now you know.
With all of the work that goes into maintaining a steady stream of meticulously researched posts, full of legitimately ground-breaking findings, it would be fair to assume that Broth might be the world’s biggest Super Mario fan. What’s shocking is that he doesn’t own any Nintendo consoles whatsoever.
Not only has he been unable to afford all of the latest Mario products, he has often struggled just to keep the lights on. From his recently created Patreon:
… even though I do not — and have never — lacked content to post, the blog sometimes undergoes hiatuses lasting weeks, or even months. The unfortunate reason behind this is simply a lack of funds to consistently pay for an Internet connection, a working computer, or even electricity. Running the blog does not take much, but even that is often not affordable to me.
With me, he explains why his Patreon was created.
Broth: “For a very long time, people have been suggesting to me that I should open up a Patreon. I almost never talk publicly about the fact that I have financial problems and the people that talk with me privately and found out sooner or later would tell me ‘Oh, you could open up a Patreon!’
And I would always say, ‘But who would possibly, ever pay for what I do?’ Because it’s preposterous! It’s the most first-world thing ever, isn’t it? [I’m] just a person who sits there and looks at obscure Mario things and you’re supposed to pay [me] for that? I couldn’t fathom anybody possibly paying for that, and yet, when I started the Patreon, I found out people were willing to pay for that. I still cannot believe it, actually. I cannot believe the generosity of these people.”
At the time of writing, the Supper Mario Broth Patreon account has garnered over three hundred supporters. The additional work that maintaining the Patreon requires, he tells me, is immense. In addition to all of the posts he creates for Twitter and the main blog, he now also needs to make a full weekly newsletter and monthly podcast each full of completely different Mario factoids. Of course, this “need” was self-imposed, but I couldn’t imagine a Supper Mario Broth Patreon campaign being handled any other way.
He let me know that this month’s Patreon income will provide him the ability to pay for electricity and internet plus a few upgrades to his computer that will enhance his ability to work on the blog, but I personally hope it continues to grow even further.
At the end of the day, Broth is doing this because he is a fan. Outside of the blog, he’s also been developing a fan-comic called Paper Luigi and the Marvelous Compass. It’s a retelling of the adventure that Luigi goes on during the events of Paper Mario: The Thousand Year Door.
Broth: “Thousand-Year Door is my favorite Mario game, while I wouldn’t consider it the best. The best Mario games are Super Mario Bros. 3, Super Mario 64, and Super Mario Odyssey.”
If you spotted the inconsistency, You Got a Moon! Super Mario Odyssey, along with all titles for the Nintendo Switch, are games that Broth has never played. Regardless, he’s sure it’s one of the best.
One day soon, however, his Patreon funds might add up to the price of a Switch and Odyssey, which can only be good news for the gaming public because, when Supper Mario Broth covers a game, they cover it hard.