The First Transsexual Video Game Character?
This is 'BIRDO'
Recently (September, 2000) there has been released a game cartridge for the Nintendo 64 system, called 'Mario Tennis'. Quite a good game indeed, and I was very pleased to find that included among the playable avatars was just about every character that had ever appeared in a Mario game. One of the most surprising inclusions was the character above, 'Birdo'.
Birdo first appeared in the US in 'Super Mario Brothers 2' for the original NES home console system. The game was not originally a Mario Brothers game at all, but had been an Arabian Nights styled game in Japan called "Doki Doki Panic". With some of the graphics changed, and some of the game play balance tweaked, the game was sold in the rest of the world as the sequal to the original Mario Brothers game. Taking place in a dream world, Mario, Luigi, Peach and Toad had to battle many creatures, including -for the first time- 'mini bosses'. Birdo was the main mini-boss in the game, appearing several times.
Birdo, as described in the original first edition manual:
"He thinks he is a girl and he spits eggs from his mouth. He'd rather be called 'Birdetta.'"
A later printing of the manual omits the last sentence, but keeps the initial description. Birdo was tough to beat, too, at the time. Birdo was not actually a baddie, however, like the perennial villian of the Mario Brothers games, "Bowser". Birdo was simply misguided, a little overenthusiastic, and ultimately, fell in with the wrong crowd. Birdo's motivation for trying to defeat Mario is given by the one line attributed to the character:
"Ooh, you are so cute, I am NEVER going to let you go!"
Birdo, basically was lonely, and had poor courting skills.
As is common in Mario games, characters who were once former opponents often become friends and compatriots of the core Mario gang, and so it is that so very many years later, Birdo is back, to play tennis and have fun with the gang. This time, however, there is no mention of Birdo as a male...instead, Birdo is uniformly referred to as female, as a 'she'. Apparently, Birdo had the Mushroom Kingdom equivalent of SRS (undoubtedly a magical transition, rather than one of hormones and scalples), kept her original name (perhaps 'Birdetta' was given up as a 'trying too hard' kind of moniker), and has achieved her proper place in the scheme of things. Indeed, a picture in the Mario Tennis manual show Birdo and Yoshi, Mario's very favorite dinosaur pal, together apparently as a romantic couple!
Now all woman, if a reptilian sort of woman, Birdo plays a fast and accurate game of tennis, and presumably is a regular at the Mario Tennis Clubhouse, flirts with Yoshi, and is an accepted part of the Mario 'Scooby Gang'.
To the best of this game otaku's knowledge, Birdo is the very first transsexual video game character, and best of all, succeeded in achieving full transition and acceptance. You go, Birdo!
Birdo, I salute you!