August 28, 2008
The Captain Rainbow video game features cameos from various Nintendo games, and while most of them are old or obscure games, it includes many references to the Mario series, being Nintendo's most popular series.
Most notably, Birdo (obviously only called by her Japanese name Catherine) is featured as one of the characters giving Nick a mission. Like most other characters she was redesigned for the game.
When Nicks finds Birdo, she's imprisoned in a cage at the police box of Mappo for having used the female bathroom, while the robot doesn't believe Birdo to be a girl. To convince the officer, Birdo asks Nick to go to her Cute Home and find something there that proves that she is female. By doing so Mappo lets Birdo out and she rewards Nick with a kiss (in the form of a floating heart), which knocks him out for a moment. From that point on Birdo gets a crush on Nick, calling him her boyfriend and he has the option to accompany her during her trips around the island. Also, like for all other main characters, the player unlocks a gallery of Birdo artworks after completing her mission.
The item Nick retrives in the Cute Home is never shown to the player, being censored by a question mark, but is highly speculated to be a vibrator, since Nick finds it under a pillow after it starts vibrating.
This mission obviously references the issue with Birdo's gender: Birdo was originally created for the game Yume Kojo: Doki Doki Panic, but after the game was changed to Super Mario Bros. 2, the game manual stated that she's actually a male who believes to be female, and the Japanese commercial for the game (titled Super Mario USA) went as far as giving her a transvestite personality and male voice. Later games in the Mario series reference Birdo with femine pronouns such as "she", and use her as a female couterpart to Yoshi, however they never directly state Birdo to be female and in fact some recent games such as Super Smash Bros. Brawl reference her gender as "indeterminate", and use the pronoun "it".
Captain Rainbow continues this issue by giving Birdo a deep male voice. The game also depicts her as using foul language, since part of her dialogue while in the cell has some words "bleeped". Also obviously even if Mappo's finally convinced, this game never states Birdo to be officially female, and most likely must be intended as Birdo managing to fool Mappo.
An oddity is that while the only main Mario game Birdo has appeared in is Super Mario USA, she is a recurring character in minor Mario games such as the Mario Kart series or the sport games, making her a not so obscure character as the other ones. She was probably chosen for the gender issue, pointing out an obscure aspect of the Mario series.
While not being one of the main characters, the Piranha Plant from the Mario series is featured in the game, and precisely in the garden of Lip's house. Its roles are in Ossans' mission, where Nick has to fight it, and in Lip's mission, where Nick has to find a ribbon for Lip to adorn the plant.
Different colored Warp Pipes are found troughout Mimin Island and just like in Mario games they're used to rapidly move to different locations. When using one of them, the original Warp Pipe sound from Super Mario Bros. is also heard.
In the fishing minigame the player can sometimes catch Cheep-Cheeps or Bloopers, originally enemies from the Mario games.
Lastly, above Tracy's throne there are portraits of Mario and Link, along with an empty portrait frame that eventually features Takamaru's image. Note that Mario's portrait is actually taken from an artwork of him from Mario Party DS.
Copyrights for both series are held by Nintendo.