Mario Power-Up Mushrooms
Image: Nintendo Life

In the magazine business, the Back Page is where you'd find all the weird goofs that we couldn't fit in anywhere else. Some may call it "filler"; we prefer "a whole page to make terrible jokes that are tangentially related to the content of the mag". We don't have pages on the internet, but we still love terrible jokes — so welcome to our semi-regular feature, Back Page.

Today, Jim considers the ethics around eating Power-Up Mushrooms...

Here at Nintendo Life, we like to ask the big questions. Huge philosophical ponderings such as how many eyes does Sonic really have? and which Pokémon would be the tastiest? — you know, proper deep-thinking stuff. And today we are turning our attention to all of the vegetarians in the Mushroom Kingdom.

Mario Super Mushroom
Look at this guy and tell me he's not having thoughts — Image: Nintendo

There must be some vegetarians, right? Yoshi lives on an almost entirely fruit-based diet and there is no way that Waluigi could maintain that slender silhouette without cutting back on the ol' red meat. But unlike the real world — where going veggie can be as simple as turning to, well, veggies as your main source of sustenance — the Mushroom Kingdom is faced with a different problem altogether: What is classed as meat?

We are talking specifically (if the title hasn't already given it away) about Power-Up Mushrooms. Now, before you leap into the comments to tell us, "Well of course they are suitable for vegetarians, they are mushrooms", let us first consider the other side of the coin. Namely, they have a face.

Let's admit it, Power-Up Mushrooms are cute. They have those glistening little puppy dog eyes that seem to say, "Please give me a good home" instead of "Wouldn't I be tasty in a brioche bun?" These aren't the mushrooms that we eat on a regular basis, but living, breathing (maybe) beings able to see and smile and keep us company.

To most veggies out there, the humble mushroom is a staple part of our diet (this writer has choked down more portobello mushroom burgers in otherwise meat-based eateries than he cares to remember), but we have never had to worry about whether that mushroom was alive. Yes, all mushrooms are alive in the sense that they are fungi, but we mean alive like they have dreams, feelings, and families of their own. Do they have self-perception? Are they sentient?

And this isn't even to mention the dancing. When those little guys pop out of an item box, they don't roll to the floor like we would expect an inanimate object to do; they slide to the right, nodding along to the beat of the background music and even letting out a little jump for joy when hearing the iconic "bah bah".

Mario Movie
Looks tasty, does it, Mario? Wait until you hear it has kids — Image: Nintendo / Illumination

As a general rule of thumb (and we can't speak for every veggie here), if something has an expressive face and the ability to dance, it's not suitable for vegetarians. So what is a veggie in the Mushroom Kingdom to do? You obviously can't tuck into a Koopa steak or tin of Cheep Cheep in brine, but if even the mushrooms have a sentience, then how would you get by?

Yes, it may be true that we are overthinking things here (what a shock!), but if we were to end up in a Mario world, isekai-style, then it is important to know that we would be able to maintain our dietary morals.

So what do you think? Is the face and dancing enough to rule Power-Up Mushrooms out of a vegetarian diet, or are they no more sentient than the clouds in the sky (which also, on occasion, have faces in Mario, we might add)?

Do Power-Up Mushrooms have a soul? Would you, as a vegetarian, be more inclined to dine on a Piranha Plant, or are they equally off the menu? Give us your thoughts by filling out the following poll and then take to the comments to argue your case.

Are Power-Up Mushrooms veggie-friendly?