Nintendo has been doing things behind our backs again. Well, not really — companies adjust video game character models pretty often, usually between console generations or as graphics engines improve. But people can get pretty protective of particular character models. Some people prefer Sonic's sprite in Sonic the Hedgehog 3 & Knuckles as it's a little pointier and has smaller eyes, and Pikachu started shedding weight between Pokémon Red & Blue and Pokémon Gold & Silver.
So, with this in mind, we have a question for Nintendo — why do you keep making Pauline shorter?
Super Mario variety blogger @MarioBrothBlog is known for spotting the weird and wonderful from the Mushroom Kingdom. And the other day, he shared a handful of Pauline's character models since her return in 2017's Super Mario Odyssey. And there's a suspicious trend amongst them — each one is smaller than the last!
Okay, we think we can understand why Pauline is so tall in Odyssey. She lives in New Donk City with other, actual life-sized humans. Not that we're suggesting that Mario isn't human, of course, but everyone is taller than Mario there. It makes sense, in a weird way. She's almost double the height of the Italian plumber
So when Pauline returned for Mario Kart Tour, it made some sense to bring her height down a bit. A head and a shoulder shorter is quite a lot though, don't you think? Perhaps there wasn't a car model big enough, and it would probably be a bit unfair if Pauline got a Jeep when everyone else had little karts. She also appeared in Mario Tennis Aces around this time, and though we don't have a shot of her next to Mario (we like this Mario scale, to be honest — how many Mario's tall are you sounds better than feet, inches, centimetres, etc.), we can see in this Tumblr blog post from nintendos-pauline that she's at least taller than Princess Peach and Daisy.
But Nintendo wasn't quite done with Pauline's verticality, oh no. Pauline tees off with the rest of the Mario cast in Mario Golf: Super Rush, along with a fetching new golf outfit. Seriously, it's just lovely. But once again, Nintendo has shrunk her character model down — this time but just half a head. So she is now only about two-thirds of a head taller than Mario. Nintendo has essentially chopped Pauline in half over the course of a few years.
Yet that's not entirely the case. Pauline debuted waaaaaay back in 1981 arcade classic Donkey Kong, and she's actually been in a number of Mario games since — most notably, the Mario vs. Donkey Kong series. She first appeared in Mario vs. Donkey Kong 2: March of the Minis, and her appearances in these games seem to have her at a similar height to Peach — and her height in the most recent Mario Golf game. You can see for yourself in this shot of Pauline, Mario, Donkey Kong, and many others in Mario vs. Donkey Kong: Tipping Stars:
So, Nintendo isn't really shrinking Pauline, but just bringing her back to her original height, perhaps? Pauline's tall character model from Odyssey stands out because she's got that Mario cartoon-style design, but she's as tall as all of the humans in New Donk City. It was also her first appearance in a mainline Super Mario game. And don't forget the 2021 craze over Resident Evil Village's break-out star, Lady Dimitrescu. We're pretty sure Mayor Pauline isn't nearly 3 metres tall, but this seems to be a trend!
Pauline will probably be staying close to her Mario Golf height in the future, but hey, at least we can look back fondly at the time we found out Mario was a hell of a lot smaller than human beings. New Donk City was fabulous, wasn't it?