In the first Super Mario game for NES you (as Mario) fight Bowser who is standing on some bridge. To defeat him you can jump over him and touch an axe which lies behind Bowser on the ground. The moment you touch the axe the bridge where Bowser stands on disappears and Bowser falls into lava.
Is this somehow linked to japanese culture - this dragon (Bowser) and axe thing? It kind of makes no sense. In modern games you always jump on a big switch.
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Bowser, the iconic villain of Nintendo’s flagship Mario franchise first appeared in the 1985 smash hit “Super Mario Brothers”. Since then he has appeared in every major Mario game, his status as Mario’s arch nemesis and as the primary antagonist of the series have made him into one of the most recognizable and important Video game characters to date. Bowser’s plot and role differ a bit from game to game but in most Mario games his primary goal remains the same, kidnap Princess Peach and become the ruler of the Mushroom Kingdom, and in every game so far he has been thwarted and defeated by the platforming plumber and star of the series, Mario.
Bowser was created in 1985 by legendary game designer Shigeru Miyamoto to serve as the villain for Super Mario Brothers. His original appearance was very similar to that of the turtle like Koopas seen throughout the Mario universe, living up to his other title “King Koopa”. He appeared as the final boss in the original game with the ability to breathe fire, and toss volleys hammers similar to the weapons of Hammer Bros.
Bowser sitting in his throne in his current appearance, Super Mario Galaxy 2.
He has maintained his fire breathing ability throughout the years but no longer throws hammers. Additions to his move pool throughout the years include more advanced fire tactics, ground pounding, and in the Super Smash Bros. series he is able to grind his foes into submission using his spiky backside. Bowser has returned as the final boss for nearly every Mario game, with very few exceptions such as Super Paper Mario and Super Mario Bros. 2.
The etymology of Bowser's name has roots in Korean cuisine: gukbap are Korean soup dishes that include rice ("guk" in Korean is translated as "soup with rice"). The Japanese word for gukbap is kuppa (pronounced "Koopa" in Japan). Mario creator Shigeru Miyamoto used this word as inspiration when naming the character Bowser Koopa. Miyamoto revealed in an interview with Famitsu magazine that he considered naming all of Mario's enemies after Korean dishes in this fashion.
My question aims more for the reason why Mario touches and axe to make a bridge disappear so that Bowser falls into lava.