The Koopalings (コクッパ, Kokuppa?), later renamed Bowser's minions (クッパの手下, Kuppa no Teshita?) in Japan and Europe, are a group of seven fictional characters in Nintendo's Mario franchise. Their individual names are (in order of age, oldest to youngest) Ludwig von Koopa, Lemmy Koopa, Roy Koopa, Iggy Koopa, Wendy O. Koopa, Morton Koopa Jr. and Larry Koopa. They first appeared in the NES game Super Mario Bros. 3, and again in the Super NES games Super Mario World and Yoshi's Safari, and Mario & Luigi:Superstar Saga. Following these appearances, however, they were not seen in any major roles until years after in the Wii game New Super Mario Bros. Wii. They were originally conceived as a replacement for recurring appearances of series villain Bowser; series creator Shigeru Miyamoto tasked the designers of Super Mario Bros. 3 with creating Koopalings, and the seven best designs were chosen as the basis for the characters. Their names and appearances are based on music, particularly rock and roll.
They have made several appearances in other media, most notably in the cartoon The Adventures of Super Mario Bros. 3, which featured entirely different names for the Koopalings due to them not having official names at the time of its airing. Since Super Mario Bros. 3, they have received positive reception, with critics citing them for adding variety to the series' villains compared to when the series merely featured Bowser multiple times. Critics bemoaned the lack of the Koopalings in many games, commenting on how it has taken more than fifteen years for them to get another major appearance, as well as criticizing Bowser Jr. for replacing them.
The Koopalings were originally created to be Bowser's children, as it was mentioned in Japanese Super Mario Bros. 3 instruction books as well as early materials. This portrayal was generally accepted by both Japanese and western gamers and media for a long time. However, their role was slowly retconned when Bowser Jr. made his debut, because they were called subordinates in the Japanese version of Super Mario Advance 4: Super Mario Bros. 3 and Bowser's minions starting in New Super Mario Bros. Wii. This has confused the fans about whether the Koopalings are part of the family or not, although series creator Shigeru Miyamoto has confirmed that this is currently not the case.
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... Specifically, he described the battle with Lemmy Koopa in Super Mario Bros. 3 as unique and memorable, while also describing Ludwig Von Koopa's battle in Super Mario World as distinct from the others ... Koopa ...