A new dance trend involving the Mario character Koopa Troopa is trending on TikTok, but the videos are much darker than some would expect.


In the past few days, a new TikTok dance putting Super Mario character Koopa Troopa in grimly funny situations has gone viral. Given TikTok is one of the most popular websites on the Internet, hundreds of people are bringing their own takes on the concept. For those who don’t follow the social media platform, it is important to understand what exactly the “Koopa Troopa dance” even is.


While Koopa Troopas have been in the Mario series since the beginning, 2009’s New Super Mario Bros. Wii introduced dancing to their predictable AI. As early as the first level, the music and enemy design is synchronized such that during specific musical beats, all Koopa Troopas pause to do a dance while looking directly at the player. The dance returns in all New Super Mario Bros. sequels, where other enemies begin dancing to the music as well. The dancing enemy idea has not made its way over to 3D Mario titles, but given the recent five-year anniversary of Mario Odyssey, it is possible a future release could include the feature – especially if Nintendo picks up on its newfound popularity.

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How Super Mario’s Koopa Troopa Dance Migrated to TikTok

Koopa from Mario Kart Tour

Much of the content on TikTok relies heavily on the remixing and recontextualizing of what are called “TikTok Audios.” These are samples of songs, clips of people speaking, or any other form of audio clip that anyone on the platform can use overtop their own videos. The song sampled in the Koopa dance videos is the “Overworld Theme” from New Super Mario Bros. Wii.

The song was originally sampled on TikTok as the “Bah Bah 2,” since the instrument sample the Koopas dance to is often referred to by fans as a “Bah.” The creator of the TikTok audio, named koopatroopa_official, released a screen recording of Koopa Troopas from New Super Mario Bros. Wii doing the classic dance. However, by turning it into a remixable TikTok audio, the wider platform’s community was able to take the sound to much darker places.

The dance trend emerged when user frankiejustchillin posted a video of himself with the caption “A koopa fighting for full custody of his children in court.” In the video, frankiejustchillin mimes out a pained father begging for custody of his imaginary children, only to pause his grief and do the Koopa dance once the music beat hits. The Mario series is well known for its music, giving the dark subject an instantly recognizable theme in contrast. The disparity between the grounded caption and Koopa’s forced smile and exaggerated arm waving immediately took off with viewers. Frankiejustchillin’s video has 2.7 million likes as of this writing, leading to a tsunami of other videos reimagining the adorable dance.

TikTok trends that put popular Nintendo characters into grimly realistic situations are nothing new, but the contrast of depressing circumstances and the childlike whimsy of dancing to classic Mario music sets this trend apart. Examples of specific captions used by TikTokkers include “A koopa cleaning up a murder scene” by the_devils_child66, “A koopa in WW2” by st_jimfoot, and “A koopa processing a sudden miscarriage” by gabbiebyrdie (which also references the “Loss” meme).

After the success of the original TikTok video, frankiejustchillin released a follow-up with the caption “A koopa watching his son and ex wife get demolished by an italian plumber riding a small dinosaur,” which only received 14.7 thousand likes. However, given his nearly 500 thousand followers and 68.2 million account likes, this is unlikely to be his last viral post. Given the popularity of gaming-related content on the platform, Mario‘s Koopa Troopa shouldn’t be the last video game icon to receive such viral attention on TikTok.

MORE: Shigeru Miyamoto Reveals Why He Thinks The Super Mario Bros. Movie Will Succeed

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