Here’s A Closer Look At That Nuclear Bunker Filled With Mario Murals via Kotaku


The bunker’s fascination with Mario first surfaced (as far as I can tell) back in 2014 after it was pointed out in an NPR story. Nuclear bunkers are obviously extremely secretive and hard to get access to, so there isn’t exactly a whole lot of info about them. But after a bunch of bad press, including stories about the people in charge of nukes cheating to pass tests and falling asleep on the job, the Air Force has been keen to shift the narrative surrounding the country’s missile sites

As a result, NPR was in a position a few years ago to reveal that most bunkers have themes. Some are decked out in Star Wars iconography, while others, like Foxtrot-01, prefer Nintendo’s mascots. A mural of Mario and Bowser standing across from one another with a skull and crossbones mushroom cloud in-between was a sort of WTF moment undercutting the Airforce’s attempt at gravitas, but at least it was about nuclear war. Also Mario is scowling. The NPR story tried to offer context for the scene,

Three years later, Foxtrot-01 is back at it, this time giving Britain’s Sky News a special tour of the facility and some insight into what capability the site provides for our Commander-in-Chief, President Trump. “If we have a rapidly emerging crisis that requires the use of ICBMs we can respond to the President’s direction in minutes,” says Colonel Matthew Dillow, the Vice Commander of the 90th Missile Wing. 

Moments later, the report cuts to its correspondent, Cordelia Lynch, in front of a Super Mario Bros. 3 box art.

By some estimates, there are currently more than 15,000 nuclear missiles on earth. Possible over 20,000. That’s more than enough to make the entire planet uninhabitable. Should a large scale nuclear war ever occur, it’s likely that more than a few of those will be fired out of a whole in the ground where the walls are covered with Marios.

Is there a better metaphor for the absurdity of nuclear strategy? I’m struggling to think of one.
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