My fellow denizens: I flail here today humbled by the task before us, grateful for the trust you have bestowed, mindful of the sacrifices borne by our prequels.

Forty-four bosses have now taken the Koopa Oath.

The words have been spoken during both the rising tides of Level 3-3 and the sinking sand of Level 2-2. At these moments, The Mushroom Kingdom has carried on not simply because of the skill or vision of those in high airships, but because We the Enemies have remained faithful to the ideals of our programmers, and true to our original player manual.

So it has been. So it must be with this generation of Goombas.

That we are in the midst of crisis is now well understood. Our nation is at war against a far-reaching network of plumbers and fungi. Our economy is badly weakened, a consequence of greed and irresponsibility on the part of some but also our collective failure to protect our question blocks.

Toad houses have been lost, spade cards cast aside, fortresses shuttered. Our level design is too costly, our traps fail too many, and each day brings further evidence that the ways we use power-ups strengthen our adversaries and threaten our levels.

The challenge can be counted in the extra lives and high scores of our enemy. Less measurable, but no less profound, is a sapping of confidence across our kingdom; a nagging fear that the Mushroom Kingdom’s decline is inevitable, that the next sequel must lower its sights.

Today I say to you that the challenges we face are real, they are serious, and they are many. They will not be met easily or in a single play session. But know this, Goombas: They will be met.

On this day, we gather because we have chosen hope over fear, unity of purpose over conflict and discord.

We remain the most prosperous, powerful series in videogaming. Our Koopas are no less productive than when this series began. Our AI is no less inventive, our maps and traps no less treacherous than they were last week or last month or last year. Our difficultly level remains undiminished.

But our time of easy victories against novice gamers, of limited continues and undiscovered shortcuts—that time has surely passed. Starting today, we must pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off, and begin again the work of remaking the Mushroom Kingdom.

With hope and virtue, let us brave once more the mustachioed brothers. Let it be said by our children’s children that when we were play-tested, we refused to let the gamers pass without a fight; and with pixels fixed on the horizon and Miyamoto’s code upon us, we carried forth that great gift of gaming and delivered it safely to future console generations.

Thank you. Miyamoto bless you and Miyamoto bless the United Levels of Mushroom Kingdom.

¶ Change Chomp at SPLITREASON