The Mario universe (マリオ, Mario) refers to the Super Smash Bros. series' collection of characters, stages, and properties that hail from Nintendo's expansive and highly successful Mario video game franchise. The Mario universe is Nintendo's flagship franchise, and it is flat-out the most successful game franchise in global sales and in history (although the Pokémon franchise has found even greater success when counting non-game media). The Mario universe is a franchise of fantasy video games, and the most popular games are the fantasy adventure platform games called the Super Mario games. Mario himself is Nintendo's mascot and is considered the most famous video game character in the world. Mario and his brother Luigi, along with their many friends and nemeses, have appeared in dozens upon dozens of Nintendo's video games, many of them being best-sellers and several of which are considered some of the greatest games ever released.
As a direct result, there are more Mario-themed characters, items, and properties to be found in the Smash Bros. series than any other Nintendo franchise, not the least of which are fourteen distinctive playable characters who originated from the series between Smash 64 and Ultimate: Mario, his clone Dr. Mario, Luigi, Bowser, Princess Peach (who has Toad as an attack), Rosalina (who uses Lumas to attack), Bowser Jr. (who has the Koopalings as alternate costumes), Daisy (who functions as a clone of Peach), and even the Piranha Plant. The Mario universe is so expansive, in fact, that Donkey Kong, Yoshi and Wario are considered stars of their own sub-universes: Donkey Kong, Diddy Kong and King K. Rool from the Donkey Kong universe, Yoshi from the Yoshi universe, and Wario from the Wario universe. The Wrecking Crew universe is also a sub-universe of the Mario universe, although no playable characters hail from it. It is the most heavily represented universe in the Super Smash Bros. series, by far, with the highest Trophy, sticker, and item count in the series, with the total amount of playable characters falling second to the Pokémon universe (nine to ten if Pokémon Trainer is counted as three separate characters).
By the beginning of 1981, Nintendo had developed a series of cabinet arcade games that were moderately successful in Japan, but its efforts to market them to Western audiences had fallen flat. In the most spectacular representation of this performance, thousands of units of an arcade shooter named Radar Scope, the first game Shigeru Miyamoto ever helped develop, were left sitting in warehouse storage. The president of the newly founded Nintendo of America division, Minoru Arakawa, faced financial disaster, so he pleaded with Nintendo CEO Hiroshi Yamauchi to provide him with a new game that he could install as a replacement into Radar Scope machines. Miyamoto agreed to the task of "fixing" the game so it would appeal to gamers, and instead of tweaking the original, he designed an entirely new coin-op game out of the Radar Scope hardware, and created new characters that could then be marketed and used in later games.
The finished product, Donkey Kong, became a huge success for Nintendo and moved 60,000 units by 1982. Its popularity was owed to the many differences from the maze and shooter games of the time that being the first example of a platform game with actual jumping mechanics afforded it; these included its multiple-stage structure and its visual approach to story and characterization. It is considered to be the earliest video game with a storyline that unfolded on the screen itself, with cutscenes in between levels establishing a love triangle between characters inspired by the Popeye comic. The eponymous ape Donkey Kong is the de facto villain, shown stealing away a damsel-in-distress (later given the name Pauline), and it is up to the player-character, a carpenter named "Jumpman" at the time, to save her. This was the earliest incarnation of the character that came to be known as Mario, and his design's most iconic elements were necessitated by severe pixel-based graphical limitations; he was given a mustache because that was the only way to show he had a human face, and he was depicted wearing colorful overalls to show he was wearing something more defined then a shapeless blob. Mario was given his official name in Miyamoto's modestly successful 1983 arcade follow-up Mario Bros., which also introduced Mario's green palette-swapped brother Luigi, changed his occupation from carpenter to plumber, and introduced the idea of him using strong jumping abilities to fell turtle-like enemies.
Throughout the North American video game industry recession that lasted from 1983 to 1985, Nintendo released the Famicom (the Western equivalent of which was the NES), which eventually found success as a hardware platform in its own right. Miyamoto began development of a successor to Mario Bros. for the console, and the game went through many ideas before settling as a side-scrolling platformer with a very clearly defined diversity to its gameplay elements, onscreen characters, and setting. The 1985 release of Super Mario Bros. is labeled by many as the single most influential video game involved in not just the popularization of the side-scrolling game genre, but the direction the video game industry itself would take following the 1983 crash, and is often described as the game that began the modern era of video games. Almost all of the game's aspects have been praised on separate occasions; the precise controls, creative power-up system, and well-tuned speed and momentum mechanics came into play against a varied set of level-design obstacles and distinctive enemies, and Mario's whimsical quest through his newly established setting, the Mushroom Kingdom, to rescue his love interest Princess Toadstool from the dragon turtle-like Bowser was timeless. The game became the best-selling title in the history of the industry, a record it held for over twenty years.
The Super Mario franchise indisputably became Nintendo's foremost property immediately, and Mario himself earned a permanent position as the company's mascot. It became a custom to release a steady stream of Mario-related titles for each and every Nintendo console and handheld launched in the company's history, and as of 2013, over 200 games featuring Mario characters in some way, shape or form have been released. While many entries into the series enjoyed a high level of success, none of the subsequent Mario games necessarily had anywhere near as much influence on video game genres as Super Mario Bros. itself had, but there is one clear exception: Super Mario 64 was the core platform-based series' inaugural transition into the third dimension, released in the Americas in September 1996, with a free-roaming, non-linear design, and an overarching collection aspect. A launch title for the Nintendo 64, it became the system's best-selling game and is given much of the credit for allowing the Nintendo 64 to attain the success that it had. The game set many precedents for the 3D platformer genre that would forever reappear in 3D platformers to follow, including player-character movement precisely dictated by the controller's analog joystick, a hub-based level design where each level accessible from the hub was a self-contained area containing a large variety of objectives to complete, and the first-ever "free" camera in a game with 3D environments, where the camera could be controlled independently of the character and was not rigidly fixed either to the character's position or a specific point in the level itself. Numerous other Mario platformers, particularly Super Mario Bros. 3, Super Mario World, Super Mario Galaxy and Super Mario Odyssey, are also frequently cited as some of the greatest games ever made; rather than kickstarting their respective genres as Super Mario Bros. and Super Mario 64 did, they instead garnered high praise for innovating on and refining the formulas set by the first 2D and 3D installments.
The Mario setting itself most often stars Mario, a free-spirited and heroic man with strong jumping abilities who is, by this point at least, a celebrity in the colorful and cartoon-like Mushroom Kingdom. Mario is often accompanied by his taller and more cowardly brother Luigi, who is occasionally mocked in-universe for being less famous than his sibling, but also goes on a few adventures of his own. His love interest and the ruler of the kingdom, Princess "Peach" Toadstool, regularly gets taken away by Mario's trouble-making arch-nemesis, Bowser, who is depicted as a menacing figure and/or a comedic one depending on the game. The most common setup for a Mario game is that Mario goes on an obstacle-laden quest to defeat Bowser and save Peach. Mario games rarely devote focus to lore or characterization; Mario, his world, and the established personalities that are his numerous allies and enemies represent Nintendo's primary "tileset" for creating colorful games of various genres that prioritize the quality of the gameplay itself, and Mario games sometimes satirize some conventions in video games. The Mario franchise is so big, and its side characters so thoroughly established, that several of these characters are the stars of their own semi-regular releases: Donkey Kong has starred alongside a simian supporting cast of his own in various games that, for a time, were primarily handled by British company Rareware; a pet-like dinosaur companion for Mario named Yoshi was introduced in the SNES launch title Super Mario World, and has been the focus of several of his own games; and a mischievous anti-hero equivalent to Mario who debuted in Super Mario Land 2: 6 Golden Coins for the Game Boy, Wario, has starred in both his own platformers and a series of party games that deliver a more outward parody of video game trends.
The many games of Mario have explored a large variety of video game genres, and one genre the series seems to avoid making a purely Mario-centric title for is the fighting genre, a gap the series regularly fills in with its guaranteed appearances in every installment in the Super Smash Bros. crossover series:
- 2D Platforming: The genre most closely associated with the Mario brand, which was begun by Super Mario Bros. for the NES in 1985. These are linear sidescrollers that follow the same basic formula for the most part, and this legacy continued with Super Mario Bros. 2 (both the USA release and the original Japanese title, The Lost Levels), Super Mario Bros. 3, and Super Mario World, with plenty of additional titles released for portable hardware. A compilation of remasters of the first four aforementioned 2D platforming games, titled Super Mario All-Stars, was released for the SNES in 1993. While there was an extended period where new Mario games were no longer two-dimensional platformers, a subseries focused on the official return to the 2D platforming formula, New Super Mario Bros., began releasing for each of the most recent Nintendo platforms, starting with the Nintendo DS in 2006 and going on until 2019's New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe for the Nintendo Switch. In celebration of the Super Mario franchise's 30th anniversary, Super Mario Maker was released in September 2015 for the Wii U, in which players can create and share their own 2D Mario levels online for others to play. In addition, the game featured a robust online feature-set with a multitude of options for finding courses and creators, all of which were only added to with subsequent update patches. A Nintendo 3DS port was released in December 2016 and an expanded sequel for the Switch, aptly titled Super Mario Maker 2, was released in June 2019.
- 3D Platforming: The seminal Super Mario 64 paved the way for 3D Mario platformers on each of the Nintendo home consoles that followed the Nintendo 64. In some ways, these are the "biggest" Mario releases; Super Mario Sunshine for the GameCube incorporated a radical gameplay twist in the form of the F.L.U.D.D. spraying device on Mario's back; a pair of Super Mario Galaxy games on the Wii placed all of the action on tightly spherical settings; and Super Mario 3D Land for the Nintendo 3DS and Super Mario 3D World for the Wii U, both of which exchanges the free-roaming world aspect for a more contained linear level design. The most recent game, Super Mario Odyssey for the Nintendo Switch, returns to the sandbox level design as seen in 64 and Sunshine. Apart from 3D Land/World, these titles are themed on adventure and exploration, often thrusting Mario into unfamiliar locales; Sunshine is set on a faraway tropical island, both Galaxy games take place in outer space, and Odyssey is pitched as a "globe-trotting adventure" that takes place in various kingdoms. To celebrate the Super Mario series' 35th anniversary, a compilation of remasters of the first three 3D platforming games, titled Super Mario 3D All-Stars, was released for the Nintendo Switch from September 2020 to March 2021.
- Racing: All high-profile Mario titles in this genre belong to an officially recognized sub-series called Mario Kart. Like several other Mario releases, the first Mario game in this genre, Super Mario Kart for the SNES, is credited for essentially popularizing a new genre in the video game industry, in this case the weapon and obstacle-based kart racing sub-genre. It is an unbroken Nintendo tradition to release one Mario Kart game for each and every major Nintendo home console and handheld system. The most recent console entry in the series is Mario Kart Live: Home Circuit for the Nintendo Switch with a mobile game released in summer 2019, Mario Kart Tour.
- Party: Yet another genre the Mario brand set the standard for for years to come, the first installment in the long-running Mario Party series was created on the Nintendo 64 in 1999 by developer Hudson Soft, who worked on the series from the first up until the eighth home console entry. But following Hudson's acquisition and dissolving by Konami in the early 2010s, the development duties were passed on to the first-party team Nd Cube. A "best-of" compilation of 100 minigames from across the ten numbered installments, Mario Party: The Top 100, was released on the Nintendo 3DS in 2017. In the Mario Party series, players roll the dice block to move characters across a board like in a board game, then compete in one of many dozens of available minigames to amass a high currency total and purchase a means of winning, typically Stars. The most recent entry is Super Mario Party for the Nintendo Switch, effectively a return to form for the franchise in a similar style to the first eight console entries.
- RPG: Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars was a result of a long-running partnership between Nintendo and Squaresoft, developers of the Final Fantasy series, grafting the Mario aesthetic and reflex-based gameplay onto a JRPG format. This was the starting point for what would become a fair number of Mario-centered JRPGs that differentiate themselves from other titles in the genre by incorporating elements of timing and reflex to some of the standard battle options, known as action commands. These are some of the only Mario games that feature a heaver slant towards storytelling; additionally, almost every game introduces a diverse cast of original characters to rival that of the main Mario universe. Mario has since established two entirely separate RPG-based subseries: Intelligent Systems's Paper Mario and AlphaDream's Mario & Luigi. In Paper Mario, all characters are presented as flat paper-thin illustrations occupying three-dimensional areas. However after its Nintendo 64 debut in 2000, the series began to swerve away from its RPG roots and into the action-adventure genre with the fourth installment, Paper Mario: Sticker Star, which was met with highly polarizing reception for their focus on gameplay and gimmicks rather than story, original characters, exploration, and traditional RPG elements. In Mario & Luigi, the gameplay is centered on cooperative combat and world exploration starring the eponymous brother duo. Unlike its sister franchise, this series is primarily featured on Nintendo's handheld systems and the formula has remained relatively consistent since its Game Boy Advance debut in 2003. Both series crossed over for the first time in 2015 with the release of Mario & Luigi: Paper Jam. While Mario himself is present and playable in all RPG titles, he is frequently teamed up with other party members as battle partners and/or alternate playable characters, including Luigi, Peach, Bowser, and number of original characters, such as Geno, Mallow, Starlow, and Huey among many others. The most recent Mario RPG entry is Paper Mario: The Origami King for the Nintendo Switch, released in July 2020. In October 2019, it was made public that Mario & Luigi developer AlphaDream had filed for bankruptcy, leaving the future of the Mario & Luigi series in limbo.
- Puzzle: Dr. Mario was a Tetris-style puzzle game for NES that starred Mario in a doctor's costume throwing pills to combat differently colored viruses. There have been some occasional puzzle games following this, but an official puzzle-based subseries entitled Mario vs. Donkey Kong began on Game Boy Advance, which pays homage to Mario's original rivalry with Donkey Kong. The most recent puzzle release is Dr. Mario World for mobile devices.
- Sports: Mario has a long-standing tradition of applying its aesthetic to a variety of team sports-based games and incorporating specific Mario-flavored twists. The two longest-running Mario Sports subseries are Mario Golf and Mario Tennis, both of which are regularly developed by Camelot Software Planning. Mario Sports games have also been based on soccer, baseball, basketball, and more. The Olympic Games series have received one game per season starting in 2008 (excluding the 2018 Winter Olympics), and in an unprecedented twist, marking the first ever crossover between Mario and its former "rival" franchise, Sonic the Hedgehog.
In Super Smash Bros.
Being Nintendo's biggest franchise, the Mario universe understandably outnumbers every other universe in Smash 64. It is one of two universes to have two playable characters, and is the only one to have two stages, and a boss character. Yoshi and Donkey Kong also appear as playable characters with their own stages, however they are represented as different universes.
- Mario (Starter): Mario is the mascot of Nintendo, and the most well-known video game character in the world. He first appeared in the arcade game Donkey Kong as the main protagonist, and since then, has appeared as the main hero in the Mario franchise. He has appeared in many Nintendo games spanning a large variety of genres. In almost every game that he is playable in, he is the most balanced character. This is also true in Smash 64, as he acts as a balanced starting character. Mario's appearance and moves are based of his appearance in Super Mario 64. An exception is his neutral special, which is his iconic Fireball attack from his sidescroller games. His up special is Super Jump Punch, a rising, multi-hitting punch based on Mario jumping and hitting a coin block. His down special is Mario Tornado, a spinning attack loosely on the Spin Jump from Super Mario World.
- Luigi (Unlockable): Luigi is Mario's younger, lankier twin brother who acts as the co-star and deuteragonist of the Mario franchise. He first appeared in the arcade game Mario Bros. as a green palette swap of Mario. Since then, he has started to gain his own personality and abilities. In Smash 64, he appears as an unlockable character. His appearance is based off of Mario Kart 64, which was his last major appearance. Luigi is a clone character of Mario, fittingly enough. However, some of his moves have unique attributes. While his neutral special is also a Fireball attack, Luigi's are green, and they travel in a straight line, unaffected by gravity. His up special is also Super Jump Punch, but instead of being multi-hit, it is a single hit that can cause high damage and knockback if timed correctly. His down special is Luigi Cyclone, a variation of Mario Tornado with only two hits and different knockback.
- Metal Mario: A spin-off from a form Mario can take in Super Mario 64, Metal Mario makes his gaming debut as an unplayable minor boss in the 1P Game mode. He is fought in Stage 9, on his own stage, Meta Crystal. His moveset is identical to Mario's, with minor differences. Metal Mario barely flinches to ordinary attacks and is almost unaffected by throws at low percentages. In addition, he has extremely fast falling speed due to his weight. Although he is mute in this game, whenever he moves, he makes metallic sounds.
- Peach's Castle (Starter): This stage takes place in the sky above Peach's Castle from Super Mario 64. The actual castle itself can be fully seen in the background. There are two main platforms, the top which is a long bridge that players can go through. The bottom platform has a larger block moving left and right underneath it. On the top two corners there are two floating, inward-angled platforms that move slowly up and down. There is also a floating Bumper on the top center of the stage that slowly moves left to right.
- Mushroom Kingdom (Unlockable): The game's only unlockable stage, Mushroom Kingdom is an audiovisual throwback to the original Super Mario Bros. In the middle of the stage is a long pit. Above the pit are two platforms that move up or down depending on the weight on them. On either side of the pit are suspended platforms and Warp Pipes that players can go through. Piranha Plants will occasionally come out of the pipes and can damage players. A Pow Block will randomly spawn in the air that players can interact with.
Main article: Item
- Fire Flower: This power-up is a semi-sentient orange flower imbued with the power of fire. In many Mario platformers, Mario and Luigi can pick this up and gain the ability to launch fireballs from their hands. In Smash 64, however, it is used more as a weapon that can be wielded to project a continuous stream of fire into the area in front of the wielder.
- Starman: This power-up is found in many Mario platformers. It is a glowing yellow star with eyes that bounces around after being spawned. If Mario touches it, he will be made invincible for a short period of time, during which any enemy that touches him will be instantly defeated. In Smash 64, touching a Starman will make the player invincible for a total of 10 seconds.
- Green Shell: Koopa Troopas come in different colors of shells. A green-shelled Koopa is the most common Koopa found in several Mario games. It walks off the edges of platforms, and if jumped on by Mario, it recedes into its shell. The shell can either be kicked or thrown at enemies. In Smash 64, a Green Shell can be thrown at players to cause them damage.
- Red Shell: A red-shelled Koopa is found in many Mario games. Unlike a green-shelled Koopa, a red-shelled Koopa does not walk off edges, but it can recede in its shell after being jumped on and the shell can be kicked in the same way. In Smash 64, after a Red Shell is thrown, it will actively target the nearest player on the ground, damaging them in the process.
- Bob-omb: This common enemy is a walking black bomb that patrols around and explodes in many Mario games. In some games, a Bob-omb can be picked up and thrown at an opponent as a volatile projectile. In Smash 64, a Bob-omb can be picked up and thrown at to cause a big explosion. If not picked up, it will start to walk on its own until it self-destructs.
- 5: Peach's Castle Sky Stage: A remix of the original stages music from the original Super Mario Bros.. It is in fact, a mixture of the world ground and underground themes. It is heard on the stage Peach's Castle.
- 13: Ancient Kingdom Stage: The original 8-bit theme from the first stage of the original Super Mario Bros.. It is heard on the stage Mushroom Kingdom under normal circumstances.
- 14: Ancient Kingdom Stage (Finale): The original 8-bit "Hurry Up" version of the normal stage music heard in the original Super Mario Bros.. It is heard on the stage Mushroom Kingdom when there are 30 seconds left and during Sudden Death.
- 15: Mario Wins: The victory theme of both Mario and Luigi is an orchestration of the standard "Stage Complete" theme heard on the original Super Mario Bros..
- 27: Starman: A remix of the "invincible" music that would occur when Mario picks up a Starman in Super Mario Bros., and it occurs when the player picks up the Starman item during a match.
In Super Smash Bros. Melee
Melee has a lot more Mario content than before. Three new characters join Mario and Luigi as playable characters, and the Mario universe continues to have the most stages and items, along with having the most trophies. Three bosses also appear, one being considered half Mario, half Smash Bros. property. Sub-universe characters Yoshi and Donkey Kong return as well.
- Mario (Starter): Mario returns as a starter character, now having his appearance being based on Nintendo 64-era artwork. When making the transition from Smash 64 to Melee, Mario was neither strongly buffed nor strongly nerfed. This again makes him a balanced fighter without any glaring advantages or disadvantages. He can now wall jump just like in his games, and is now given a side special, which is the Cape from Super Mario World. The Cape reflects projectiles and spins characters in the opposite direction.
- Luigi (Unlockable): Luigi returns as an unlockable character, whose appearance is once again based on his design in Nintendo 64-era artwork. Luigi is no longer a full on clone of Mario, but is considered a semi-clone. This is because he gained a few new neutral attacks. Luigi also gained a side special, which is Green Missile. This move can be charged, and once let go, Luigi is launched sideways like a rocket, causing damage. Luigi is notable for having the longest wavedash in the game. Overall, Luigi got a slight buff compared to his previous appearance.
- Peach (Starter): Peach is the princess of the Mushroom Kingdom who usually gets kidnapped and must be rescued by Mario. She first appeared in Super Mario Bros., where she needed to be rescued from the evil Bowser. In Melee, Peach is a new starter character, with her appearance being based around Nintendo 64-era artwork. She is a lightweight character with the unique ability to hover in the air when holding the jump button. Her neutral special is Toad, a counterattack where she pulls out Toad to reflect damage. Her side special is Peach Bomber, a horizontal attack where Peach attacks with her hip. Her up special is Peach Parasol, where Peach pulls out her parasol to slowly float down. Peach's down special is Vegetable which is based on a way to attack in Super Mario Bros. 2. Peach would pull out a turnip (occasionally an item) from the ground, and throw it at opponents.
- Bowser (Starter): Bowser is the main antagonist of the Mario franchise who first appeared in Super Mario Bros. Bowser constantly tries to kidnap Princess Peach and take over the Mushroom Kingdom with his army of Koopa Troopas, Goombas, and others. In Melee, Bowser is a new starter character, whose appearance is based on Super Mario 64 and Mario Kart 64. Bowser wields great power and bulk, but is lacking in agility due to his heavy weight. His neutral special is Fire Breath, an attack taken directly from Super Mario 64 where Bowser breathes fire in front of him. His side special is Koopa Klaw, where Bowser slashes and bites his opponent. His up special is Whirling Fortress, which is loosely based on the Koopalings going in their shells and spinning sideways. Bowser's down special, Bowser Bomb, comes from Super Mario Bros. 3 where Bowser would jump up and perform a ground pound.
- Dr. Mario (Unlockable): Dr. Mario is simply Mario in a doctor's uniform from the puzzle spin-off series, Dr. Mario. In it, Mario dresses up as a doctor and throws Megavitamins into a bottle to destroy three species of Viruses trapped within. In Melee, Dr. Mario appears as a new unlockable character. He is a clone of Mario with some slightly altered specifications. In general, Dr. Mario's attacks are stronger than Mario's, but with slightly shorter reach and recovery. He has a different neutral special, Megavitamins. These are pill projectiles that act similar to Fireballs, except they do a little more damage and have a slightly longer range. His side special is Super Sheet, which is slightly slower, longer and more powerful than Mario's Cape. His up special is Super Jump Punch, just like Mario but a bit stronger. His down special is Dr. Tornado, similar to Mario's down special but it is a little stronger and deals less hits.
- Metal Mario: Metal Mario returns in Melee to play the same role of minor boss again. Metal Mario is encountered in the eleventh stage of the Adventure Mode. Here, Metal Mario must be fought on the stage Battlefield, after the player defeats the fifteen Fighting Wire Frames. Just like before, Metal Mario is a heavy, flinch resisting clone of Mario. The only difference from Smash 64 is that he does not resist as much knockback. One should note that the player can play as and fight against a Mario under the effect of the Metal Box.
- Metal Luigi: Metal Luigi makes his first, and only appearance as a single character in Melee. Here, he plays the role of minor boss along with Metal Mario in the eleventh stage of the Adventure Mode. The player can only fight against Metal Luigi if Luigi has already been unlocked. Naturally, Metal Luigi is a heavy, flinch resisting clone of Luigi. Just like Metal Mario, Metal Luigi is mute and only makes metallic noises when moving. One should note that the player can play as and fight against a Luigi under the effect of the Metal Box.
- Giga Bowser: Giga Bowser is the gargantuan and powered up version of Bowser. He makes his gaming debut in Melee. Because he only appears in Smash Bros., and his trophy is under the Super Smash Bros. universe, he is considered half Mario, half Smash Bros. property. In Melee, he is the secret final boss of both the Adventure Mode, and the Event Mode. He is fought on the stage Final Destination in both instances. Although he is more than twice the size of Bowser, his moveset is almost identical to Bowser's. His attacks are considerably stronger in power, knockback, and range.
- Mushroom Kingdom: Princess Peach's Castle (Starter): Taking place on the rooftops of Peach's castle, this stage is far more representative of the castle in its Super Mario 64-onward incarnation. Occasionally, one of three colored buttons spawn on the stage, and when pressed on, some "!" blocks and two semi-solid platforms of the same color will spawn. Sometimes, a Banzai Bill will appear from a random side of the screen (including the top) and move in a slow straight path until it crashes into the castle, creating an explosion.
- Mushroom Kingdom: Rainbow Cruise (Starter): In homage to the final stage of Super Mario 64, this stage is an aerial obstacle course that has a scrolling camera. It starts off on a flying ship (with two semi-solid platforms) that is facing left. After some time, the ship sinks, and players must travel through many moving and collapsing platforms. This is when the players must keep up with the scrolling camera. The stage moves in a clockwise order and at the end, it returns to where it started, getting ready for another cycle to start.
- Mushroom Kingdom (Starter): The spiritual successor to the Mushroom Kingdom stage of the original Smash Bros., this Mushroom Kingdom stage is once again a homage to the original Super Mario Bros.. The stage is split up into three sections: two walk-off small sections on the left and right, and one main section in the middle. Between the outer ones are two pits. Above the ground, the are rows of Brick Blocks than can be broken. Sometimes, "?" blocks may appear instead. Hitting one of these blocks will make an item spawn.
- Mushroom Kingdom II (Unlockable): This stage functions as a throwback to Super Mario Bros. 2. Like Mushroom Kingdom, this stage consists of three sections, the left and right which are walk-offs. The middle section is a little lowered, and between the sections are pits. The waterfall in the background can produce small logs which players can stand on until they fall into the pits. Randomly, Birdo appears as a stage obstacle shooting out eggs from her mouth. Pidgets can also appear riding on carpets that players can stand on.
Main article: Item
Bold italics denote an item new to the Smash Bros. series.
- Fire Flower: Returns from Smash 64 with a different design.
- Starman: Returns from Smash 64 essentially unaltered in function and purpose.
- Green Shell: Returns from Smash 64, essentially unaltered in function and purpose.
- Red Shell: Returns from Smash 64 essentially unaltered in function and purpose.
- Bob-omb: Returns from Smash 64, essentially unaltered in function and purpose.
- Freezie: Freezies are enemies from the original Mario Bros. that kill Mario and Luigi upon a contact. In Melee, when it appears, it slides in one direction and will fall off the stage if not picked up in time. It can be hurled at opponents to encase them in a slab of ice, and they will be temporarily frozen as others attack him or her and pile on the damage without any knockback.
- Super Mushroom: An iconic power-up from the original Super Mario Bros. that carried on to almost every other Mario game. In many of its appearances, the Super Mushroom increases whoever grabs it in size and extends their life meter by one. In Melee, if a player touches one, they grow in size and increase their bulkiness and strength for a short period of time.
- Poison Mushroom: An item from Super Mario Bros.: The Lost Levels. Poison Mushrooms looked similar to Super Mushrooms, but would actually hurt Mario, instead of making him bigger. In Melee, the Poison Mushroom is an item that looks like the Super Mushroom but will cause the character it touches to temporarily become tiny, and therefore much weaker and lighter.
- Metal Box: An item based on the Metal Box from Super Mario 64. This would provide Mario with a Metal Cap, allowing him to change into Metal Mario, giving him much greater weight and power. In Melee, albeit without the cap; characters temporarily into a living metal model of themselves, increasing their resiliency but also their dropping weight, and making them mute.
- Goombas: First appearing in Super Mario Bros., these brown creatures are described as traitors to the Mushroom Kingdom that operate under the employ of Bowser. They walk sideways and damage whoever they bump into, but are easily defeated by bouncing off their heads. They act the same way in Melee where they appear on the first stage of Adventure Mode.
- Green Koopa Troopas: First appearing in Super Mario Bros., these turtle-like henchmen of Bowser's army who walk off ledges and retract into their shells when jumped upon, and the shell can be picked up and thrown or kicked at other enemies in many Mario games. This is fully reflected in their appearances in Melee, where they appear on the first stage of Adventure Mode.
- Green Koopa Paratroopas: First appearing in Super Mario Bros., these are Green Koopas Troopas that have white wings on their shell. They fly in set patterns, and when Mario jumps on them, they lose their wings and convert into regular Green Koopa Troopas. This is fully reflected in their appearances in Melee, where they appear on the first stage of Adventure Mode.
- Red Koopa Troopas: First appearing in Super Mario Bros., these red shelled versions Koopa Troopas do not walk off ledges, but they still retract into their shells when jumped upon, and their shells can still be used at items to throw and kick at other enemies. This is fully reflected in their appearances in Melee, where they appear on the first stage of the Adventure Mode.
- Red Koopa Paratroopas: First appearing in Super Mario Bros., these are Red Koopas Troopas that have white wings on their shell. They fly in set patterns, and when Mario jumps on them, they lose their wings and convert into regular Red Koopa Troopas. This is fully reflected in their appearances in Melee, where they appear on the first stage of Adventure Mode.
- Princess Peach's Castle: An orchestrated remix of the famous stage music from the original Super Mario Bros, with elements of the same game's "underground" theme overlapping with it. It is heard on the Princess Peach's Castle stage in Vs. Mode, and also as the primary music for Mushroom Kingdom Adventure. It is also used as Bowser's credits theme. It is Song 1 in the Sound Test.
- Rainbow Cruise: A medley of two Mario series tracks. The first half of the track is the remixed first half of an energized tune heard in Super Mario 64, while the second half is a remix of the underwater theme heard in Super Mario Bros. It is also used as Peach's credits theme. It is Song 2 in the Sound Test.
- Mushroom Kingdom: A perfect preservation of the original 8-bit normal stage music heard in the original Super Mario Bros., appearing on Mushroom Kingdom as the primary track. It is Song 21 in the Sound Test.
- Mushroom Kingdom (Finale): The original 8-bit "Hurry Up" music heard in Super Mario Bros. It is heard on the stage Mushroom Kingdom when the match's timer reached thirty seconds. It is Song 22 in the Sound Test.
- Mushroom Kingdom II: The original 8-bit normal stage music heard in Super Mario Bros. 2, appearing on Mushroom Kingdom II as the primary track and as Luigi's credits theme. It is Song 23 in the Sound Test.
- Mushroom Kingdom II (Finale): The original 8-bit Boss music in Super Mario Bros. 2, appearing on Mushroom Kingdom II as the primary track when the match's timer reached thirty seconds. It is Song 24 in the Sound Test.
- Super Mario Bros. 3: A synthesized rock-based medley of the first stage music and the first overworld music in Super Mario Bros. 3. It is heard as a secondary track on Yoshi's Island and the single-player Mushroom Kingdom Adventure. It is also used as Mario's credits theme. It is Song 30 in the Sound Test.
- Dr. Mario: A synthesized remix of the Fever music track first heard in the original Dr. Mario and all of its sequels. This is heard as a secondary track on both Mushroom Kingdom and Mushroom Kingdom II. It is also used as Dr. Mario's credits theme. It is Song 36 in the Sound Test.
- Mario's Victory: The victory theme of Mario, Luigi, Peach, Bowser, and Dr. Mario is an orchestration of the standard "Stage Complete" theme heard in Super Mario Bros.. It is Song 38 in the Sound Test.
- Starman: A remix of the "invincible" music that would occur when Mario picks up a Starman in Super Mario Bros., and it occurs when the player picks up the Starman item in a match. It is Song 77 in the Sound Test.
Main article: List of SSBM trophies (Super Mario Bros. series)
In Super Smash Bros. Brawl
In a maneuver both traditional and expected, Super Smash Bros. Brawl is rife with Mario-based content. In addition to every previous character from the universe (sans Dr. Mario, making Brawl the only Smash Bros. game to cut a Mario character) returning, the sub-franchise revolving around series anti-hero Wario has been recognized as its own universe for this game, as well as Diddy Kong joining Donkey Kong as the second Donkey Kong fighter. Yoshi returns as well. Discounting the sub-universes, Mario is third only to Pokémon and Zelda in terms of total characters (counting the Pokémon Trainer as three separate characters and Zelda/Sheik as two) and has twice as many stages as the next most represented franchise. Brawl is also the last game in the series to have an unlockable Mario stage.
Four characters from the Mario franchise are playable in Brawl, not counting any sub-franchises, in which case the total number is eight. On the final character select screen (after all characters are unlocked), the first two columns are dedicated to the playable Mario characters, with the first column being the Mushroom Kingdom denizens, and the second column being the sub-series stars.
- Mario (Starter): Mario, the face of gaming, was given a slight character model redesign for his appearance in Brawl as his appearance is based off his current design from the later Mario games, such as Luigi's Mansion and Super Mario Sunshine. He is also armed with F.L.U.D.D. this time around, replacing the Mario Tornado from the previous games. Like the rest of the Brawl roster, Mario has a new Final Smash. His is a massive fireball that expands as it engulfs the stage, called the Mario Finale. Mario is ranked 31st in the current tier list, his balance an impediment when others excel in many areas.
- Luigi (Unlockable): Luigi returns as an unlockable veteran once again. He remains similar to his brother, but has been further differentiated from him with several new attacks. In addition, Luigi still retains his Luigi Cyclone, giving him another special move unique from Mario. Like Mario, his appearance is also based off his current design from the later Mario games, such as Luigi's Mansion. Luigi's Final Smash, Negative Zone, creates a huge circular field of energy that has random effects on enemies caught inside. He is currently 28th on the tier list, his bizarre physics both a boon and a curse.
- Peach (Starter): Peach reappears from Melee. Her model has been updated to match her current design introduced in Mario Party 4. Her new Final Smash, Peach Blossom, involves Peach blowing numerous kisses that damage all enemies and put them to sleep while a vast amount of peaches fall from the sky. Though she has fallen from her high Melee showing to 19th on the tier list, she is still a solid choice and is still the highest ranking of the non-subseries Mario characters.
- Bowser (Starter): Bowser also makes a return after first appearing in Melee. His newfound Final Smash is Giga Bowser Transformation, in which he transforms himself to Giga Bowser for 10 seconds to increase his power substantially. Bowser is considered the least viable of the Mario universe characters, even when subseries are taken into account, clocking in at 33rd on the tier list. Giga Bowser (in both Brawl and Smash 4) is part of Bowser's Final Smash. So since he appears as a semi playable character and as a Final Smash trophy for Brawl and Super Smash Bros. for Wii U, he leaves the boss roster until his appearance in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate.
- Petey Piranha: A recurring character in contemporary Mario games, Petey appears in the Subspace Emissary mode as the first Boss fought. He captures Peach and Zelda in cages, and uses them to attack the player. The player's goal is to free one of the princesses by attacking their cage. When Petey is defeated, the most damaged cage is broken, and the princess inside is saved. The unsaved one is then turned into a trophy by Wario.
In total, when sub-franchises are accounted for, 12 of the 41 playable non-custom stages are based off the various Mario-related games. Only the six stages with the Super Mushroom icon are listed below. For the Yoshi stages, see Yoshi's Island (SSBB) and Yoshi's Island (SSBM) (for info on the Melee stage). For the Donkey Kong stages, see 75m, Rumble Falls, and the Melee stage Jungle Japes. For the Wario stage, see WarioWare, Inc. (the only Wario stage in the whole game).
- Delfino Plaza (Starter): Based on the main hub area from Super Mario Sunshine. Taking place at first on a platform, the stage flies around and through the plaza area and touches down at certain parts, where the current area in the plaza itself then becomes the ground for the stage for a period of time, and then the platform swoops in and carries the player to another area. The stage's movement mechanics are similar to Melee’s Mute City.
- Luigi's Mansion (Unlockable): Luigi's Mansion is based on the game of the same name. There are pillars in the mansion that can be destroyed to make the whole mansion fall apart. The Mansion eventually comes back together again.
- Mushroomy Kingdom (Starter): While the two previous Smash Bros. games have featured Mushroom Kingdom stages based on the original Super Mario Bros., Mushroomy Kingdom is a full recreation of World 1-1 from Super Mario Bros., apparently aged since the original Super Mario Bros. from a vibrant green land into a barren desert. However, while the previous Mushroom Kingdom stages were in a pixel-art style, the Mushroomy Kingdom stage is a completely enhanced version of the stage, even featuring a fitting mix of the original Overworld theme. From time to time, World 1-2, an underground level, will load, instead of World 1-1.
- Mario Circuit (Starter): This stage is taken from the Mario Kart series, and takes place at an intersection of a figure-8 track that's a bit like Figure-8 Circuit from Mario Kart DS, with Shy Guys racing through it on karts. Players can be damaged if they make contact with any passing Shy Guys.
- Mario Bros. (Unlockable): A recreation of the classic Mario Bros. game, complete with enemies. A stage that almost completely throws the rules of Smash Bros. out the window, KOing opponents normally here is notoriously difficult due to the way the stage is arranged. Instead, the enemies are a player's main means of scoring KOs by using them as projectile weapons.
- Melee Stages: Rainbow Cruise (Starter): A returning stage from Melee. It is basically unaltered.
Main article: Item
Bold italics denote an item new to the Smash Bros. series.
All items except for the Red Shell return. All these items are classified within the main Mario series. For information on the Hammer and Spring items, see the Donkey Kong universe page.
- Fire Flower: The Fire Flower returns from the previous Smash Bros. games, redesigned to match its appearance in recent Mario titles. It remains functionally identical to previous Smash titles. However, thanks to the new physics of Brawl, it can now be used while moving around and jumping.
- Starman: Returns from Smash 64 and Melee, now using the jingle from the original Super Mario Bros.
- Green Shell: The Green Shell returns from Smash 64 and Melee, essentially unchanged.
- Bob-omb: The Bob-omb returns from Smash 64 and Melee, essentially unaltered as a very potent throwing weapon.
- Freezie: The Freezie returns from Melee without significant changes.
- Super Mushroom: Returns from Melee without significant changes, and returns as a mode in Special Brawl.
- Poison Mushroom: The Poison Mushroom returns from Melee without significant changes, and also returns as a mode in Special Brawl.
- Metal Box: The Metal Box returns from Melee with the same basic function and purpose. It is also a mode on Special Brawl.
- Golden Hammer: The Golden Hammer is an item in Brawl, originating from the game Wrecking Crew. It acts similarly to a regular Hammer, but it improved in every way. It is more powerful, is swung faster, and can even let the user float in midair. However, it is exceptionally rare. Also, like the Hammer's Headless Hammer, the Golden Hammer can become the Golden Squeaky Hammer, which is useless and a liability the character is trapped into "using" until it disappears (but at least its hammer head does not fall off so that opponents can pick it up and throw it at the player).
- Hothead: A new item hailing from Super Mario World. This fiery sun-like entity travels across and around platforms and walls, damaging what it collides with, both in its original game and in Brawl when picked up and thrown by a character. The Hothead does not harm the character that activates it.
- Banana Peel: A staple "weapon" from the Mario Kart series which racers typically drop behind them so that racers behind run over them and spin out and get slowed down. In Brawl when it is thrown on the ground by a character, his opponents will slip on it and fall down if they step on it, getting slightly damaged and being temporarily incapacitated.
- Lightning Bolt: Hailing from the Mario Kart series, it does exactly what it does in the series, shrinking all characters on the stage except for the one who used it. However, it occasionally backfires, and shrinks the player who activated it. It also may shrink every player.
- Soccer Ball: A soccer ball that when hit, will go flying covered in flames, dealing major damage to opponents hit by it. This behavior originates from Super Mario Strikers.
- Peach: Although debuting in Brawl, it can't be considered a part of the Super Smash Bros. universe as it only comes after Peach's Final Smash, Peach Blossom. It heals 5% damage if eaten.
The Mario franchise features easily the most commonly summoned Assist Trophy characters with a total of three (whereas no other represented franchise has more than one) - this total goes up to four when Kat & Ana (from the Wario series) is counted.
- Hammer Bro: A single member of the duo that Mario has fought since Super Mario Bros., Hammer Bro somewhat predictably tosses hammers at the foe when summoned, and then disappears.
- Lakitu and Spinies: Appearing in his original 8-bit form from Super Mario Bros., Lakitu throws Spinies at the ground, which wander around damaging players like they did in the original game. That being said, Lakitu can receive damage from opponents and be defeated prematurely.
- Waluigi: Luigi's mischievous and villainous answer to Wario, known almost exclusively through his Mario spin-off appearances. Waluigi runs to an opponent, stomps them into the ground, and then either finishes them off with a solid kick or a smack with his tennis racket.
- Goomba: Appear as common enemies in the Subspace Emissary. They can be seen helping several of Bowser's minions in stealing Donkey Kong & Diddy Kong's banana hoard to lure the two Kongs into Bowser's clutches. They appear in later stages as well, such as The Great Maze, as common enemies.
- Koopa Troopa: Appear as common enemies in the Subspace Emissary. They also help steal Donkey Kong's and Diddy Kong's banana hoard.
- Koopa Paratroopa: Appear as common enemies in the Subspace Emissary. They also help steal Donkey Kong's and Diddy Kong's banana hoard. They float in midair, as well as hop to and fro. They are typically defeated in one or two hits.
- Hammer Bro.: Appears as a common enemy in the Subspace Emissary mode. They also appear as Assist Trophies. They throw several hammers at foes, however, because they do not aim at enemies directly, the hammers are fairly easy to dodge, and do little damage.
- Bullet Bill: Appear as common enemies, and behave similarly to how they acted in Mario platformers, shooting across the screen to hit the player character.
Main articles: List of SSBB Music (Super Mario Bros. series), List of SSBB Music (Mario Kart series), and List of SSBB Music (Nintendo series)
By far, the Mario series has the most music tracks in the game (not counting tracks based on musical motifs that originated in the Smash Bros. series). Only tracks from the main Mario series are listed here (even then, not all are classified in-game under the Super Mario Bros. series).
- Delfino Plaza: Taken directly from Super Mario Sunshine, this was the music that played in the hub overworld of Delfino Plaza, with the "Yoshi" woodblock rhythm inserted at a point. It is the theme for the Delfino Plaza stage.
- Ricco Harbor: This is the music that plays in Ricco Harbor, the second level of Super Mario Sunshine. This track is taken directly from said game, and it is used on the Delfino Plaza stage.
- Main Theme (Super Mario 64): The music that plays on many levels (with several variations) from Super Mario 64, this is taken directly from the same game. It is used on the Delfino Plaza stage.
- Rainbow Road: Taken directly from Mario Kart: Double Dash!!, this was the music that played on Rainbow Road, the final track in both this title as well as all other Mario Kart games excluding the retro courses featured in Mario Kart DS and Mario Kart Wii. It is used on the Mario Circuit stage.
- Power-Up Music: Taken directly from Wrecking Crew, this was the theme that played when Mario grabbed the Magic Hammer. It is used on the Mario Bros. stage, and also plays when any character grabs a Golden Hammer.
- Victory! Mario Series: An orchestrated version of the "level complete" fanfare from the original Super Mario Bros.
Main article: List of SSBB trophies (Super Mario Bros. series)
Main article: List of stickers (Super Mario Bros. series)
Main article: Masterpieces
In Super Smash Bros. 4
As with past installments, the Mario franchise is well represented in Super Smash Bros. 4. The four primary fighters from Melee and Brawl — Mario, Luigi, Peach and Bowser — were confirmed to return in no more than three months after the games' official showcase at E3 2013. After a hiatus of new representation in Brawl, the series received newcomers in Rosalina & Luma and Bowser Jr., as well as the return of Melee fighter Dr. Mario. Even with the conclusion of DLC in February 2016, the Mario franchise still has the most playable fighters, excluding the series-related characters Donkey Kong, Diddy Kong, Yoshi, and Wario, who all return as well.
- Mario (Starter): Mario was revealed alongside the games at June 11, 2013, expectedly. While accented, his design is less detailed than in Brawl and closely reflects his more recent appearances in the Super Mario series. Mario himself has received significant buffs in the transition from Brawl and his frequent usage in competitive play reflects this.
- Luigi (Starter): Luigi was revealed during the Nintendo Direct of August 2013, as part of Nintendo's "Year of Luigi" commemoration. Like his brother, his design is less detailed and reflects the more recent Mario games. Luigi's jump is now his trademark Scuttle that debuted in Super Mario Bros. 2, and his Final Smash is now the Poltergust 5000 from Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon. Unlike the last three Super Smash Bros. games, where he had to be unlocked, Luigi appears as a starter character in both versions of the game.
- Peach (Starter): The confirmation of Peach's return was announced on the official website in September 2013, on the anniversary of Super Mario Bros. original release. The detailing in her dress is brighter and has a more simplistic design, closer to her appearances in the Mario series. General aesthetics and moveset changes were made that reflect Peach's character, such as the inclusion of a pink ribbon in her up smash and a small rainbow in her up aerial.
- Bowser (Starter): Bowser, confirmed alongside Mario at E3 2013, has arguably received the greatest amount of changes out of all the returning Mario veterans. His dinosaurian, hunched posture from previous games is replaced with an upright stance. In correspondence with these changes, Bowser now uses his legs in many of his attacks as well as when dashing, as opposed to the scuttling animation from previous titles. Bowser's greater mobility and improved approach options have significantly benefited his utility in competitive play.
- Dr. Mario (Unlockable): Originally, Dr. Mario was to be an alternate costume for Mario, but it was decided during development that the fans of his original moveset would appreciate the full character's inclusion. As a result, Dr. Mario returns from Super Smash Bros. Melee. He is the first fighter to be absent in between Smash Bros. installments, followed by the DLC fighters Mewtwo and Roy. While his moveset was recreated faithfully, the changes made to Mario in Brawl make Dr. Mario more distinct from the fighter he was cloned from, and various tweaks done through the equipment mechanic also result in him functioning like a stronger, yet slower Mario. His Final Smash is a variation of the Mario Finale that uses giant Megavitamins, appropriately dubbed Doctor Finale.
- Rosalina & Luma (Starter): The mysterious Rosalina debuted in 2007 as an important side character in Super Mario Galaxy. She allied with Mario to defeat Bowser, who stole the stars she had used to power her Comet Observatory. She is a celestial caretaker of the cosmos, who watches over the stars with her many star-shaped companions, the Lumas. Since her debut, Rosalina has received widespread acclaim and has had many reoccurring appearances in the platforming Super Mario games and the Mario Kart series. Rosalina - accompanied with Luma — was announced for SSB4, the first newcomer unveiled after the E3 2013 showcase. Her character embodies a "puppet" mechanic, where one who controls Rosalina also controls Luma. Her unique physics and attributes are closely inspired by Super Mario Galaxy. She is a starter character in both versions of the game, which is unique considering that Rosalina has had to be unlocked in every previous game she was playable in.
- Bowser Jr. (3DS: Unlockable; Wii U: Starter): Bowser Jr. is Bowser's spoiled son, introduced in the 2002 title Super Mario Sunshine. Like his father, Bowser Jr. has the unquenchable desire to defeat Mario. He has become a reoccurring antagonist in the Mario series. This is especially prevalent in the New Super Mario Bros. subseries, where he often appears as the primary villain while Bowser takes a secondary role. In the subseries he pilots his Junior Clown Car, a flying, emotive vehicle that is stuffed with unorthodox weaponry. It is this interpretation of Bowser Jr. that appears in SSB4, where he pilots his Clown Car during battle and utilizes its bizarre gizmos. Uniquely, the Clown Car receives less damage when hit than Bowser Jr. himself, allowing for unique styles of defensive play. What's also special about Bowser Jr. is that he is not alone — instead of alternate colors, Bowser Jr. can be swapped with one of the seven Koopalings, who also use their own personal versions of the Junior Clown Car. Bowser Jr. and the Koopalings were leaked as playable characters during the ESRB leaks and were officially confirmed during The 50-Fact Extravaganza. He is an unlockable fighter in Smash for Nintendo 3DS, but is a starter character in Super Smash Bros. for Wii U.
- Peach's Castle (64) (DLC): a floating arena staged above the grounds of the titular palace from Super Mario 64. The platforms are structured like a pinball table, with a bumper at its apex and light shield-shaped structures in the uppermost corners. A broad, masonic platform shifts back-and-forth at the base. This stage is large enough to accommodate 8-Player Smash and is one of the possible stages to appear in Level 2 (3DS) and Level 6 (Wii U) of All-Star Mode as a home stage for Peach and Bowser. Its Ω form is a floating platform like Final Destination. Peach's Castle was released as downloadable content on July 31, 2015 for both the 3DS and Wii U versions. It is one of four stages from the original Super Smash Bros. to be in SSB4, with the other three being Kongo Jungle, Hyrule Castle, and Dream Land.
- Super Mario Maker (DLC): an area composed of randomly generated set pieces based on concepts from the titular title – Super Mario Maker. As in Mario Maker, the assets used derive from from Super Mario Bros., Super Mario Bros. 3, Super Mario World, and New Super Mario Bros. U. The setup varies widely, sometimes existing as a floating platform, other times developing walk-off platforms like Wii Fit Studio. This stage is large enough to accommodate 8-Player Smash. Its Ω form is a floating platform like Final Destination. Super Mario Maker was released as downloadable content on September 30, 2015 for both the 3DS and Wii U versions.
for Nintendo 3DS
Stages exclusive to the 3DS version. According to game director Masahiro Sakurai, the unlockable Kirby stage Dream Land was originally going to be based on Super Mario Land.
- 3D Land (Starter): a scrolling stage based on various locations from Super Mario 3D Land, beginning in an area similar to World 1-1 at the base of Peach's Castle. Unlike other scrolling stages, it shifts to other stage types. The stage leads to a seaside valley of shifting platforms, similar to isolated stages like Battlefield or traveling stages like Isle Delfino. Skewers rise from the sea below and destroy the platforms as it pushes through the valley, before arriving at a giant Warp Pipe that transitions back to the beginning of the stage. This is one of the possible stages to appear in Level 6 of All-Star Mode as a home stage for Bowser Jr., who is also unlocked on this stage. Its Ω form is a floating platform like Final Destination.
- Golden Plains (Starter): a spacious field based on motifs from New Super Mario Bros. 2 covered with Gold Coins that are collected on contact. Accumulating 100 Coins turns the character gold and increases their attack power. Though not based on one specific location, it is largely derivative of levels from World 1. It is one of the possible stages to appear in Level 2 of All-Star Mode as a home stage for Peach and Bowser. Its Ω form is columnar.
- Rainbow Road (Starter): an extraterrestrial arena staged on the titular race course from the Mario Kart series. This incarnation of Rainbow Road comes from Mario Kart 7. Like Mario Circuit, it is a traveling stage littered with hazardous, kart-driving Shy Guys. This is one of the possible stages to appear in Level 7 of All-Star Mode as a home stage for Rosalina & Luma. Its Ω form is a floating platform like Final Destination. Rainbow Road was teased prior to its unveiling in reveal trailer for Rosalina & Luma, "Comet Observatory".
- Paper Mario (Starter): a handcrafted stage based on locations from the Paper Mario series. Like Castle Siege, it is a transitional stage that cycles through three different phases. Each one has its own hazards, platform layouts, set order, and is based on a unique location. The three phases are:
- Hither Thither Hill: a grassy plain from Paper Mario: Sticker Star. A large windwill provides secondary rotating platforms. Towards the end of this phase, a large Fan Thing is erected on the left side of the stage and blows powerful gusts of wind. Paper Mario’s columnar Ω form is staged in this phase.
- S.S. Flavion: a seafaring vessel from Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door. Due to the limitations of the 3DS system, the paper-made sea is not swimmable. The ship is occasionally approached by the giant Blooper from The Thousand-Year Door or is blasted into the sky by the Whale from the original Paper Mario.
- Bowser's Sky Castle: Bowser's flying fortress from Sticker Star. The main platform is a precarious, tilting bust of Bowser with two small rising platforms to its left and right.
for Wii U
Stages exclusive to the Wii U version. Unused data left in the game's files suggests that a stage based on Dr. Mario was planned but ultimately scrapped. Like Wily Castle and Gaur Plain, it would have included the Viruses as bosses.
- Mushroom Kingdom U (Starter): staged in western regions of the Mushroom Kingdom from New Super Mario Bros. U. It is a transitional stage like Castle Siege and Paper Mario. Kamek uses his magic to make phases transition. There are four phases: Acorn Plains, Rock-Candy Mines, Meringue Clouds, and Slide Lift Tower. Each phase has unique layouts and hazards. However, the order that the phases occur is random. Some hazards intentionally overlap, such as the sprouting of a giant beanstalk or the falling of giant icicles. Nabbit occasionally appears and will kidnap nearby opponents that are vulnerable, although he can be stunned and KOed by anyone's attacks, even while kidnapping someone. It is one of the possible stages to appear in Level 6 of All-Star Mode as a home stage for Peach and Bowser. Only its Ω form can accommodate 8-Player Smash, which is columnar and staged in Acorn Plains.
- Mario Galaxy (Starter): a spacious arena staged on a grassy planetoid from Super Mario Galaxy. Bowser's Airships, Starshrooms, and the Starship Mario from Super Mario Galaxy 2 fly in the background among neighboring celestial bodies. Star Bits rain onto the stage like falling stars and burst on impact. There are no hazards on this stage, but due to the planetoid’s unique shape, gravity is distortedly curved. It is large enough to accommodate 8-Player Smash. This is one of the possible stages to appear in Level 1 of All-Star Mode as a home stage for Rosalina & Luma. Its Ω form is a floating hemisphere with normal gravity.
- Delfino Plaza (Starter): staged on floating platforms that travels to various locations on the titular island plaza from Super Mario Sunshine. Like Skyloft, the primary platform brings the fight to various areas around town, such as the Shine Gate. While all visited locales have widely varied platform arrangements, the main floating platform cycles through basic Battlefield-like layouts. It is one of the possible stages to appear in Level 7 of All-Star Mode as a home stage for Mario and Luigi. Only its Ω form can accommodate 8-Player Smash, which is a floating platform like Final Destination.
- Mario Circuit (Starter): an arena staged on the titular race course from Mario Kart 8. Like Rainbow Road, it is a traveling stage littered with hazardous, kart-driving Shy Guys. The Möbius strip-shaped racecourse does not curve like a normal raceway because it has anti gravity segments, resulting in occasional unorthodox platform placements where the road is above the stage. In some places, Shy Guys drive on walls or ceilings. The course weaves around Peach's Castle and Mario Motors garages. It is large enough to accommodate 8-Player Smash. This is one of the possible stages to appear in Level 2 of All-Star Mode as a home stage for Bowser Jr. Its Ω form is a spacious floating platform like Final Destination. It was one of the few stages based on a Wii U-exclusive title.
- Mario Circuit (Brawl) (Starter): an arena staged on the titular race course from the Mario Kart series. It is not based on any specific incarnation of Mario Circuit, but it most closely resembles the Figure-8 Circuit from Mario Kart DS. Its assets derive from Mario Kart DS and its predecessor Mario Kart: Double Dash!! Like the other Mario Kart stages, the course is littered with hazardous, kart-driving Shy Guys that will rundown opponents. Shy Guys can be knocked off the road if attacked at the right time. The stage is large enough to accommodate 8-Player Smash. It is one of the possible stages to appear in Level 6 of All-Star Mode as a home stage for Peach and Bowser. Its Ω form is an unused section of track risen high above the raceway.
- Luigi's Mansion (Starter): staged in the titular haunted estate from Luigi's Mansion. The arena consists of the mansions interior and exterior. The floors of the mansion serve as platforms. While there are no hazards on this stage, the columns that support the mansion can be destroyed, partially dismantling the mansion, releasing Boos, and removing platforms. The mansion eventually reforms. The stage is large enough to accommodate 8-Player Smash. It is one of the possible stages to appear in Level 7 of All-Star Mode as a home stage for Luigi. Its Ω form is columnar and is staged on the mansion's roof.
Main article: Items
Bold italics denotes an item or Assist Trophy new to the Smash Bros. series.
- Fire Flower (shooting): a fiery plant from Super Mario Bros. Wielding it allows the fighter to erupt flames from its floral disk, although prolonged usage of the flower causes the flames to get smaller and eventually die. When it spawns, the Fire Flower slowly falls to the ground and sways back-and-forth, like in the New Super Mario Bros. games.
- Super Star (status): a bouncing, traveling star from Super Mario Bros. that grants temporary invincibility on contact.
- Green Shell (throwing): the discarded shell of a Koopa Troopa from Super Mario Bros. that trails along the ground when tossed. Unlike in Brawl, its proportions more accurately reflect the modern design of the Koopas' shells. Red Shells appear in Smash Run with an identical function.
- Bob-omb (throwing): a sentient bomb from Super Mario Bros. 2. When it spawns, it will sit idle unless picked up. If left waiting too long, its key will begin to turn and the bomb will begin to walk until it detonates.
- Freezie (throwing): a sentient crystal of ice from Mario Bros. that freezes any opponents it is tossed at. Unlike in Brawl, it does not slide off of ledges, and it will freeze any fighters who actively attack it instead of picking it up.
- Super Mushroom (status): a traveling red mushroom from Super Mario Bros. that causes the users to grow on contact. This increases the damage output, range, and knockback of their attacks at the expense of a bigger hurtbox.
- Poison Mushroom (status): a traveling red mushroom from Super Mario Bros.: The Lost Levels that causes the users to shrink on contact. Unlike the other returning items in the game, the Poison Mushroom's design has not changed to reflect its recent pink-spotted purple appearance in Super Mario 3D Land.
- Metal Box (status): a special type of block from
Video game franchise
This article is about the media franchise. For the platforming video game series, see Super Mario. For the character, see Mario.
Mario[a] is a media franchise, published and produced by video game company Nintendo, created by Japanese game designer Shigeru Miyamoto and starring the fictional character Mario. It is primarily a video game franchise, but has extended to other forms of media, including television series, comic books, a 1993 feature film and theme park attractions. The series' first installment was 1983's Mario Bros., although Mario had made his first appearance in 1981's Donkey Kong, and had already been featured in several games of the Donkey Kong and Game & Watch series. The Mario games have been developed by a variety of developers including Nintendo, Hudson Soft, and AlphaDream. Most Mario games have been released exclusively for Nintendo's various video game consoles and handhelds, from the third generation onward.
The main Mario subseries is the Super Mario series of platform games started with 1985's Super Mario Bros., which mostly follows Mario's adventures in the fictional world of the Mushroom Kingdom and typically rely on Mario's jumping ability to allow him to progress through levels. The franchise has spawned more than 200 games of various genres and several sub-series, including Mario Golf, Mario Kart, Mario Party, Mario Tennis, Mario vs. Donkey Kong, and Paper Mario; several characters introduced in the Mario franchise, such as Donkey Kong, Wario, and Yoshi, sparked successful franchises of their own.
The Mario series is one of gaming's most successful and renowned franchises, with many of its games, in particular within the Super Mario subseries, being considered to be some of the greatest video games ever made. It is the best-selling video game franchise of all time, with more than 758.06 million copies of games sold, including 388.92 million for the Super Mario games alone. Mario has become one of the highest-grossing media franchises of all time.
Main article: Characters in the Mario franchise
Main article: List of video games featuring Mario
Main article: Donkey Kong (video game)
After the commercial failure of Radar Scope, Nintendo's company president referred to Shigeru Miyamoto to create an arcade game to save the company. Miyamoto came up with the idea of a game in which the playable character has to make his way through an obstacle course consisting of sloped platforms, ladders and rolling barrels. Miyamoto named the game Donkey Kong, and its main protagonist "Jumpman". Donkey Kong is an early example of the platform genre. In addition to presenting the goal of saving Pauline, the game gives the player a score. Points are awarded for finishing screens; leaping over obstacles; destroying objects with a hammer power-up; collecting items such as hats, parasols, and purses (presumably belonging to Pauline); and completing other tasks. The game was surprisingly successful. "Jumpman" was called "Mario" in certain promotional materials for the game's release overseas; his namesake was Mario Segale, the landlord of Nintendo of America's office/warehouse, who barged in on a meeting to demand an overdue rent payment. Eventually Jumpman's name was internationally and permanently changed to Mario. The success of the game spawned several ports, and a sequel, Donkey Kong Jr., which is Mario's only appearance as an antagonist. Donkey Kong 3 did not feature Mario.
Main article: Mario Bros.
The first game to feature "Mario" in the title, the objective of Mario Bros. is to defeat all of the enemies in each phase. Each phase is a series of platforms with four pipes at each corner of the screen, and an object called a "POW" block in the center. The mechanics of Mario Bros. involve only running and jumping. Unlike future Mario titles, players cannot jump on enemies until they are flipped over; this can be accomplished by jumping under the platform they are on or by using the "POW" block. Both sides of every phase feature a mechanism that allows the player to go off-screen to the left and appear on the right, and vice versa. The game has since reappeared in various forms, including as a minigame in Super Mario Bros. 3 and the Super Mario Advance series, and reimagined as Mario Clash.
Game and Watch
Main article: List of LCD games featuring Mario
Nintendo has released several Mario and Donkey Kong LCD video games for the Game & Watch line. Eleven were released between 1982 and 1994. Nintendo also licensed the release of six LCD games for Nelsonic's Game Watch line between 1989 and 1994. Many remakes of Game & Watch games have changed the protagonist from a generic Mr. Game & Watch character to Mario.
Super Mario series
Main article: Super Mario
Mario then became the star of his own side scrolling platform game in 1985, titled Super Mario Bros., which was the pack-in game included with the Nintendo Entertainment System console. It was also later sold in a package with Duck Hunt. In Japan, a game titled Super Mario Bros. 2 was released in 1986, but a different game with the same name was released internationally in 1988, followed by Super Mario Bros. 3 later that same year. The Japanese version would subsequently be released in the United States in 1993 under the title Super Mario Bros.: The Lost Levels as part of the Super Mario All-Stars title for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System, a console that also features iterations of the game known as Super Mario World. While Super Mario Land and two sequels were the Game Boy installments in the series, the Game Boy Advance did not receive any original entries, only remakes. Super Mario 64 debuted as the launch title for the Nintendo 64 console in 1996. Super Mario Sunshine was the series' entry for the GameCube, and Super Mario Galaxy and its sequel continued the franchise for the Wii. Super Mario 3D Land was the series' flagship title for Nintendo 3DS. The Wii U saw the release of Super Mario 3D World. Super Mario Odyssey would be the first original game in the series to be released on the Nintendo Switch, and was released in 2017.
In 2006, a sub-series with retro gameplay called New Super Mario Bros. was inaugurated on the Nintendo DS, featuring the mechanics of the Super Mario Bros. games. It continued on the Wii as New Super Mario Bros. Wii, on the 3DS as New Super Mario Bros. 2 and on the Wii U as New Super Mario Bros. U and New Super Luigi U, with a port titled New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe on the Nintendo Switch in January, 2019. Super Mario Bros.-styled gameplay is further offered by the level creator game Super Mario Maker, released on Wii U in 2015. A new version, Super Mario Maker 2, was released on Nintendo Switch in June 2019.
In 2016, the team behind New Super Mario Bros. released Super Mario Run, Nintendo's first real smartphone game and one of the few instances a Mario game was developed for non-Nintendo hardware.
Main article: List of Mario puzzle games
Dr. Mario series
Dr. Mario[b] (stylized as D℞. Mario) is a series of arcade-styleaction puzzle video game originally developed by Nintendo Research & Development 1, and later developed by Arika and produced by Nintendo Software Planning & Development. The first in the series, Dr. Mario, was launched in 1990 on the Nintendo Entertainment System and Game Boy to critical and commercial success. In the Dr. Mario series, the player characterMario, who assumes the role of a doctor, is tasked with eradicating deadly viruses. The player's objective is to destroy the viruses populating the on-screen playing field by using falling colored capsules that are dropped into the field, similarly to Tetris. The player manipulates the capsules as they fall so that they are aligned with viruses of matching colors, which removes them from playing field. The player progresses through the game by eliminating all the viruses on the screen in each level.
There have been 4 Dr. Mario games released for home consoles and two portable games, for a total of six original titles. As the series has progressed, each new game has introduced new elements in order to keep the gameplay fresh such as new game modes. In 2001, Dr. Mario 64 for the Nintendo 64 introduced new game modes such as a Story mode, Score Attack and Marathon, Wario as a playable character and four-player multiplayer. After a seven-year hiatus, in 2008, Dr. Mario Express for the Nintendo DSi's DSiWare service re-introduced the series to the portable gaming market. Also in 2008, Dr. Mario Online Rx for the Wii's WiiWare service introduced online multiplayer to the series. In 2013, Dr. Luigi for the Wii U's Nintendo eShop introduced Luigi as the playable character as well as a Operation L game mode in which all capsules assume the shape of the letter "L".
Mario's Picross series
This series is a collection of nonogram logic puzzles involving a grid with numbers for every row and column, which refer to the amount of marked squares within the grid. The games features Mario as an archaeologist who chisels away to form images on the grid.
Mario vs. Donkey Kong series
Main article: Mario vs. Donkey Kong
Mario vs. Donkey Kong[c] is a sub-series of the Mario and Donkey Kong series, based on puzzle video games, making the return of Donkey Kong, Pauline, and the former's rivalry with Mario. The sub-series introduces the Mario-like toys known as Mini-Marios, who later replace Mario as the sole playable characters in all future installments starting with March of the Minis onward.
Main article: List of Mario role-playing games
The first role-playing game in the Mario franchise was Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars. It has since expanded to the Paper Mario and Mario & Luigi series.
Paper Mario series
Main article: Paper Mario
Paper Mario[d] is a spin-off series of RPG video games developed by Intelligent Systems and produced by Nintendo Software Planning & Development. The first game in the series, Paper Mario, was launched in 2000 on the Nintendo 64 to critical and commercial success. In the Paper Mario series, the player controls Mario in a mixture of 3D environments and 2D characters who look as if they are made of paper. Mario can jump and use his hammer to overcome physical obstacles placed in the game's overworld. Additionally, the player accumulates partners as they advance into different locations, who each have a specialized skill required for progression in the game. These characters assist Mario in the game's turn-based battles. Damage inflicted to the player reduces the amount of HP. Attacks in the game are similar to those in traditional RPGs, although the player can influence the power of a move when attacking or defending by timing a button-press accurately or performing some other action command as required. Mario and his partners have a finite capacity to perform special moves, with each of these consuming a particular number of flower points (FP) when performed. Such statistics can be increased by earning Star Points (experience points) in combat to level up. Progression through Paper Mario depends upon interaction with the game's non-player characters (NPCs), who will often offer clues or detail the next event in the storyline. As in other RPGs, the player can find or purchase items from NPCs to help in and outside of combat. Badges can be obtained that yield bonuses ranging from added moves to gradual health restoration during combat; each consumes a set number of Badge Points (BP), meaning Mario can only equip a limited number of badges at a time.
There have been five Paper Mario games released for home consoles and one game on 3DS. As the series has progressed, each new game has introduced new elements in order to keep the gameplay fresh such as a new story, new partners, and new gameplay mechanics. In 2004, The Thousand-Year Door for the GameCube introduced the ability of Mario turning into and folding up into a paper airplane and/or a paper boat to interact with the overworld. In 2007, Super Paper Mario deviated into the 2D action RPG genre and introduced the ability to "flip" into a 3D perspective in which the level rotates to reveal a hidden z-axis, placing Mario in a 3D environment. In 2012, Sticker Star for the Nintendo 3DS introduced the use of stickers in both the environment and in turn-based battles. They can be found and peeled off from various areas in the overworld, and can be purchased or received from non-playable characters. In 2015, Mario & Luigi: Paper Jam also for the 3DS where all the Paper Mario world enters the real one. In 2016, Color Splash for the Wii U was announced that introduced the use of colors in both the environment and in turn-based battles, just like in Sticker Star. In 2020, The Origami King was announced on the Switch with the use of origami.
1. Paper Mario
2. Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door
3. Super Paper Mario
4. Paper Mario: Sticker Star
5. Paper Mario: Color Splash
6. Paper Mario: The Origami King
Mario & Luigi series
The Mario & Luigi spin-off series, developed by AlphaDream, is formed exclusively throughout handheld consoles. The series began with the release of Superstar Saga for the Game Boy Advance in 2003. In 2017, Superstar Saga + Bowser's Minions for the Nintendo 3DS introduced a remake of the original game with added graphics, an improved map allowing players to place pinpoints, and an additional mode called Minion Quest: The Search for Bowser, which provides a storyline that allows you to take control of Bowser's Minions to search for their leader, facing many obstacles in their way. In 2005, Partners in Time for the Nintendo DS introduced their younger selves: Baby Mario, Baby Luigi, Toadsworth the younger, Baby Peach and Baby Bowser. In 2009, Bowser's Inside Story also for the DS introduced Mario, Luigi and the others inside of Bowser's body. In 2018, Bowser's Inside Story + Bowser Jr.'s Journey for the 3DS introduced a remake of the original game with added graphics, an improved map allowing players to place pinpoints, and an additional mode called Bowser Jr.'s Journey. In 2013, Dream Team for the 3DS introduced Dreamy Luigi, where Luigi sleeps in the Dream World in celebrating the Year of Luigi. In 2015, Paper Jam also for the 3DS also included Paper Mario as a playable character when Luigi knocks over the book containing him.
1. Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga
2. Mario & Luigi: Partners in Time
3. Mario & Luigi: Bowser's Inside Story
4. Mario & Luigi: Dream Team
5. Mario and Luigi: Paper Jam, featuring Paper Mario
6. Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga + Bowser's Minions (remake)
7. Mario & Luigi: Bowser's Inside Story + Bowser Jr.'s Journey (remake)
Mario Party series
Main article: Mario Party
In 1998, the Hudson game Mario Party was released for the Nintendo 64. Following this, 9 numbered sequels have since been released, making for 10 numbered titles, along with two non-numbered main series titles, Mario Party DS and Super Mario Party. The series also has four spins offs that differ in gameplay, including Mario Party Advance, Island Tour, Star Rush, and The Top 100. Mario Party is a multiplayer party game featuring Mario series characters in which 4 human- or computer-controlled characters compete in a board game interspersed with minigames.
Main article: List of Mario sports games
There have been numerous sports games in the Mario franchise.
Mario Tennis series
The first appearances of Mario in tennis games were as a referee in Tennis for the NES and Game Boy. These games did not use the Mario branding and only featured Mario in the capacity of a cameo. He then appeared in Mario's Tennis for the Virtual Boy. After this, Camelot Software Planning released Mario Tennis for the Nintendo 64. They would subsequently develop other games in this series: Mario Power Tennis for the GameCube and Wii, Power Tour for the Game Boy Advance, Mario Tennis Open for the Nintendo 3DS, Ultra Smash for the Wii U, and Aces for the Nintendo Switch.
Mario Golf series
The first use of Mario's likeness in a golf game was that the golfer in Golf for NES and Game Boy featured a mustached man resembling Mario. Later, NES Open Tournament Golf was released. It featured Mario and Luigi as the golfers, with Princess Toadstool and Princess Daisy as their caddies. Mario Golf was released for the Nintendo 64 in 1999. It was followed by Mario Golf: Toadstool Tour for the GameCube, Mario Golf: Advance Tour for the Game Boy Advance and Mario Golf: World Tour for the Nintendo 3DS. Nintendo released Mario Golf: Super Rush for the Nintendo Switch in summer of 2021.
Mario Baseball series
Mario and Luigi were team captains in Baseball for the Game Boy. Mario Superstar Baseball was released for the GameCube and Mario Super Sluggers for the Wii.
Mario Strikers series
The game of football was introduced in one of the minigames in Mario Party 4 as "GOOOOOOOAL!!". The Mario Strikers series (Mario Football in Europe) made its debut for the GameCube with Super Mario Strikers in 2005, developed by Next Level Games. Mario Strikers Charged was released for the Wii in 2007.
Mario and Sonic at the Olympic Games series
In 2008, Mario and his friends appeared alongside the characters from Sonic the Hedgehog in the sports game, Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games, developed by Sega as the crossover series. A follow-up, Olympic Winter Games, was released in 2009 and Mario & Sonic at the London 2012 Olympic Games was released between November 2011 (Wii) and February 2012 (Nintendo 3DS). On November 15, 2013, a third sequel called Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games was released exclusively on the Wii U, with a fourth sequel, Mario & Sonic at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games for the Wii U, Nintendo 3DS and arcade in 2016. A fifth sequel, Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020, was released on Nintendo Switch in November 2019.
Main article: List of Mario racing games
Mario Kart series
Main article: Mario Kart
Mario Kart[e] is a series of go-kart-style racing video games primarily developed by Nintendo Entertainment Analysis & Development. The first in the series, Super Mario Kart, was launched in 1992 on the Super Nintendo Entertainment System to critical and commercial success. In the Mario Kart series, players compete in go-kart races, controlling one of a selection of characters from the Mario franchise. One of the features of the series is the use of various power-up items obtained by driving into item boxes laid out on the course. These power-ups include Super Mushrooms to give players a speed boost, Koopa Troopa Shells to be thrown at opponents, and banana peels that can be laid on the track as hazards.
There have been five Mario Kart games released for home consoles, one enhanced port, three portable games, one game for smartphones, and three Namco co-developed arcade spin-off games, for a total of thirteen. As the series has progressed, each new game has introduced new elements in order to keep the gameplay fresh such as new courses, new items, and new playable characters. In 1996 and 1997, Mario Kart 64 for the Nintendo 64 introduced 4-player racing and 3D graphics. In 2001, Super Circuit for the Game Boy Advance introduced the ability to unlock retro tracks from previous installments. In 2003, Double Dash!! for the Nintendo GameCube introduced co-operativeLAN multiplayer and two-player karts with one player driving and the other player on the back of the vehicle throwing out hazards. In 2005, Mario Kart DS for the Nintendo DS introduced dual-screen play and online multiplayer via Wi-Fi. In 2008, Mario Kart Wii introduced motion controls, 12-player racing, motorbikes and playable Mii characters, as well as three new items: the POW Block, Mega Mushroom, and Thunder Cloud. In 2011, Mario Kart 7 for the Nintendo 3DS featured optional stereoscopic graphics, introduced hang gliding and submersible karts, an alternate first-person perspective, and kart customization. In 2014, Mario Kart 8 for the Wii U introduced anti-gravity racing, ATVs, uploading highlights to YouTube via Mario Kart TV, up to four local players in Grand Prix races, downloadable content, and is the first in the series to boast HD graphics. In 2017, Mario Kart 8 Deluxe for the Nintendo Switch was released as an enhanced port of the Wii U version, featuring an improved battle mode and several new characters including the Inklings from Splatoon.
Possibly the most popular spin-off series in the franchise, the Mario Kart series began in 1992 and is currently the most successful and longest-running kart racing series, having sold over 150,000,000 copies worldwide.
Main article: List of Mario educational games
In the early 1990s, many educational games were released in the Mario series. Few of these games were platformers; most sought to teach skills such as typing, mathematics or history. They are officially licensed but not officially recognized by Nintendo. The games were developed independently by Software Toolworks, Interplay and Brainstorm. Nine educational games were released from 1991 to 1996.
Games not published by Nintendo
This section covers games developed by other companies without Nintendo involvement. These games are officially licensed but not officially recognized by Nintendo.
Hudson Soft released two games based on Mario Bros. and another similar to Super Mario Bros.
Mario Bros. Special is a video game released in 1984 for the Japanese computers NEC PC-6001mkII, NEC PC-6601, NEC PC-8801, FM-7 and Sharp X1. It is a remake of the original Mario Bros., with new stages, mechanics and gameplay.
Punch Ball Mario Bros. is a video game released in 1984 for the Japanese computers NEC PC-6001mkII, NEC PC-6601, NEC PC-8801, FM-7 and Sharp X1. It is similar to the original Mario Bros., but featured a new gameplay mechanic of "punch balls", small balls which Mario and Luigi can kick into enemies to stun them, instead of hitting them from below, as in the original.
Hudson Soft was originally responsible for the Mario Party series until Mario Party DS in 2007, but as of March 2012 this has been taken over by Nd Cube since Hudson has become a part of Konami. Many of Hudson's employees now work for Nd Cube.
Three games were planned for development by Philips Interactive Media for use on its CD-i machine: Super Mario's Wacky Worlds, Hotel Mario, and Mario Takes America. Only Hotel Mario was released; Super Mario's Wacky Worlds and Mario Takes America were eventually cancelled. Philips was given permission to use Nintendo characters in CD-i games due to their taking part in developing an unreleased add-on for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System (SNES).Hotel Mario did not gain much success, with Nintendo rarely acknowledging it as part of the Mario series.
Super Mario's Wacky Worlds is a cancelled video game planned for the CD-i, developed by NovaLogic, which attempted to duplicate the gameplay of Super Mario World. Though the game sprites are based on those in Super Mario World, the level design is based on Earth locations rather than Dinosaur Land. Due to the limitations of the CD-i, several features could not be included in the game, such as large numbers of sprites on the screen, and many visual effects. The nature of the pointing device controller provides difficult controls for Mario, as the game has the default controls of running and jumping.
Mario Takes America was proposed about Mario's trip to Hollywood to make his own movie. The game's concept initially impressed Philips, but was cancelled due to the company being unsatisfied with the game's development progress.
Hotel Mario is a puzzle game developed by Fantasy Factory and published by Philips Interactive Media for the CD-i in 1994. The primary characters of the game are Mario and Luigi, who must find Princess Peach by going through seven Koopa Hotels in the Mushroom Kingdom. Every hotel is divided into multiple stages, and the objective is to close all doors on each stage. The game has been criticized as one of the worst Mario-centered games, mainly because of its cutscenes and simple gameplay.
Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle is a turn-basedtactical role-playing video game developed by Ubisoft Milan (Ubisoft's Italian studio division) for the Nintendo Switch. The game is a crossover with Ubisoft's Raving Rabbids franchise, and features both singleplayer and cooperative multiplayer gameplay. The game's story sees players controlling Mario, his friends, and a group of Rabbids dressed as them, dealing with the aftermath of a sudden invasion by a group of Rabbids, who have accidentally misused a powerful invention that has brought chaos to the Mushroom Kingdom. Shigeru Miyamoto was initially impressed by the prototype of the game, that was presented to him by creative director Davide Soliani in 2014, which later caused Nintendo to greenlight the game for a Nintendo Switch release. It was released in Europe and North America on August 29, 2017, and was met with generally favorable reception from critics, who praised its gameplay, depth, and graphics.
A sequel, Mario + Rabbids Sparks of Hope, is set to release in 2022 for the Nintendo Switch.
Electronic Arts developed and released NBA Street V3 and SSX on Tour in 2005, both of which included Mario, Luigi, and Peach as playable characters in the GameCube versions.
Square Enix released Itadaki Street DS & Wii including many characters from Mario games.
In 1997, was released a hack of Crayon Shin Chan 4 unlicensed pirate titled Super Mario 4, better known as Super Mario Land 4, that sold for 4,000 to 8,000 Yen. With several sprites taken from games of Mario and Yoshi. although with a cover similar to that of Super Mario 64, this video game containing only 4 levels.
Main article: List of non-video game media featuring Mario
The Mario franchise includes many comics, manga and TV series based on the games. Most were released in the late 1980s to early 1990s, and have since become obscure. Mario, Luigi and Peach have made cameo appearances in two sports games, including the GameCube version of NBA Street V3. The series launched two films, the animeSuper Mario Bros.: Peach-Hime Kyushutsu Dai Sakusen released in 1986 and the live action film Super Mario Bros. in 1993. The latter lost a large amount of money at the box office and was widely considered to be a failure.
Further information: List of Mario television series
Saturday Supercade was an animated television series produced for Saturday mornings by Ruby-Spears Productions. It ran for two seasons on CBS, beginning in 1983. Each episode comprised several shorter segments featuring video game characters from the Golden Age of Arcade Games. Donkey Kong, Mario and Pauline (from the Donkey Kong arcade game) were featured in the show.
The Super Mario Bros. Super Show! is the first American TV series based on the Mario NES games. It was broadcast in syndication from September 4 to December 1, 1989. The show was produced by DIC Entertainment and was distributed for syndicated television by Viacom Enterprises (full rights have since reverted to DiC through Nintendo).
King Koopa's Kool Kartoons was a live action children's television show broadcast in Southern California during the holiday season of 1989-90. The show starred King Koopa (also known as Bowser), the main antagonist of the Mario series. The 30-minute program was originally broadcast during the after-school afternoon time-slots on Los Angeles-based KTTV Fox 11.
The Adventures of Super Mario Bros. 3 is the second TV series based on the Mario NES games. It aired on NBC from September 8 to December 1, 1990. Based on the Super Mario Bros. 3 video game, the cartoon shows Mario, Luigi, Princess Toadstool and Toad fighting against Bowser and his Koopalings, who went by different names on the show (Hip, Hop, Kooky, Kootie Pie, Big Mouth, Cheatsy, and Bully). Like the previous Mario cartoon series, the animation was done by Sei Young Animation Co. Ltd, however this show was co-produced by Reteitalia S.P.A., hence the slight differences in character design.
Super Mario Challenge was a show which aired on The Children's Channel. It ran from 1990 to 1991 and aired at 4:30 p.m. every weekday. The presenter, John Lenahan, was a lookalike of Mario, and dressed in his clothes. Two guest players had to do tasks, all of which involved playing the Mario video games Super Mario Bros., Super Mario Bros. 2 and, after its release in 1991, Super Mario Bros. 3. Rounds included challenges to see which player could complete a level in the fastest time and who could collect the most gold coins on a certain level.
Super Mario World is an animated television series based on the SNES video game of the same name. It is the third and currently last Saturday morning cartoon based on the Mario series. The show was originally aired on Saturday mornings on NBC in the 1991–92 season. It was featured in a half-hour time slot with a shortened version of Captain N: The Game Master. Episodes of Super Mario World were later shown as part of the syndication package Captain N and the Video Game Masters. Afterwards, the series was split from Captain N altogether and shown in time-compressed reruns on Mario All-Stars.
Super Mario Bros.: Peach-Hime Kyushutsu Dai Sakusen! is a Japaneseanime film released on July 20, 1986. Directed by Masami Hata and produced by Masakatsu Suzuki and Tsunemasa Hatano, it stars Mario and Luigi, who get stuck in a Famicomvideo game, in which they must save Princess Peach from King Koopa. A manga adaptation of the film was published in Japan around the same time as the film's release.
A series of three OVA episodes titled Amada Anime Series: Super Mario Bros., based on Momotarō, Issun-bōshi and Snow White, were released on August 3, 1989. These generally featured Mario as the hero, Peach as the damsel and Bowser as the villain, with other Mario characters playing supporting roles.
Main article: Super Mario Bros. (film)
Super Mario Bros. is an American 1993 adventurefamilycomedy loosely based on the video game of the same name. The film follows the exploits of Mario (Bob Hoskins) and Luigi (John Leguizamo) in a dystopia ruled by King Koopa (Dennis Hopper). It was the first live-action major motion picture to be based on a video game. The film's plot features Mario and Luigi as the main protagonists, Mario leading the team with Luigi developing a romance with Princess Daisy.
The film grossed $21 million on a $48 million budget. On the television show Siskel & Ebert, the film received two thumbs down and was written off as a box office flop.
Bowser and the Super Mushroom had a cameo in the 2012 Disney computer-animated film Wreck-It Ralph. Mario was mentioned but not seen in the film.
Upcoming animated film
Main article: Untitled Mario film
The upcoming untitled Mario animated film is currently in development and is scheduled to be released on December 21, 2022 by Universal Pictures in North America. Produced by Illumination and Nintendo, the film will feature the voices of Chris Pratt as Mario, Anya Taylor-Joy as Peach, Charlie Day as Luigi, Jack Black as Bowser, Keegan-Michael Key as Toad, Seth Rogen as Donkey Kong, Kevin Michael Richardson as Kamek, and Fred Armisen as Cranky Kong. Charles Martinet, Mario's in-game voice actor, will also provide cameo roles.Aaron Horvath and Michael Jelenic, the developers of Teen Titans Go!, will direct, while Matthew Fogel will write the screenplay.Shigeru Miyamoto and Chris Meledandri are the producers.
Comics and manga
Super Mario-kun[f] is a manga series written by Yukio Sawada[g] and published by Shogakukan. It is serialized in CoroCoro Comic. It contains many characters and scenarios from Mario games, such as Super Mario World and Paper Mario. Having just hit its 41st volume, Super Mario-kun is the longest-running Mario series manga to date. It continues to release new volumes to date. Another consistent manga series based on various Mario games is a work written and drawn by Hiroshi Takase[h] and published by PikkaPika Comics that is, somewhat confusedly, also called Super Mario-kun.[i] It is currently at five volumes and stopped due to the author's death in 2006.
The Nintendo Comics System was a series of comic books published by Valiant Comics in 1990 and 1991. It was part of a licensing deal with Nintendo, featuring characters from their video games and the cartoons based on them. Valiant's Super Mario Bros. comic books were based on the three main Mario games on the Nintendo Entertainment System, as well as The Super Mario Bros. Super Show. The Mario line was renewed for 1991 with two different books—Super Mario Bros. and Adventures of the Super Mario Bros.
The Nintendo Adventure Book series was published from 1991 to 1992 by Archway books, and Mammoth books in the United Kingdom. There are twelve in all. They are formatted like the popular Choose Your Own Adventure books, where the reader makes decisions that change the outcome of the story. Ten of the books are about the Mario Bros.' adventures in the Mushroom Kingdom and are based primarily on the Valiant Comics published for the Nintendo Comics System imprint.
Super Mario Adventures[j] is an anthology of comics, drawn in a Japanese manga style, that ran in Nintendo Power magazine throughout 1992, featuring the characters from Nintendo's Mario series and based loosely on Super Mario World.
Immediately following the end of Super Mario Adventures, Nintendo Power concluded the epic with a ten-page story based on Super Mario Land 2: 6 Golden Coins titled Mario VS Wario, which ran in their January 1993 issue and was later reprinted in the graphic novel.
At one point, Archie Comics made a pitch to Nintendo for a new Mario comic similar to its Sonic the Hedgehog series, but it was turned down.
An encyclopedia based on Super Mario Bros. was released in Japan in October 2015. In February 2017, Nintendo announced that the encyclopedia would launch in North America and Europe in June 2017.
Another encyclopedia based on the series up until Super Mario Maker was published by Dark Horse Publishing on October 23, 2018.
Mario has appeared on lunch boxes, T-shirts, jeans, magazines, commercials (notably, in a Got Milk? commercial), in candy form, on shampoo bottles, cereal, badges, and as a plush toy. In 1992, Gottlieb created a Super Mario themed pinball machine. A Monopoly board game based on the Mario franchise has been confirmed by the website USAopoly. In April 2017, a board game developed by USAopoly titled Super Mario Level Up! was announced for release. In early 2017, a Super Mario-themed pop-up bar known as "The Cherry Blossom Pub" opened up in Mockingbird Hill, Washington, D.C. The interior of one side of the bar has been transformed into "a Nintendo dream world". The Washington reported in an interview with Derek Brown, the bar's owner, that the bar had become so popular that there was a two-hour long line outside the bar. The cocktails in the bar cost $13 and are all Mario-themed. On the menu there's the "It's a Me, A-Mario" (sweet vermouth, Don Ciccio & Figli Carcafio, Aperitivo, and spicy ginger ale), "What Doesn't Kill You Makes You Smaller" (vodka, mandarin orange, pomelo and apricot soda) and the "King Koopa Cup" (Two James Johnny Smoking Gun whiskey, "popcorn" tea ginger, and lemon). Another Monopoly-inspired board game called Monopoly Gamer was released in August 2017. In addition, Monopoly Gamer adds a Mario Kart version with courses from Mario Kart 8 serving as properties. LINE released four voiced Mario sticker sets. Mario-themedLego sets were released in August 2020. These sets feature an electronic Mario figure that interacts with other parts of the set.
Concerts and performances
The Super Mario Bros. theme has been featured in many concerts, including "PLAY! Chicago", the Columbus Symphony Orchestra, the Mario & Zelda Big Band Live, Play! A Video Game Symphony, and others.
The Video Games Live concert featured the theme performed by Koji Kondo.
See also: Super Mario § Reception
The Mario series has received a very positive reception from critics and audiences. A 1996 article in Next Generation declared that "The evolution of the Mario series led the rest of gaming by the hand, blazing a trail, and teaching lessons in game mechanics, structure, and sheer playability to any who would study its secrets".
Most of Mario's games are set in the fictional "Mushroom Kingdom", but other settings have been used.
The places introduced in the Mario franchise are:
- "Mushroom Kingdom", the central kingdom of the universe and the setting of most Super Mario games. It is usually ruled by Princess Peach. The capital of the kingdom is Toad Town, a city that lies below Peach's Castle. According to Super Mario Galaxy, the Mushroom World is the planet on which the Mushroom Kingdom is located.
- "Subcon" is the dreamworld that is the setting of Super Mario Bros. 2.
- "Bowser's Kingdom", the kingdom ruled by Bowser. The kingdom has appeared in several games under different names, and often appears as the final level of the game which it is featured in. The first time this kingdom appears under the name Bowser's Kingdom is in Super Mario Odyssey.
- "Sprixie Kingdom" is the main setting of Super Mario 3D World, home to fairy-like creatures called "Sprixies". It is composed of 8 islands with different themes, with each island being ruled by a Sprixie.
- "Sarasaland" is the setting of Super Mario Land, ruled by Princess Daisy, and divided into four kingdoms: Birabuto Kingdom (based on Ancient Egypt), Muda Kingdom (based on Mu and Bermuda), Easton Kingdom (based on Easter Island) and Chai Kingdom (based on Ancient China).
- "Isle Delfino", a dolphin-shaped paradise island, is the setting for Super Mario Sunshine. The capital is "Delfino Plaza".
- "Kingdom of Bask", introduced in Mario Tennis Aces, was ruled by "King Bask" until "Lucien", the main antagonist of the game, attacked it, forcing King Bask to split his power into Power Stones.
- "Beanbean Kingdom", introduced in Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga, is governed by "Queen Bean" and her son "Prince Peasley". The capital is "Beanbean Castle Town", and the kingdom is known to have good relations with the Mushroom Kingdom, in addition to bordering it. The regions are named after laughter onomatopoeias. Just like the Mushroom Kingdom is mushroom themed, the Beanbean Kingdom is bean themed. It is also home to the famous "Chuckola Cola". The forest where it is produced is named "Chucklehuck Woods".
- "Pi'illo Island", formerly known as "Pi'illo Kingdom", is introduced in Mario & Luigi: Dream Team, and is an island that was ruled by "Prince Dreambert" until he and the other Pi'illos were imprisoned by "Antasma", the main antagonist of the game. At some undefined time in the past, the island was acquired by "Dr. Snoozemore". At the end of the game, with all the Pi'illos released, the island is once again governed by Prince Dreambert.
- Super Mario Odyssey introduces a variety of new locations such as the Cap Kingdom, Cascade Kingdom, Metro Kingdom, Luncheon Kingdom, and the Moon.
Impact and legacy
Mario has been featured in 256 games of various genres (including sports, puzzle, party, racing and first-person shooter), and the Mario franchise is the best-selling video game franchise of all time. At least 31 different Mario games have sold more than a million copies each since 1995. This includes the core Super Mario series, which alone has sold over 370 million units worldwide, as well as the Mario Kart series which sold 154.26 million units, the Mario Party series which sold over 56 million copies,Donkey Kong which sold over 125,000 arcade machines and six million Colecocartridges, and Mario Bros. which sold 1.72 million Famicom cartridges.
- ^Japanese: マリオ, Hepburn: Mario
- ^Japanese: ドクターマリオ, Hepburn: Dokutā Mario
- ^Japanese: マリオVSドンキーコング, Hepburn: Mario tai Donkī Kongu
- ^Japanese: ペーパーマリオ, Hepburn: Pēpā Mario
- ^Japanese: マリオカート, Hepburn: Mario Kāto
- ^Japanese: スーパーマリオくん, Hepburn: Sūpā Mario-kun
- ^Japanese: 沢田ユキオ, Hepburn: Sawada Yukio
- ^Japanese: 嵩瀬ひろし, Hepburn: Takase Hiroshi
- ^Japanese: スーパーマリオくん, Hepburn: Sūpā Mario-kun
- ^Japanese: SUPER MARIO ADVENTURES マリオの大冒険, Hepburn: Mario no daibōken
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Super Mario (series)
This article is under construction. Therefore, please excuse its informal appearance while it is being worked on. We hope to have it completed as soon as possible.
- This article is about the main series of Mario platform games. For the series as a whole, not limited to platformers, see Mario (franchise).
|First installment||Super Mario Bros. (1985)|
|Latest installment||Super Mario 3D World + Bowser's Fury (2021)|
|Number of installments||47 (21 main, 6 related, 10 ports, 9 remakes, 2 compilations, 49 released, 1 upcoming)|
|Key staff||Shigeru Miyamoto, Takashi Tezuka, Koji Kondo, Yoichi Kotabe, Yoshiaki Koizumi, Koichi Hayashida, Shigehisa Nakaue|
The Super Mario series, originally known as the Super Mario Bros. series and also informally called the main series or main games, is the biggest and most important sub-series of the Mario franchise. It started in 1985 with the creation of Super Mario Bros. on the Family Computer and subsequently the Nintendo Entertainment System. It has been followed by many sequels released in almost every Nintendo video game console to date, except the Game Boy Color and the Game Boy Advance, where only remakes, ports, or other spin-offs games were released and development was handled by other divisions and companies.
Previous form of the logo
The series features both 2D platform games, the first of which has been Super Mario Bros., as well as 3D platform games, the first of which has been Super Mario 64. Most of these games, notably excluding Super Mario Bros. 2, follow the story of Mario and, usually, his brother Luigi and sometimes his friends Toad and Yoshi, in their quest to search for and rescue Princess Peach from the clutches of Bowser, who wants to conquer the Mushroom Kingdom or another location, depending on the game. The Mario Brothers' adventure is shown to be difficult, as they face his minions, such as Goombas, Koopa Troopas, and Piranha Plants.
The series is developed by several Nintendo divisions. The main games have been developed exclusively by Nintendo Entertainment Analysis and Development. Following its merge with Nintendo Software Planning & Development in September 2015, the series is now handled by Nintendo Entertainment Planning & Development.
In 2010, the series celebrated the twenty-fifth anniversary of the release of Super Mario Bros. The celebration involved a series of videos showing various tricks throughout the series' games on the Wii's Nintendo Channel, as well as releasing a Wii port of Super Mario All-Stars, which included a history booklet of the Super Mario series and a CD containing several songs from games in the series. In 2015, the series celebrated its thirty anniversary with the commemorative game being Super Mario Maker, a game creation platform game that allows players to create their own Mario levels by choosing between four game skins based on other Super Mario games. Special amiibo based on Mario's classic and modern design were released as well. 2020 was the thirty-fifth anniversary with several games released, including Super Mario 3D All-Stars.
List of games
It has been requested that this section be rewritten and expanded to include more information.
|Cover, original release, and system||Synopsis|
|Super Mario Bros.|
September 13, 1985
|On September 13, 1985, Mario starred in his very first game on a home console, Super Mario Bros.. Mario, and his brother Luigi, had to set out on a massive adventure across the Mushroom Kingdom to rescue Princess Toadstool and the Mushroom Retainers from the evil King Bowser. After traversing through eight massive worlds, filled with enemies, the brothers eventually reached Bowser's Castle, finally rescuing Princess Toadstool. Super Mario Bros. was the best-selling video game for the NES in 1999, and, until being surpassed by Wii Sports in 2009, the best-selling video game of all time. Super Mario Bros. also had a major part in both the takeoff of the NES and the revival of the American video game industry after the crash in 1983. The game earned Mario a permanent position as Nintendo's mascot, and triggered a massive boom in the video game industry that still continues today.|
|Super Mario Bros.: The Lost Levels|
June 3, 1986
|After the success of Super Mario Bros., a sequel was released just one year later in Japan for the Family Computer Disk System. It uses a slightly altered version of Super Mario Bros.'s engine, with different levels and new features including altered graphics and new enemy behavior, such as Bloopers flying in midair, wind to help the player jump across pits, and other minor changes. |
While it was called Super Mario Bros. 2 in Japanese, Nintendo of America originally deemed this game too challenging and too much like the original to sell well in Western countries. Instead, another game was ported as Super Mario Bros. 2, and the Japanese Super Mario Bros. 2 became known as Super Mario Bros.: The Lost Levels when included in the Super Mario All-Stars remake years later. It saw release in its original form in the West only when released on the Virtual Console in 2007.
|Super Mario Bros. 2|
October 9, 1988
|Owing to the Western branches of Nintendo feeling that the Japanese Super Mario Bros. 2 was too similar to the first game and too difficult for American players, they instead chose to port the Japanese game Yume Kōjō: Doki Doki Panic and release it as Super Mario Bros. 2 in their markets for the NES. New species first appear in this game, including Albatoss and Shy Guys, and it introduces Wart and Birdo. Super Mario Bros. 2 is also the first game to feature four distinctly playable characters, as Mario, Luigi, Princess Toadstool, and Toad had to save the dream world of Subcon from Wart. After fighting their way through seven strange worlds, they eventually saved Subcon, and Mario woke up from his dream. |
Despite being a port of a pre-existing Japanese game, the Western Super Mario Bros. 2 would eventually see release in its own right in Japan as Super Mario USA.
|Super Mario Bros. 3|
October 23, 1988
|Another two years had passed by the time the next mainstream, non-port Mario game had been released: Super Mario Bros. 3. This was by far the most expansive Mario game on the NES, as it featured many levels, items, and enemies, and became a huge critical and commercial success. Many of the new species would become staples of the series, including Boos, Fire Piranha Plants and Dry Bones. In the story, Bowser and his seven Koopalings wreaked havoc across the Mushroom World after turning all of the Mushroom Kings into various animals. Mario and Luigi had to traverse through many worlds, castles, seas, forests, and deserts to fix the wrongs the Koopalings had caused. Eventually, the brothers reached Bowser and defeated him, rescuing Princess Toadstool once again.|
|Super Mario Land|
April 21, 1989
|Super Mario Land is the first Super Mario game not developed by Nintendo EAD but rather its partner division: Nintendo R&D1. The game features a similar aesthetic and gameplay to Super Mario Bros. adapting it to the limited technology of the Game Boy at the time. The game is set in the land of Sarasaland and has Mario venture through its four kingdoms to rescue its ruler Princess Daisy from the clutches of the evil alien Tatanga. This game is unique in that it features auto-scrolling shooting sections where Mario ride a submarine or plane.|
|Super Mario World|
November 21, 1990
|Although a direct sequel to Super Mario Bros. 3, Super Mario World had been released on a whole new home console — the Super Nintendo Entertainment System. It was with this game that the Mario series had been upgraded from 8-bit to 16-bit graphics. Though the games' graphics would later be revolutionized once again, this was indeed a huge step at the time. During the story of Super Mario World, while Mario, Luigi, and Princess Toadstool were vacationing in Dinosaur Land, Bowser and his seven Koopalings once again kidnapped the Princess. With the help of the Yoshis and Dolphins, the brothers traversed across the vast area of Dinosaur Land. As they made their way to Princess Toadstool, they thwarted each Koopaling who stood in their way until they reached Bowser. Once again, Bowser had been defeated and Princess Toadstool had been rescued.|
|Super Mario Land 2: 6 Golden Coins|
October 21, 1992
|The sequel to the original Super Mario Land, Super Mario Land 2: 6 Golden Coins features aesthetics and gameplay from Super Mario World. After returning from rescuing Daisy in the previous game, Mario discovers his realm of Mario Land has been seized by Wario and has took control of his castle by scattering his 6 Golden Coins. Mario now must venture through the enemy-infested Mario Land to recover his valuable coins and get access to his castle and confront Wario once and for all.|
|Super Mario 64|
June 23, 1996
|Not long after the release of Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars, Nintendo released a new system and a new game — Super Mario 64. The game was a great success. It was the first fully 3-dimensional Mario game to ever be made, thus revolutionizing the appearance of Mario games to date. The game sold over eleven million copies by 2007. This was also the second game to call Princess Peach by her current name (with Yoshi's Safari being the first). In the game, Mario was invited to Peach's Castle to eat a cake she had baked. However, when Mario arrived at her castle, he had discovered that Bowser had taken it over and had stolen almost all of the castle's Power Stars— there were some which he did not know existed. As Mario traversed through fifteen different painting worlds, he eventually recovered enough Power Stars to battle Bowser and take back the castle, freeing Peach from her stained-glass prison.|
|Super Mario Sunshine|
July 19, 2002
|In 2002, Mario was back in action in Super Mario Sunshine, another three-dimensional platformer. While on his way to a vacation with Princess Peach and her loyal steward, Toadsworth, they discover a large glob of graffiti in the shape of Mario's head at Delfino Airstrip. Mario then finds a machine, called F.L.U.D.D., that helps him rid the island of goop. After he collects a total of ten Shine Sprites, an impostor bearing a striking resemblance to Mario kidnaps Princess Peach. Mario then must redeem his identity (because of Shadow Mario) by ridding the entire island of goop, all the while having to rescue Princess Peach. Towards the end of his adventure, he discovers that Shadow Mario is actually Bowser Jr. in disguise. After fighting Bowser and his son, Mario rescues Princess Peach, finally allowing them to start their vacation.|
|New Super Mario Bros.|
May 15, 2006
|New Super Mario Bros. is the eighth installment in the Super Mario series. It starts out when Bowser Jr. kidnaps Peach during a strange accident. Luigi is playable in this game as well. Luigi was not playable since Super Mario World. This is the first game since Super Mario World (1990) that features the classic 2D play-style of the Super Mario Bros. games. The game features a solo story mode with Mario or Luigi, a two-player wireless game Mario vs. Luigi, as well as a mini-game mode for up to four players. It was released in 2006 for the Nintendo DS. It spiraled an indirect follow-up, New Super Mario Bros. Wii, and later, a direct sequel, New Super Mario Bros. 2.|
|Super Mario Galaxy|
November 1, 2007
|Super Mario Galaxy is the ninth installment in the Super Mario series and the third 3D game in the series. However, unlike the previous two 3D installments for the Mario series, this game takes place in deep space. Mario attends the Star Festival at the request of Princess Peach, when the town comes under attack by Bowser's air forces. He abducts Peach's entire castle and warps it to the center of the universe, prompting Mario to save her. Most of the game's levels consist of many small planets and planetoids, while others have bigger planets. A new popular species and character appear, Luma and Rosalina. It was released in 2007 for the Wii. This game spiraled a direct sequel, simply called Super Mario Galaxy 2. It is currently the only 3D game that has done so.|
|New Super Mario Bros. Wii|
November 12, 2009
|The indirect follow-up to New Super Mario Bros. for the DS, New Super Mario Bros. Wii was released in November 12, 2009 in Australia. This installment includes four players simultaneously controlling their characters, a feature Shigeru Miyamoto had wanted for years. This game also returns the Koopalings, absent since Mario and Luigi: Superstar Saga, in their first 3-D models. In the story, Bowser and his minions kidnap Peach by using cake as a disguise. Mario, Luigi, Blue Toad, and Yellow Toad travel to eight worlds to save the princess. This game also reintroduces rideable Yoshis, although they can only be ridden in a few levels. The Penguin Suit and the Propeller Mushroom are new power-ups in this game. This game also includes the Super Guide, a demo video for those who are struggling in a particular level.|
|Super Mario Galaxy 2|
May 23, 2010
|Super Mario Galaxy 2 is the eleventh installment in the Super Mario series. It is also the fourth 3D game in the series and a direct sequel to Super Mario Galaxy. The title contains many elements from its predecessor, such as the story, the adventure being in outer space, recurring objects such as Launch Stars, recurring items including the Bee Mushroom, and the elements of gravity. However, the game introduces new elements such as the utilization of Yoshi and new power-ups such as the Cloud Flower. Rosalina reappears and new characters of the Luma species appear including Lubba. This is the third installment for the Wii in the Super Mario series.|
|Super Mario 3D Land|
November 3, 2011
|Super Mario 3D Land is the fifth 3D game in the series, and the twelfth game overall. The levels of Super Mario 3D Land are much more linear and compact than the other 3D titles, more along the lines of the side-scrolling games. Many retro power-ups and characters return, such as the Super Leaf and Boom Boom. New power-ups are also introduced, such as Boomerang Mario, and White Tanooki Mario. It also introduces new enemies and a female partner of Boom Boom named Pom Pom.|
|New Super Mario Bros. 2|
July 28, 2012
|New Super Mario Bros. 2 is another side-scroller in the series released in 2012 for the Nintendo 3DS. It's the third game in the New Super Mario Bros. line and a direct sequel to New Super Mario Bros. The game features an extremely large amount of coins, which are one of the game's main elements. Raccoon Mario makes a return. A new power-up called the Gold Flower appears and turns Mario into Gold Mario.|
|New Super Mario Bros. U|
November 18, 2012
|New Super Mario Bros. U is a side-scroller for the Wii U. The game seems to borrow some elements from Super Mario World such as Baby Yoshis, Sumo Bros., Bony Beetles, etc. and minor references like diagonal pipes making a return. The game plays very similar to New Super Mario Bros. Wii with its four-player mode— however, a player with a Wii U GamePad can create platforms in what Nintendo refers to as "Boost Mode". It is the first Super Mario game (and Mario game overall) to be released in high-definition. The game also introduces a new form, Flying Squirrel Mario.|
|Super Mario 3D World|
November 21, 2013
|Super Mario 3D World is the home console follow-up to Super Mario 3D Land. The game's main feature is the Cat Mario transformation, caused by picking up a Super Bell. It also features the entire playable cast of Super Mario Bros. 2 as playable characters, featuring the same abilities they have in said game. The story follows Mario, Luigi, Princess Peach, and Toad as they attempt to rescue the Sprixie Princesses that Bowser has captured and free the Sprixie Kingdom.|
|Super Mario Maker|
September 10, 2015
|Super Mario Maker features a game creation system that allows player to create their own 2D Super Mario levels. Players can choose between four different styles based on Super Mario Bros., Super Mario Bros. 3, Super Mario World and New Super Mario Bros. U for their levels, each adapting certain mechanics and power-ups exclusive to the original games. Level creations can be submitted to the internet so players can share their levels worldwide. Super Mario Maker was released on time for the series's 30th anniversary.|
|Super Mario Run|
December 15, 2016
|Super Mario Run is a side-scrolling, auto-runner platform game and the first dedicated Mario title for mobile devices. It was released first on iOS on December 2016, and was released for Android on March 2017. The game is free-to-start, with optional in-app content to purchase.|
|Super Mario Odyssey|
October 27, 2017
|A platform game titled Super Mario Odyssey released on Nintendo Switch in late 2017. A new entry in the 3D games and a new sandbox-style 3D Super Mario game after Super Mario 64 and Super Mario Sunshine, it focuses on Mario and a new character named Cappy (who takes the form of the Mario Cap) visiting kingdoms far from the Mushroom Kingdom and collecting Power Moons, ultimately in an attempt to prevent Bowser force marrying Princess Peach and to rescue Cappy's sister Tiara. Cappy has multiple uses, such as being thrown like a boomerang (which can be used to control life forms and inanimate objects) and jumping off of him in midair like a platform. In addition, it is the first main Super Mario game to be compatible with amiibo, and was launched alongside a trio of amiibo based on the game.|
|Super Mario Maker 2|
June 28, 2019
|Super Mario Maker 2 is the sequel to the Wii U title Super Mario Maker. This sequel introduces many new additions and improvements, such as slopes, more level themes and a Super Mario 3D World style.|
These original games are related to the Super Mario series, while not officially being considered part of it. An important case is that of Super Mario World 2: Yoshi's Island, considered by Shigeru Miyamoto as part of the core Mario series in an interview published in 2012.
|Cover, original release, and system||Synopsis|
|Super Mario Bros. Special|
NEC PC-8801, Sharp X1
|Super Mario Bros. Special is a game made by Hudson Soft and licensed by Nintendo for the NEC PC-8801 and Sharp X1 series of Japanese PCs, and later released in South Korea for the Samsung SPC-1500 in 1987. Super Mario Bros. Special is the second sequel to Super Mario Bros., released a few months after Super Mario Bros.: The Lost Levels in 1986. While superficially very similar to the original Super Mario Bros., the game features original levels but scrolls screen-by-screen rather than smoothly. Jumping and running physics also differ from the original, providing a more challenging experience than Super Mario Bros. Due to the computers' technology being slightly inferior to that of the NES/Famicom, the graphics and audio differ from the original NES game as well, with the X1 utilising more colors and smoother scrolling than the PC-88, and does not include Luigi or a multiplayer mode.|
|Wario Land: Super Mario Land 3|
January 21, 1994
|Wario Land: Super Mario Land 3 is the third and final original Super Mario Land title and the first installment in the Wario Land series, released in 1994, five years after its first predecessor and two years after its second predecessor. Taking place after his defeat in Super Mario Land 2: 6 Golden Coins, Wario decides to go on a quest to earn himself enough money and riches to get himself a castle of his own. During his quest, he finds many treasures as he battles Captain Syrup and her army, the Black Sugar Gang. The gameplay in Wario Land differs slightly from the previous Super Mario Land installments. For example, if the player holds down the B button, then Wario does not run. His speed does increase, however, if Wario is using the Jet Wario power-up, which allows him to temporarily fly through the air at super speed. His other power-ups include Bull Wario, which gives him super strength and the ability to stick to ceilings and conveyor belts, and the Dragon Wario power-up, which allows him to breathe fire. Wario is also able to hold and throw enemies (as well as coins, which are usually required to exit a stage).|
|Super Mario World 2: Yoshi's Island|
August 5, 1995
|While the title suggests it being a sequel to Super Mario World, Super Mario World 2: Yoshi's Island is in fact the prequel not only to the Super Mario series but the chronological first game of the whole Mario franchise. The game starts off on the day the Mario Bros. were born and are to be delivered to their parents by a dedicated stork. Foretelling the threat they will represent to the Koopa clan in the future, Kamek tries to kidnap the babies from the stork but only manages to snatch one baby (Baby Luigi) and imprisons the stork as well. The other baby (Baby Mario) falls on Yoshi's Island where he is picked by the Yoshis that reside in there. The Yoshis come to the decision to aid the baby to rescue his brother and the stork from the Koopa clan led by the young Baby Bowser.|
|New Super Luigi U|
June 19, 2013
|New Super Luigi U is an additional content pack for New Super Mario Bros. U that was also released as a stand-alone game to celebrate the Year of Luigi, available at retail until the end of the 2013. It has all-new levels and Luigi supplants Mario as the lead character, with Nabbit becoming the fourth playable character, taking Mario's place.|
|Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker|
November 13, 2014
|Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker is a puzzle-platform game, a spin-off and prequel of Super Mario 3D World based on Captain Toad's Adventures stages from the latter but featuring extensive depth and variety. The game also features Toadette as a new playable character, but also takes the role of damsel-in-distress. A port was released on July 13, 2018 for the Nintendo Switch and Nintendo 3DS, which replaces the bonus stages based on Super Mario 3D World with stages based on kingdoms from Super Mario Odyssey.|
|Super Mario Bros. 35|
October 1, 2020
|Super Mario Bros. 35 was a side-scrolling, battle royale platform game where 35 players competed against each other until one player remained standing.|
Ports, remakes, and compilations
|Cover, original release, and system||Synopsis|
|VS. Super Mario Bros.|
|VS. Super Mario Bros. is a two-player arcade game released in North America in 1986. The game is mostly the same as the original Super Mario Bros.; Mario or Luigi went on a quest to save the princess from Bowser and restore order to the Mushroom Kingdom. The game is made harder than Super Mario Bros. in that it had fewer warp zones and more enemies, along with options for the arcade owner to make it more difficult still and thus restrict the time an average player got for their money. The game replaced "duplicate" levels from the original with levels which would later be used in the Japanese Super Mario Bros.: The Lost Levels.|
|Super Mario Bros. (Game & Watch)|
June 25, 1986
Game & Watch
|In 1986, one year after the release of Nintendo's first biggest commercial success, the company released a simplified version of the game on their Game & Watch system. It essentially has the same plot, reduced down to only eight levels; however, after beating every level, they will have to be repeated. Mario will have to go through nine loops, avoiding Lakitus and Bullet Bills, each time with the levels increasing in difficulty. There are also two types of levels: scroll screen levels, in which Mario will have to reach a certain point to advance, and timer screen levels, in which Mario must get through the world in a given amount of time. Additionally, another difference between the original and this remake is that Mario will find Princess Toadstool at the end of every level, without having to fight a boss.|
|All Night Nippon Super Mario Bros.|
|All Night Nippon Super Mario Bros. is an officially licensed hack of Super Mario Bros.: The Lost Levels. Gameplay is the same, but many characters such as the Mushroom Retainers are replaced with Japanese celebrities from the radio show All Night Nippon. Other changes are also made for this game, such as World 1 being set during nighttime and Princess Peach's outfit was changed. The game was only released in Japan.|
|Super Mario All-Stars|
July 14, 1993
|Super Mario All-Stars, known as Super Mario Collection in Japan, was released in 1993 also for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System. It is a compilation featuring 16-bit versions of the first four main Super Mario series games: Super Mario Bros., Super Mario Bros. 2, Super Mario Bros. 3 and, in its first release outside of Japan, Super Mario Bros.: The Lost Levels. This game updated the four games' graphics and sound to enhance them, with certain changes to the mechanics. A Wii rerelease, called Super Mario All-Stars Limited Edition, occurred in 2010.|
|Super Mario All-Stars + Super Mario World|
|Super Mario All-Stars + Super Mario World is an America/Europe-only reissue of Super Mario All-Stars that also includes Super Mario World for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System.|
|BS Super Mario USA|
|A pseudo-sequel to Super Mario USA (Super Mario Bros. 2), BS Super Mario USA was released as four installments, and each one involved the player heading into each world to collect a gold Mario statue and defeat the bosses until finally reaching and defeating Wart. Each level could be replayed until the clock reached 50 minutes. As the player progressed, St. Giga's Satellite radio would stream an audio drama to tell the story. After the events of Super Mario Bros. 2, the King of Subcon had golden Mario statues put up all around Subcon, to thank him and his friends for their deeds. However, three Birdos, Mouser, Tryclyde, Fryguy and Clawgrip have stolen them, and now Mario must get them back and defeat Wart again.|
|BS Super Mario Collection|
|A remake of Super Mario Collection (Super Mario All-Stars), BS Super Mario Collection is a game for the Super Famicom add-on Satellaview. Like with BS Super Mario USA, as the player progressed through the game, voice acting and music would be streamed to the system using the Satellaview's Soundlink capabilities.|
|Super Mario Bros. Deluxe|
May 10, 1999
Game Boy Color
|Super Mario Bros. Deluxe is a Game Boy Color remake which includes the first two Super Mario games ever released: Super Mario Bros. and Super Mario Bros.: The Lost Levels (that last under the name of Super Mario Bros. for Super Players). Besides those games, it also featured many other collectibles, including images that could be printed with the Game Boy Printer, Cable Link interface multi-player, records sharing by infrared connection, a calendar, a fortune teller, etc. Unlike other remakes, it wasn't developed by Nintendo EAD, but by Nintendo R&D2.|
|Super Mario Advance|
March 21, 2001
Game Boy Advance
|Super Mario Advance is a remake of Super Mario Bros. 2 made for the handheld game system, the Game Boy Advance, and released in 2001. Like the Super Mario All-Stars remake, Super Mario Advance had updated graphics.|
|Super Mario World: Super Mario Advance 2|
December 14, 2001
Game Boy Advance
|Super Mario World: Super Mario Advance 2 is a remake of Super Mario World made for the Game Boy Advance. It is the second title in the Super Mario Advance series and was released in 2002. There are various differences between the original Super Mario World and Super Mario Advance 2. The game was a gigantic hit for Nintendo and the Game Boy Advance, selling 3,290,000 copies in North America and 5,460,000 copies worldwide. Additionally, Luigi's sprite has been changed and made taller than Mario to match his normal appearance, and the Mario Bros. classic game has been included in the game (like the other Mario Advance games), with multiplayer playable.|
|Yoshi's Island: Super Mario Advance 3|
September 20, 2002
Game Boy Advance
|Yoshi's Island: Super Mario Advance 3 is a remake of Super Mario World 2: Yoshi's Island for the Game Boy Advance. The game features similar visuals to the original game, though due to the lack of the Super FX chip, the game tracks behind some graphical aspects. Super Mario Advance 3 has six new levels and Yoshi's Story sound effects. Once again, Mario Bros. is included in the game.|
|Super Mario Advance 4: Super Mario Bros. 3|
July 11, 2003
Game Boy Advance
|In 2003, the fourth Super Mario Advance installment, Super Mario Advance 4: Super Mario Bros. 3, was released for the Game Boy Advance. It boasted similar graphics and sound to the Super Mario All-Stars version of Super Mario Bros. 3, and made use of the e-Reader. A few e-cards came included with new copies of the game, while two sets (referred to as "series") of cards, were released and sold alongside the game. By scanning special cards into the e-Reader, players were able to upload items, videos, and most importantly, new levels into the game. One notable item was the Cape Feather from Super Mario World, which allowed Mario to transform into Caped Mario. There were also two Switch cards that the player could activate (and deactivate) the effects of by scanning them; the Orange Switch and the Blue Green Switch. Scanning these switches triggered small functions in the game. The e-Reader feature is still coded in the European version, but is disabled by default.|
|Classic NES Series: Super Mario Bros.|
February 14, 2004
Game Boy Advance
|The original NES version of Super Mario Bros. was released for the Game Boy Advance as part of the Classic NES series of games in commemoration for the 20th anniversary of the release of the original Famicom and NES. It is a direct port, and as a result features no new additions or bugfixes. Consequently, the only significant difference is that the graphics were downscaled to fit the GBA screen resolution.|
|Famicom Mini: Super Mario Bros. 2|
August 10, 2004
Game Boy Advance
|In Japan, the Classic NES Series were known as Famicom Mini. The original Super Mario Bros. 2 (or Super Mario Bros.: The Lost Levels) was released only in Japan. Much like Super Mario Bros., it didn't feature any new additions, the bugs were left untouched, and the graphics were down-scaled.|
|Super Mario 64 DS|
November 21, 2004
|Super Mario 64 DS is a remake of Super Mario 64. It was released in 2004 for the Nintendo DS. It is also the first Mario game released for the Nintendo DS. Though it is a remake, there are many differences between it and the original (four playable characters and 30 new Power Stars are two examples of this). The game begins the same as the old one; Peach invites Mario to the castle for cake. However, instead of just Mario, Wario and Luigi come for cake, while Yoshi sleeps on the roof of the castle. Bowser then takes over the castle, captures Peach, and locks Mario, Luigi, and Wario inside three rooms. Lakitu then wakes Yoshi up, and now he has to save Mario and the others in order to save the princess once again, this time through teamwork.|
|Super Mario All-Stars Limited Edition|
October 21, 2010
|Released for the Wii in 2010, Super Mario All-Stars Limited Edition is a port of Super Mario All-Stars that celebrates the 25th anniversary of Mario.|
|New Super Mario Bros. U + New Super Luigi U|
November 1, 2013
|A compilation of both New Super Mario Bros. U and New Super Luigi U on the same disc, initially released exclusively with the Mario & Luigi Deluxe Wii U set (known as the Premium Pack in Europe). New Super Mario Bros. U + New Super Luigi U includes notable changes to the originals, including a new title screen and over 200 videos included as bonus content. This compilation was released separately as a Nintendo Selects title in 2016.|
|Super Mario Maker for Nintendo 3DS|
December 1, 2016
|A port of Wii U's Super Mario Maker released in 2015, Super Mario Maker for Nintendo 3DS was released on December 2, 2016. Despite being a Nintendo 3DS title, the game does not support stereoscopic 3D, and gameplay is therefore strictly available in 2D. Players are unable to share their levels online and other elements from the Wii U version, like the Mystery Mushrooms and amiibo compatibility, are absent. The game features Super Mario Challenge, a single player mode with 100 pre-installed courses designed by Nintendo, with medal objectives included for each course.|
|New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe|
January 11, 2019
|New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe is a combined port of the Wii U games New Super Mario Bros. U and New Super Luigi U, enhanced with exclusive features. Notably, this game is described as part of the main series for the Super Mario Bros. 35th Anniversary and in the Mario history section of Nintendo's website.|
|Super Mario 3D All-Stars|
September 18, 2020
|Super Mario 3D All-Stars is a rerelease of Super Mario 64, Super Mario Sunshine, and Super Mario Galaxy with revamped controls, HD resolution and a music player that released as part of the 35th anniversary of Super Mario Bros.|
|Game & Watch: Super Mario Bros.|
November 13, 2020
|Unlike the Super Mario Bros.Game & Watch game released in 1987, Game & Watch: Super Mario Bros. is a direct port of Super Mario Bros. and Super Mario Bros.: The Lost Levels fit into a Game & Watch system with full-color screen display. The system also features a Mario-themed version of Ball.|
|Super Mario 3D World + Bowser's Fury|
February 12, 2021
|Super Mario 3D World + Bowser's Fury is an enhanced port of the Wii U game Super Mario 3D World that released for the Switch in 2021. It contains new features, such as quicker movement speed, higher resolution, and amiibo compatibility. The game also has a new Bowser's Fury mode, in which Mario and Bowser Jr. aim to save Lake Lapcat from Fury Bowser.|
|Screenshot and system||Synopsis|
|Super Mario's Wacky Worlds|
|Super Mario's Wacky Worlds is a canceled Philips CD-i game developed by NovaLogic. It was intended to follow-up on Super Mario World after a Nintendo sales executive suggested that the CD-i could play simple Nintendo games, which is a result of Philips acquiring the rights to several Nintendo characters for use on their platform. The game was to feature a game world mostly based on real-life Earth locations, with themed old and new enemies in the Super Mario World sprite style. Despite NovaLogic impressing Nintendo with their work-in-progress, it was canceled due to poor sales of the CD-i.|
|VB Mario Land|
|VB Mario Land, also known as Mario Adventure, is a canceled Virtual Boy game which was revealed at the Winter Consumer Electronics Show in early 1995. A Wario-like object can be seen in one of the released screenshots, so it is thought to be an unproduced follow-up to Super Mario Land 2: 6 Golden Coins. The game was to use two-dimensional side-scrolling elements, as well as the use of three-dimensional movement between the background and foreground of the stage. Its three-dimensional Mario Bros.-style mini-game was repurposed as Mario Clash.|
|Super Mario 64 2|
|Super Mario 64 2, the direct sequel to Super Mario 64, is a canceled Nintendo 64DD game. Luigi and a rideable Yoshi were set to appear, which were ideas unused during the creation of the original game.Shigeru Miyamoto has stated in 1999 that the game's actual development only got as far as a two player demo level featuring Mario and Luigi. An unreleased port of Super Mario 64 to the 64DD demoed at Space World 1996, known as Super Mario 64 Disk Version, may be related.|
|Image||Brief biography||First appearance||First playable appearance in the Super Mario series|
|Mario is the main protagonist in his titular series of games. Throughout almost thirty years, Mario has been the star of the largest game franchise Nintendo has published. Many characters have fought alongside Mario in his adventures in platformers and RPGs, but many have also fought against him during those times. Mario has gone through many physical changes, from his original 8-bit appearance, to his current 128-bit appearance. Mario commonly rescues Princess Peach, as well as several others, such as Toads, as his adventures continue. Mario has even been accepting enough to team up at times with his greatest foe, Bowser.|
|Luigi is Mario's taller, younger, twin brother. Luigi first debuted in Mario Bros. for the Game & Watch in 1983, packaging off bottles alongside Mario as a factory worker, before reappearing in the arcade game Mario Bros. and later in Super Mario Bros. for the NES, playable only in the two-player mode of the game. He later appeared in Super Mario Bros. 2, being playable in one-player mode for the first time along with Toad and Peach. Luigi has appeared in many of Mario's games, but there were some from which he was excluded — among which are Super Mario Land and Super Mario 64.|
|Princess Peach — originally "Princess Toadstool" in localization — is the damsel-in-distress of the series. Princess Peach is the ruler of the Mushroom Kingdom, and is protected by many Toads. However, her protection commonly fails and eventually results in her being kidnapped, be it by Bowser, or by another villain. In Super Mario Bros. 2, Super Mario 3D World and Super Mario Run, Peach is one of the playable characters and one of the main protagonists.|
|Toad originally played the role of Princess Peach's assistant; however, he has been reduced to lesser roles since his debut appearance, with his role in main games having sometimes been replaced by Toadsworth. His first playable appearance was in Super Mario Bros. 2. Though he appears identical to many others in his species, Toad is actually an entirely different character; this causes much confusion as to whether or not certain Toads are the Toad discussed. Similar confusion occurs regarding whether he's the same as the character resembling Blue Toad in Super Mario 3D World.|
|Princess Daisy initially served as the damsel-in-distress in her debut game, Super Mario Land. She is the ruler of the country Sarasaland which is inhabited by many various species not found in the Mushroom Kingdom. Although she is the only known ruler, her father was mentioned by her in Mario Party 3. She was kidnapped by the evil alien Tatanga who took her and hypnotized the inhabitants of Sarasaland. After Tatanga's defeat by Mario, Daisy was rescued and the Sarasaland kingdom was restored. Since Daisy's return to the Mario series overall (starting with the Nintendo 64 version of Mario Tennis), she has been a frequent participant in a majority of spin-off installments. 28 years after Super Mario Land, Daisy officially made her reintroduction in the Super Mario series by appearing in Super Mario Run as a playable protagonist.|
|Yoshi is Mario's dinosaur companion and one of his most trusty allies during his adventures. In many games Yoshi is present, he is always disposed to give Mario a ride on his back; while riding him and under Mario's command, Yoshi can use his long chameleon-like tongue to swallow a diverse variety of objects, including enemies. Yoshi also supports additional abilities Mario is unable to do on his own like Yoshi's signature Flutter Kick. Super Mario 64 DS features Yoshi as a standalone playable character. In fact, the game opens with Yoshi as the sole playable character that needs to rescue Mario and co. Though he lacks power, he compensates this with his ability to swallow enemies and turn them into an egg, which in turn serves as a homing projectile to take out several enemies at once. In Super Mario Run, Yoshi is a standalone playable character, along with his colored species.|
Super Mario 64 DS (as a fully playable character)
|Wario is Mario's yellow-clad, greedy childhood friend and rival. Though he has antagonized Mario since his debut in Super Mario Land 2: 6 Golden Coins, Wario proved to be a valuable ally during the events of Super Mario 64 DS, where he, alongside Luigi, originally came to "crash the party" of Mario and Peach. Wario is the strongest character in the game, being able to destroy some obstacles the other character would have no choice but avoid them.|
|Rosalina makes her first overall Mario series appearance by playing a supporting role in Super Mario Galaxy. In that game (and its sequel), she is the adoptive mother of the Lumas. Her main duty is to watch the Lumas and help keep the galaxies safe. Throughout the Super Mario Galaxy installment, Rosalina gives helpful and important advice/tips to Mario on his journey to save the galaxies in crisis and rescue Peach from Bowser's capture. |
Rosalina makes her first playable appearance for the Super Mario series overall in Super Mario 3D World, making her the second female protagonist, following Princess Peach.
|Captain Toad is a red Toad dressed with an oversized backpack and a headlamp, he is the leader of the Toad Brigade, a group of Toads that provides help to Mario in Super Mario Galaxy and Super Mario Galaxy 2. He subsequently appears in Super Mario 3D World as a playable character in special levels called Captain Toad's Adventures; additionally, this resulted in him getting the starring role in the game's prequel (Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker), along with Toadette.|
|Toadette was originally introduced as a playable racing partner for Toad in Mario Kart: Double Dash!! She has since appeared in other games as a playable character and has played supporting roles in several titles. Her first prominent role in the series was in the Super Mario 3D World prequel Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker, where she played a main character the game's storyline. Toadette officially debuted in the Super Mario mainstream series by appearing in Super Mario Run as a referee and later becoming playable in the game. Toadette makes a return to the Super Mario series by playing a role in Super Mario Odyssey as an archivist for the Toad Brigade. Her most recent appearance for the mainstream Super Mario series is New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe; during gameplay, she gains a unique Princess Peach-like form known as Peachette (after obtaining a Super Crown power up). She also makes an appearance in Super Mario Maker 2, where she is featured as one of the four playable characters alongside Mario, Luigi, and Toad. She is featured as the deuteragonist of the game's Story Mode, where she is called "Chief" and is in charge of rebuilding Princess Peach's castle after it is erased by Undodog.|
|Yellow Toad and Blue Toad|
|Yellow Toad and Blue Toad appear in New Super Mario Bros. Wii as main protagonists along with Mario and Luigi. They reprise the same role in New Super Mario Bros. U. In New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe, they share a character slot under the generic identifier of "Toad."|
|Nabbit debuted in New Super Mario Bros. U, where he steals items from Toad Houses. He appears as one of the four main playable characters in New Super Luigi U replacing Mario from the original game; unlike the other characters, he is invincible to enemies and cannot use power-ups (except for Super Stars), which instead become 1-Up Mushrooms at the end of the level. In New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe, he can be played in the New Super Mario Bros. U levels for the first time (though he is not playable in Challenge Mode).|
|Image||Brief biography||First appearance|
|The kings are the rulers of seven kingdoms in Super Mario Bros. 3, were each was turned into a different creature by the Koopalings.|
|Hoot is a friendly owl from Whomp's Fortress in the game Super Mario 64. If Mario wakes him up, he will allow Mario to grab his feet to get a lift. In the remake, he also appears in all missions of Cool, Cool Mountain, and later missions of Snowman's Land, Tiny-Huge Island, and Tall, Tall Mountain. He is similar to the Heavy Zeds.|
|Dorrie is a large blue plesiosaur-like creature found in Hazy Maze Cave in Super Mario 64. He later appears in World 4 of New Super Mario Bros. In both games, ground pounding of his back will cause him to lower his head for Mario to climb upon; in the latter, he also briefly gains speed.|
|Toadsworth is an elderly Toad and Princess Peach's longtime steward where he comes along with Mario and Princess Peach to Isle Delfino.|
|F.L.U.D.D., short for Flash Liquidizer Ultra Dousing Device, is Mario's partner in Super Mario Sunshine, and was invented by Professor E. Gadd. It is a sapient water-shooting apparatus that comes equipped with a hovering mechanism; this can be swapped out for turbo and rocket nozzles. F.L.U.D.D. is used primarily to clean up the graffiti left around Isle Delfino by Shadow Mario.|
|Baby Luma is Mario's main companion during the events of Super Mario Galaxy and its sequel Super Mario Galaxy 2. It differentiates from its brethren due to its unique beige coloration.|
|Ray is a friendly Manta Ray in Super Mario Galaxy that Penguins ride for sport. Mario can also ride him at two points.|
|Lubba is a pudgy purple Luma and the head honcho of the Lumas in Super Mario Galaxy 2.|
|The Co-Star Luma is an orange Luma that can be controlled by a second player in Super Mario Galaxy 2 when in Co-Star Mode. However, its movement is normally limited to following Mario, although it is capable of immobilizing enemies and picking up items from afar.|
|Fluzzard is a large bird from Super Mario Galaxy 2 that is also quite shy. Mario can ride from his talons, similar to Hoot, but he only ever seems to glide.|
|The Cosmic Spirit is an entity resembling both Rosalina and Cosmic Mario, although it is unknown if she has any connection to either of them. She can assist Mario by taking control of his body; however, any stars received will be bronze. She only appears in Super Mario Galaxy 2.|
|The Chimp is a rather competitive monkey from Super Mario Galaxy 2, who appears in many levels having set up challenges for Mario to beat. If Mario succeeds, he awards him a star.|
|Sprixie Princesses are a group of seven characters from Super Mario 3D World. They act as the rulers of the Sprixie Kingdom and the Sprixies, a race of fairies who play a major role in the story.|
|Plessie is a rideable dinosaur resembling both Yoshis and Dorrie. He helps the heroes by swimming rapidly through rivers with them on his back.|
|Cappy is Mario's main ally throughout the events of Super Mario Odyssey, and assists him in various ways.|
|Pauline was originally introduced as the original damsel-in-distress Mario had to rescue from Donkey Kong's clutches. Presented as Mario's girlfriend, this has long being retconned in her modern appearances that describe her simply as a close friend to Mario instead. Despite being the first female character introduced to the Mario franchise, it took her 36 years to finally appear in a mainstream Super Mario game in Super Mario Odyssey where she is presented as the mayor of New Donk City.|
|Jaxi is a living statue resembling both a lion and a jaguar that Mario can ride in Super Mario Odyssey. It destroys any breakable objects it touches, and defeats small enemies in the same way.|
|Glydon is a friendly globetrotting lizard found in Super Mario Odyssey who aspires to glide to and from all the highest places. If Mario captures him, he can use him to glide.|
|Image||Brief Biography||First Appearance|
|Bowser is the main antagonist throughout the Super Mario series, first appearing in Super Mario Bros.. He is the King of all Koopas, and is found to be the final boss in almost all platformers. Commanding the Koopa Troop, Bowser sets to conquer the Mushroom Kingdom by kidnapping its rightful ruler, Princess Peach and holding her captive on his heavily guarded castle. He deploys a countless amount of minions to stop anyone that oppose him. Mario and Luigi have to traverse his castle in order to reach the final confrontation against Bowser.|
|Wart is the main antagonist and final boss of Super Mario Bros. 2. He is leader of the 8 bits, an evil organization that set to conquer the land of dreams known as Subcon; to do so, Wart uses a device called the Dream Machine to create countless amounts of monsters. Wart has one weakness though, he is highly allergic to vegetables. Mario and co. use this to their advantage when they finally confront Wart. With vegetables provided oddly by the Dream Machine, Mario and co. are able to defeat Wart and free the Subcons that were imprisoned by him, bringing peace to Subcon.|
|Tatanga is the main antagonist in Super Mario Land. Tatanga invaded the kingdom of Sarasaland with the intention of conquering it, he brainwashed its inhabitants to do his bidding and captured Princess Daisy to marry her. Using the Sky Pop, Mario eventually takes down Tatanga on the skies of the Chai Kingdom and finally rescues Princess Daisy. Tatanga comes back in Super Mario Land 2: 6 Golden Coins to serve as the boss of the Space Zone, where he has been entrusted by Wario with one of the 6 Golden Coins, so Mario has to battle him once more to retrieve it.|
|Wario made his debut on Super Mario Land 2: 6 Golden Coins as the main antagonist. It is explained by Mario that Wario has always been jealous of his popularity since they were kids and has tried to steal his castle several times. Wario was able to succeed when Mario was away to free Sarasaland from Tatanga's invasion. To prevent Mario from entering the castle, Wario scattered the 6 Golden Coins all over Mario Land and now are guarded by his underlings. Mario eventually recovers all the Golden Coins, enters his castle and confronts Wario in the throne room. Wario engages Mario in battle using several power-ups but despite his best efforts, he is ultimately defeated and flees. Wario would set to appear in other titles in the series, including many Mario spin-offs and even star his own series.|
|Bowser Jr. is Bowser's son and first appears as the main antagonist in Super Mario Sunshine where he took the persona of Shadow Mario. He has then appeared throughout the Super Mario series as one of the main bosses. He kidnapped Princess Peach who he thought she was his mother. He is the heir to the Koopa throne.|
|Dry Bowser is the undead and skeletal version of Bowser. He made his debut in New Super Mario Bros., where he came about as the result of Mario defeating Bowser by dropping him into lava at the end of New Super Mario Bros.'s first castle. However, both in New Super Mario Bros. 2 and Super Mario 3D Land, Dry Bowser appears even though Bowser isn't turned into a skeleton when he falls into the lava at the end of the final boss battles.|
|Image||Brief Biography||First Appearance|
|Fake Bowsers are members of the Koopa Troop that have been turned into copies of Bowser by his black magic. They are fought at the end of each castle, barring the final, in Super Mario Bros. and Super Mario Bros.: The Lost Levels. In Super Mario 3D Land, derivatives known as Tail Bowsers have spiky striped tails due to contact with a Super Leaf. However, they are less common in this game.|
|Bowser's Brother is the apparent twin of Bowser. He is distinct from fake Bowsers, as he does not transform upon defeat. He is also noted for his dark turquoise color, which was removed from the 16-bit version. There is a fake iteration of him as well in the 8-bit version. While certain materials interpret him as Bowser's actual sibling, various sources offer conflicting explanations.|
|Birdo, along with other members of her species, work for Wart in Super Mario Bros. 2. They have funnel-shaped snouts from which they shoot projectiles. The pink ones shoot eggs, green and gray shoot fireballs, and red ones can shoot both. They can be defeated by throwing eggs back at them, or with Mushroom Blocks. They appear at the end of most levels.|
|Mouser is a bomb-tossing rat with sunglasses from Super Mario Bros. 2. He can be beaten by throwing them back at him. A version with pink ears, gloves, and shoes appears in World 1 and a version with green details appears in World 3. A white one with red details appears in World 5 in Yume Kōjō: Doki Doki Panic, but it was deemed too difficult when it was being translated and was replaced with Clawgrip. Both Mousers appear identical in Super Mario All-Stars and Super Mario Advance.|
|Triclyde is a large, 3-headed snake from Super Mario Bros. 2. Two of the heads spit fireballs; the only way to defeat him is with Mushroom Blocks. He appears in Worlds 2 and 6 in most versions of the game, but only in World 2 in Super Mario Advance.|
|Boom Boom is one of Bowser's henchmen, and a frequently-fought mid-boss. He first debuted in Super Mario Bros. 3, where he battles Mario or Luigi in fortresses. Boom Boom then later made his return appearance in Super Mario 3D Land as one of the game's main antagonists who often appears in airships, along with his partner Pom Pom; he and his species have returned in many games since.|
|The Koopalings are introduced as Bowser’s children in Super Mario Bros. 3 and then considered Bowser's minions from New Super Mario Bros. Wii onwards. They are bosses in various games. Their names are Larry Koopa, Morton Koopa Jr., Wendy O. Koopa, Iggy Koopa, Roy Koopa, Lemmy Koopa and Ludwig von Koopa.|
|Reznor are fire-breathing Triceratops that made their debut in Super Mario World. According to the game's instruction manual, they were cursed by Bowser. They are mid-bosses that Mario and Luigi fight in fortresses found on Dinosaur Land. They are now found in the Mushroom Kingdom since their appearance in New Super Mario Bros. 2. Similar to how the Koopalings are named after various musicians, Reznor are named after Trent Reznor of the industrial rock band Nine Inch Nails.|
|Kamek is a powerful Magikoopa and apparent advisor to Bowser (or at least high-ranking member in the Koopa Troop), and the archenemy of Yoshi. He is the main antagonist in the Yoshi franchise while being one of the main bosses in the Super Mario series.|
|King Bob-omb, formerly Big Bob-omb, is a large Bob-omb with a crown, mustache, and no key. He first appeared in Super Mario 64, where he is the first boss. He is fought twice in the remake, and has appeared semi-frequently in spinoffs.|
|Petey Piranha is mutant Piranha Plant from Super Mario Sunshine. He appeared twice in that game, once in New Super Mario Bros., and appears semi-regularly in spinoffs. He can fly and spit muddy goop, among other things. His head is similar to that of Dino Piranha, Fiery Dino Piranha, and Peewee Piranha from later games.|
|Cosmic Mario and Cosmic Clones|
|Cosmic Mario is a dark blue entity shaped like Mario from Super Mario Galaxy. He looks similar to Shadow Mario, but Mario must race him for the star. He is capable of many of Mario's moves. If the player is using Luigi, Cosmic Luigi will appear instead, and use more shortcuts. In Super Mario Galaxy 2 and Super Mario 3D Land, similar creatures called Cosmic Clones appear. However, they follow Mario or Luigi's exact movements, which can be troublesome if one needs to hold still for a moment or cross a previously-walked path.|
|Pom Pom is a partner to Boom Boom who often appears on airships and trains where she must be battled. She uses throwing-based projectile weapons to attack, and can slam down while spinning in her shell. She can also teleport and copy herself with ninja hand signs.|
|The Broodals are a group of rabbit wedding planners in Super Mario Odyssey, whose group name seems to be a portmanteau of "brood," "bridal," and possibly "brutal." Bowser hires them to arrange the wedding between him and Peach, and to stop Mario when he tries to stop the wedding from happening. Their boss is Madame Broode, an obese red-clad rabbit with a pet Chain Chomp, while their leader is Topper, the squat Broodal in green attire. The other Broodals are Spewart (in blue), Rango (in yellow), and Hariet (in purple).|
|Image||Brief biography||First appearance|
|Toads are the major residents of the Mushroom Kingdom many many other parts of the Mushroom World, most are loyal subjects of Princess Peach. Unlike the Toads that that serve as playable characters, these non-playable Toads usually bring assistance to Mario and co. in their adventures like hosting the Toad Houses mini-games to earn power-ups or extra lives. In their original appearance in Super Mario Bros., many Toads were transformed into inanimate objects like bricks by Bowser's black magic, while seven important Toads were held kept captive at the end of castle levels. Some Toads seen in Super Mario Bros. 3 seem to serve the kings of each world. In Super Mario 64, Toads were imprisoned within Peach's Castle's walls and paintings, providing some hints to Mario when finally found. A group of six Toads accompanied Mario and Princess Peach on their vacation on Isle Delfino in Super Mario Sunshine. The Toad Brigade was introduced in Super Mario Galaxy, where each member was given a distinctive personality. In Super Mario Run, winning rallies awards the player with numerous Toads to habitate the player's kingdom.|
|Subcons are peaceful fairy-like folk in Super Mario Bros. 2. They reside in and protect the dream world, Subcon.|
- “Super Mario is equivalent to the Big Bang of our gaming universe. If it were not for this blindingly spectacular creation, digital entertainment as we know it today would not exist.”
- —Hideo Kojima, Nintendo PowerVolume 230, November 2010
The Mario franchise is a media franchise consisting of video games published and produced by the Japanese company Nintendo. It centers around the fictional character Mario, an Italian plumber who serves as the hero of a realm called the Mushroom Kingdom. The franchise was created by game designer Shigeru Miyamoto, and its first installment was the arcade game Donkey Kong, released on July 9, 1981. The games are primarily developed and self-published by Nintendo internally, with some games in the franchise being developed by other companies under Nintendo's supervision, such as Hudson Soft, Camelot Software Planning, Intelligent Systems, and AlphaDream. Most Mario games have been released for Nintendo's various video game consoles and handhelds, from the third generation onwards.
The main series in the franchise is the Super Mario series, consisting of platform games that typically involve Mario and his brother Luigi working to save the Mushroom Kingdom and its ruler, Princess Peach, from the villainous Bowser and his Koopa Troop. The two brothers use their trademark jumping ability to help them progress through levels, while also making use of power-ups of various kinds. Mario games of other genres include the Mario Kart racing series, sports games such as Mario Tennis and Mario Golf, role-playing games such as the Paper Mario and Mario & Luigi series, and several educational games. In total, over 300 video games are included in the franchise, which combined have sold over 500 million copies. The franchise has also been licensed into other media, such as television series, anime, comics (including manga), children's books, and a critically lampooned feature film; and spawned various YouTube videos as well as a theme park attraction. As the flagship franchise of Nintendo, Mario has gained massive critical acclaim and recognition throughout the world, with some of its games being considered to be among the greatest video games ever made. It has sold more units than any other franchise in video game history, and become one of the highest-grossing media franchises of all time.
Plot, themes, and universe
The franchise revolves around the adventures of an extensive cast of recurring characters. The main protagonist of the franchise, the titular Mario, is a fictional Italian-American who formerly worked as a plumber but now serves as the hero of a realm called the Mushroom Kingdom, which he endeavors to defend by traversing his way through stages filled with obstacles and enemies. His arch-nemesis is Bowser, the king of the Koopas, a race of evil-driven anthropomorphic turtles. Bowser is responsible for most, if not all, of the Mushroom Kingdom's invasions, and almost always appears as the final boss, who constantly and consistently attempts to put an end to Mario and his friends.
Mario's younger but taller fraternal twin brother, Luigi, often participates in his adventures alongside him; in early games, he was playable only in the two-player mode as a simple palette swap, but with the passage of time, he went on to gain more significant roles. The Mushroom Kingdom's ruler, Princess Peach, is Mario's love interest and recurring damsel in distress; she repeatedly gets kidnapped by Bowser and has to be rescued by Mario, but occasionally serves as a protagonist herself. Her kingdom's inhabitants and her personal servants are the Toads, a species of fungal creatures who often support Mario during his adventures. A homonymous individualized member of this species often appears as a sidekick to Mario and Luigi and sometimes serves as a damsel in distress. Additionally, Toadette, introduced in spin-off games as Toad's female counterpart, has also begun to play a larger role in recent Super Mario games, from helpful side character to playableprotagonist. Another prominent sidekick of Mario's is Yoshi, a dinosaur-like creature who serves as a riding mount to Mario, and has a long tongue which he uses to eat food and enemies; this character became so popular after his debut that he was spun off into his own franchise. Mario also has a greedy, hot-tempered doppelganger rival named Wario, who has antagonized Mario on various occasions, and also serves as an anti-hero with his own adventures which generally involve money grubbing and treasure hunting. Donkey Kong, a muscular and somewhat dim-witted ape, originally served as Mario's first rival in his arcade debut, but eventually became the main protagonist of his own franchise; in his adventures and spin-offs, he pairs with his buddy Diddy Kong, a monkey who specializes in acrobatics.
Other significant recurring characters in the franchise include Princess Daisy, the tomboyish ruler of a four-kingdom country called Sarasaland who later became a friend to Peach; Birdo, a pink dinosaur creature originally portrayed as an antagonist but revived as Yoshi's frequent ally in spin-offs; Waluigi, Wario's accomplice in many spin-off games; Professor Elvin Gadd, an aging scientist and inventor; Rosalina, a mysterious figure who watches over the cosmos; the Lumas, a species of stars who are cared for by Rosalina and accompany her often; and Pauline, originally portrayed as the damsel in distress in the arcade Donkey Kong but eventually resurrected as a city mayor and singer. Additionally, Mario and Luigi have their own infantversions, who are recurring characters in Yoshi's adventures and appear alongside their adult counterparts in spin-offs.
Throughout his adventures, Mario faces a wide variety of enemies that make attempts to hinder his progress.
Two of Mario's most common enemies are the Goomba and the Koopa Troopa. The Goombas are mushroom-like creatures that betrayed the Mushroom Kingdom, and are often the first enemy that Mario encounters on his adventures; typically they are extremely weak to the extent that a single stomp is enough to defeat them. Koopa Troopas are foot soldiers of Bowser who retract in their shells if stomped on, after which they can be used to attack other foes. They come in multiple colors, most often green and red; green Koopa Troopas move around recklessly and tend to fall off platforms, while red ones are much more cautious. Koopa Troopas also exist in several variants, the most common being the aerial Koopa Paratroopas, which have wings on their shells that Mario can detach with a single stomp; and the skeletal, undead Dry Bones, which are typically found in fortresses. There are also many other types of Koopas, including the projectile-wielding Hammer Bros., the hard-shelled Buzzy Beetles, the cloud-riding Lakitus and the Spinies they drop, the projectile-throwing Spikes, and the sorcerous Magikoopas.
Other common, recurring enemies that Mario has faced over the years include the Boos, timid ghosts that cover their faces whenever the hero stares at them; Piranha Plants, man-eating flora that dwell within pipes; Pokeys, spiked cacti with detachable body segments; Monty Moles, rodent creatures that burst out of the ground; Wigglers, caterpillars with segmented bodies and large noses which when stomped on get angry and run frantically; Shy Guys, masked creatures wearing robes who come in many different variations; Bullet Bills, projectiles that are shot out of cannons called "blasters"; Bob-ombs, anthropomorphic wind-up bombs with short tempers leading to inevitable explosions; Chain Chomps, tethered ball-and-chain creatures that lunge at Mario when in close proximity; Bloopers, squids that like to corner and close in on their prey; Cheep Cheeps, fish with wing-like fins and the ability to attack above the surface of the water; Thwomps, rectangular rock creatures that flatten whoever passes below them using their own weight; Whomps, stone slab creatures with bandaged backs that use their faces to flatten Mario; and Lava Bubbles (also known as "Podoboos"), living fireballs that inhabit lava pits and attack by leaping upward out of the lava. Major individualized minions of Bowser include his son Bowser Jr.; a seven-member clan called the Koopalings; Kamek, a high-ranking Magikoopa who often serves as one of Bowser's top acolytes; King Boo, the supreme leader of most Boos and an arch-nemesis to Luigi; and Boom Boom, a short-tempered powerhouse who attacks by flailing his arms (who later gained a female boomerang-throwing counterpart, Pom Pom).
The central location of the Mario universe is the Mushroom Kingdom, which Peach rules over and Bowser regularly invades. The kingdom has a diverse landscape that includes forests, deserts, snowlands, beaches, mountains, and plains. When Bowser invades the kingdom and kidnaps Peach, he takes her to his castle, usually situated in a volcanic world, and Mario and his friends have to travel there and defeat some of Bowser's most powerful minions, as well as Bowser himself, in order to get the princess back. Some games have been set in locations other than the Mushroom Kingdom, such as the island where Yoshi and his dinosaur friends live, and Isle Delfino, a large dolphin-shaped tropical resort.
Aesthetics, tone, and style
Aesthetically and tonally, Mario's world is cute, colorful, cartoonish, quirky and full of personality. The Mario series is very flexible in terms of plot, with gameplay and character interactions almost always emphasized over story; nonetheless, the games' plots can range from simple stories meant as a vehicle for the gameplay (as with many of the 2D platformers), to more complicated plots (as with many of the RPG titles). While the overall direction of the games can vary from lighthearted romps to epic, sprawling adventures, they are always optimistic and family-friendly in nature. As Nintendo's flagship franchise, Mario is designed with universal appeal in mind; although its colorful characters and settings are highly appealing to children, various key people at Nintendo, including Miyamoto and former company president Satoru Iwata, have repeatedly stressed that Mario and his games are designed to be "cool" and to be played and enjoyed by video game players of all ages. As such, the games often feature simple core gameplay, while featuring bonus levels and modes meant to appeal to more seasoned gamers.
In the main Super Mario series, Mario traverses his way through the games' various levels by defeating enemies, collecting coins, and solving puzzles. Since his earliest games, Mario has been defined by his trademark jumping ability, which he commonly uses to help him progress through the playfield and defeat the majority of his enemies. This ability has seen numerous evolutions throughout the series, including the Spin Jump from Super Mario World; and the Triple Jump, Wall Kick, and Long Jump, all introduced in Super Mario 64. In the 2D platformers, Mario must reach a single-exit objective (marked by a flagpole or other object) within a set time limit to get to the next sequential level; the 3D games' levels, however, are less linear and allow Mario to walk around freely and gather special objects, like Power Stars and Shine Sprites, that allow him to progress further into the game.
Another integral element of Mario franchise gameplay is the use of items, which Mario can use to power himself up. Often these items can be found in special item blocks, labeled with a question mark (?), which alternatively can also yield coins.
Many power-ups in the Mario games are mushrooms. The most iconic of this category of power-ups is the Super Mushroom, which increases Mario's size and allows him to break brick blocks. When hit by an enemy, Mario reverts to his smaller size instead of losing a life. While Mario is already in Super form, most blocks that would contain a Super Mushroom instead offer a more powerful power-up. The Japanese Super Mario Bros. 2 introduced the Poison Mushroom, which behaves more like an enemy, shrinking or killing Mario whenever he comes in direct contact with it. The New Super Mario Bros. series introduced two additional mushroom power-ups: the Mini Mushroom, which shrinks Mario into miniature size, allowing him to access areas he normally cannot; and the Mega Mushroom, which grows Mario into a towering, invulnerable giant who destroys enemies and the environment by running through them.
Certain items exist that grant Mario an extra life. The most recurring and significant is the 1-Up Mushroom, which appears similar to the Super Mushroom but is green instead of red. It is sometimes hidden in invisible item blocks, and in the 3D games, it sometimes appears when Mario walks in a particular area. Although the 1-Up Mushroom is the most common extra life-granting item in the franchise, there are other items that serve the same or a similar function, such as the 3-Up Moon introduced in Super Mario World, which grants three extra lives instead of one.
There are also power-ups taking the form of flowers, which allow Mario to shoot projectiles of various kinds. The first and most significant is the Fire Flower, which turns Mario into his fire form, in which he is able to sling bouncing fireballs at incoming enemies. Mario's fireballs instantly kill most enemies on contact, except for certain enemies which are fire-resistant, like the Buzzy Beetle. Later games introduced alternate variants of this item, such as the Ice Flower, which allows Mario to shoot balls of ice that can also freeze enemies in ice blocks to be used as platforms or projectiles; and the Gold Flower from New Super Mario Bros. 2, which turns Mario into gold and allows him to turn bricks into coins and earn bonus coins for defeating enemies.
Another prominent item in the series is the Super Star (also called the Starman), a flashing anthropomorphic star which grants Mario temporary invincibility, allowing him to kill virtually any enemy upon making contact with it. Some games feature substitutes for this item, like Super Mario 64, where Mario can resist harm using the Metal and Vanish Caps; and Super Mario Galaxy and its sequel, where invincibility is provided by the "Rainbow Star," which also progressively increases Mario's speed, to the point where he becomes almost uncontrollable as his power wears off, and allows him to break through certain objects.
The games often feature collectibles found in levels in order to progress in the overworld, most frequently with the visual motif of a star. They are typically situated in locations that are not readily found or reached, or awarded for completing stunts, or objectives given by NPCs. They include the Power Stars in Super Mario 64 and the Super Mario Galaxy games, Shine Sprites in Super Mario Sunshine, Star Coins in the New Super Mario Bros. games and Super Mario 3D Land, Green Stars in the Galaxy games and Super Mario 3D World, and Power Moons in Super Mario Odyssey.
Flight is a common theme throughout the series, first enabled with the magic carpet item in the international Super Mario Bros. 2. The Super Leaf and Tanooki Suit items, first appearing in Super Mario Bros. 3, provide Mario with an animal-suited tail which in turn acts as a flight propeller. The Tanooki Suit returns in Super Mario 3D Land, and the Super Leaf returns in New Super Mario Bros. 2. In the New Super Mario Bros. games, the Spin Block and the Propeller Mushroom let Mario spin up into the air and slowly descend. Super Mario World has for its various forms of flight the Cape Feather, the P Balloon, and the wings that Yoshi is given after eating a blue Koopa shell. In Super Mario 64, flight is granted for a limited time by the Wing Cap, and in New Super Mario Bros. U, Mario has limited flight and gliding capabilities in his Flying Squirrel form. In Super Mario Galaxy, Mario can obtain a special red star that transforms him into Flying Mario for a limited time. Finally, Lakitu's cloud can be commandeered in several of the side-scrolling games.
Coins are a common element in Mario game design, traditionally incorporated as puzzles and rewards. Most Super Mario games award the player an extra life once a certain amount of coins are collected, commonly 50 or 100. There are also special variants of Coins, such as Dragon Coins in Super Mario World, Red Coins in Super Mario 64 and a number of games afterwards; and Star Coins in the New Super Mario Bros. games. In Super Mario 64, Sunshine, and the Galaxy games, coins replenish health (and air, when Mario is underwater). In RPGs, Coins can be used to purchase items and other useful things.
One of the Mario franchise's most common modes of transportation is the Warp Pipe, a drain pipe-like structure which comes in a number of different colors (the most common being green). Warp Pipes provide access to secret underground areas that often host mass amounts of Coins, and can also function as platforms that allow Mario to traverse from one area to another; some pipes even launch the hero into the air. Special well-hidden areas in early games, known as "Warp Zones," contain pipes that allow players to skip several levels and even entire worlds at once. Most 3D games in the series feature cannons that allow Mario to progress through levels and reach otherwise inaccessible areas; to use them, he jumps into the barrel, aims himself and is fired at his target.
Donkey Kong series
- Main article: Donkey Kong (series)
After the commercial failure of Radar Scope in North America, Shigeru Miyamoto was assigned to create an arcade game that would appeal to the North American market. Miyamoto came up with the idea of a game in which the playable character has to make his way through an obstacle course consisting of sloped platforms, ladders and rolling barrels. He named the game Donkey Kong, which was originally released on July 9, 1981, and is an early example of the platform genre. In addition to presenting the goal of saving Lady (later renamed Pauline), the game features a scoring system where points are awarded for finishing screens, leaping over obstacles, destroying objects, collecting items, and completing other tasks. The game was surprisingly successful. The player character did not originally have a permanent name, so when Nintendo requested its U.S. localization team to name him, it was decided that he would be internationally named Mario, his namesake being the Italian-American landlord of storage and company housing, Mario Segale. The success of the arcade game spawned ports to numerous platforms such as the ColecoVision and the Atari 2600.
A direct sequel to this game, Donkey Kong Jr., was released the following year; it was the only game to feature Mario as the antagonist, in which role he kidnaps Donkey Kong and cons the ape's son into saving him. Another sequel, Donkey Kong 3, was released in October 1983 and did not feature Mario; instead of him, the hero was an exterminator named Stanley who had to defend his greenhouse from Donkey Kong.
Early Mario-branded games
Nintendo released eleven Mario-relevant LCD electronic games as part of the Game & Watch line between 1982 and 1991. One of these was Mario Bros., released in 1983, where the Mario branding was used for the first time; the game introduced Mario's brother Luigi, who frantically worked alongside him in a bottling plant. In the same year, two more Mario-branded Game & Watch games were released, Mario's Cement Factory and Mario's Bombs Away. In the late 1990s and early 2000s, Nintendo released four Game & Watch Gallery games on the Game Boy, featuring a combined eighteen Game & Watch handheld games in both their original forms and new "Modern" versions, which feature updated graphics and enhanced gameplay and replace the generic Game & Watch characters with the characters of the Mario franchise. Mario Bros. and Cement Factory were featured in the third and fourth entries of that series, respectively; the "Modern" version of the former had the brothers work in a cake factory instead, and that of the latter changed the "cement" to cookie dough.
Later in 1983, Mario Bros. reappeared as an arcade game, unrelated to the same-named Game & Watch handheld, and Luigi now appeared as a green palette swap. The object of the game is to defeat all of the enemies in a series of platforms, called a "phase" in-game, with four pipes at each corner of the wraparound screen and an object called a "POW Block" in the center. The gameplay mechanics involve only running and jumping; in this game, enemies cannot be jumped on until Mario or Luigi flips them over, either by jumping under the platform they are on or with a POW Block. The game was reimagined as Mario Clash, released for the Virtual Boy in 1995. As part of the "Year of Luigi" celebration in 2013, Super Mario 3D World also includes a port of the NES release, titled Luigi Bros., in which both characters are Luigi (using his original sprite and an edited sprite based on his modern appearance).
Super Mario series
- Main articles: Super Mario (series), Super Mario Land (series)
In 1985, Mario became the star of his own side-scrolling platform game called Super Mario Bros., which was the pack-in title for the Nintendo Entertainment System. The game centers around Mario's quest to save the Mushroom Kingdom and Princess Peach (then known to the Western world as Princess Toadstool) from Bowser and the Koopa Troop. To save the princess, Mario conquers the eight worlds of the Mushroom Kingdom by going to the castle in each to defeat Bowser and his minions. The plot of Bowser kidnapping the princess has been repeatedly reused throughout the subsequent games in the core Super Mario series. Super Mario Bros. sold over 40 million units worldwide for its original NES release alone; as such, it has the all-time highest sales of any title in the franchise, and was the world's best-selling video game overall until 2009.
A direct follow-up to Super Mario Bros., with significantly more challenging levels, was released in Japan in 1986 for the Famicom Disk System add-on. However, Nintendo of America deemed the game far too difficult for Western gamers and instead released its own Super Mario Bros. 2 in 1988, this title being an altered version of the unrelated Famicom Disk System title Yume Kōjō: Doki Doki Panic ("Dream Factory: Heart-Pounding Panic"). In this game, Mario travels the dream world of Subcon with Luigi, the princess, and Toad to free the land from the curse of an evil frog king named Wart. One and a half years later, in 1990, the next mainstream Mario game was released: Super Mario Bros. 3. Here, Mario goes on a quest to save the rulers of the seven kingdoms in the Mushroom World from the Koopalings (then portrayed as Bowser's children), travelling across these kingdoms to restore order. When Mario finishes saving the Mushroom World, Bowser kidnaps Princess Peach, and Mario must traverse his kingdom and storm his castle in order to rescue her. In 1991, Mario was revolutionized once again for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System, with the launch title Super Mario World. Peach is once again kidnapped while on vacation with Mario and Luigi in Dinosaur Land, and the brothers must once again foil Bowser and the Koopalings. Several of the native Yoshis have also been trapped inside of eggs, and help Mario on his quest by allowing him to ride them. In 1993, a game called Super Mario All-Stars was released on the SNES, which compiled the entire NES Super Mario Bros. trilogy into one cartridge, adding a save system to these games and enhancing the graphics and audio of all three for the more powerful console; additionally, the cartridge included a remake of the Japanese Super Mario Bros. 2, labeled in-game as "The Lost Levels," introducing that game to Western audiences for the first time.
The Game Boy had its own series of three Mario platformers, titled Super Mario Land. This series' first entry was released in 1989 as one of the handheld's launch titles, and became its best-selling game despite not being bundled with the system. It follows Mario as he travels through Sarasaland, a kingdom with four geographical areas, to corner the alien Tatanga and rescue the region's kidnapped ruler, Princess Daisy. A sequel, subtitled 6 Golden Coins, was released in 1992 and had Mario working to save his private island from an evil spell conjured by his childhood friend turned rival, Wario. That character became so popular that the following year, the third game in the Super Mario Land series shifted the attention to him, spawning the Wario Land sub-series. Neither of Nintendo's next two handhelds received any original mainstream Mario games, only ports and remakes; these included a 1999 "Deluxe" edition of Super Mario Bros. for Game Boy Color; and Super Mario Advance, a series of Game Boy Advance cartridges containing ports of various SNES Mario adventures with new features and additions, with a remake of Mario Bros. included as bonus content.
In 1996, the Nintendo 64 console debuted with Super Mario 64 as a launch title, one of the first fully 3D console games, and the first game to feature the Mario characters in their 3D rendered versions. Peach sends Mario a letter inviting him to her castle; however, when he arrives, Mario discovers that Bowser has invaded the castle and imprisoned the princess and her servants within it using the castle's Power Stars. Many of the castle's paintings are portals to other worlds, which Mario explores to recover the stars from Bowser's minions. The game was followed up in 2002 with Super Mario Sunshine, for the Nintendo GameCube. There, Mario and Peach take a vacation to the tropical resort called Isle Delfino, which has been vandalized and polluted by a mysterious figure similar in appearance to Mario. Mario is arrested and ordered to clean up the island; in the process, he seeks the help of F.L.U.D.D., a robotic water pump, and must also collect the Shine Sprites, which the pollution has caused to flee the island's main plaza. Eventually, Peach is kidnapped by Shadow Mario, who later reveals himself to be Bowser's son, Bowser Jr., and Mario must confront him, along with Bowser senior, to rescue the princess.
In 2006, a 2.5D retro throwback sub-series called New Super Mario Bros. was inaugurated for the Nintendo DS. Beyond the first game, the sub-series has continued with follow-ups on the Wii, Nintendo 3DS, and Wii U. The games in the series are similar in structure and gameplay to the original 2D games, and as such have generally minimalist stories, where Bowser simply kidnaps Peach and provokes Mario to give chase, venturing through eight worlds as in the original Super Mario Bros., and eventually do battle with him to rescue the princess. In the Wii and Wii U installments, four players can simultaneously control their characters; the Mario brothers are accompanied as playable heroes in these games by two Toads, one blue and the other yellow.
In 2007, the mainstream Mario series continued for the Wii with Super Mario Galaxy, today recognized as the franchise's most critically acclaimed game of all time. While Mario prepares to attend the Mushroom Kingdom's centennial "Star Festival," Bowser invades and uproots Peach's castle, carrying it into space toward the "center of the universe." In space, Mario meets star-like creatures called Lumas and their guardian Rosalina, who tells Mario that he must recover the Power Stars―the power source for her mobile observatory―from the Koopa Troop in order to reclaim Peach from Bowser's "galaxy reactor" in the center of the universe. The game was followed up in 2010 with a sequel that features a loosely similar plot; this time, Bowser uses the Power Stars to become a giant, and Mario navigates through the galaxies and eventually to Bowser's lair using a "Starship", or mobile planet, in the shape of his head.
In 2011, the series would receive a new type of 3D platformer with Super Mario 3D Land for the Nintendo 3DS. Developed to appeal to fans of the 2D games, the game combines elements of the 3D Mario platformers with those of the 2D side-scrollers, and a plotline involving Peach being kidnapped by Bowser. This game would also be followed up in 2013 with Super Mario 3D World for the Wii U, which incorporates four-player simultaneous multiplayer for the first time in a 3D Mario game. In this game, Bowser has taken over the Sprixie Kingdom, having captured its seven princesses, and Mario and friends journey through the realm to save it from Bowser's rule.
In 2016, the team behind New Super Mario Bros. released Super Mario Run, Nintendo's first real smartphone game, which was one of the few instances a Mario game was developed for non-Nintendo hardware. In the game Mario automatically runs through stages, while the player must tap on the screen to have him jump.
A new game titled Super Mario Odyssey was released for the Nintendo Switch console in 2017. The game marks a return to the original open-ended, exploration-based style of 3D Mario games as seen in Super Mario 64 and Super Mario Sunshine. Mario travels through different kingdoms, such as a metropolis that resembles New York City, a sand-filled country which shares inspirations from Mexico and Egypt, and a wooded forest with mechanical elements. During his adventure, the hero's hat is possessed by his newest ally, Cappy, which allows him to throw it like a long-range weapon and use it to capture and possess certain objects and enemies. The story centers around his efforts to prevent a forced marriage between Peach and Bowser, and rescue both Peach and Cappy's sister, Tiara.
- Main article: Dr. Mario (series)
Dr. Mario (ドクターマリオ Dokutā Mario) is an arcade-style action puzzle game series originally developed by Nintendo Research & Development 1, and later developed by Arika and produced by Nintendo Software Planning & Development. It casts Mario as a medical doctor who must eradicate deadly viruses; the player's objective is to destroy the viruses populating the on-screen playing field by using falling colored capsules that are dropped into the field, similarly to Tetris. The player manipulates the capsules as they fall so that they are aligned with viruses of matching colors, which removes them from the playing field. The player progresses through the game by eliminating all the viruses on the screen in each level.
The first Dr. Mario game was launched in 1990 on the NES and the Game Boy to critical and commercial success. It has spawned five original follow-ups, three for home consoles and one a handheld game. To keep the brand fresh, each follow-up has introduced new gameplay elements and modes. After an eleven-year hiatus, the sub-series returned in 2001 with Dr. Mario 64 for the Nintendo 64, which introduced three new game modes ("Story," "Score Attack," and "Marathon"), added Wario as a playable character alongside Mario, and updated the multiplayer functions to allow up to four people to play. Two additional Dr. Mario games were launched in 2008: Dr. Mario Express for the Nintendo DSi's DSiWare service, and Dr. Mario Online Rx for the Wii's WiiWare service; the latter introduced online multiplayer to the series. In 2013, a Wii U game called Dr. Luigi, available on Nintendo eShop, gave Luigi his own "doctor" persona and featured an "Operation L" game mode in which all capsules assume the shape of the letter L. Finally, Dr. Mario: Miracle Cure was released for the Nintendo eShop on Nintendo 3DS in 2015. In addition to all of the returning game elements from previous installments, this game introduces the Miracle Cure, which can have a variety of different effects to help destroy multiple Viruses at once.
Mario's Picross is a Game Boy game released in 1995 which features a nonogram logic puzzle system, where there is a 100-square screen for the player to maneuver around. Each row and column comes with a number that refers to the amount of squares that need to be marked within the grid. Mario is portrayed as an archaeologist who chisels away to form the images on the grid. The game was poorly received in the West, but in Japan, it was successful enough to spawn two sequels: one on the SNES, and another on the Game Boy.
Mario Kart series
- Main article: Mario Kart (series)
Mario Kart (マリオカート Mario Kāto) is a series of go-kart racing games developed by Nintendo Entertainment Analysis and Development. It is possibly the franchise's most popular spin-off series; since its inception, it has become the most successful and longest-running kart racing series in gaming history, and has sold over 100 million copies worldwide. Players compete in go-kart races, controlling one of a selection of pre-established Mario characters, and use various power-up items obtained by driving into item boxes laid out on the course. Different items assist the player-characters in different ways; for example, the Super Mushroom gives players a speed boost, the shells of Koopa Troopas are thrown at opponents to stun them, and banana peels can be laid on the track as hazards.
There have been a total of 13 games in the Mario Kart series: six for home consoles, three portable games, and four arcade spin-offs developed by Bandai Namco, generally considered separate from the Nintendo titles. The series' first entry, Super Mario Kart, was released in 1992 for the SNES and was critically and commercially successful. As the series has progressed, new course types, items, playable characters, and other elements have been introduced to keep the experience fresh. In 1996, Mario Kart 64 for the Nintendo 64 introduced four-player racing and 3D graphics. This was followed up in 2001 with Super Circuit for the Game Boy Advance, which featured unlockable retro tracks from the first installment. In 2003, Double Dash!! for the GameCube introduced a co-operative LAN multiplayer mode and was the only entry to feature two-person karts.Mario Kart DS, released in 2005, introduced dual-screen play and online multiplayer via Wi-Fi; additionally, the use of unlockable retro tracks from previous installments was reintroduced and made a permanent feature of the series. In 2008, Mario Kart Wii introduced motion controls, 12-player racing, motorbikes, stunts, and playable Mii characters. In 2011, Mario Kart 7 for the Nintendo 3DS featured optional stereoscopic graphics, and introduced hang gliding, submersible karts, an alternate first-person perspective, and kart customization.Mario Kart 8, released for the Wii U in 2014, introduced anti-gravity racing, ATVs, and downloadable content; allows highlights to be uploaded to YouTube via "Mario Kart TV"; allows up to four people to play in Grand Prix races; and is the first game in the series to boast HD graphics. The game was ported to the Switch in an enhanced Deluxe edition in 2017; this release introduced a third mini-turbo boost level called "Ultra Mini Turbo," and more accessible options for beginners, such as "smart steering" (which allows the kart to avoid off-road areas) and auto-acceleration.
The four Bandai Namco arcade installments comprise a sub-series known as Mario Kart Arcade GP, and consists of four installments: Mario Kart Arcade GP, Mario Kart Arcade GP 2, and Mario Kart Arcade GP DX, and Mario Kart Arcade GP VR. These titles have different features from the main installments, such as a timer similar to other arcade racing games, many more items than the normal installments, and the inclusion of characters from Bandai Namco series such as Pac-Man, Tamagotchi, and Taiko no Tatsujin.
The first role-playing game in the Mario franchise, Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars, was released in 1996 for the SNES to critical acclaim. Developed by Squaresoft before it merged with Enix, it contains gameplay elements similar to or inspired by Square's Final Fantasy series. The story focuses on Mario as he, with the help of four other characters, seeks to eliminate the game's main antagonist, Smithy, who has stolen the seven pieces of the Star Road where all the wishes of the world's inhabitants are turned into stars; Mario must return the pieces so these wishes may again be granted. The two Mario RPG series that followed this game, the Paper Mario and Mario & Luigi series, have been considered informal sequels and spiritual successors to this game.
Paper Mario series
- Main article: Paper Mario (series)
Paper Mario (ペーパーマリオ Pēpā Mario) is developed by Intelligent Systems and launched its first installment on the Nintendo 64 in 2000, to critical and commercial success. In the Paper Mario series, the player controls an alternate-style depiction of Mario in a mixture of 3-dimensional environments and 2-dimensional characters who look as if they are made of paper. This version of Mario can jump and use his hammer to overcome physical obstacles placed in the game's overworld, and combat enemies in turn-based battles. In battles, the player can influence the power of a move when attacking or defending by timing a button-press accurately or performing some other action command as required, similar to the "timed hits" mechanic in Super Mario RPG. Progression through these games depends upon interaction with the game's non-player characters (NPCs), who will often offer clues or detail the next event in the storyline. In the first three games, Mario accumulates partners with specialized skills, who also assist him in battle. The series' original formula is similar to those of traditional RPGs, involving special moves that consume a particular number of points when performed, badges that yield bonuses like added moves or gradual health restoration, and an experience-point system that allows Mario to level up either his health, his special-moves points, or his badge points.
There have been six Paper Mario games released, five being home console entries and one a portable game. As time has passed, each game has introduced new elements in order to keep the gameplay fresh; since 2012, however, the stories and character rosters have been significantly toned down from what they were in the first three games. The original Paper Mario for Nintendo 64 is set in a paper-based version of the Mushroom Kingdom, where Mario tries to rescue Peach from Bowser, who has imprisoned the seven Star Spirits, lifted her castle into the sky, and has successfully defeated his foe after stealing the Star Rod from Star Haven and making himself completely invulnerable. To save Mushroom Kingdom, rescue Peach, get the castle back, and defeat Bowser, Mario must locate the Star Spirits, who can negate the effects of the stolen Star Rod, by defeating Bowser's minions who are guarding them. In the sequel, Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door, released in 2004 for the GameCube, Mario quests to retrieve seven Crystal Stars and rescue Peach from the secret society of the X-Nauts and their cybernetic leader, Sir Grodus. In this game, Mario gains the ability to fold himself up into things like a paper airplane and a boat to interact with the overworld. In 2007, Super Paper Mario was released on Wii, which deviated into the 2D action RPG genre and introduced the ability to "flip" into a 3D perspective in which the level rotates to reveal a hidden z-axis, placing Mario in a 3D environment; the plot follows Mario's quest to collect eight Pure Hearts in order to prevent Count Bleck, the main antagonist, from destroying the universe. In the first two installments, Peach is a secondary playable character, with Bowser joining her in The Thousand-Year Door; in Super Paper Mario, not only these two but also Luigi function as secondary playable characters with their own sets of abilities independent of Mario's. In 2012, Paper Mario: Sticker Star for the Nintendo 3DS introduced the use of stickers in the environment and turn-based battles, which can be found and peeled off from various areas in the overworld, obtained from battles, or purchased/received from NPCs. The game's story involves Mario retrieving the six Royal Stickers, which have been scattered after Bowser attempted to steal the Sticker Comet. Using a similar battle style to Sticker Star, 2016's Paper Mario: Color Splash for the Wii U has Mario questing to retrieve the stolen Big Paint Stars in order to restore color to Prism Island. In 2020's Paper Mario: The Origami King for the Nintendo Switch, Mario has to defeat King Olly, who has transformed Bowser's minions into origami enemies called Folded Soldiers, and destroy the five colored streamers that Olly has wrapped around Peach's Castle.
Mario & Luigi series
- Main article: Mario & Luigi (series)
The Mario & Luigi series, developed by AlphaDream, is formed of several role-playing games for Nintendo's handheld systems. The series features games with long, detailed stories full of battles that the Mario brothers must endure in order to progress through the game with ease; as in the Paper Mario series, the battle system emphasizes timing and more elaborate attacks. Compared to other RPGs, the tone of the Mario & Luigi games is generally more whimsical and lighthearted, with various in-game jokes and comical references to the heritage of the Mario franchise. With the exception of Paper Jam, Bowser is a side antagonist but lends his form for the games' final bosses.
The first game in the sub-series, 2003's Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga for the Game Boy Advance, has Mario and Luigi travel to a foreign land called the Beanbean Kingdom, where they combat a witch named Cackletta and her assistant Fawful, who have stolen Princess Peach's voice and are plotting to take over the realm by using her voice to awaken the Beanstar. In 2005, Partners in Time for the Nintendo DS was released. The game places an emphasis on time travel as the protagonists journey between the past and present of the Mushroom Kingdom. Mario and Luigi encounter their younger selves and work with them to search for Peach, who has been abducted by an alien species called the Shroobs that conquer the Mushroom Kingdom in the past. In 2009, Bowser's Inside Story, also for the DS, makes Bowser the main protagonist, who tries to foil Fawful's takeover of the entire kingdom; Mario and Luigi, who have been inhaled into the body of their long-time nemesis, find ways to assist him despite him being unaware of their presence.
The Nintendo 3DS has seen four entries in the Mario and Luigi series (two original games and two reissues). In 2013, Dream Team introduced "Dreamy Luigi," where Luigi sleeps in the Dream World, as part of the "Year of Luigi" celebration. Mario, Luigi, Princess Peach and her attendants head to Pi'illo Island for a vacation, but find that it must be saved from Antasma, who seeks the Dream Stone. Paper Jam, released in 2015, was a crossover game in which the paper incarnations of the Mario cast seen in the Paper Mario series are brought into the world of Mario & Luigi. After the two Bowsers team up to conquer the Mushroom Kingdom, Mario and Luigi team up with Paper Mario in order to stop them. In 2017, a remastered version of Superstar Saga was released as the 3DS' third entry, with an added story called "Minion Quest: The Search for Bowser," involving the Koopa Troop's attempts to rescue Bowser from the problems he gets into during the course of the main plot, while confronting and teaming up with the creatures of the Beanbean Kingdom. Bowser's Inside Story was given the same treatment for its 10th anniversary in 2019, with its added subplot incorporating Bowser Jr. into the storyline.
Mario Party series
- Main article: Mario Party (series)
Mario Party (マリオパーティ Mario Pāti), a party game series, has four human- or computer-controlled characters compete in a board game interspersed with minigames. The series is known for its party game elements, including the often-unpredictable multiplayer modes that allow play with up to four (and sometimes eight) human players.
The Mario Party series was originally developed by Hudson Soft until several of its key designers left the company, leading to its eventual disestablishment. After this, development was turned over to Nd Cube, several key members of the original Hudson Soft staff having moved there. The series consists of the original 1999 Mario Party on Nintendo 64, nine numbered sequels on home consoles, five handheld games (Advance, DS, Island Tour, Star Rush, and The Top 100), and Super Mario Party for the Switch. The Mario Party brand has also been licensed into three Japan-only arcade games developed by Capcom: Super Mario Fushigi no Korokoro Party ("Super Mario: Wonderful Rolling Party"), released in 2004; a sequel to the aforementioned game, released the following year; and Mario Party Fushigi no Korokoro Catcher ("Mario Party: Rolling Wonder Catcher"), released in 2009.
Mario Tennis series
- Main article: Mario Tennis (series)
Mario appeared in Nintendo's first tennis game, originally released for the NES and later ported to the Game Boy; there, he only appeared in the capacity of a cameo as the referee.
The first tennis game to use the Mario branding was Mario's Tennis for the Virtual Boy. The main Mario Tennis series, developed by Camelot, was launched in 2000 with its first installment on the Nintendo 64 (with a Game Boy Color counterpart releasing soon afterward), and spawned a number of subsequent games: Mario Power Tennis for the GameCube, Mario Tennis: Power Tour for the Game Boy Advance, Mario Tennis Open for the Nintendo 3DS, Mario Tennis: Ultra Smash for the Wii U, and Mario Tennis Aces for the Switch. Though the Virtual Boy Mario's Tennis simply focused on tennis fundamentals, Camelot's Mario Tennis series adds gameplay elements not present in traditional tennis, such as power-up items, power shots, and external obstacles interfering with the game. Camelot's first- and second-generation Mario Tennis titles feature ready-made human characters created by the company specifically for these games, never to appear again.
Mario Golf series
- Main article: Mario Golf (series)
The golfer in Nintendo's first golf game for NES (later ported to Game Boy) was a mustached man resembling Mario; in the Western version, this golfer is Mario himself, though his identity would later be retconned. A later game, NES Open Tournament Golf, featured Mario and Luigi as the golfers, with Peach and Daisy as their respective caddies.
The main Mario Golf series, developed by Camelot, was launched with its first installment on the Nintendo 64 in 1999 and followed up with a Game Boy Color version later in the year. Later follow-up games include Toadstool Tour for the Nintendo GameCube, Advance Tour for the Game Boy Advance, and World Tour for the Nintendo 3DS. Camelot's Mario Golf games feature a home-console-to-handheld linking capability and add a number of recognizable Mario elements as obstacles to give the gameplay some originality. As was the case with Mario Tennis, Camelot's first two Mario Golf titles and their handheld counterparts featured original human characters that were never reused in any future games.
Mario Baseball series
- Main article: Mario Baseball (series)
The first use of Mario characters in a baseball title was in the Game Boy port of the Baseball game that served as the launch title for the NES, where Mario and Luigi were featured as team captains. The actual Mario Baseball series, developed by Namco, had two entries: Mario Superstar Baseball for the GameCube, and Mario Super Sluggers for the Wii. This sub-series features more playable characters in a single game than in any other spin-off title, with a total of more than forty in Super Sluggers.
Mario Strikers series
- Main article: Mario Strikers (series)
The Mario Strikers series (known as the Mario Football series in Europe) is a soccer-based series developed by Next Level Games. The series has only two installments: Super Mario Strikers on GameCube, and its follow-up game Mario Strikers Charged for Wii. Before the Strikers series, Mario and friends first played soccer in one of the minigames in the earlier GameCube game Mario Party 4.
Mario vs. Donkey Kong games
- Main article: Mario vs. Donkey Kong (series)
Mario vs. Donkey Kong was launched in 2004 with a Game Boy Advance title, which marked the reestablishment of the long-abandoned rivalry between Donkey Kong and Mario. The game was later followed up by March of the Minis and later Mini-Land Mayhem! for the DS, Minis March Again! on DSiWare, Minis on the Move! for 3DS, and Tipping Stars and Mini Mario & Friends: amiibo Challenge for the 3DS and Wii U. The later installments of the series reintroduced Pauline, Mario's first damsel-in-distress, now no longer described as his love interest; and featured the "Mini Marios," miniature toy versions of Mario, as the player-characters instead of Mario himself. The series traces its origins to 1994 Game Boy game Donkey Kong, which begins with the pretense of being a reissue of the arcade original but adds 96 completely different levels and gives Mario an expanded moveset.
In the early 1990s, many educational games were released in the Mario series, which sought to teach miscellaneous skills such as typing, mathematics, or history. Despite being licensed by Nintendo, they are not officially recognized by the company, as it had limited involvement in their production.
The first of Mario's edutainment games, Mario Teaches Typing, was produced in 1991 by Interplay Entertainment and was released for MS-DOS, Windows, and Macintosh computers; a sequel was released by Interplay's Brainstorm studio in 1996. Mario is Missing!, a geography-centered platformer produced by The Software Toolworks (a subsidiary of Mindscape) for PC, NES, and SNES, features Luigi as the main protagonist attempting to foil Bowser, who has imprisoned Mario in his Antarctic castle, sent his soldiers to steal important landmarks from many of the world's major cities, and plans to use mail-order hairdryers to melt Antarctica and flood the entire earth. Shortly thereafter, the company released a follow-up to Missing!, called Mario's Time Machine, which features Mario as the protagonist who travels through time to return major historical objects and artifacts that Bowser has stolen and assembled into his personal museum, in order to prevent the Koopa King from irreversibly damaging world history. Finally, in 1994, Toolworks released a three-game Mario's Early Years! series which was aimed at small children and was meant to teach them the basics of real-world education, such as numbers, counting, the English alphabet, and spelling among others. The educational Mario games that Toolworks produced were loosely linked through the Mario Discovery brand.
Other Mario games
Mario is featured as the main character of the 1984 arcade game VS. Wrecking Crew and its 1985 NES followup Wrecking Crew. The games feature Mario as he works on a demolition site, with the goal being to break every wall on each stage while avoiding enemies such as Gotchawrenches, Eggplant Men, and Spike, the site's foreman. The games would receive a sequel, Wrecking Crew '98, which was released exclusively for the Super Famicom in Japan over the Nintendo Power service in 1998 and would later be released as a standalone cartridge later that year. This game features a story mode, in which Mario must stop Bowser from building a series of high-rises across the Mushroom Kingdom.
In 1992, a creativity game called Mario Paint was released for the SNES and took advantage of its mouse. The main game functions similarly to graphics-related computer software, but also allows the user to incorporate predrawn sprites called "stamps," some of which are ripped directly from the graphics data of Super Mario World. There is also a "music mode" that allows users to make their own music samples, and a minigame called "Gnat Attack" where the player can use the SNES mouse to swat different fly-like enemies. Mario Paint later inspired a three-game Mario Artist series for the Nintendo 64DD, a failed add-on of the Nintendo 64, and Super Mario Maker, a Wii U game released in 2015. Maker allows players to create their own 2D Mario levels using a variety of objects, backgrounds, and game styles. The game received a Nintendo 3DS port in 2016; and in 2019, a sequel was released for the Switch, bringing many improvements and new features (including sloped terrain, additional enemies, a style based on Super Mario 3D World, and one of that game's power-up items, the Super Bell).
In 2001, the Japanese sewing machine company Jaguar released a piece of embroidery software called Mario Family for Game Boy Color, which when the handheld was linked to Jaguar's JN-100 sewing machine, would allow the user to choose from a number of designs, which are copied from official Mario artworks of the classic hand-drawn era.
Later in 2001, when Nintendo released the Nintendo GameCube, one of its launch titles was Luigi's Mansion, where as in Mario is Missing! before it, Luigi is the main protagonist instead of Mario. The game takes place in a haunted mansion that Luigi wins in a contest that he never entered. Mario has gone missing while investigating the mansion, so Luigi must find him with the help of Professor E. Gadd, who is studying the ghosts in the mansion. The scientist equips Luigi with a vacuum cleaner called the Poltergust 3000, with which he must capture every ghost in the mansion, and eventually corner their leader, King Boo. In the 2010s, the game ended up spawning a full-fledged series, with several follow-ups. The first sequel, Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon, was released in 2013 as part of the "Year of Luigi" celebration. In this game, King Boo has escaped and shattered the Dark Moon, causing the normally peaceful ghosts of Evershade Valley to become wild. E. Gadd once again enlists the help of Luigi, equipped with the upgraded Poltergust 5000, to stop the ghosts, this time across five mansions. In 2015, an arcade spinoff was released by Capcom. In 2018, the first Luigi's Mansion was remade for 3DS with enhanced graphics and audio, modified levels, and added features such as in-game achievements. Another main game, Luigi's Mansion 3, where Luigi uses the new model Poltergust G-00, was released for the Switch in 2019.
In 2005, the franchise saw a role-reversal with Super Princess Peach for the Nintendo DS. Developed by the behind-the-scenes studio TOSE, it casts Peach as the main protagonist, who uses Perry the talking parasol and her own powers of emotion in the form of Vibes to save Mario, Luigi, and several Toads from Bowser, who has imprisoned them on Vibe Island.
In 2014, Nintendo released Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker for Wii U, a puzzle-platforming game based on the "Adventures of Captain Toad" stages in Super Mario 3D World, retaining the main gimmick in that the player is unable to jump, though in this game they can attack by picking up and throwing objects. The heroes Captain Toad and Toadette go on a quest for treasure, but must save each other from a treasure-seeking bird named Wingo. Treasure Tracker was ported to both the Switch and the 3DS in 2018, replacing the 3D World levels with new ones based off Super Mario Odyssey; this port was updated the following year with a downloadable pack containing 18 new levels and a co-op mode.
- Main articles: Yoshi (franchise), Wario (franchise), Donkey Kong (franchise)
One of the most closely linked partner franchises to Mario is the Yoshi franchise, composed of various platform and puzzle games. In addition to Nintendo, its games have been developed by such other companies as Game Freak, Intelligent Systems, Artoon, Arzest, and Good-Feel. The series was conceived after its eponymous character gained mass popularity from his debut appearance in Super Mario World. The "main" branch of the Yoshi series―that in which he is featured in playable main-character roles―was established in 1995 with Super Mario World 2: Yoshi's Island for the SNES, which introduced the main staples of Yoshi's independent universe; in this game, Yoshi and his friends tote Baby Mario around their island to reunite him with Baby Luigi, who along with the stork that was supposed to deliver the two brothers was kidnapped by the Magikoopa Kamek, who is caring for an infant Bowser. Yoshi's Island has since spawned six follow-up adventures, one of which, Yoshi's Island DS, introduced infant versions of several other recurring Mario characters. Other Yoshi games include a 1991 falling-block puzzle game for NES and Game Boy; the tile-matching game Yoshi's Cookie, developed by Blue Planet Software (then called Bullet-Proof Software); and a dedicated light gun shooter called Yoshi's Safari, which made use of the SNES Super Scope.
After Wario gained his share of popularity from his debut in Super Mario Land 2, he was spun off into his own franchise. The third Super Mario Land game, released in 1993, focused its attention on him, and kicked off a platforming series called Wario Land, spawning threenumberedsequels on handhelds, a Virtual Boy adventure, and Wario Land: Shake It! on Wii. In the interim between Wario Land 4 and Shake It!, Wario starred in two additional adventures: the 3D game Wario World and Wario: Master of Disguise on DS. Wario's adventures typically involve him grubbing money and hunting for treasure in attempts to further increase his wealth. Ten years after the original Wario Land was released, a new Wario sub-series was added, called WarioWare, in which Wario, motivated by his wish of making money, founds a video game studio and hires numerous friends of his to make short microgames for him. Since WarioWare launched on Game Boy Advance, every Nintendo system from the sixth generation onwards has contributed an entry of its own to that series, with each new entry featuring microgames that often exploit the new technological enhancements of the console or handheld for which the game is released.
Although Donkey Kong debuted with Mario as his first rival, the Donkey Kong series fizzled out after the failure in the arcades of Donkey Kong 3; this original era of Donkey Kong also saw an edutainment game called Donkey Kong Jr. Math and various Game & Watch entries. It did not become its own brand and franchise independent of Mario until 1994, when Rare revived the character with its SNES side-scrolling platform game Donkey Kong Country. That game, its sequels Diddy's Kong Quest and Dixie Kong's Double Trouble!, and their next-platform follow-up Donkey Kong 64 focus on the adventures of Donkey Kong and the various members of his clan as they work to defend their island home from the Kremlings, a race of crocodiles, and their leader King K. Rool. After a long hiatus following Donkey Kong 64, the mainline series was revived in the 2010s by Retro Studios; its games, Donkey Kong Country Returns for Wii and Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze on the Wii U, remove the Kremlings in favor of new anthropomorphic-animal villain characters. The Donkey Kong name has also branched out into other genres including rhythm games (Donkey Konga) and racing games (Diddy Kong Racing). A hallmark of this franchise is the barrels used by the Kongs as weapons, vehicles, furniture, and lodging.
- Main articles: Super Smash Bros. (series), Mario & Sonic (series)
Major characters of the Mario series have been staple fighters in the Super Smash Bros. series since its first installment, on Nintendo 64, was released in 1999. This all-out fighting series is not explicitly a spinoff of the Mario franchise or any of its other constituent franchises; it is more of a crossover series for all of Nintendo's major intellectual properties, and later installments even feature characters from other gaming companies who have appeared on Nintendo systems. In the games, players select from an array of fighters, and fight against each other on a specific stage. Each character has their own unique and clearly defined moveset, and can also use items to harm others or help themselves in some way.
In 2005, Nintendo signed a deal with Electronic Arts to feature Nintendo characters in EA's games. This would lead to Mario, Peach, and Luigi being included as playable characters exclusively in the Nintendo GameCube versions of NBA Street V3 and SSX on Tour.
In 2007, Mario characters crossed over with the characters of Sega's Sonic the Hedgehog series in a sports game called Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games, based on the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing, for Wii, with a Nintendo DS version being released later. Boasting a player-character roster evenly divided among the Mario and Sonic casts, the game featured a combination of sporting events taken directly from the Summer Olympics and those exclusive to the game. A follow-up, Olympic Winter Games, was released in 2009, this time based on the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver. Four more installments based on later Olympics have been released: London 2012 Olympic Games, released for Wii in 2011 and 3DS in 2012; Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games, released exclusively on the Wii U in 2013; Rio 2016 Olympic Games, launched to Wii U and 3DS in 2016; and Olympic Games Tokyo 2020, released exclusively on Nintendo Switch in 2019. That last edition is notable for being so far the only entry in the series to be based on an Olympics that ended up not happening during the year projected.
Two sports games developed by Square Enix crossed over several characters from Final Fantasy into the world of Mario. The first, Mario Hoops 3-on-3, released in 2006, is a basketball game where the Mario characters play on sixteen courts distributed among four tournaments, using "special shots" to gain an advantage over unsuspecting opponents, and question-mark panels yielding items to use on foes. In 2010, this was followed up with Mario Sports Mix, where the Mario cast not only competes in basketball again, but also plays three additional sports―hockey, dodgeball, and volleyball.
Mario characters have also crossed over into another Square Enix series, Fortune Street (いただきストリート Itadaki Sutorīto). This series, originally exclusive to Japan for many years, is a series of party games fashioned in a format similar to that of the board game Monopoly. The Mario cast specifically appeared in the Fortune Street series' Nintendo DS installment, alongside several characters from Square Enix's Dragon Quest series, released in 2007; then returned in the Wii follow-up, released in 2011, which was the first to be released overseas.
More recently, the Mario world crossed over into the Puzzle & Dragons series by GungHo Online Entertainment, when a Super Mario Bros. Edition of the series was released in 2015 for Nintendo 3DS. The game mixes the Puzzle & Dragons gameplay of matching icons to damage enemies with pre-established Mario characters, enemies, locations, and the use of power-ups as the icons.
In a collaboration between Nintendo and Activision, Bowser and Donkey Kong are featured as playable characters in the Nintendo versions of Skylanders: SuperChargers, with their own Skylanders figures that can also double as amiibo. These figures are also compatible with the Wii U and later Nintendo Switch versions of Skylanders: Imaginators.
Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle, a turn-based tactical role-playing game, was produced by Ubisoft (through its Italian studio division, based in Milan) for the Nintendo Switch, as a crossover between Mario and the Raving Rabbids series. Featuring both single-player and co-operative multiplayer gameplay, the game gives Mario, Luigi, Peach, and Yoshi their own Rabbid counterparts, who work along with them as they deal with the aftermath of a sudden invasion by a group of Rabbids, who have accidentally misused a powerful invention that has brought chaos to the Mushroom Kingdom. In the process, the group must also counter the schemes of Bowser Jr., who intends to conquer the kingdom by exploiting a special Rabbid who has the ability to fuse any two objects. The game was released in Europe and North America in 2017, and was generally praised by critics for its gameplay, depth, and graphics.
Games not manufactured by Nintendo
The games in this section were both developed and published by companies other than Nintendo. Nintendo had no involvement in these titles other than licensing the underlying property; as such, they are not officially recognized by the company.
In 1984, Hudson Soft released Mario Bros. Special, an original arcade-style platformer based on Mario Bros. with adjusted graphics and sound and new stages. This game featured very different methods to stun enemies. This was followed up later in the year by Punch Ball Mario Bros., which was exactly the same as the arcade original but involved Punch Balls that Mario and Luigi could use to hit and stun enemies, as well as a reversed platform pattern. Both of these games were released for the Japanese computers NEC PC-6001, NEC PC-8801, FM-7, and Sharp X1.
In 1986, Hudson released another Special game, this one based on Super Mario Bros. and released for the PC-88 and Sharp X1. The true "lost" game of the series, Special was the first licensed sequel to Super Mario Bros., appearing only a few months after The Lost Levels. Though it is superficially similar to the original game, the levels are completely original. There is no screen-scrolling mechanism, no two-player mode, the jumping and running physics are different from the NES original, and the graphics and audio quality are altered for the home computers' inferior technology.
Three games using the Mario license were planned to be released by Philips' interactive media division for its CD-i machine: Super Mario's Wacky Worlds, Hotel Mario, and Mario Takes America. Only Hotel Mario was released; the other two were eventually canceled. Philips was given permission to use Nintendo characters in CD-i games due to its taking part in developing an unreleased CD add-on for the SNES. Hotel Mario was critically panned and gained very little success, if any at all.
Hotel Mario, a puzzle game, was developed by Fantasy Factory and published by Philips in 1994. The primary characters of the game are Mario and Luigi, who must find Princess Peach by going through seven "Koopa Hotels" in the Mushroom Kingdom. Every hotel is divided into multiple stages, and the objective is to close all doors on each stage. The game has been criticized as one of the worst games in the series, mainly because of its cutscenes and the simplicity of its gameplay.
Super Mario's Wacky Worlds was developed by NovaLogic and attempted to duplicate the gameplay of Super Mario World. Though the game sprites are based on those in Super Mario World, the level design is based on Earth locations rather than Dinosaur Land. Due to the limitations of the CD-i, several features could not be included in the game, such as large numbers of sprites on the screen, and many visual effects. Though the game was canceled, a few prototype discs exist.
Mario Takes America was proposed about Mario's trip to Hollywood to make his own movie. Developed by Cigam, the game would have used full-motion backgrounds with character sprites based on cartoon animation. The concept initially impressed Philips, but was canceled due to the company being unsatisfied with the game's development progress.
Four Mario games were licensed to Nelsonic Industries for use in its "Game Watch" toy line between 1989 and 1994. Three additional Mario LCD watch games were released as part of 1990's Super Mario Bros. Watch line of promotional items at McDonald's restaurants in both North America and Japan. There were also two Mario games in the "Gamewatch Boy" line, produced by the Hong Kong-based Mani Industries in 1992.
Super Mario Bros. & Friends: When I Grow Up was a digital coloring book released for DOS in 1991. When I Grow Up features drawings of the Mario cast (along with many cameos of characters from The Legend of Zelda) themed after various professions captioned with short blurbs on the careers depicted.
Mario's Game Gallery was developed by Presage Software for Windows computers and released by Interplay in 1995. The game allows the player to play one of five games against Mario; the man who voiced Mario here, Charles Martinet, became the official voice-over artist for the Mario character. Mario's Game Gallery was later reissued in 1998 as Mario's FUNdamentals, which was compatible with Macintosh computers as well as Windows.
The Mario franchise includes many alternate-media adaptations of the games, including five TV series produced by the animation studio DIC Entertainment, and numerous comics and manga. Most of these productions were released in the late 1980s and early 1990s, and have since become obscure. The games also spawned two film adaptations: an anime OVA released in 1986, and a largely unsuccessful live action film released in 1993.
Saturday Supercade, an animated show produced for Saturday mornings by Ruby-Spears Productions, ran for two seasons on CBS beginning in 1983. Each episode consisted of several short segments featuring characters from the golden age of arcade games. The show featured a series of 19 segments based on the Donkey Kong arcade game, in which Pauline and Mario chase Donkey Kong around the world to catch him after escaping from their circus. A lesser-shown segment series highlighted the adventures of Donkey Kong Jr.
The Super Mario Bros. Super Show! is the first American series to revolve entirely around the Mario character. It was broadcast in syndication on every weekday from September 4 to December 1, 1989. The first of three Mario animated series to be produced by DIC Entertainment, it was distributed for syndicated television by Viacom Enterprises, though full rights to the series have since been returned to DIC and carried over to its successors. The show featured live-action segments where Mario and Luigi (played by Lou Albano and Danny Wells respectively), living in their basement workshop in Brooklyn, are often visited by various celebrity guest stars; and animated segments, based on Super Mario Bros. and Super Mario Bros. 2, where the brothers team up with Princess Toadstool and Toad to battle "King Koopa" (a merger of Bowser and Wart) and his forces to save the many lands of the world. On Fridays, the show would instead air an episode of The Legend of Zelda as its animated segment. Reruns of the Super Show after its initial airing rebranded the series as Club Mario, replacing the live-action segments with the adventures of a Mario-loving slacker named Tommy Treehugger and his friend Co-MC.
Mario Ice Capades, a live-action ice show, aired on ABC in 1989 and starred Alyssa Milano and Jason Bateman as a pair of kids. The two are playing Super Mario Bros. on an NES, when suddenly the game begins glitching and Bowser appears on stage. He sends his minions to attack, prompting Princess Toadstool to appear and assist the Mario Bros., who with the help of a vaporizing gun, must defeat the Koopa troops to save the day.
King Koopa's Kool Kartoons, a live action children's television show, was broadcast in Southern California during the holiday season of 1989/1990. A live-action version of King Koopa read fan mail, hosted quizzes for the TV audience, and showed public-domain cartoons irrelevant to the themes of the Mario franchise. The 30-minute program was originally broadcast during the after-school afternoon time-slots on Los Angeles-based KTTV Fox 11.
The Adventures of Super Mario Bros. 3 originally aired on NBC on Saturday mornings from September 8 to December 1, 1990. It was based on Super Mario Bros. 3, taking the basic premise of the Super Show and morphing the atmosphere to create a more fitting link between the show and the game. Like the previous Mario cartoon series, the animation was done by Sei Young Animation Co., Ltd., however this show was co-produced by Reteitalia S.P.A., leading to slight differences in character design.
A show called The Super Mario Challenge aired on The Children's Channel in the United Kingdom on weekday afternoons in 1990 and 1991. The show was a game show hosted by John Lenahan, who would be dressed as Mario. Two guest players had to do tasks, all of which involved playing the Super Mario Bros. games. Initially, only the first and second games were included; Super Mario Bros. 3 was not released in Europe until 1991. Rounds included challenges to see which player could complete a level in the fastest time and who could collect the most gold coins on a certain level.
Super Mario World was DIC's third and last Saturday morning cartoon based on Mario, and was based on the SNES game of the same name. The show was originally aired on Saturday mornings on NBC in the 1991–92 season. It was featured in a half-hour time slot with a shortened version of Captain N: The Game Master. Episodes of Super Mario World were later shown as part of the syndication package Captain N & The Video Game Masters. After the cancellation of Captain N, the series was split therefrom, and episodes of both it and the Super Show were shown in time-compressed reruns on a compilation program called Mario All Stars in 1994.
The Super Mario Bros. film, released on May 28, 1993, is a science fiction live-action movie adaptation of the series, loosely based on the games, and the first Hollywood adaptation of a video game property. The film starred Bob Hoskins and John Leguizamo as Mario and Luigi respectively (both considered separate from the original video game characters), Dennis Hopper as "President Koopa" (representing Bowser), and Samantha Mathis as a young woman named Daisy (unrelated to the character from the games). The movie's plot centers around the Mario brothers, a pair of down-on-their-luck plumbers from Brooklyn, as they discover a parallel universe called "Dinohattan", dictated by President Koopa, who seeks to merge the two dimensions together so that he can rule both worlds, leaving it up to the heroes to stop Koopa with help from Daisy, who finds out that she is the daughter of the world's displaced king. The film was a box office bomb, grossing only $20.9 million on a $48 million budget, and was panned by critics, with a 15% aggregate score on Rotten Tomatoes. However, it did receive two Saturn Award nominations, one for Best Costume and the other for Best Makeup. The film has since gained a cult following, leading to future re-releases and a fan-made sequel comic supervised by one of the movie's original writers.
Upcoming animated film
In November 2017, it was reported that Nintendo would be teaming up with Universal Pictures and Illumination Entertainment to create a fully animated film based on the Mario franchise. Nintendo's then-president, Tatsumi Kimishima, stated in January 2018 that a deal had not been finalized, but that an announcement would come soon.
By the end of January 2018, Nintendo affirmed that the animated film with Illumination would be moving forward, and would be co-produced by Miyamoto and Illumination's founder Chris Meledandri. Miyamoto had stated that the idea of a film based on the franchise came from bringing Nintendo's legacy content to services such as the Virtual Console; such transitions took time for the company, and Miyamoto viewed that as an opportunity to develop Nintendo's content business even further by combining its long-beloved software with that of video assets. Knowing that the process of making a film was far different from that of making a video game, Miyamoto wanted a film expert to lead the effort; Miyamoto found Meledandri's creative process similar to his own, and decided he would be the proper lead for a Mario film. They had started more earnest discussions of the film as early as 2016, knowing that if they realized it was not working, they could easily walk away. However, by the time of the official announcement, Miyamoto said that they were able to have good discussions over the screenplay and progress to a proper film. Meledandri stated that the film was a "priority" for Illumination, with Miyamoto being "front and center" with its development.Shuntaro Furukawa, Nintendo's president, announced that production for the film has begun as of February 1, 2019, with it being set to be released in 2022. In a January 2020 update, he stated that the rights to the film would be owned by Nintendo, not Universal; and that the funds for the film's production would be jointly supplied by both companies.
Super Mario Bros.: Peach-hime Kyushutsu Dai Sakusen! (subtitle translated as "The Great Mission to Rescue Princess Peach") was a Japan-only anime film released on July 20, 1986. Directed by Masami Hata and produced by Masakatsu Suzuki and Tsunemasa Hatano, it stars Mario and Luigi, who get stuck in a video game world, in which they must save Princess Peach and the Mushroom Kingdom from Bowser, who plans to marry the princess. The first full-length feature film to be based on a video game, it was adapted into manga form shortly after its release.
A three-episode OVA series, Amada Anime Series: Super Mario Bros., was released in August 1989 featuring the Mario characters re-enacting three popular fairy tales: the stories of Momotarō, Issun-bōshi, and Snow White. In these episodes, Mario plays the heroes, Peach the damsels, and Bowser the villains; supporting roles are taken by other Mario characters.
Toei Animation produced three public service announcement short films using the Mario characters. Super Mario no Shōbōtai, a fire safety video, featured Mario and Luigi teaching children not to play with dangerous objects that could start fires and other ways to prevent them from starting. Super Mario no Kōtsū Anzen, a traffic safety video, had Mario teach children how to safely cross the road; and Super Mario ABC no Utau Video was designed to have Mario teach English to Japanese children. These films were only distributed to schools in Japan in 1989.
Super Mario World: Mario to Yoshi no Bōken Land (subtitle translated "Mario & Yoshi's Adventure Land") was an interactive anime video based on Super Mario World. The video is meant to be used in conjunction with Bandai's "Terebikko", a phone-shaped microphone that allows viewers to input answers to questions asked during the video.
A highly obscure 1995 educational VHS release, the Mario Kirby Meisaku Video (meisaku meaning masterpiece), had Mario and his fellow Nintendo icon Kirby go on separate adventures, in stories told via still imagery and narration accompanied by text that was intended to teach Japanese children kanji, Chinese characters which are commonly used in Japanese writing.
Mario's first manga series was published under the KC Deluxe banner in Kodansha's Comic BomBom magazine from 1988 to 1998, and was collected in 42 volumes. While volumes are named after and based on specific games, the manga also features original characters and scenarios.
Super Mario-Kun (スーパーマリオくん Sūpā Mario-kun), a manga series written by Yukio Sawada and serialized by Shogakukan in its magazine CoroCoro Comic, contains retellings of many of the various stories in Mario games. With over 50 entries published between 1991 and 2020, it is the longest-running Mario manga series. Originally only available in Japan, the series was localized for France by Soleil Manga starting in late 2014, with a Spanish localization by Planeta Cómic following in 2016, and English translations of the series' all-time best strips were compiled under the localized title of Super Mario Manga Mania by Viz Media, and released in late 2020.
Between 1992 and 1994, Shogakukan published a second Mario-themed manga: Otenba Peach-hime (roughly "Tomboy Princess Peach"), written and drawn by Sayuri Jo for the Shōgakusannensei magazine and aimed at younger readers. The series consisted of gag strips starring a younger Princess Peach alongside other Mario characters.
Super Mario 4koma Manga Theater was a Yonkoma gag manga that began publication in 1993. The series was a collaborative effort featuring several artists, and focused on jokes based on scenarios or other features in various Mario games.
Starting in 2004, another manga titled Super Mario-Kun was published under the Pikkapika Comics label and was written and drawn by Hiroshi Takase. The series ran for only five volumes and was discontinued when the author died in 2006.
A comic based on the original Donkey Kong arcade game was featured in the first issue of Marvel's short-lived video game magazine Blip, released in February 1983. The comic features reporter Vic Video interviewing Mario as he faces off against Donkey Kong.
The Nintendo Comics System, a series of comic books published by Valiant Comics in 1990 and 1991, was part of a licensing deal with Nintendo to create comics featuring characters from its video games and the cartoons based on them. Valiant's Super Mario Bros. comic books were based on the three main Mario games on the NES and, to some extent, on the Super Show. They featured many long and short stories, which were comedy-oriented and included a number of exclusive original characters, the most prominent being the scatterbrained king of the Mushroom Kingdom, and his adviser Wooster. The series also featured a number of fake advertisements and letter pages. Another Nintendo Comics System series, the four-issue miniseries Game Boy, had the characters of Super Mario Land appearing in the real world from Game Boys, with Mario trying to stop Tatanga from taking over the world.
Mario characters and elements also featured prominently in the comics published in Club Nintendo, Nintendo's official magazine in Germany. The first of these comics appeared in the April 1991 issue, and thirty-six more Mario-based installments were released over a span of several years.
Super Mario Adventures, a comic anthology written by Kentaro Takekuma and drawn by Charlie Nozawa, was published monthly for exactly one year by Nintendo Power from January to December 1992. Loosely based on Super Mario World, the comic follows Mario, Luigi, Yoshi, and Toad as they set off to save Princess Toadstool and the other Yoshis from the Koopalings and Bowser, who intends to forcibly marry the princess. Immediately following the end of Super Mario Adventures, Nintendo Power concluded the epic with a ten-page story based on Super Mario Land 2: 6 Golden Coins titled Mario vs. Wario, which was featured in the January 1993 issue. Shortly thereafter, Super Mario Adventures was reprinted in graphic novel format, with Mario vs. Wario as bonus content, and would later be reprinted a second time by Viz Media in 2016. Mario vs. Wario: The Birthday Bash, a second Mario vs. Wario comic, was published a year later, in the January 1994 issue.
Archie Comics made a pitch to Nintendo for a new Mario comic years later, which was rejected.
The Mario brand was licensed to Western Publishing for use in children's books in its "Golden Look-Look Book" line, which was aimed at very young readers. Three Super Mario Bros. books were published under this banner in 1989 and 1990, and were written by Jack C. Harris. The first, Trapped in the Perilous Pit, has Bowser kidnap Princess Toadstool while Mario and Luigi are trying to repair the castle pipes; the brothers try to push back the Koopa Troop as they advance, but unfortunately fall into a pit, with the princess thrown in as well. Happy Birthday, Princess Toadstool! centers around Mario and Luigi's contest to see who can be the first to claim a Starman to present the princess for her birthday. The third and last, The Secret Bridge, has the brothers and the princess create a bridge to avoid paying Bowser's toll.
The Nintendo Adventure Books series was published between 1991 to 1992 by Archway Books in the United States, and Mammoth Books in the United Kingdom. They are formatted like the popular Choose Your Own Adventure books, where the reader makes decisions throughout the story that change the outcome of the plot. At the end of each book is a rating page, in which the reader would tally their score based on how they did in the book to determine their rating. Ten out of twelve books in the series are about the Mario Bros.' adventures in the Mushroom Kingdom and are based primarily on Valiant's Nintendo Comics System stories.
Additionally, Scholastic Corporation published two Mario children's books of its own. The first, released in 2001, was a Choose Your Own Adventure-style guide book based on the first Super Mario Advance game (which was a remake of Super Mario Bros. 2), as part of a series of four Nintendo-based books in this style. The second was Mario and the Incredible Rescue, a 2006 chapter book that takes many of its plot elements from Super Mario RPG, and was one of two books in Scholastic's short-lived Nintendo Heroes series.
In 2015, a pair of books were published for the Super Mario Bros. 30th Anniversary celebration. The first of these, Super Mario Memorial Book, was released in September 2015 and features the history of the franchise, a list of characters, developer interviews, and more. The second is the Super Mario Bros. Encyclopedia, which features comprehensive details on characters, items, gameplay techniques, and more from every Super Mario game up to Super Mario 3D World.
Mario has appeared on T-shirts, caps, sneakers, and various other clothing; accessories, school supplies, and stationery; toys such as board games and trading cards; in candy form, on soda cans, cereal, Pez dispensers, and various other food products; and miscellaneous other items and collectibles including kitchenware, backpacks, badges, shampoo bottles, lunch boxes, and furniture. The Mario characters have also appeared as figurines, keychains, and plush toys. Licensed versions of popular board games have also been released, such as Donkey Kong Jenga, Super Mario Chess, and a special version of Monopoly based on Super Mario Bros., all of which were released by USAopoly.
Concerts and performances
The Mario franchise's central theme tune is the overworld theme from Super Mario Bros., written by Koji Kondo. It has been featured in many concerts, including PLAY! Chicago, the Mario & Zelda Big Band Live, Play!: A Video Game Symphony, and the Video Games Live concert. Arrangements of this theme have been performed by the Columbus Symphony Orchestra, the Eminence Symphony Orchestra, the Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra, and the Tokyo Kosei Wind Orchestra, among others.
Theme park attraction
Super Nintendo World, a themed area at Universal Studios Japan, was developed as the result of a partnership between Nintendo and Universal Parks and Resorts, and is based exclusively on the Mario franchise. After being delayed several times due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, the land was opened at Universal Studios Japan on March 18, 2021. The area is planned to be expanded to Universal Studios Hollywood, the upcoming Universal's Epic Universe at Universal Orlando Resort (set to open in 2024), and Universal Studios Singapore. Miyamoto was heavily involved in the design and construction of this area.
The area is wedged in at the northern end of Universal Studios Japan, west of The Wizarding World of Harry Potter and south of the Ivano Studios Center, and is accessible via a Warp Pipe leading to the foyer of Peach's castle, beyond which is an open doorway leading to the main park area. Its attractions include "Mario Kart: Koopa's Challenge," an interactive dark ride attraction featuring augmented reality technology based on the Mario Kart series; "Yoshi's Adventure," an omnimover ride themed after the Yoshi franchise; and the "Power-Up Band Key Challenge," a treasure hunt-style interactive attraction which tasks the player with retrieving keys to defeat Bowser Jr. using a separately sold Power Up Band and the official Universal Studios Japan app.
Reception and legacy
- “The evolution of the Mario series led the rest of gaming by the hand, blazing a trail, and teaching lessons in game mechanics, structure, and sheer playability to any who would study its secrets.”
- —Next Generation No. 14, February 1996
Throughout the Mario franchise's life span of over thirty years, many critics, fans, and developers have considered it to be the greatest video game franchise of all time. Mario is widely considered the most famous video game character in history and an icon of the gaming industry. Mario was an inaugural inductee of San Francisco's "Walk of Game," which honored notable figures in video gaming from 2005 to 2012; and was the first video game character to be honored with a figure in the Hollywood Wax Museum in 2003. At the height of his popularity, a national survey showed that Mario had become more recognizable to children than American cartoon characters like Mickey Mouse. Miyamoto has declared Mario to be his favorite out of all the characters he has created.
Being the largest gaming franchise in existence, Mario has received many high-scoring reviews on its various games. All of the main series entries had very high approval ratings on GameRankings before it was shut down in 2019; for example, Super Mario Bros. held an 85% score, Super Mario Bros. 3 had 97%, Super Mario World had 94%, Super Mario 64 had 96%, and the first and second Super Mario Galaxy games and Super Mario Odyssey all held scores of 97% -- placing all three in the top five best-rated games on the site, with the first Super Mario Galaxy in the top spot. Many of the franchise's spin-off games held high GameRankings scores as well, such as Super Mario Kart, which held a 93% score. No game in the franchise ever had a rating below 50% on the site.
Mario is the best-selling video game franchise in history; since 1995, 31 of its games have received special marking labels from Nintendo for having sold over 1 million copies. The games in the core series, alone, have sold a combined total of over 330 million units worldwide; the Mario Kart series has sold more than 100 million units; the Mario Party games have sold more than 45 million units; the Donkey Kong arcade game sold more than 125,000 machines, while its Coleco version sold six million cartridges; and Mario Bros. sold 1.72 million Famicom cartridges in its Japanese release. Mario's legacy has also been recognized by the Guinness Book of World Records, which awarded the Nintendo mascot and the video games featuring him seven records in its 2008 "Gamer's Edition"; these include "Best Selling Video Game Series of All Time", "First Movie Based on an Existing Video Game", and "Most Prolific Video Game Character", as up to that point, Mario himself had appeared in 116 distinct titles (not counting remakes or re-releases of existing games).
In the franchise, many games have been considered to be the best of their time by players. However, the franchise has been considered to have some games of lower quality. Examples include later installments in the Mario Party and Paper Mario series; these series have been cited as losing their flair, respectively, due to stagnation in installments released after Mario Party 3 and the increased shallowness in Sticker Star and its follow-ups. Super Mario Bros. was declared to be the greatest video game of all time twice: once by GamesRadar in 2000, and another time by IGN in 2003.
The Mario cartoons also were shown to have received favorable reviews. Though each of the series were short-lived, they were considered to be highly popular, attracting an audience of children to each episode.
Even with the success of the games and cartoons in the franchise, some productions have attracted many negative reviews. The Super Mario Bros. film is often considered to be a great failure, and even Hoskins and Hopper were recorded expressing personal distaste for their work. In the May 2006 issue of Nintendo Power, an interviewer from the magazine had said, "Yes, it happened. Let us speak no more of it." Hotel Mario has often been cited as one of the worst video games ever.
The Mario franchise has culturally impacted a multitude of people over the years, with references and parodies in numerous entertainment media. It has also been referenced in real life outside the media, where many people and places have been named or nicknamed in the character's honor; and a specific calendar date, March 10, is celebrated as "National Mario Day" because when presented as MAR 10, it resembles the name of Mario.
The Mario franchise has been referenced more times in video games than in any other medium. Many of Mario's fellow Nintendo properties, including The Legend of Zelda, Star Fox, F-Zero, Pokémon, Kirby, and Animal Crossing, have referenced the company's flagship franchise in very notable ways. Even games and franchises not produced by Nintendo―such as Minecraft, Super Meat Boy, Call of Duty, Just Dance, Angry Birds, Banjo-Kazooie, and Overwatch―have made various references to the Mario games and characters.
Mario characters and elements have been represented or parodied in numerous animated television series, including The Simpsons (in over a dozen episodes), The Ren and Stimpy Show, South Park, Family Guy, SpongeBob SquarePants, The Fairly OddParents, Mad (in 16 episodes), and Gravity Falls. Mario has also been referenced in such live-action shows as The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, My Name is Earl, The Big Bang Theory, and Tosh.0. Additionally, to promote the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo, Mario appeared in a pre-recorded video shown during the telecast of the 2016 Summer Olympics closing ceremony, and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzō Abe arrived at the ceremony itself in a Mario costume and an oversized Warp Pipe.
In film, the Mario franchise has been referenced in such titles as Billy Madison, Ghostbusters II, and Need for Speed. Notable appearances of Mario in film include 1989's The Wizard, which prominently features Super Mario Bros. 3 in the "Video Armageddon" tournament in the climax (marking the North American public's first exposure to that game), and the 2012 Rich Moore-directed film Wreck-It Ralph, where Bowser and the Super Mushroom make cameo appearances and Mario is name-dropped. The Mario franchise has also had minor representations in advertising (notably, in a Got Milk? commercial), and spawned several stage theatrical productions.
Many books have also referenced the Mario franchise, including the Scott Pilgrim graphic novel series. The comics industry has also referenced the games in Western comic books, comic strips, and manga alike. Some publications have even been completely centered around Mario, such as several installments of the comic strip FoxTrot.
A number of musicians have referenced Mario in their music, such as Eminem, Ludacris, and Trace Adkins. Some songs have been dedicated to the popular series, such as the song "Birdo" by Horse the Band, which is loosely based off the same-named Super Mario Bros. 2 boss.
Additionally, the Mario franchise possesses a highly diverse fanbase, where content and gameplay are frequently shared via the Internet. As Nintendo's most popular series, Mario attracts fans of all ages and skill levels―one of its core mission statements. Many websites and online games have poked fun at the series, and there are several sites that have dedicated themselves to it completely. Thousands of unlicensed fan-made games, videos, comics, stories, cosplay costumes, artworks, and other materials dedicated to the Mario franchise and its games and characters have existed on sites such as Newgrounds, YouTube, FanFiction.net, and DeviantArt, among others; many of these fan-works have been viewed or accessed by tens or even hundreds of thousands of people. A few Internet memes have been based around Mario characters, and a multitude of YouTube videos have poked fun at what is perceived to be one of the series' greatest blunders, Hotel Mario. Crossover titles such as Super Smash Bros. are highly coveted among fans, and frequently raise heated discussion in online communities; many of these titles help to introduce Mario fans to other Nintendo or third-party franchises, resulting in large amounts of fandom overlap.
Video game series
This article is about the video game series. For the character, see Mario. For the media franchise, see Mario (franchise). For other uses, see Super Mario (disambiguation).
Video game series
Super Mario[a] is a platform game series created by Nintendo based on and starring the fictional plumber Mario. Alternatively called the Super Mario Bros.[b] series or simply the Mario[c] series, it is the central series of the greater Mario franchise. At least one Super Mario game has been released for every major Nintendo video game console. There are twenty-one similar games in the series and one cross-series game, Super Mario World 2: Yoshi's Island, which may or may not be included as part of the series (see Super Mario World games).
The Super Mario games are typically set in the fictional Mushroom Kingdom with Mario as the player character. He is often joined by his brother, Luigi, and occasionally by other members of the Mario cast. As a platform game, the player runs and jumps across platforms and atop enemies in themed levels. The games have simple plots, typically with Mario rescuing the kidnappedPrincess Peach from the primary antagonist, Bowser. The first game in the series, Super Mario Bros., released for the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) in 1985, established the series' core gameplay concepts and elements. These include a multitude of power-ups and items that give Mario special powers such as fireball-throwing and size-changing.
The Super Mario series is part of the greater Mario franchise, which includes other video game genres and media such as film, television, printed media, and merchandise. More than 380 million copies of Super Mario games have been sold worldwide, making it the fourth-bestselling video game series, behind the larger Mario series, the puzzle series Tetris, and first-person shooter series Call of Duty.
Development and history
2D origins (1985–1995)
Original Super Mario Bros. games
Main articles: Super Mario Bros., Super Mario Bros.: The Lost Levels, Super Mario Bros. 2, and Super Mario Bros. 3
Super Mario Bros., the first side-scrolling 2D platform game to feature Mario, was derived by collaboration of Nintendo's Shigeru Miyamoto and Takashi Tezuka as a successor to the 1983 arcade gameMario Bros., which starred two characters: Mario, the titular character that first appeared in Donkey Kong as the original player character and its sequel where he was a final boss, and Luigi, who first appeared in Mario Bros. The etymology of adding "Super" to the title came after deciding to integrate the Super Mushroom into the game.Super Mario Bros. was released for the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES). It established many core Mario gameplay concepts. The brothers Mario and Luigi must rescue Princess Toadstool (later called Princess Peach) from Bowser/King Koopa in the Mushroom Kingdom. The game consists of eight worlds of four levels each, totaling 32 levels altogether. Though the worlds differ in themes, the fourth level is always a fortress or castle that ends with a fight against Bowser (or one of his minions disguised as him). This is one of the best-selling video games of all time.
Super Mario Bros. 2 in Japan is the first sequel to the original Super Mario Bros. It uses the Super Mario Bros. engine, with additions such as weather, character movements, and more complex levels, altogether yielding a much higher difficulty. The game follows the same style of level progression as Super Mario Bros., with eight initial worlds of four levels each. At that time, this sequel was not released outside Japan since Nintendo of America did not want the Mario series to be known to players outside of Japan for frustrating difficulty. It remained inaccessible to a steadily broadening market of American video game players, becoming stylistically outdated by the time the Japanese Super Mario Bros. 2 could be eventually delivered to America. The game later debuted outside Japan in 1993 as "Super Mario Bros.: The Lost Levels" in the compilation game Super Mario All-Stars for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System (SNES).
In Super Mario Bros. 2 (Super Mario USA in Japan), Mario and his companions are out to stop the evil frog Wart in the Subcon dreamland. Based on a discarded prototype, the game was instead originally released as Yume Kōjō: Doki Doki Panic in Japan, and was ultimately converted into a Mario game for the rest of the world as Super Mario Bros. 2, before being released in Japan as Super Mario USA as part of Super Mario All-Stars. One of the game's most defining aspects is the four player characters: not only Mario, but Luigi, Princess Peach and Toad are available for single-player action, each with defined character movements: Luigi jumps higher, the Princess glides through the sky for a short amount of time, etc. Characters here also can pluck vegetables from the ground to throw at enemies. This is also the first Super Mario game to use a life meter, which allows Mario, Luigi, Peach and Toad to be hit up to four times before dying. 
Super Mario Bros. 3 is divided into eight themed worlds, each with 6–10 levels and several bonus stages displayed as locations on a mapped overworld. These locations are not necessarily in a linear order, and the player is occasionally permitted to skip levels or play the game out of order. Completed levels cannot be replayed. The penultimate boss stage in each world is a side-scrolling level atop an airship ("Doom Ship") with a fight against one of Bowser's seven Koopalings. The game introduced a diverse array of new power-ups, including flight as Raccoon Mario or the level-long P-Wing allowing permanent flight through a whole level. Bowser is again the final boss.
Super Mario Land games
Main articles: Super Mario Land and Super Mario Land 2: 6 Golden Coins
Super Mario Land is the first handheld Super Mario game apart from the Game & Watch conversion of Super Mario Bros., and was released for the Game Boy. As with other games in the series, it is a sidescrolling platformer in which Mario sets out to save Princess Daisy. Power-ups include hearts, which give Mario an extra life (similar to a 1-up mushroom) and the Superball Flower, which allows Mario to shoot projectiles. The game consists of twelve levels split across four worlds.
Super Mario Land 2: 6 Golden Coins introduces Mario's rival, Wario, who had taken over Mario's castle during the events of Super Mario Land and forces Mario to collect the six golden coins in order to reenter and reclaim his castle. While its predecessor is similar to the original Super Mario Bros., Super Mario Land 2 has more in common with Super Mario World. The player is no longer restricted to only moving towards the right. A bell at each level's end activates a minigame, where the player can try to get extra lives. There are 32 levels, based on several themed worlds each with its own boss. Three power-ups return: the Super Mushroom, Fire Flower, and Super Star. The game introduces the Carrot power-up, which gives Mario large rabbit ears that let him glide when falling for a limited time. Its story was continued in Wario Land: Super Mario Land 3, which retroactively became the first of a spin-off series, Wario Land.
Super Mario World games
Main articles: Super Mario World and Yoshi's Island
Super Mario World was released for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System and consists of nine worlds displayed via a world map overworld. It is a direct successor to the Super Mario Bros. games, with the subtitle Super Mario Bros. 4 in Japan. Unlike Super Mario Bros. 3, however, where each world map is separate, the world map here is unique and covers the whole game. Some of the levels have hidden alternate exits. Mario's new moves include a spin jump and the rideable Yoshi, who can eat enemies and either swallow or spit them out. Power-ups include the new Cape Feather, based on Super Mario Bros. 3's Super Leaf, which lets Mario and Luigi fly with a cape.
Super Mario World 2: Yoshi's Island was released for the SNES in 1995. To reunite baby Mario with his brother Luigi, who has been kidnapped by Kamek, the player controls Yoshi as the primary character through 48 levels while carrying Baby Mario. Yoshi runs and jumps to reach the end of the level while solving puzzles and collecting items. In a style new to the series, the game has a hand-drawn aesthetic. The game introduces his signature abilities to flutter jump and produce eggs from swallowed enemies. Yoshi's Island received "instant" and "universal acclaim", according to IGN and review aggregatorMetacritic, and sold over four million copies. Yoshi's signature characteristics established in Yoshi's Island would carry throughout a series of cameos, spin-offs, and sequels. Sources have debated on whether Super Mario World 2: Yoshi's Island, where the player primarily controls a Yoshi carrying Baby Mario, should count as a Super Mario game. Miyamoto responded affirmatively when asked if Yoshi's Island is a Super Mario game, with Tezuka later adding:
"When that game debuted, I wanted people to understand that Yoshi was part of the Mario world, and that be conveyed whether through title or gameplay. To me, it's part of the Mario series, but today's Yoshi games? They've changed from those origins, so I think it's okay to think of Yoshi living in his own universe. You can think of it separately from Mario's world."
Introduction of 3D and open worlds (1996–2005)
Super Mario 64
Main article: Super Mario 64
In the early 1990s, director and producer Shigeru Miyamoto had conceived a 3D Mario design during development of the Super Nintendo Entertainment System (SNES) game Star Fox (1993). He considered using the Super FX chip to develop a SNES game, Super Mario FX, with gameplay based on "an entire world in miniature, like miniature trains". He eventually reformulated the idea for the Nintendo 64, not for its substantially greater power, but because its controller has more buttons for gameplay.Super Mario 64 was developed over approximately three years, with one year spent on the design concept and approximately two years on production. Production began on September 7, 1994, and concluded on May 20, 1996.Super Mario 64 is the first 3D and open world game in the series, and a launch game for the Nintendo 64 home console. Each level is an enclosed environment where the player is free to explore in all directions without time limits. The player collects Power Stars from the paintings in Peach's castle to unlock later courses and areas. The Nintendo 64's analog stick makes an extensive repertoire of precise movements in all directions possible. The game introduced moves such as punching, triple jumping, and using a Wing Cap to fly. It is the first Super Mario series game to feature Charles Martinet's voice acting for Mario. Mario must once again save Princess Peach from Bowser. The game's power-ups differ from previous games, now being three different hats with temporary powers: the Wing Cap, allowing Mario to fly; the Metal Cap, turning him into metal; and the Vanish Cap, allowing him to walk through obstacles. A remake of the game called Super Mario 64 DS was released for Nintendo DS in 2004 and 2005.
Super Mario Sunshine
Main article: Super Mario Sunshine
Super Mario Sunshine is the second 3D Super Mario game. It was released in 2002 for the GameCube. In it, Mario and Peach travel to Isle Delfino for a vacation when a Mario doppelgänger, going by the name of Shadow Mario, appears and vandalizes the entire island. Mario is sentenced to clean the island with a water-squirting accessory called F.L.U.D.D. Super Mario Sunshine shares many similar gameplay elements with its predecessor Super Mario 64, yet introduces moves, like spinning while jumping, and several other actions through the use of F.L.U.D.D. The game contains a number of independent levels, which can be reached from the hub, Delfino Plaza. Mario collects Shine Sprites by completing tasks in the levels, which in return unlock levels in Delfino Plaza by way of abilities and plot-related events.Sunshine introduces the last of Bowser's eight children, Bowser Jr., as an antagonist. Yoshi also appears again for Mario to ride in certain sections.
2D revival and further 3D games (2006–2016)
New Super Mario Bros. games
Main articles: New Super Mario Bros., New Super Mario Bros. Wii, New Super Mario Bros. 2, and New Super Mario Bros. U
After no original 2D game releases in the series since 1995, New Super Mario Bros. was released on the Nintendo DS in 2006. In it, Mario and Luigi set out to save Princess Peach from Bowser Jr. The gameplay is 2D, but most of the characters and objects are 3D on two-dimensional backgrounds, resulting in a 2.5D effect. The game uses an overworld map similar to those of Super Mario Bros. Deluxe. Some levels have multiple exits. The classic power-ups (Super Mushroom, Fire Flower and Super Star) return alongside the Mega Mushroom, Blue Shell, and Mini Mushroom.
New Super Mario Bros. Wii (2009) features 4-player co-op and new power-ups: the Propeller Mushroom, the Ice Flower, and the Penguin Suit. All characters can ride Yoshi.
New Super Mario Bros. 2 was released in July and August 2012 for the Nintendo 3DS. The player, as Mario or Luigi, tries to save Princess Peach from Bowser and the Koopalings, with the game's secondary goal to collect one million coins. Several gameplay elements were introduced to help achieve this goal, such as the Gold Flower, a rarer variant of the Fire Flower that turns items into coins.
New Super Mario Bros. U, the Wii U follow-up to New Super Mario Bros. Wii, was released in November 2012. It introduces both a Flying Squirrel suit that lets the players glide through the air, and asymmetric gameplay that allows the player holding the GamePad to influence the environment. In June 2013, New Super Luigi U was released as a downloadable content (DLC) package for the game, featuring shorter, but more difficult levels, starring Luigi as the main protagonist instead of his brother. Subsequently, it was released as a standalone retail game on August 25 in North America. The Nintendo Switch port New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe includes both the main game and New Super Luigi U, and new playable characters Nabbit and Toadette.
Super Mario Galaxy games
Main articles: Super Mario Galaxy and Super Mario Galaxy 2
Miyamoto explained that when he was developing Super Mario 64 with Yoshiaki Koizumi, they realized that the title would be more directed towards the "core gamer", rather than the casual, "pick-up-and-go" gamer. After Super Mario Sunshine, their focus shifted to more accessible, casual games, leading them to develop Super Mario Galaxy with more progression-oriented paths. Super Mario Galaxy was launched in 2007 for the Wii. It is set in outer space, where Mario travels between "galaxies" to collect Power Stars, earned by completing quests or defeating enemies. It introduced motion controls to the series. Each galaxy contains a number of planets and other space objects for the player to explore. The game's physics system gives each celestial object its own gravitational force, which lets the player circumnavigate rounded or irregular planetoids by walking sideways or upside down. The player is usually able to jump from one independent object and fall towards another close object. Though the main gameplay and physics are in 3D, there are several points in the game where the player's movements are restricted into a 2D axis. Several new power-ups appear following the new game mechanics. All of them return in the sequel, Super Mario Galaxy 2, besides the Ice Flower and Red Star power-ups.
Super Mario Galaxy 2 was initially developed as an expansion pack to Galaxy, although it eventually developed into its own game, released on May 23, 2010. It retains the basic premise of its predecessor and includes its items and power-ups. These include the Cloud Flower, which allows Mario to create platforms in mid-air and the Rock Mushroom, which turns Mario into a rolling boulder. Mario can also ride Yoshi along. It was released to widespread critical acclaim, getting better reviews than its predecessor.
Super Mario 3D Land and 3D World
Main articles: Super Mario 3D Land and Super Mario 3D World
Two games in the series have attempted to translate the gameplay of the 2D games into a 3D environment, and simplify the control scheme of the 3D games through including more linear levels. Super Mario 3D Land was released for the Nintendo 3DS in November and December 2011. It is the first original 3D Super Mario game on a handheld console, since all previous handheld games were either 2D or ports of previous games. It also brought back several older gameplay features, including the Super Leaf power-up last seen in Super Mario Bros. 3.
Super Mario 3D World, the sequel to Super Mario 3D Land, was released for the Wii U on November 22, 2013 in North America, and utilized the same gameplay mechanics as its predecessor. Co-operative multiplayer is available for up to four players. The game introduced the ability to turn the characters into cats able to attack and scale walls in order to reach new areas, and to create clones of the characters. Like Super Mario Bros. 2, it features Princess Peach and Toad as playable characters in addition to Mario and Luigi. Rosalina from Super Mario Galaxy is also unlocked later in the game. Miyamoto said that "even though that's a 3D game, it's a little more accessible to everybody."
Super Mario Maker games
Main articles: Super Mario Maker and Super Mario Maker 2
Super Mario Maker is a creation tool released for the Wii U in September 2015 which allows players to create their own levels based on the gameplay and style of Super Mario Bros., Super Mario Bros. 3, Super Mario World, and New Super Mario Bros. U, as well as to share their creations online. Based on existing games, several gameplay mechanics were introduced for the game, with existing ones also available to be used together in new ways. A Nintendo 3DS version of the game called Super Mario Maker for Nintendo 3DS, was released in December 2016. It features a few new pre-installed levels, but no online level sharing. Super Mario Maker 2 is a new version of Super Mario Maker with many new items, themes, and enemies, a world-builder, as well as online multiplayer. The game was released on June 28, 2019 for the Nintendo Switch.
Super Mario Run
Main article: Super Mario Run
Super Mario Run is a side-scrolling and auto-scrolling video game released in December 2016 on the iOS platform, then in March 2017 on Android. It is the first official Mario game developed for non-Nintendo hardware (since previous attempts all faced cancellation), as well as the first official Super Mario game developed for mobile devices. As such, it features simplified controls that allow it to be played with only one hand. In this game, Mario runs automatically, and the player's in charge of controlling the jumping action so that Mario avoids all hazards. This is achieved by touching the tactile screens these devices are built with, and the longer the player touches the jump button, the higher Mario jumps. This game also includes a "Toad Rally" mode, quite similar to the "VS Boo" mode of Super Mario Bros Deluxe, in which players have to complete a level faster than a computer-controlled Toad. Success in this mode earns the player access to in-game money to spend in customization options for it to create its own "Mushroom Kingdom" map, using mechanics similar to Farmville, into Super Mario Run's third gameplay mode.
Return of open-ended exploration (2017–present)
Super Mario Odyssey
Main article: Super Mario Odyssey
After having fallen out of favor by the mid-2000s, open-world "collectathon" 3D platformers such as Super Mario 64, Banjo-Kazooie and Super Mario Sunshine had become less common. For example, the 3D adventure game Banjo-Kazooie: Nuts & Bolts (2008) explicitly mocked the perceived tedium of collecting large quantities of tokens. By the mid-2010s, however, 3D platformers were aiming to replicate such experiences, including Yooka-Laylee and A Hat in Time. Super Mario Odyssey is a return to the open-world "sandbox" 3D style of game, with "more open-ended exploration like in Super Mario 64 and Super Mario Sunshine." It was released in October 2017 for Nintendo Switch. After Mario's cap is possessed by a spirit named Cappy, he gains the new move of temporarily "capturing" enemies and objects to utilize their abilities. Like previous sandbox 3D games, the game's worlds contain a large variety of objectives that can be achieved in a non-linear order before progressing. The game features many different kingdoms in addition to the Mushroom Kingdom that Mario's adventures usually take place in, and is the first in the series to include a vocal theme song, "Jump Up, Super Star!"
Main article: Bowser's Fury
Bowser's Fury is part of the 2021 re-release of Super Mario 3D World on the Nintendo Switch. It implements 3D open-world "free-roaming" gameplay in a similar fashion to Odyssey, from which it includes many elements. Supporting up to two players, it sees Mario teaming up with Bowser Jr. to collect Cat Shines to restore lighthouses in a land called Lake Lapcat. Periodically, a gigantic incarnation of Bowser known as Fury Bowser awakens to bring darkness upon the land and attacks the island. To beat him, Mario must collect enough Cat Shines to awaken the Giga Bell and use it to fight Bowser.
Remakes and remasters
Much of the original Super Mario Bros. music and sound effects have become iconic to the series and incorporated into modern games. The original Super Mario Bros. theme, composed by Koji Kondo, has become one of the most well known video game themes around the world.
Super Mario Galaxy, released in 2007, became the first game in the Super Mario series to feature orchestrated music, which would return in its sequel and other subsequent games such as Super Mario 3D World.
The objective of the game is to progress through levels by defeating enemies, collecting items and solving puzzles without dying. Power-up use is integral to the series. The series has installments featuring both two and three-dimensional gameplay. In the 2D games, the player character (usually Mario) jumps on platforms and enemies while avoiding their attacks and moving to the right of the scrolling screen. 2D Super Mario game levels have single-exit objectives, which must be reached within a time limit and lead to the next sequential level. Super Mario Bros. 3 introduced the overworld, a map of nonlinear levels that branches according to the player's choice.Super Mario World introduced levels with multiple exits.
3D installments in the series have had two subgenres: open world exploration based games and more linear 3D games with a predetermined path. Levels in the open world games, 64, Sunshine and Odyssey, allow the player to freely explore multiple enclosed environments in 360 degree movement. As the game progresses, more environments become accessible. The linear 3D games, Galaxy, Galaxy 2, 3D Land and 3D World, feature more fixed camera angles and a predetermined path to a single goal.
Most items in the Super Mario series appear from item blocks when hit, which originated in Super Mario Bros. and persisted throughout the series, where Mario hits a block to receive either coins or power-ups.
Mushroom power-ups appear in almost every Super Mario game. The most iconic of these is the Super Mushroom. The Super Mushroom increases Mario's size, turning him into "Super Mario", and allows him to break certain blocks. When hit by an enemy, Mario reverts to his smaller size instead of losing a life. When Mario is in his "Super" form, most blocks that would contain a Super Mushroom instead offer a more powerful power-up such as the Fire Flower. The Super Mushroom is similar in appearance to the Amanita muscaria, with an ivory stalk below a most commonly red and white (originally red and orange) spotted cap. Created by chance, Shigeru Miyamoto stated in an interview that beta tests of Super Mario Bros. proved Mario too tall, so the development team implemented mushrooms to grow and shrink Mario.
The Poison Mushroom, first introduced in the Japanese Super Mario Bros. 2, is a mushroom that causes damage when touched.
The Mini Mushroom is a small blue mushroom, a recurring item in the New Super Mario Bros. series, which shrinks Mario into miniature size, allowing him to access areas and pipes that Mario normally cannot reach. Mini Mario also jumps higher, floats midair, bounces off enemies without hurting them except by ground pounding, and can run across the surface of the water and then jump from it as if he was on land. Mario is more vulnerable in this form and loses a life upon receiving one hit in miniature form. The Mini Mushroom in New Super Mario Bros. U allows Mario to run up walls.
The Mega Mushroom, introduced in New Super Mario Bros. and further appearing in New Super Mario Bros. 2 and Super Mario 3D World, is a more recent addition to the series that grows Mario into a towering, invulnerable giant who destroys enemies and the environment by running through them. It has an orange-yellow cap with red spots, like the Super Mario Bros. Super Mushroom, but with an inflated cap. Super Mario 64 DS features an item simply called "Mushroom" that grants the same abilities as the Mega Mushroom.
In the Super Mario Galaxy franchise, the Bee Mushroom gives Mario the Bee Suit, and the Spring Mushroom puts Mario inside a metallic coil.
The 1-Up is when a video game awards the player an extra life. The 1-Up mushroom was introduced in Super Mario Bros., sometimes hidden in invisible blocks, and having an orange cap with green spots. In Super Mario Land and Super Mario Land 2, the 1-Up is shown as a heart. Super Mario World introduced the 3-Up Moon. 1-Ups can also be earned through collecting a certain number of coins or playing minigames.
The flower power-ups let Mario shoot projectiles. The Fire Flower, introduced in Super Mario Bros., transforms Mario into Fire Mario, who can throw bouncing fireballs at enemies. Super Mario Galaxy is the first 3D Mario platform game to have the Fire Flower. In Super Mario Land and Super Mario Maker 2, the Superball is a bouncing ball obtained from a Super Flower, which Mario can use to defeat enemies and collect coins. The Ice Flower transforms Mario into Ice Mario, where he can shoot balls of ice as projectiles similar to that of the Fire Flower; it freezes enemies in a block of ice, to be used as platforms or as thrown projectiles, as seen in New Super Mario Bros. Wii and New Super Mario Bros. U. In Super Mario Galaxy, the Ice Flower turns Mario into ice and lets him walk on lava or water for a limited time by freezing the surface. Lastly, New Super Mario Bros. 2's Gold Flower lets Mario turn bricks into coins and earn bonus coins for defeating enemies.
Invincibility is an effect first appearing in the three Super Mario Bros. games, where it is granted by a "Starman", an anthropomorphized, flashing star. The star has also been named the "Super Star" in the two Super Mario World games as well as the New Super Mario Bros. games and the "Rainbow Star" in the two Super Mario Galaxy games. Picking up the star makes Mario temporarily invincible, able to resist any harm. Use of the item is accompanied by a distinctive music track that appears consistently across most of the games. The player character flickers a variety of colors — and in some games, moves with increased speed and enhanced jumping ability — while under the Star's influence. While invincible, Mario defeats any enemy upon contact with it. In Super Mario World 2: Yoshi's Island, the star gives the normally immobile baby Mario the ability to run as well as become invincible. In Super Mario 64, invincibility is provided when Mario wears the metal cap or the vanish cap. The Mega Mushroom provides temporary invincibility with the addition of giant size and environment destruction (see Mushrooms).
The games often feature collectibles found in levels in order to progress in the overworld, most frequently with the visual motif of a star. They are typically situated in locations that are not readily found or reached, or awarded for completing stunts, or objectives given by NPCs. They include the Power Stars in Super Mario 64 and the Super Mario Galaxy games, Shine Sprites in Super Mario Sunshine, Star Coins in the New Super Mario Bros. series and Super Mario 3D Land, Green Stars in the Galaxy games and Super Mario 3D World, and Power Moons in Super Mario Odyssey. In Super Mario Land 2, there are six Golden Coin tokens that must be collected to finish the game.
Flight is a common theme throughout the series, first enabled with the magic carpet item in the international Super Mario Bros. 2. The Super Leaf and Tanooki Suit items, first appearing in Super Mario Bros. 3 provide Mario with an animal-suited tail, which in turn acts as a flight propeller. The Tanooki Suit returns in Super Mario 3D Land, and the Super Leaf returns in New Super Mario Bros. 2 and the Super Mario Maker series. In the New Super Mario Bros. series and Super Mario Maker series, the Propeller Block and the Propeller Mushroom let Mario spin up into the air and slowly descend. In Super Mario Land, Mario pilots a yellow airplane with unlimited ammunition called the Sky Pop. Super Mario World introduces various forms of flight: the feather item provides a cape, the P Balloon puffs Mario into a floating balloon figure, and Yoshi can carry a blue Koopa shell which gives him wings. In Super Mario 64, flight that is granted by a Wing Cap. In New Super Mario Bros. U, Mario can use the Flying Squirrel Suit to gain limited flight and gliding capabilities; can use a supercharged version of the Flying Squirrel Suit, the P-Acorn, to fly indefinitely; and can also command a pink Baby Yoshi to puff up into the form of a floating balloon. In Super Mario Galaxy, Mario can obtain a special red star that transforms him into Flying Mario for a limited time. Lakitu's cloud can be commandeered in several of the side-scrolling games.
Several suits work as power-ups, many of which are based on animals. Debuting in Super Mario Bros. 3, the Raccoon Suit (provisioned by a Super Leaf) and the Tanooki Suit each provide Mario with a tail which acts as a flight propeller. In addition, the Tanooki Suit lets Mario spontaneously change into an invincible statue for about five seconds. In Super Mario 3D Land, the Raccoon Suit reappears and is accompanied by a silver-colored variation called a Statue Leaf.Super Mario Bros. 3 includes a Hammer Bros. suit, which allows Mario to throw hammers as projectiles to defeat enemies at a distance, imitating the enemy of the same name. While wearing the suit and ducking, Mario is invulnerable to fire attacks. Super Mario 3D Land features a "Boomerang Suit" which provisions long-distance boomerang projectiles. Other animal suits include the Frog Suit, Penguin Suit, Cat Suit and Bee Suit.
Super Mario level design traditionally incorporates many distributed coins as puzzles and rewards. Most Super Mario games award the player an extra life once a certain amount of gold coins are collected, commonly 50 or 100. Several coin variants exist, such as silver coins, dragon coins, star coins, and more.
In Super Mario 64, Super Mario Sunshine, Super Mario Galaxy, and Super Mario Galaxy 2, coins replenish health (and air, when Mario is underwater). In Super Mario 64 and Super Mario Sunshine, collecting 100 coins in a level results in a Power Star or Shine Sprite respectively. There are also stages in that game reward a Power Star for collecting eight red coins in a level, worth two normal coins each. In Super Mario 64, a blue coin is worth five normal coins. In Super Mario Sunshine, blue coins act as a side quest when brought to the Delfino Bank and for every ten blue coins deposited, Mario will earn a Shine Sprite.
In the Super Mario Galaxy series, after finishing each game once, stages unlock where Mario can collect 100 purple coins to earn a Power Star. In Super Mario Galaxy 2, they can also be used to feed some hungry "Luma" characters that can turn into either an item or another planet.
The series often features the option to play as characters other than Mario, usually Luigi. Earlier games have offered an alternating multiplayer mode in which the second player controls Luigi on their turn. Luigi is often only playable by player one in a second, more challenging iteration of the base game, such as in The Lost Levels, Galaxy 2, New Super Luigi U and the special worlds in 3D Land; these feature lower gravity and reduced friction for Luigi. Later games allow four player simultaneous play. Playable characters other than Mario and Luigi have included Toads, Peach, Yoshi, Wario, Rosalina, Miis, Toadette, Nabbit, Daisy, and Bowser Jr. Characters are sometimes differentiated by special abilities. Super Mario Maker (though not Super Mario Maker 2) includes costumes that depict many more characters.
Warp Pipes and Warp Cannons
See also: Warp (gaming)
The Warp Pipe is a common method of transportation used in many of the Mario series games. Warp Pipes are most often green but also appear in other colors (early games included silver pipes, newer games have introduced red, green, blue and yellow pipes), and have many uses in the series. Warp Pipes can also contain enemies, usually Piranha Plants, and sometimes launch the player into the air (most commonly seen in the New Super Mario Bros. series). In early Mario games such as Super Mario Bros., special, well-hidden areas known as Warp Zones contain pipes that allow players to skip several worlds (handfuls of levels) at once. In the New Super Mario Bros. series, pipe-shaped Warp Cannons work similarly to the Warp Zones of the earlier games and are unlocked by finding secret exits in levels. Cannons appear in most of the 3D games in the series starting with Super Mario 64. Mario uses the cannon by jumping into the barrel, aiming himself and being fired at a distant target. This allows Mario to progress through a level or reach otherwise inaccessible areas.
Mario's dinosaur friend Yoshi has appeared as a mount to the player character in several Super Mario games since Super Mario World. In the sequel, Super Mario World 2: Yoshi's Island, a tribe of Yoshis finds Baby Mario and helps him to save Baby Luigi. In this game and Super Mario 64 DS, instead of the player merely riding on Yoshi's back, Yoshi is the player character. Yoshis generally have abilities including eating enemies, flying, and breathing fire. Miyamoto had originally wished for Mario to be able to ride a dinosaur in Super Mario Bros., but this wasn't possible due to the technical restraints of the system.
Super Mario is one of the best-selling video game franchises, having sold more than 380 million units worldwide as of 2021[update].
Games in the Super Mario series have had consistently strong sales, ranking among the best-selling video games of all time. Super Mario Bros. sold more than 50 million units worldwide sold across multiple platforms by 1996. The original NES version sold 40.23 million units and is the best-selling NES game, with its two sequels, Super Mario Bros. 3 (18 million copies) and Super Mario Bros. 2 (10 million copies), ranking in second and third place respectively.Super Mario World is the best-selling game for the SNES console, selling 20 million copies. Super Mario World is also the seventh best-selling game of all time. Super Mario 64 sold the most copies for the Nintendo 64 (11 million), whereas Super Mario Sunshine is the second best-selling game (5.5 million) on the GameCube (second to Super Smash Bros. Melee). Super Mario Galaxy has sold 12.80 million units as of March 2020[update], which was the best-selling 3D game in the series until 2019, and is the ninth best-selling game for the Wii. Its sequel Super Mario Galaxy 2 has 7.41 million units sold, placing in twelfth.Super Mario Odyssey has 18.06 million units sold as of June 2020, making it the best-selling 3D game in the series to date, and among the best-selling games for theNintendo Switch.New Super Mario Bros. Wii has sold 30.32 million copies worldwide, the fourth best-selling game on the Wii, as well as one of the best-selling video games of all time.
The Super Mario series also sold well on handheld consoles. Super Mario Land has sold 18.14 million copies, and is the fourth best-selling game for the Game Boy. Its sequel, Super Mario Land 2: 6 Golden Coins, sold 2.7 million copies, placing sixth. New Super Mario Bros. for the Nintendo DS sold 30.80 million units, making it the best-selling game for the console, and the best-selling portable entry.
For all console and handheld games that have not been bundled with a console, Super Mario Bros. 3 is the fourth best-selling game, whereas New Super Mario Bros. is fifth, Super Mario Land is eleventh, and Super Mario 64 is eighteenth.
The Super Mario series has seen tremendous critical acclaim from both critics and audiences. The series was ranked as the best game franchise by IGN in 2006. In 1996 Next Generation ranked the series as number 5 on their "Top 100 Games of All Time",[e] additionally ranking Super Mario 64 at number 1 although stating the rule that series of games be confined to a single entry. In 1999, Next Generation listed the Mario series as number 3 on their "Top 50 Games of All Time", commenting that, "The depth of the game design was never matched in 2D and has yet to be equaled by a 3D action performer. The gameplay is simply genius - Shigeru Miyamoto wrote the book on platformers."Electronic Gaming Monthly attributed the series' excellence to the developers' tireless creativity and innovation, pointing out that "Sega's Sonic the Hedgehog series changed very little in its four installments on the Genesis. The Mario series has changed significantly with each new game."
The original Super Mario Bros. was awarded the top spot on Electronic Gaming Monthly's greatest 200 games of their time list and IGN's top 100 games of all-time list twice (in 2005 and 2007).Super Mario Bros. popularized side-scrolling video games and provided the basic concept and mechanics that persisted throughout the rest of the series. Super Mario Bros. sold 40.24 million copies, making it the best-selling video game of the whole series. Various other video games of the series were ranked as the best within the series. Games included are Super Mario Bros. 3,Super Mario World and Super Mario 64 to name a few. Before Super Mario Odyssey, Super Mario Galaxy has been for 10 years the best-ranked game on GameRankings.
- ^Japanese: スーパーマリオ, Hepburn: Sūpā Mario
- ^Japanese: スーパーマリオブラザーズ, Hepburn: Sūpā Mario Burazāzu
- ^Japanese: マリオ
- ^Not included in original version of All-Stars.
- ^The entry name is "Mario (series)", but the description as a "side-scrolling platformer" makes it clear that Next Generation meant the Super Mario series specifically.
This article incorporates text available under the CC BY-SA 3.0 license.
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