Mario (franchise)

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For the complete list of video games where Mario appears, see List of video games featuring Mario.
Mario emblem.svg
The emblem of Mario's hat as commonly used in the series
Developers Nintendo
Publishers Nintendo
Creators Shigeru Miyamoto
Platform of origin Arcade
Year of inception 1981
First release Donkey Kong
July 9, 1981
Latest release Paper Mario: Color Splash
Otcober 7, 2016

The Mario franchise (Japanese: マリオフランチャイズ Hepburn: Mario furanchaizu?) is a media franchise consisting of video games published and produced by Nintendo starring the fictional Italian character Mario. The franchise's other forms of media include several television series and a feature film. It was originally created by game designer Shigeru Miyamoto with the arcade Donkey Kong, released on July 9, 1981. The games have been developed by a variety of developers including Nintendo, Hudson Soft, and AlphaDream. Most Mario games have either been released for the arcade or Nintendo video game consoles and handhelds dating from the Nintendo Entertainment System to the current generation of video game consoles.

The main series in the franchise is the Super Mario platform series, which mostly follows Mario's adventures in the fictional world of the Mushroom Kingdom. These games typically rely on Mario's jumping ability to allow him to progress through levels. Analysts suggest that by 2012, the Mario franchise was valued at over $10 billion. The franchise has spawned over 200 games of various genre. The entire franchise, including series such as Super Mario, Mario Kart, Party, Tennis, and Golf, have sold more than 500,000,000 copies, making it the best-selling video game franchise of all time.

Common elements[edit]

The object 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 had instalments featuring both two- and three-dimensional gameplay.

In the 2D Super Mario 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.[1] Super Mario World introduced levels with multiple exits. The gameplay of the 2D games is recreated by the New Super Mario Bros. sub-series.

Levels in 3D games are less linear, allowing the player to walk around freely, and close quarters fights are incorporated. As the game progresses, more areas become accessible.[2] Each 3D level is an enclosed world in which the player is free to wander in all directions and discover the environment and gather Power Stars or Shine Sprites to open more areas of the overworld.


Originally named "Jumpman", Mario has been defined by his jumping abilities since his early platform games. The ability evolved throughout the series, starting with the introduction of supercharged jumps in the international Super Mario Bros. 2 and the spin jump (a jump letting Mario spin while jumping to defeat enemies) in Super Mario World. Super Mario 64 introduced jumps such as the triple jump, wall kick, backflip, and long jump — some of which would be featured in later games, including the New Super Mario Bros. sub-series.


Most items in the Super Mario series appear from item blocks, which originated in Super Mario Bros. and persist throughout the series, where Mario hits a block to receive either coins or power-ups.


UGO described the Super Mushroom as "the quintessential power-up".[3]

Mushroom power-ups appear in almost every Super Mario game. The most iconic of these is the Super Mushroom,.[3][4] 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.[3] 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.[5]

The Poison Mushroom, first introduced in the Japanese Super Mario Bros. 2, is a dark blue-capped mushroom that has the same effect as getting hit by an enemy or spike when touched. In later games, the Poison Mushroom looks almost exactly like the Super Mushroom with a red cap, but has a meaner-looking face.

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 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 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 lets Mario run up walls.[6]

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"[7] that grants the same abilities as the Mega Mushroom while accompanied by the same music.

In the Super Mario Galaxy franchise, the Bee Mushroom gives Mario the Bee Suit, and the Spring Mushroom puts Mario inside a metallic coil.

A 1-up Mushroom.

1-Up is a common item shown as a green and white mushroom, its appearance similar to the Super Mushroom's, which gives Mario an extra life. They were introduced in Super Mario Bros., sometimes hidden in invisible item blocks, and typically displayed as orange caps with green spots. In the 3D games, 1-Ups will sometimes appear when walking in particular areas. 1-Ups can take other forms, such as the 3-Up Moon from Super Mario World and New Super Mario Bros. U.

Projectile flowers[edit]

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 was the first 3D Mario platformer game to have the Fire Flower. In Super Mario Land, the Superball is a handheld bouncing ball provisioned by 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.[8] In Super Mario Galaxy, this item turns Mario into ice and lets him walk on lava or water for a limited time by freezing the surface. In New Super Mario Bros. Wii and New Super Mario Bros. U, it instead allows Mario to throw ice projectiles that freeze enemies inside an ice cube, rendering them immobile. Mario then has the option of picking up this resulting ice cube, for use as a projectile. 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",[9][10][11] an anthropomorphized, flashing star. The star has also been named the "Super Star" in the two Super Mario World games [12][13] 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 titles, moves with increased speed and enhanced jumping ability — while under the Star's influence. While invincible, Mario kills 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, although enemies are not defeated on contact. The Mega Mushroom provides invincibility with the addition of giant size and environment destruction (see Mushrooms).

Power Stars and course tokens[edit]

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 Star 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, and Green Stars in the Galaxy games and Super Mario 3D World. 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. In the New Super Mario Bros. games, the Spin 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 is granted by a Winged Cap. In New Super Mario Bros. U, Mario has limited flight and gliding capabilities in a Flying Squirrel suit 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.

Power-up suits[edit]

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.[14] Super Mario Bros. 3 includes a Hammer Bros. suit, which allows Mario to throw hammers as projectiles, to defeat enemies at a distance. 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, Tanooki 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 yellow 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.

In Super Mario Galaxy and Super Mario Galaxy 2, after finishing each game once, stages unlock where Mario can collect a certain amount of purple coins to earn a Power Star. In Super Mario Galaxy 2, they can also be used to feed some hungry Lumas so that it can turn into either an item or another planet.

Warp Pipes and Warp Cannons[edit]

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 New Super Mario Bros.). 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.[15] 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 an otherwise inaccessible area.


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, it is revealed that a tribe of Yoshi had found Mario and helped 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 varying 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.

Plot and themes[edit]

The plot of the Mario series varies, but it usually involves Mario, the series protagonist, and his brother, Luigi, and their friends saving Princess Peach from Bowser and his army, the Koopa Troops.


The Mario series has an extensive cast of recurring characters. Among the most frequently recurring and significant ones are protagonist Mario, his antagonist Bowser, his brother Luigi, the Princess of the Mushroom Kingdom Peach, his sidekick and mount Yoshi, and his antihero doppelganger Wario.

Video games[edit]


Donkey Kong[edit]

Donkey Kong arcade cabinet.

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 the Lady/Pauline); and completing other tasks. The game was surprisingly successful.[16] "Jumpman" was called "Mario" in certain promotional materials for the game's release overseas;[17][18] 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.[19][20] 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. Donkey Kong has established his own unique franchise outside the Mario universe, starting with Donkey Kong Country and has spawned many sequels and spin-offs (such as Diddy Kong Racing).

Mario Bros.[edit]

Main article: Mario Bros.

The Mario branding was used for the first time in a later arcade game, Mario Bros., which introduced Mario's brother, Luigi. 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.[21][22] 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.[22] 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 & Watch[edit]

Nintendo has released several Mario and Donkey Kong LCD video games for the Game & Watch console. 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[edit]

Main article: Super Mario
The Super Mario series logo.

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. 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.

In 2006 a retro throwback sub-series called New Super Mario Bros. was inaugurated on the Nintendo DS and has 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.

Puzzle games[edit]

Dr. Mario series[edit]

The Dr. Mario series logo.

Dr. Mario (ドクターマリオ Dokutā Mario?) (stylized as D℞. Mario) is a series of arcade-style action 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.[23][24] In the Dr. Mario series, the player character Mario, 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[edit]

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.

Racing games[edit]

Mario Kart series[edit]

Main article: Mario Kart
The Mario Kart series logo.

Mario Kart (マリオカート Mario Kāto?) 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.[25] 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 Shells to be thrown at opponents, and banana peels that can be laid on the track as hazards.[26]

There have been five Mario Kart games released for home consoles, three portable games, and three Namco co-developed arcade spin-off games, for a total of eleven. 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.[26] In 1996, Mario Kart 64 for the Nintendo 64 introduced 4-player racing and 3D graphics.[26] 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 GameCube introduced co-operative LAN multiplayer and two-player karts.[26] In 2005, Mario Kart DS for the Nintendo DS introduced dual-screen play and online multiplayer via Wi-Fi. In 2008, Mario Kart Wii for the Wii introduced motion controls, 12-player racing, motorbikes and playable Mii characters.[27] 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.[26] 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.

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 100 million copies worldwide.[28]

Role-playing games[edit]

The first role-playing game in the Mario franchise was Super Mario RPG. It has since expanded to the Paper Mario and Mario & Luigi series.

Paper Mario series[edit]

The Paper Mario series logo.

Paper Mario (ペーパーマリオ Pēpā Mario?) is a 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.[29][30] In the Paper Mario series, the player controls Paper Mario in a mixture of 3D environments and 2D characters who look as if they are made of paper. 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.[31] These characters assist Paper Mario in the game's turn-based battles. Damage inflicted to the player reduces the amount of HP.[32] 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.[29] Paper 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.[32][33] [33][34] 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.[33] 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 Paper Mario can only equip a limited number of badges at a time.[29]

There have been 4 Paper Mario games released for home consoles and 2 portable games. 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 Paper Mario turning into and folding up into a paper airplane and a 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 Paper Mario in a 3D environment. In 2012, Sticker Star for the Nintendo 3DS introduced the use 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 introduced a crossover game, where (3D) Luigi knocks over a book and unleashed the paper characters (applicable only to Sticker Star-beyond). 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 Sticker Star.[35][36]

  • Paper Mario (originally Super Mario RPG 2, a sequel to Legend of the Seven Stars)
  • The Thousand-Year Door (originally Paper Mario 2)
  • Super Paper Mario
  • Sticker Star
  • Mario & Luigi: Paper Jam (A Mario & Luigi crossover)
  • Color Splash

Mario & Luigi series[edit]

The Mario & Luigi series began with the release of Superstar Saga for the Game Boy Advance in 2003. In 2005, Partners in Time for the Nintendo DS introduced their younger selves: Baby Mario, Baby Luigi, Baby Toadsworth, 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 2013, Dream Team for the Nintendo 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 introduced a crossover game, where Luigi knocks over a book and unleashed the paper characters of the Paper Mario world.

  • Superstar Saga
  • Partners in Time
  • Bowser's Inside Story
  • Dream Team
  • Paper Jam (A Paper Mario crossover)

Mario Party series[edit]

Main article: Mario Party
The Mario Party series logo.

In 1999, the Hudson game Mario Party was released for the Nintendo 64. Following this, 9 numbered sequels have since been released, along with Mario Party Advance, DS, Island Tour, and Star Rush. 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.

Sports games[edit]

There have been numerous sports games in the Mario franchise.

Mario Tennis series[edit]

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 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, and Ultra Smash for the Wii U.

Mario Golf series[edit]

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 N64 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.

Mario Baseball series[edit]

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[edit]

The game of soccer was introduced in one of the minigames in Mario Party 4. The Mario Strikers series (Mario Football in Europe) made its debut for the GameCube with Next Level Games as the developer for the series.

Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games series[edit]

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 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, Rio 2016 Olympic Games for the Wii U, Nintendo 3DS and Arcade in 2016.

Mario vs. Donkey Kong series[edit]

Main article: Mario vs. Donkey Kong

Mario vs. Donkey Kong (Japanese: マリオVSドンキーコング Hepburn: Mario tai Donkī Kongu?) 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.

Educational games[edit]

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 not officially recognized by Nintendo, despite being officially licensed. The games were developed independently by Software Toolworks, Interplay and Brainstorm. Nine educational games were released from 1991 to 1996.

Games not developed by Nintendo[edit]

This section covers games developed by other companies without Nintendo involvement. These games are not officially recognized by Nintendo despite being officially licensed.


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, but as of March 2012 this has been taken over by Nd Cube since Hudson has become a part of Konami.[37] 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).[38] Hotel Mario did not gain much success, with Nintendo rarely acknowledging it as part of the Mario series.[39][40]

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.[citation needed]

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 criticised as one of the worst Mario-centred games, mainly because of its cutscenes and simple gameplay.[41][42]


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.

Other media[edit]

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 Vol. 3. The series launched two films, the anime Super 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.[43]


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 1989/1990. 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. 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 Japanese 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 Famicom video game, in which they must save Princess Peach from 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.[44]


Super Mario Bros. is an American 1993 adventure family comedy 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.[43] On the television show Siskel & Ebert, the film received two thumbs down and was written off as a box office flop.[45]

Bowser and the Super Mushroom had a cameo in the 2012 Disney film Wreck-It Ralph. Mario was mentioned but not seen in the film.

In December 2014, it was confirmed that Sony Pictures had made a deal with Nintendo to create an animated remake film based on the Mario franchise.[46]

Comics and manga[edit]

Super Mario-kun (スーパーマリオくん Sūpā Mario-kun?) is a manga series written by Yukio Sawada (沢田ユキオ Sawada Yukio) 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 (嵩瀬ひろし Takase Hiroshi) and published by PikkaPika Comics that is, somewhat confusedly, also called Super Mario-kun (スーパーマリオくん Sūpā Mario-kun?). 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 (SUPER MARIO ADVENTURES マリオの大冒険 Mario no daibōken[47]?) 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, but it was turned down.[48]


A Mario themed Nintendo DS Lite.

Mario has appeared on lunch boxes, T-shirts, magazines, commercials (notably, in a Got Milk? commercial),[49] in candy form, on shampoo bottles, cereal, badges, and as a plush toy.[50] A Monopoly board game based on the Mario franchise has been confirmed by the website USAopoly.[51]

Concerts and performances[edit]

The Super Mario Bros. theme has been featured in many concerts, including "PLAY! Chicago",[52] the Columbus Symphony Orchestra,[53] the Mario & Zelda Big Band Live,[54] Play! A Video Game Symphony,[55] and others.

The Video Games Live concert featured the theme performed by Koji Kondo.[56]


The Mario series has received widespread acclaim and is considered one of the greatest game series ever. Super Mario Bros. currently has an 85% for NES, 80% on GBA, and 92% on Game Boy Color, according to GameRankings.

Impact and legacy[edit]

Mario has been featured in 200 games of various genres (including sports, puzzle, party, racing and even first-person shooter), and the Mario franchise is the best-selling video game franchise of all time.[57] 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 262 million units worldwide,[58] as well as the Mario Kart series which sold 78 million units,[59] the Mario Party series which sold over 32 million units,[60] Donkey Kong which sold over 125,000 arcade machines[61] and six million Coleco cartridges,[62] and Mario Bros. which sold 1.72 million Famicom cartridges.[63]

Mario's legacy is recognized by Guinness World Records, who awarded the Nintendo Mascot, and the series of platform games he has appeared in, 7 world records in the Guinness World Records: Gamer's Edition 2008. These records include "Best Selling Video Game Series of All Time", "First Movie Based on an Existing Video Game", and "Most Prolific Video Game Character", with Mario appearing in 116 distinct titles (not including remakes or re-releases). The Mario series is one of the most acclaimed series of all time. The highest rated title is Super Mario Galaxy with a 97% approval rating on; the lowest, recognized by Guinness World Records, is Mario Party Advance, with a 56% approval rating. The series has been referenced and parodied in a numerous media, with references in games such as Minecraft, Super Meat Boy, Call of Duty, and Just Dance 3. References to the franchise have also been made in television, including The Simpsons, Family Guy, and Tosh.0.

See also[edit]


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External links[edit]