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Super Mario (Japanese: スーパーマリオ Hepburn: Sūpā Mario) is a series of platform video games created by Nintendo featuring their mascot, Mario. Alternatively called the Super Mario Bros. (スーパーマリオブラザーズ Sūpā Mario Burazāzu) series or simply the Mario (マリオ) 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 and handheld.
The Super Mario games follow Mario’s adventures, typically in the fictional Mushroom Kingdom with Mario as the player character. He is usually joined by his brother, Luigi, and occasionally by other members of the Mario cast. As in platform video games, the player runs and jumps across platforms and atop enemies in themed levels. The games have simple plots, typically with Mario rescuing the kidnapped Princess Peach from the primary antagonist, Bowser. The first title in the series, Super Mario Bros., released for the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) in 1985, established gameplay concepts and elements prevalent in nearly every Super Mario game since. These include a multitude of power-ups and items that give Mario special magic powers such as fireball-throwing and size-changing into giant and miniature sizes.
The Super Mario series is part of the greater Mario franchise. This includes other video game genres as well as media such as film, television, printed media and merchandise. Over 310 million copies of games in the Super Mario series have been sold worldwide, as of September 2015, making it the best-selling video game series in history.
Super Mario Bros.
Main article: Super Mario Bros.
Super Mario Bros. was released for the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) and is the first side-scrolling 2D platform game to feature Mario. It established many core Mario gameplay concepts. The brothers Mario and Luigi live in the Mushroom Kingdom, where they must rescue Princess Toadstool (later called Princess Peach) from Bowser. The game consists of eight worlds, each with four sub-levels. Though the worlds differ in themes, the fourth sub-level is always a fortress or castle that ends with a fight against Bowser (or one of his minions disguised as him). The game was successful, and is one of the best-selling video games of all time.
Super Mario Bros.: The Lost Levels
Main article: Super Mario Bros.: The Lost Levels
Super Mario Bros.: The Lost Levels is the sequel to the original Super Mario Bros. and was released as Super Mario Bros. 2 in Japan. It uses the original 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 each with four levels. The last levels of the eight worlds is a lava-filled castle that culminates in a battle against Bowser. This sequel was not released outside Japan in this time period, because Nintendo of America did not want the Mario series to be known for frustrating difficulty, to be inaccessible to a steadily broadening market of American video game players, nor to be 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 titled Super Mario All-Stars for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System (SNES). The original Famicom version was released for the Wii’s Virtual Console service in September 2007, listed as “Super Mario Bros.: The Lost Levels” outside Japan. A later Super Mario All-Stars Wii port, titled Super Mario All-Stars 25th Anniversary Edition, features the SNES gameplay and adds Wii Remote, Classic Controller, and GameCube controller compatibility.
Super Mario Bros. 2
Main article: Super Mario Bros. 2
Super Mario Bros. 2 was known in Japan as Super Mario USA. In it, Mario and his companions are out to stop the evil frog Wart in the Subcon dreamland. Based on a discarded prototype which had been intended to become the Super Mario Bros. sequel, the game was instead originally released as Yume Kōjō: Doki Doki Panic in Japan, and was ultimately converted back into a Mario game for the rest of the world as Super Mario Bros. 2, before being named in Japan as Super Mario USA as part of Super Mario All-Stars. One of the game’s most defining aspects is the ability to 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 and the other playable characters to be hit up to four times before dying.
Super Mario Bros. 3
Main article: Super Mario Bros. 3
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. A world’s final level is a boss stage. The penultimate boss stage 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. Bowser is again the final boss.
Super Mario Land
Main article: Super Mario Land
Super Mario Land was the first handheld Super Mario title after the Game & Watch port 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 by defeating the a mysterious spaceman named Tatanga. The game consists of twelve levels split across four worlds.
Super Mario World
Main article: Super Mario World
Super Mario World was released for the SNES and consists of nine worlds displayed via a world map overworld. Most of the 72 levels have one exit, though some have hidden second 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 returning Super Mushroom, Fire Flower and Super Star, and the new Cape Feather, based on Super Mario Bros. 3’s Super Leaf, which lets Mario and Luigi fly with a cape.
Super Mario Land 2: 6 Golden Coins
Main article: Super Mario Land 2: 6 Golden Coins
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 to reclaim his castle. While its predecessor is similar to the original Super Mario Bros., Super Mario Land 2 has more in common with later games. The player is no longer restricted to 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 would retroactively become the first of a spin-off series, Wario Land.
Super Mario World 2: Yoshi’s Island
Main article: Super Mario World 2: Yoshi’s Island
Super Mario World 2: Yoshi’s Island is considered by Miyamoto to be part of the Super Mario series with its sequels forming a spin-off series. In the game, Yoshi carries Baby Mario across Yoshi’s Island to find Luigi. It is considered a prequel to all other Super Mario games, portraying the birth of the Mario Bros. The primary goal is delivering Baby Mario safely to the end of each level, where he is transferred to the back of another Yoshi, who does the same. When Yoshi is struck by an enemy, Baby Mario is ejected from Yoshi’s back and floats around in a bubble while crying as a timer counts down until Yoshi pops the bubble. If the time counts down to zero, Baby Bowser’s minions fly on screen and kidnap Baby Mario, resetting the level. The game has a childlike aesthetic, with environments stylised like crayon drawings. Yoshi’s Island has received sequels that have spun off from the Super Mario series, including Yoshi’s Story, Yoshi’s Island DS, and Yoshi’s New Island.
Super Mario 64
Main article: Super Mario 64
Super Mario 64 was the first 3D and open world game in the series, and a launch title for the Nintendo 64 home console. Each level, or course, is an enclosed environment where the player is free to explore in all directions without time limits. The player collects Power Stars that appear after completing tasks 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, and collect up to 120 Power Stars from the paintings and return them to her castle, the overworld. There are a total of 105 Power Stars in the paintings, with 15 hidden in the castle. The game’s power-ups differ from previous games, instead as 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.
Super Mario Sunshine
Main article: Super Mario Sunshine
Super Mario Sunshine, the second 3D Super Mario title, was released on the GameCube. In it, Mario and Peach travel to Isle Delfino for a vacation when a Mario doppelgänger appears and vandalizes the entire island. Mario is sentenced to clean the island with a water-squirting accessory, F.L.U.D.D. Super Mario Sunshine shares many similar gameplay elements with its predecessor, Super Mario 64, but also introduces moves, like spinning while jumping, and 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 unlock levels in Delfino Plaza by way of abilities and plot-related events. Sunshine introduces Bowser’s only child, Bowser Jr. as an antagonist. Yoshi also appears again for Mario to ride in certain sections.
New Super Mario Bros.
Main article: New Super Mario Bros.
New Super Mario Bros. was released on the Nintendo DS. In it, Mario and Luigi set out to save 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 that of Super Mario Bros. 3 and Super Mario World. 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. The Mega Mushroom briefly turns Mario (or Luigi) into an invincible giant that destroys everything in his path, the Blue Shell protects Mario from harm and allows him to slide (depending on speed), and the Mini Mushroom shrinks Mario to very small size, which allows him to fit through tight spaces.
Super Mario Galaxy
Main article: Super Mario Galaxy
Super Mario Galaxy is set in outer space, where Mario travels between “galaxies” to collect Power Stars, earned by completing quests or defeating enemies. 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 in which the player’s movements are restricted to a 2D axis. Several new power-ups appear, and many of these return in its sequel, Super Mario Galaxy 2.
New Super Mario Bros. Wii
Main article: New Super Mario Bros. Wii
In New Super Mario Bros. Wii, Peach is captured by Bowser Jr. and the Koopalings during her birthday party in her castle, and Mario, Luigi, and two Toads (blue and yellow) spring into action to save her. The game features 4-player co-op and new power-ups: the Propeller Mushroom, the Ice Flower, and the Penguin Suit. The Propeller Mushroom launches the player into the air by shaking the Wii Remote. The Penguin Suit enhances traction of sliding and speed and agility of swimming abilities, in addition to the ice ball projectiles that are provisioned by the Ice Flower. Players can ride Yoshi. Like in its predecessor, there are three hidden Star Coins to find in each level, which can be used to unlock movies with gameplay tips. It was released in November 2009 and was a commercial success and won several awards.
Super Mario Galaxy 2
Main article: Super Mario Galaxy 2
Super Mario Galaxy 2, the sequel to Super Mario Galaxy, was initially developed as an expansion pack to the latter, although was eventually developed into its own game, being released on May 23, 2010. It retains the basic premise of its predecessor, and includes 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. Also, Mario can ride Yoshi. It was released to widespread critical acclaim.
Super Mario 3D Land
Main article: Super Mario 3D Land
Super Mario 3D Land was released for the Nintendo 3DS in November and December 2011. It is the first original 3D Super Mario title on a handheld console. It was an attempt to translate the gameplay of the 2D games into a 3D environment, by simplifying the control scheme of the 3D games and using more linear levels. It also brought back several older gameplay features, including the Super Leaf power-up last seen in Super Mario Bros. 3. It was released to critical acclaim.
New Super Mario Bros. 2
Main article: New Super Mario Bros. 2
New Super Mario Bros. 2, the direct sequel of New Super Mario Bros., released in July and August 2012 for the Nintendo 3DS. The player, as Mario or Luigi, must save Princess Peach from Bowser and the Koopalings, with the game’s secondary goal is 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
Main article: New Super Mario Bros. U
New Super Mario Bros. U, the Wii U follow-up to New Super Mario Bros. Wii, was released on November 18, 2012 in North America. It plays similarly to the previous New Super Mario Bros. titles, and 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. On June 20, 2013, New Super Luigi U was released as a downloadable content (DLC) package for the game, featuring shorter but more difficult levels, starring Luigi. It was subsequently released as a standalone retail game on August 25, 2013 in North America. Unlike the downloadable content version, the standalone retail version of New Super Luigi U does not require having New Super Mario Bros. U to play it.
Super Mario 3D World
Main article: Super Mario 3D World
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 utilised the same gameplay mechanics. It introduced three power-ups, the Super Bell (which turns the characters into cats to attack and scale walls), Lucky Bell, and Double Cherry (which creates a clone of the character that collects it). 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.
Super Mario Maker
Main article: Super Mario Maker
Super Mario Maker is a video game creation tool released for the Wii U in September 2015 and 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 share their creations online. Despite being 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 Run
Main article: Super Mario Run
Super Mario Run is a side-scrolling and auto-scrolling video game released in December 2016 for the iOS platform and March 2017 for Android. It marks the first Mario game to be developed for mobile devices, and featured simplified controls, to the point that it was promoted as being playable with only one hand.
Super Mario Odyssey
Main article: Super Mario Odyssey
Released on October 27, 2017 for Nintendo Switch, Super Mario Odyssey is a return to the open-world “sandbox” 3D style of game last seen in Super Mario Sunshine. After Mario’s cap is possessed by a spirit named Cappy, he is able to use it to temporarily “capture” enemies and objects and utilize their powers. 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. Super Mario Odyssey was critically acclaimed, with many describing it as one of the greatest games of all time.