There is, perhaps, no video game character more iconic than Mario. The determined plumber has been rescuing Princess Peach for over 30 years now. Over these past few decades, he has taught us typing and held a myriad of jobs. He has been a doctor, a carpenter, a soccer player, a time traveler, and more! He even went missing to teach us geography (which also gave us a chance to get to know Luigi). That is how much Mario loves us.
The undeniable mascot of Nintendo has seen us through thick and thin. For many, the Super Mario games gave them their first real taste of gaming, introducing them to a new hobby. In addition, the Mario games have continuously redefined the platforming genre and helped gaming evolve into an activity enjoyed at home. It is because these games are so iconic and played by so many the world over that certain experiences, challenges, or jokes are universal.
We all know how frustrating it is when Yoshi goes ballistic and runs off a cliff, or when you accidentally replace the Cape Feather with a Super Mushroom in the item box in Super Mario World. Oh, and don’t get me started about the princess being in another castle. These shared experiences are the driving force behind the memes chosen for this article. They represent everything we love, hate, hate to love, and love to hate about the Mario games.
Without further ado, warm up those karts, and let’s get started.
15 Goomba? What's A Goo—A-A-And I'm Dead!
Every Mario fan knows about the first Goomba from the Super Mario Bros. on the Nintendo Entertainment System. You see the little jerk coming from the other end of the screen as you gleefully hit the question box. If it is your first time playing (and you skipped the instruction manual), you might even wonder what this guy is about. He’s kind of cute and a bit mushroom-like. Maybe he is friendly. You run up to greet him, and you’re dead. Just like that. Even experienced players have met their maker at his hands (er, feet?)—especially when attempting a speed run.
He looks so weak and helpless that you can’t help but take him for granted, which often results in many frustrating yet hilarious deaths.
14 When You Take A Leap Of Faith
Okay, it Super Mario Bros. has been out for more than 27 years now, but the sentiment of this meme still rings true. If there was one thing you had to master to play old-school Mario, it was jumping. You could jump normally, while running, from the far edge of a ledge, or even off of enemies. Many things cause us stress in Mario games, but none more so than having to jump over a huge gap only to land on a sliver of a surface. It is so easy to overshoot, undershoot, or, even worse, stick the landing but fall off the edge anyway.
Pro tip: If you physically jump with Mario, it will give you the extra boost you need to land a jump across any chasm—no matter its size. Alright, maybe not, but it is cathartic nonetheless.
13 Are We Really Thinking About What Is Best For Peach?
Any Mario veteran knows that 9 times out of 10, Bowser is going to kidnap Princess Peach. The woman has made a career of being a damsel in distress. However, isn’t it a bit strange that Bowser is able to kidnap her so easily? It’s almost as if she wants him to find her. Perhaps, she is running from someone—a certain plumber in red who won’t take no for an answer.
It all makes sense now. After all, how can Mario be the good guy when he spends his free time dropping penguins off ledges, eating shrooms, and killing wildlife? When you think about it that way, he is a menace who should be stopped. Meanwhile, Bowser is reducing unemployment and protecting Peach from a homicidal maniac.
12 Sacrifices Had To Be Made
Need more evidence that Mario is a jerk? You don’t have to look any further than Super Mario World on Super NES for another example of his treachery. First off, Mario rides around on the back of his supposed friend, forcing him to eat and destroy his enemies. He forces Yoshi to eat berries to get him to lay an egg that hatches into a super mushroom. Does Mario share the mushroom with Yoshi? No. He keeps it for himself because he is selfish.
It is no surprise that Scumbag Mario sacrifices Yoshi during challenging jumps to save his own hide. That is just the type of person Mario is—and the type of person he forces you to become. After all, you are the one pushing the buttons.
11 Give A Life, Take A Life
The 1-Up Mushroom has likely claimed as many lives as the first Goomba from Super Mario Bros. Mario games can be unforgiving. There are flying Koopa, fish, and bullets. Not to mention, death-defying jumps, moving platforms, and piranha plants. The Mushroom Kingdom is a dangerous place for our portly plumber. It is only natural that with all of the hazards Mario regularly encounters, players would make a point to try and rack up as many extra lives as possible.
The easiest (or, perhaps, hardest) way to do this is to collect as many 1-Up Mushrooms as possible. Of course, that is easier said than done. Blindly chasing after 1-Ups will result in Mario’s death, as they are often in risky places. Even if you manage to snag one, you will never get ahead by giving a life to receive one. Sometimes, you just have to let it go.
10 First Place? Not For Long!
You have spent the entire race avoiding shells and bananas, getting slipstream boosts, hitting shortcuts, and perfectly drifting around curves. You now have a comfortable lead. It is the final lap. Victory is so close you can taste it. The finish line is right there. Suddenly, you hear the blue shell approaching and know your days are numbered.
The blue shell in Mario Kart is no laughing matter. It is an abomination that will fly past your opponents and hunt you down like Liam Neeson in Taken, causing you to lose your precious lead. Often, it appears so close to the end of the race that it is impossible for the lead player to recapture the top spot—let alone the top three—before crossing the finish line.
Getting to the top is easy. Staying there is what separates the great ones from the commoners.
9 Can't Nobody Hold Mario Down
Everything in the Mushroom Kingdom is trying to kill you. It is a death trap. The enemies are walking, bouncing, and flying around, minding their own business. They don’t even seem interested in Mario, but they bump into him, and he dies. Imagine getting on a subway train and randomly dying because someone accidentally poked you with their elbow. Now you have to respawn and try to get to work all over again.
Sounds annoying, right? Yeah, that is how it feels to be Mario. Dying and starting over is second nature to him. His strongest quality is persistence. When Mario turns small, he doesn’t give up and go home. Instead, he continues to search for the princess, even though he is powerless and vulnerable while in such a tiny state. What a guy!
8 Making The Mistake Of Trying To Win On Rainbow Road
Rainbow Road is the greatest thing to ever happen to Mario Kart. Also, like most things in Mario games, the road is treacherous and unforgiving. Many lives have been lost trying to navigate the colorful bends and leaps it has to offer. Players are often so focused on keeping their kart on the track that they neglect their items. Sometimes just finishing the race is good enough.
Of course, there are others who prefer to walk on the wild side. Who, despite the road’s difficulty, use items at the same rate as they do on any other track. Even deciding to use a mushroom to get a speed boost, which will inevitably result in their kart falling into the dark abyss.
But hey, someone had to do it. These risks certainly make for a good story.
7 Friends Don't Let Friends Play Mario Party
Mario Party is the Monopoly of video games. You invite all of your friends over for an innocent game. Maybe you even picked up some snacks for everybody. A casual game night. That is what you expect. Share a few laughs. Play a few minigames. Get a little competitive, perhaps. But overall, you believe everyone will have a good time.
That is until you actually start playing and realize that it is every man (or woman) for themselves. Everyone is giving Big Boo 50 coins to steal stars, and you are their target. Considering that you need stars and coins to win, this is a friendship-ending move on par with buying Park Place to prevent your Boardwalk-owning friend from building houses.
Mario Party. Destroying friendships since 1998.
6 Murdering Penguins—We All Did It
You are running around Cool, Cool Mountain when you come across a mother penguin who needs your help. Her baby, Tuxie, is lost, and of course, being the video game protagonist that you are, she wants you to find her. You grab the first penguin you find. It is not her. The beaks are different. So, you go slipping and sliding up the mountain, narrowly avoiding enemies, until you come across Tuxie.
You pick her up, and she cries all the way back down the mountainside. Like, we get it. Mario is a stranger, but trust us, he is taking you back to your mommy because she says a star for him. You return the penguin, get the star, and then—admit it—pick Tuxie back up and drop her off the ledge. It’s okay. This is a judgement-free zone.
5 Needs More Toad
New Super Mario Bros. Wii is a great game. It brought back couch co-op, forcing players to “cooperate” to achieve a common goal. Though, the cooperative part of that message may have gotten lost in translation. Still, you could grab four friends and platform together all at once.
With so many characters available to the developers, you would think they would be able to come up with four distinct characters for players to choose from. But no, they couldn’t. Instead of Waluigi, Wario, or even Peach (although we almost got her), we got stuck with blue Toad, and yellow Toad. I mean, even baby Mario would have been a better choice than two Toads. They could have at least made them more distinct—different heights, genders, etc.
Sure, the game was fun, but it would have been so much better with more options for playable characters.
4 Getting Some Much-Needed Payback
In the early days of Nintendo, they produced a few characters whose lives seemed to revolve around mocking our failures—the Duck Hunt Dog being the most obvious example of this. Even with the constant stream of instant gratification that is fed to us as we bounce, stomp, and run our way through the mushroom, Toad still manages to rain on our princess-saving parade every single time.
Like the Duck Hunt Dog, Toad was an untouchable character who drew pleasure from your misfortune, as he smugly told you the princess was in another castle. If only there were a way to get payback! Well, there isn’t—unless you count throwing toads over cliffs in New Super Mario Bros. Wii or U.
Of course, that won’t stop us from creating fantasy revenge memes, either.
3 Will We Ever Reach That Painting?
Super Mario 64 was everything we didn’t know we wanted in a video game. It was in 3D. We no longer had to run in a straight line. We could now explore those clouds and bushes that hung in the background like paintings on a wall (which 64 allowed us to literally jump into). It changed the game, convincing us that the persistent plumber could be just as fun in a 3D environment. We trusted Mario. We trusted Nintendo. That is until they pulled the rug out from under us as we approached what we thought was a painting of Peach at the end of a long corridor. Only to watch in horror as it changed to Bowser, and we went falling through a trap door. There is no way to get to that painting. Well, that is not entirely true.
2 Mario Logic—Leave It Be
The most popular version of this meme mentions Mario smashing bricks with his head. Of course, any true fan knows that he smashes them with his fist [adjusts glasses]. Mario does a lot of crazy stuff. He gets high on shrooms, evades large sticks of fire, shoots fireballs underwater, tames wild dinosaurs, and slaughters wild animals. Not to mention, he literally stomped out a castle in Super Mario World. A castle. Let that sink in.
And yet, a turtle bumps into him while he is out taking a stroll, and all of a sudden, he is falling through the floor, and you are staring at a Game Over screen. How is it that someone so heroic could die so easily. I mean, he is no Lester the Unlikely—Mario is actually likeable—but it is pretty pathetic.
At least he is persistent.
1 Guess I Will Throw This Banana Ate Myself
If you want to play a straightforward racing game where random elements don’t come into play causing you to go from first to last in seconds, then do not play Mario Kart. Sure there are skilled players out there, but like Smash Bros., even they fall victim to its arbitrary gameplay and random items. Also, both games are brutal but give less-skilled players a fighting chance.
Typically, when you are in last place, you expect to receive a helpful item—a Bullet Bill, mushroom, or a blue shell. But, no, Mario Kart does not always answer your prayers. In fact, sometimes it sends you an item so useless that you will be convinced the game is mocking you. That item is the banana. What could someone in last place possibly do with a banana, except for eat it as you putter across the finish line?
Game, set, and match.