While the Mario franchise is full of games that worked their way from an idea to a playable title, not every one made it to the finish line. Especially in Nintendo's earlier days, there were tons of games that got stopped mid-process. We're here to look back at some of Nintendo's potential titles that didn't get made and figure out what went wrong along the way.
Get ready to jump into action; here are 10 games featuring characters from the Mario franchise that were never released to the public.
10 Mario Takes America
Mario Takes America was an edutainment game planned for the Phillips CD-I that was announced in a UK magazine in 1994. The plot had Mario trekking from New York to Hollywood in order to star in a movie. The hero was set to accomplish this by using vehicles including trucks, cars, and helicopters.
The game was canceled after Phillips cut the project's funding, unimpressed by the progress that had been made.
9 Super Mario’s Wacky Worlds
Super Mario’s Wacky Worlds was also a game destined for the Philips CD-I that never saw the light of day. Designed to be a sequel to Super Mario World for the SNES in 1993, Mario’s new game would have him traveling through levels on Earth rather than in the Mushroom Kingdom.
While Nintendo was impressed by the game’s early design, it was ultimately canceled due to the poor sales of the Philips CD-I console.
8 Super Mario 128
Super Mario 128 was the sequel to Super Mario 64 that never quite got there. The game utilized rapid generation techniques and physics technologies that were later put into GameCube and Wii titles. For example, Mario’s ability to trot around globe-like planets in Super Mario Galaxy can be attributed to this game’s demo.
Rumors that this title would resurface floated around for years, but Miyamoto revealed in 2007 that Super Mario 128 was simply a demonstration of the new technology that could be incorporated into the GameCube.
7 New Super Mario Bros. Mii
This Wii U game was revealed at E3 2011. Based on New Super Mario Bros. Wii, the release would include new Mario Bros. levels and the option for players to navigate worlds with their Miis.
This game got scrapped and replaced by New Super Mario Bros. U. While it featured similar gameplay, the Mii component was no longer a selling feature. The original game had the Mii’s wearing overalls that matched up with the colors of popular characters including Mario, Luigi, Wario, and Blue Mario from the NES’ Mario Bros.
6 Donkey Kong Coconut Crackers
Donkey Kong was supposed to get his own puzzle game on the Game Boy Advance. However, when Rare moved to Microsoft in 2002, the game was re-themed and all Donkey Kong references were removed. While the original title was set to feature multiplayer capabilities, the final version entitled It’s Mr. Pants featured four game modes that could only be enjoyed by a single player.
Donkey Kong Coconut Crackers was furthermore designed to feature the ability to change between a top-down layout and an isometric one, but this too was removed due to consistency issues.
5 Donkey Kong Racing
Diddy Kong Racing found its home on the Nintendo 64, and Donkey Kong Racing was supposed to find its own base on the Nintendo GameCube. Instead, this early 2000s game got scrapped entirely.
The game was supposed to feature land, water, and sky racing as well as real-world scenery like setting suns and swaying trees. Players could additionally upgrade their animal rides using fruit and prizes. Donkey Kong Racing was canceled in September 2002 for reasons including Microsoft’s purchase of Rare and the low amount of trailers and gameplay that had been produced at the time.
4 Super Mario 64 2
Super Mario 64’s other tentative sequel was designed to be released on the Nintendo 64DD in 1999 but was canceled due to the commercial failure of the 64DD add-on and the title’s progress.
A single demo level was created but never revealed. It was however assumed that Luigi would be a playable character as Miyamoto had intended Super Mario 64 2 to be a two-player game. Nintendo hinted that elements of Super Mario 64 2 were featured in later Mario installments during an E3 event.
3 Super Mario RPG 2
What ended up becoming Paper Mario for the N64 was originally a follow-up to Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars. It was set to be released on the failed Nintendo 64DD.
This early iteration of Paper Mario had Poochy from the Yoshi franchise playing some sort of role in the game. While some things were changed including Mario’s health system, various scenes, and the overall graphics, many characters and locations were revamped for the final Paper Mario.
2 Super Mario Spikers
This Mario sports game developed by Next Level was set to be released on the Wii. While it started out as a volleyball game, it later added wrestling components. When Super Mario Spikers was pitched to Nintendo, however, it was thrown out for containing violence that was too realistic compared to other fighting games like Super Smash Bros.
Next Level instead went on to create Punch-Out!! for the Wii, leaving this intense Mario sports installment behind.
1 VB Mario Land
This game, also known as Mario Adventure, was scheduled to be released to the Virtual Boy. While the story was not revealed, some gameplay mechanics were, such as a top-down view in certain areas that was similar to that in The Legend of Zelda.
Outside of this change, though, many components of the game were traditional to the Mario series. There were Warp Pipes, Koopa Troopas, and ? Blocks. Additionally, the first level saw Mario ending at the Goal Pole and entering a castle.