The Super Mario Brothers have been part of gamers' lives since the early 1980s. Starting with the Super Mario Bros. game for the Nintendo Entertainment System, we’ve helped Mario save Princess Peach and save the Mushroom Kingdom. Super Mario Bros. 2 switched up the formula, but the third sequel gave gamers more of what they loved. With the newest release of Super Mario Odyssey, we have learned to trust that a Super Mario Bros. game will most often be a high-quality experience.
Nintendo has taken notice of Mario's instant brand recognition. The red-overall wearing plumber is much more popular than his green-clad brother and is often used to promote the Nintendo company. Since his career began, Mario has appeared in several games, some unrelated to the Super Mario Bros. series. Though some games were more popular than others, his placement on covers helped advertise games that would have otherwise been ignored. The games that were not well-received have faded into the background, and Nintendo prefers they stay that way.
Overall, Nintendo has been successful in making Mario a household name. Unfortunately, the massive company has slipped up several times with one of their most popular mascots. Though Mario is famous and instantly recognizable, Nintendo has tried to cash off of his popularity, which has led to some devastating results. Check out our list of some of the worst decisions Nintendo has made with our favorite red-overall wearing plumber.
15 Hurting Stock Prices
Super Mario Run was one of the first games that Nintendo developed for iOS and Android devices. Running-based mobile games grew in popularity, and Nintendo wanted in on the action. Super Mario Run has a simple enough concept: take control of Mario in a side-scrolling, auto-run game. Tapping Mario will make him jump over obstacles. Though a new Mario game excited gamers, paying $9.99 for the full mobile game, upset fans. The game had good reviews and sold well, but lacked replay value. Within weeks of its release, Super Mario Run dropped from the top ranks in the Apple and Google app stores. The game was enough to lower Nintendo's stock price by more than 18% within the first two weeks after the game was initially released.
14 Using Him To Cash In
After the success of Pokémon Pinball: Ruby and Sapphire, Nintendo hoped to capture lightning in a bottle again with their most significant mascot: Mario. Mario Pinball Land transforms the plumber into Pinball Mario. He uses his body to strike his opponents in different pinball tables which represent different regions of the Mushroom Kingdom. The Game Boy Advance game impressed games with its high-quality graphics but suffered from poor gameplay. Many of the tables were poorly designed and caused gamers to struggle through the levels. Many gamers blame the fact that a small team of five people, Fuse Games, and rushed development led to a mediocre game. The concept of putting Mario in a pinball game just seemed like a quick cash grab from fans of the Super Mario Bros. games.
13 Had Him Star In A Game That Made Your Eyes Bleed
Mario Clash was a 3D version of the original Super Mario Bros. arcade game. Mario jumped on different ledges to fight his foes. He could jump from the foreground to the background of the level, which attempted to give gamers a 3D experience. Mario Clash made its debut in 1995 on the Virtual Boy console. Though the graphics were impressive, they were also held back from the hardware of the Virtual Boy. The colors of the graphics were also a bright red and black combination like other games on the console, which made the game seem flat and lack 3D appeal. Though the game received positive reviews, putting the game on such a restrictive console turned an innovative game into a headache-inducing mess. Gamers requested a release on newer Nintendo hardware, which the company has mostly ignored.
12 Gave Him The Worst Puzzle Ever...
Most gamers don't want to be chained to a screen but want to support their favorite gaming characters with different related merchandise. Nintendo and USApoly collaborated to release the "Ready for Action" puzzle exclusively at Target and GameStop stores. While gamers were initially excited about the news, the actual release was nothing but disappointing. The puzzle featured Mario on one side and an empty sea of red on the other. While the Mario side offered a fun challenge, the red side was painful to view and a waste of space. The puzzle was unnecessarily complicated for younger fans, and most adults didn't want to tackle a one-color puzzle. Using a different background image would have made this a more enjoyable puzzle for all ages.
11 Created Two Evil Versions of Him
Mario and his brother Luigi have been the primary heroes of the Super Mario Bros. series. It's no surprise that Mario would have at least one evil version in his series of games. Nintendo took it a step further and gave Mario multiple evil versions of himself. Shadow Mario first appeared as the main antagonist in Super Mario Sunshine. His features mirror Mario's, except his body, seems to be made of water. He continues to terrorize Mario in the Super Smash Bros. series.
Wario is another evil, anti-hero type character that resembles an evil version of Mario, but with a different color palette and crooked mustache. With these enemies running around, they strive to ruin Mario's good reputation and fool others, like Princess Peach, into believing Mario is evil.
10 Made Him Educate The Children
The early Super Mario Bros. video games only offered a simple lesson of "good triumphs over evil." As Mario's fame grew, Nintendo wanted to use him on cheap software that would appeal to children. These spin-off games were released in late 1988 to mid-1990s mostly in Japan, but a small handful saw a North American release. Mario is Missing! was the first game to feature Luigi as the main character. Gamers learned a geography lesson as Luigi tried to find his missing brother. Mario's Time Machine gave a history lesson but was criticized for difficult gameplay for a game meant for young children. Mario Teaches Typing had a voiced Mario, along with Luigi and Princess Peach, and he would help players learn how to use a keyboard.
9 Made Him Star In A Knockoff
With the success of the first Super Mario Bros. game, Nintendo started on a sequel. The original Japanese game was branded too difficult by Nintendo of America. Their Japanese company soon began work on an easier version for Mario's international fans.
Yume Kojo: Doki Doki Panic, a game based off of Fuji Television's show Yume Kojo, was in development as a vertically scrolling platformer. Players could choose from four different players. This game was soon changed into the North American version of Super Mario Bros. 2. Gamers wouldn't find out about the real origins of the second sequel for years. Fan demand soon pushed Nintendo to release the real version of Super Mario Bros. 2 in North America and titled it Super Mario Bros.: The Lost Levels.
8 Broke His Heart
The first movie based on a video game was Super Mario Bros.: The Great Mission to Rescue Princess Peach!. In the animated film, Mario and Luigi go on a quest to save Princess Peach. Mario is instantly attracted to the Princess of the Mushroom Kingdom.
The brothers head to the Mushroom Kingdom obtain three items of power, a mushroom, flower, and star to defeat Bowser. It's no surprise that they defeat the evil villain within the 65-minute runtime of the film. Mario has fallen for Princess Peach by the end of the movie and hopes to stay with her. Unfortunately, he finds out that she is already engaged to Prince Haru of the Flower Kingdom. With a broken heart and tears in his eyes, Mario returns home with Luigi through a warp pipe.
7 Made Him Perform A Villainous Act
Jumpman from the Donkey Kong series is the earliest version of Mario. Donkey Kong Jr. places Mario in his first role as a villain. He has trapped Donkey Kong in a cage as a punishment for kidnapping Pauline. Mario has taken to revenge instead of forgiving the giant ape's past deeds. His son, Donkey Kong Jr., refuses to sit idly by and watch his father be imprisoned. In each level, he has to grab a key and get past Mario to unlock his father's cage. At the end of the game, Donkey Kong Jr. is victorious over the plumber. His father and Mario fall to the ground. Donkey Kong Jr. manages to catch Donkey Kong but lets Mario fall to his death. Of course, Mario survived, learned his lesson, and continued to be a hero instead of a villain.
6 Made Him A Victim Of CD-I
Hotel Mario isn't about Mario owning a chain of hotels. The game was developed by Fantasy Factory and had little input from Nintendo, besides from being published by the massive company. Mario has to travel through seven different Koopa-owned hotels in the Mushroom Kingdom to find Princess Toadstool, who is being held against her will as a "permanent guest." Players took control of Mario and Luigi. You must close every door in the level before progressing on. The game had stiff animations, unresponsive controls and gameplay, and cutscenes that used FMV effects. The poorly done voice acting was also highly criticized by fans. The game only saw release on the Philips CD-I, which was well-known for the awful voice-acted game Zelda: The Wand of Gamelon.
5 Hey, Where's My Money?
Since his debut, Mario has become a household name for decades. According to fans, his name originated from the Nintendo of America branch. They were renting out a warehouse from Mario Segali to use as their American headquarters. The company was struggling but hoped to turn things around with their next game release.
When they were developing an official name for Donkey Kong's protagonist Jumpman, Segali stormed into their office to demand the late rent payment they owned. After some discussion, the employees decided that Mario would be a fitting name for their character. Co-Representative Director of Nintendo Shigeru Miyamoto later confirmed this in a video interview with Nintendo UK in 2015. Though Segali has mostly stayed quiet about the incident, he told the Seattle Times newspaper, "You might say I'm still waiting for my royalty checks."
4 That Seems A Little Bit Stereotypical...
Nintendo has brought Mario all over the world in their line of educational games. Gamers usually just get a brief geographical or history lesson as they learn more about other characters. In Taito's Qix for the Game Boy, players must build squares while avoiding a giant spinning vortex. Your reward for winning are animations of Mario in different settings. Nintendo is a worldwide company but decided to depict Mario in different cultural stereotype outfits. Most of the costumes were cut from the final game, such as a Native American Mario with a headdress and ax and an Egyptian mummy. Some outfits that remained, such as Mario in Africa and wearing a giant sombrero Mexico. Though these outfits may be seen as celebrating other cultures by some, Nintendo quickly pushed Qix into the background when some gamers complained about the stereotypes.
3 He Could Have Been Popeye
Nintendo didn’t initially plan on creating a mustache-wearing plumber hero. After developing the unsuccessful arcade game Sheriff, Shigeru Miyamoto wanted to create a popular game. He tried to obtain the rights to Popeye, Olive Oyl, and Bluto. from the Popeye series. He was denied the license from King Features, but it was a blessing in disguise. He eventually developed three new characters: Jumpman, Pauline, and Donkey Kong. Jumpman's goal was to rescue Pauline, similar to how Popeye rescues Olive Oyl. The Donkey Kong arcade game turned out to be widely successful. King Features wanted in on the success and granted Nintendo rights to develop a game based off of the Popeye series. Unfortunately, the Popeye game was unpopular and failed to impress gamers.
2 Most Of His Games Are Non-Canon
Many of the games in the Super Mario Bros. series follow a basic formula: Princess Peach and the Mushroom Kingdom are in trouble, and the Mario Brothers must rescue them. The magic of the Super Mario Bros. isn't the ending, but the journey of getting there. Of course, you'll defeat various enemies and laugh at their hijinks on your way to Bowser's Castle.
Though gamers have accepted the basic story, not all of the games in the Mario series are canon. Many of the Mario games take place in an alternate reality, such as Super Mario Kart or Dr. Mario. They often only use the likeness of Mario and his friends to promote the game. Some games are false stories in the first place, such as Super Mario Bros. 2 which was just a dream or the third sequel which was confirmed to be a stage play.
1 Tried To Bring Him Into Real Life
Eight years after the Super Mario Bros. anime was released, The Walt Disney Studios and Nintendo collaborated to release the Super Mario Bros. movie. The brothers are transported into a different dimension, which is ruled by King Koopa. He wants to combine both dimensions and rule both. With the daughter of the true king, Princess Daisy, they work together to defeat Koopa.
The movie was highly unsuccessful all over the world for its poor story, dialogue, and characters. Instead of capturing the fun, light-hearted video game series, the movie was dark and brooding. Bob Hoskins, who starred as Mario, even disliked his role, stating in The Guardian interview that "the whole experience was a nightmare." The film is still beloved by some and has spawned a webcomic and Blu-ray release in the UK.