This groundbreaking 3D platformer launched alongside the Nintendo 64 in 1996 in Japan and North America, and 1997 for Europe and Australia. It was arguably the first killer app on the system, and blew away the competition. Super Mario 64 was the gold standard by which all other 3D platformers were judged for years to come.
Mario’s Super Picross is a member of a rather exclusive club: Mario games that Nintendo never localised. As you’d expect, it’s very close to Mario’s Picross on the Game Boy, but the lukewarm market response to that title meant Nintendo passed on releasing the sequels outside of Japan until the rise of the Nintendo DS.
Mario Party is a neat collection of mini-games with a party theme, a result of a collaboration between Nintendo and Hudson Soft. However, many of the mini-games required players to do 360 degree spins of the analogue stick as fast as they can. This has led to the game being known as the great analogue stick destroyer. Nintendo actually issued special gloves for people to use when playing the game due to the high number of complaints about blisters (I even have a small scar on my palm from Mario Party shenanigans). Future releases in the series toned down the analogue stick butchery.
The Super Mario Bros. film is an often maligned piece of media due to the dramatic shift the property made during the transfer from video game to movie. The film spent ages in development, going through numerous writers and directors, and the end result was dramatically different from what was originally planned.
Mario Kart: Super Circuit is an often overlooked entry into the series, but it was the first to feature “classic” tracks from previous games (in this case, Super Mario Kart) in addition to new tracks of its own. It was also the first Mario Kart game to not be developed by Nintendo EAD, with development duties handled by Intelligent Systems instead.
Still a right jerk of a game.
The Japanese version of Super Mario Bros. 2 is a good case study for the way markets operated and content was controlled in the late 1980s. Today it would be unthinkable that Nintendo would develop a major Mario sequel and not release it here, but it happened back then. It was eventually released in its updated form as a part of Super Mario All Stars, but not in its original form until its Virtual Console release in 2009.
Still have a soft spot for the void levels.
Super Mario Sunshine is perhaps Mario’s most divisive adventure to date. Some will argue that it wasn’t enough of a step up from Super Mario 64, others will claim that it was too radical a departure mechanically. There are a scant few of us who enjoyed it for what it is.
Kuribo’s Shoe for life.
Super Mario Bros. 3 was the biggest release on the Nintendo Entertainment System, selling over 18 million copies. It also features Kuribo’s Shoe, which is the best goddamn power up in any Mario game. This ad is for the French release of the game.
Eayz.net has unearthed this 1993 German to English dictionary starring Mario. The book is actually officially licensed by Nintendo – probably not that surprising, given that Nintendo of Europe is headquartered in Germany.
The book features Mario in a variety of situations (including erm, robbing a bank) to teach German kids to learn English. The book features some pretty amusing artwork, but the whole thing is fairly harmless.