|Developer(s)||Nintendo EAD (1985–2015)|
Nintendo EPD (2015–present)
|First release||Super Mario Bros.|
September 13, 1985
|Latest release||Super Mario Maker 2|
June 28, 2019
Mario Kart series
Mario Party series
The Super Mario games follow Mario's adventures, typically in the fictional Mushroom Kingdom with Mario as the player character. He is often 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 released since. These include a multitude of power-ups and items that give Mario special powers such as fireball-throwing and size-changing into both 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 330 million copies of games in the Super Mario series have been sold worldwide making it the second best-selling video game series in history, only being surpassed by Nintendo's own Pokémon series.
Mushroom power-ups appear in almost every Super Mario game. The most iconic of these is the Super Mushroom. The Super Mushroom increases Mario's size, turning him into "Super Mario", and allows him to break certain blocks. When hit by an enemy, Mario reverts to his smaller size instead of losing a life. When Mario is in his "Super" form, most blocks that would contain a Super Mushroom instead offer a more powerful power-up such as the Fire Flower. The Super Mushroom is similar in appearance to the Amanita muscaria, with an ivory stalk below a most commonly red and white (originally red and orange) spotted cap. Created by chance, Shigeru Miyamoto stated in an interview that beta tests of Super Mario Bros. proved Mario too tall, so the development team implemented mushrooms to grow and shrink Mario.
The Poison Mushroom, first introduced in the Japanese Super Mario Bros. 2, is a mushroom that causes damage when touched. In later games, the Poison Mushroom looks almost exactly like the Super Mushroom with a red cap but has a meaner-looking face.
The Mini Mushroom is a small blue mushroom, a recurring item in the New Super Mario Bros. series, which shrinks Mario into miniature size, allowing him access areas and pipes that Mario normally cannot reach. Mini Mario also jumps higher, floats midair, bounces off enemies without hurting them except by ground pounding, and can run across the surface of the water and then jump from it as if he was on land. Mario is more vulnerable in this form and loses a life upon receiving one hit in miniature form. The Mini Mushroom in New Super Mario Bros. U lets Mario run up walls.
The Mega Mushroom, introduced in New Super Mario Bros. and further appearing in New Super Mario Bros. 2 and Super Mario 3D World, is a more recent addition to the series that grows Mario into a towering, invulnerable giant who destroys enemies and the environment by running through them. It has an orange-yellow cap with red spots, like the Super Mario Bros. Super Mushroom, but with an inflated cap. Super Mario 64 DS features an item simply called "Mushroom" that grants the same abilities as the Mega Mushroom.
In the Super Mario Galaxy franchise, the Bee Mushroom gives Mario the Bee Suit, and the Spring Mushroom puts Mario inside a metallic coil. The Mystery Mushroom in Super Mario Maker provides a "costume" based on one of many characters in addition to the abilities of the Super Mushroom.
The 1-Up is a common item shown as a green and white mushroom that gives Mario an extra life. The 1-Up was introduced in Super Mario Bros., sometimes hidden in invisible item blocks, and displayed as having an orange cap with green spots. In Super Mario Land and Super Mario Land 2, the 1-Up is shown as a heart. 1-Ups can take other forms, such as the 3-Up Moon from Super Mario World and New Super Mario Bros. U.
The flower power-ups let Mario shoot projectiles. The Fire Flower, introduced in Super Mario Bros., transforms Mario into Fire Mario, who can throw bouncing fireballs at enemies. Super Mario Galaxy was the first 3D Mario platformer game to have the Fire Flower. In Super Mario Land, the Superball is a bouncing ball obtained from a Super Flower, which Mario can use to defeat enemies and collect coins. The Ice Flower transforms Mario into Ice Mario, where he can shoot balls of ice as projectiles similar to that of the Fire Flower; it freezes enemies in a block of ice, to be used as platforms or as thrown projectiles, as seen in New Super Mario Bros. Wii and New Super Mario Bros. U. In Super Mario Galaxy, the Ice Flower turns Mario into ice and lets him walk on lava or water for a limited time by freezing the surface. Lastly, New Super Mario Bros. 2's Gold Flower lets Mario turn bricks into coins and earn bonus coins for defeating enemies.
Invincibility is an effect first appearing in the three Super Mario Bros. games, where it is granted by a "Starman", an anthropomorphized, flashing star. The star has also been named the "Super Star" in the two Super Mario World games and the "Rainbow Star" in the two Super Mario Galaxy games. Picking up the star makes Mario temporarily invincible, able to resist any harm. Use of the item is accompanied by a distinctive music track that appears consistently across most of the games. The player character flickers a variety of colors — and in some titles, moves with increased speed and enhanced jumping ability — while under the Star's influence. While invincible, Mario kills any enemy upon contact with it. In Super Mario World 2: Yoshi's Island, the star gives the normally immobile baby Mario the ability to run as well as become invincible. In Super Mario 64, invincibility is provided when Mario wears the metal cap or the vanish cap. The Mega Mushroom provides invincibility with the addition of giant size and environment destruction (see Mushrooms).
Power Stars and course tokens
The games often feature collectibles found in levels in order to progress in the overworld, most frequently with the visual motif of a star. They are typically situated in locations that are not readily found or reached, or awarded for completing stunts, or objectives given by NPCs. They include the Power Stars in Super Mario 64 and the Super Mario Galaxy games, Shine Sprites in Super Mario Sunshine, Star Coins in the New Super Mario Bros. games and Super Mario 3D Land, Green Stars in the Galaxy games and Super Mario 3D World, and Power Moons in Super Mario Odyssey. In Super Mario Land 2, there are six Golden Coin tokens that must be collected to finish the game.
Flight is a common theme throughout the series, first enabled with the magic carpet item in the international Super Mario Bros. 2. The Super Leaf and Tanooki Suit items, first appearing in Super Mario Bros. 3provide Mario with an animal-suited tail, which in turn acts as a flight propeller. The Tanooki Suit returns in Super Mario 3D Land, and the Super Leaf returns in New Super Mario Bros. 2. In the New Super Mario Bros. games, the Spin Block and the Propeller Mushroom let Mario spin up into the air and slowly descend. In Super Mario Land, Mario pilots a yellow airplane with unlimited ammunition called the Sky Pop. Super Mario World introduces various forms of flight: the feather item provides a cape, the P Balloon puffs Mario into a floating balloon figure, and Yoshi can carry a blue Koopa shell which gives him wings. In Super Mario 64, flight that is granted by a Winged Cap. In New Super Mario Bros. Wii, Mario has limited flight provided by the Propeller Cap. In New Super Mario Bros. U, Mario has limited flight and gliding capabilities in a Flying Squirrel suit and can also command a pink Baby Yoshi to puff up into the form of a floating balloon. In Super Mario Galaxy, Mario can obtain a special red star that transforms him into Flying Mario for a limited time. Lakitu's cloud can be commandeered in several of the side-scrolling games.
Several suits work as power-ups, many of which are based on animals. Debuting in Super Mario Bros. 3, the Raccoon Suit (provisioned by a Super Leaf) and the Tanooki Suit each provide Mario with a tail which acts as a flight propeller. In addition, the Tanooki Suit lets Mario spontaneously change into an invincible statue for about five seconds. In Super Mario 3D Land, the Raccoon Suit reappears and is accompanied by a silver-colored variation called a Statue Leaf. Super Mario Bros. 3 includes a Hammer Bros. suit, which allows Mario to throw hammers as projectiles, to defeat enemies at a distance, taking what the Hammer Bros does to Mario and turning it around. While wearing the suit and ducking, Mario is invulnerable to fire attacks. The Hammer Suit was so powerful that in later games, it was downgraded. Super Mario 3D Land features a "Boomerang Suit" which provisions long-distance boomerang projectiles. Other animal suits include the Frog Suit, Tanooki Suit, Penguin Suit, Cat Suit and Bee Suit.
Super Mario level design traditionally incorporates many distributed coins as puzzles and rewards. Most Super Mario games award the player an extra life once a certain amount of yellow coins are collected, commonly 50 or 100. Several coin variants exist, such as silver coins, dragon coins, star coins, and more.
In Super Mario 64, Super Mario Sunshine, Super Mario Galaxy, and Super Mario Galaxy 2, coins replenish health (and air, when Mario is underwater). In Super Mario 64 and Super Mario Sunshine, collecting 100 coins in a level results in a Power Star or Shine Sprite respectively. There are also stages in that game reward a Power Star for collecting eight red coins in a level, worth two normal coins each. In Super Mario 64, a blue coin is worth five normal coins. In Super Mario Sunshine, blue coins act as a side quest when brought to the Delfino Bank.
In Super Mario Galaxy and Super Mario Galaxy 2, after finishing each game once, stages unlock where Mario can collect a certain amount of purple coins to earn a Power Star. In Super Mario Galaxy 2, they can also be used to feed some hungry "Luma" characters that can turn into either an item or another planet.
Luigi and other playable characters
The series often features the option to play as other characters, Luigi in the most instances. Earlier games have offered an alternating multiplayer mode in which the second player controls Luigi on their turn. Luigi is often only playable by player one in a second, more challenging iteration of the base game, such as in The Lost Levels, Galaxy 2, New Super Luigi U and the special worlds in 3D Land; these feature lower gravity and reduced friction for Luigi. Later games allow four player simultaneous play. Playable characters other than Mario and Luigi have included Toad, Peach, Daisy, Wario, Yoshi, Rosalina, Toadette, Mii and Nabbit. Characters are sometimes differentiated by special abilities. Super Mario Maker includes costumes that depict many more characters.
Warp Pipes and Warp Cannons
The Warp Pipe is a common method of transportation used in many of the Mario series games. Warp Pipes are most often green but also appear in other colors (early games included silver pipes, newer games have introduced red, green, blue and yellow pipes), and have many uses in the series. Warp Pipes can also contain enemies, usually Piranha Plants, and sometimes launch the player into the air (most commonly seen in New Super Mario Bros.). In early Mario games such as Super Mario Bros., special, well-hidden areas known as Warp Zones contain pipes that allow players to skip several worlds (handfuls of levels) at once. In the New Super Mario Bros. series, pipe-shaped Warp Cannons work similarly to the Warp Zones of the earlier games and are unlocked by finding secret exits in levels. Cannons appear in most of the 3D games in the series starting with Super Mario 64. Mario uses the cannon by jumping into the barrel, aiming himself and being fired at a distant target. This allows Mario to progress through a level or reach an otherwise inaccessible area.
Mario's dinosaur friend Yoshi has appeared as a mount to the player character in several Super Mario games since Super Mario World. In the sequel, Super Mario World 2: Yoshi's Island, a tribe of Yoshis finds Mario and helps him to save Baby Luigi. In this game and Super Mario 64 DS, instead of the player merely riding on Yoshi's back, Yoshi is the player character. Yoshis generally have abilities including eating enemies, flying, and breathing fire. Miyamoto had originally wished for Mario to be able to ride a dinosaur in Super Mario Bros., but this wasn't possible due to the technical restraints of the system.