There are some characters so famous that even people who have never played a video game know who they are. Mario is one of them. He was featured in some early games like Donkey Kong and got attention. It was Super Mario Bros. that made him a star and since then, he has been Nintendo’s official mascot and appeared in more games than most can count. Every single new Nintendo system has a Mario game as a launch title and his fame has grown with cartoons, movies, and plentiful merchandise.
However, there are a few things about Mario that Nintendo seems to ignore a lot. There’s his character with too many cliches of an Italian along some odd character quirks. He has strange powers that can’t be explained and some confusing moves. There’s also the games themselves which have various issues that the company turns a blind eye to. Here are 20 things about Mario Nintendo ignores.
20 He’s HOW Young?!
Like many video game characters, Mario is ageless. Most fans assume he’s middle-aged as he does look older with the mustache. It’s aided by how, in live-action, he’s been played by Lou Albano and Bob Hoskins. Which is why it’s stunning that Nintendo claims Mario’s true age is... 24. Yes, this seemingly older figure is barely over college age. It’s a stunning twist that puts him in a new light. Looks like that mustache really does make one appear older.
19 Leaving Wario Alone
Super Mario Land 2 introduced Wario which was a genius idea: the evil mirror image of Mario in many ways. It was a logical conflict and it looked like Wario was set for more sequels. Yet after that initial outing, Wario was relegated to spin-off games and the various Mario Kart and sports games. He’s never been used in a core Mario game since. Which means Mario is perfectly okay with this evil doppelganger going around causing mayhem and that seems pretty irresponsible for him.
18 Turning Into A Balloon
Super Mario World brought the saga into the 16-bit era which meant some new twists and turns. It was a fun ride for the time and some of Mario's new abilities worked well. But fans were taken aback at the power Mario had by taking in a huge breath and bloating his body like a balloon. It’s just a weird, underused power that’s never been explained right.
17 No Exploring Levels
Every now and then, Nintendo puts out a Mario entry like Mario 64 or Sunshine where the player could mingle around and explore the area. That was fun and offered something fresh and exciting. However, since then, the games have gone back to the old traditional platforming where the goal is simply to get from Point A to Point B. Thankfully, Super Mario Odyssey shifted the series in the right direction.
16 Wearing Animals
Super Mario Bros. 3 introduced the “raccoon” suit that’s become standard for many Mario games. Ever since, most games has pushed the idea of Mario taking on the abilities of animals via these suits. He can be a penguin to slide on ice, a bee to fly, a frog to swim, etc. But it’s up in the air whether he’s putting on a suit or transforming into the animal itself. The latter would be more confusing as to why he doesn’t do it more often and shows that while the suits are fun to use, they leave behind questions as to exactly what Mario is wearing.
15 The Mushroom Power-Ups
Nintendo prides itself on being “family friendly” and catering more to kids. Mario has led the way there. However, there has always been the somewhat troubling issue of the mushroom power-ups. Everyone knows red mushrooms makes Mario grow to larger size while green ones give him a 1-Up. Kids are being told that eating a wild mushroom is a good way to give themselves more strength, which is hardly a healthy message for younger players.
14 Controlling Creatures
This was a turn so wild that it led to a rather dark fan theory. In Super Mario Odyssey, Mario uses the magical Cappy as an aide and weapon. If Cappy is placed on the head of another creature, Mario can basically possess that creature. In other words, Mario is controlling others to do his dirty work attacking enemies and even sacrificing them in traps. Fans made this out to be Mario being the bad guy and it does paint him in a worse light than usual.
13 That Game Where He Was a Baby
Super Mario World 2 put Yoshi front and center as the main protagonist. This involved Yoshi finding a baby Mario and having to carry him around during his adventures. This means Yoshi knew Mario as a baby (even wearing a cap) and carried him around on a major quest. Yet later it’s indicated they met for the first time in the first Super Mario World game. Aside from the confusing timeline, the fact is that Mario as a baby is just a really weird visual.
12 He Used To Be The Bad Guy
Today, Mario is Nintendo’s greatest hero, not just in games but an icon of the company. The original Donkey Kong set him up that way with his quest to take down Kong. But it is often forgotten that Mario was the bad guy in Donkey Kong Jr. He locks up poor Kong Sr and then puts Junior through a huge ordeal to save him. He also had a darker look and seems to carry a whip.
11 The Tanooki Suit
On the one hand, it’s one of the better power-up suits Mario can wear. It’s like a boost of the raccoon one, allowing Mario to fly long distances and the tail is useful whacking guys. However, there’s the confusing idea that if he comes down hard, the suit transforms Mario into a stone statue. There’s no explanation for how this can happen as it makes no sense why a flying suit turns into a heavy object for no reason. It’s a fun look but not a logical one.
10 How He Gets Cash From Bricks
How does this even work? Seriously, one would think Bowser would be hoarding away gold rather than putting it into bricks that, with a simple punch, allow a coin to pop out of nowhere. Mario collects them with the idea that when he gets a hundred, he gets an automatic extra life. But there’s no explanation for how he can carry that many coins on him and still do so much jumping and fighting. One would think Mario would be far richer with the magical ability to get so much gold.
9 The Environments Are Too Samey
It’s almost a standard for any Mario game to stick to the same look all the time: Grass level, water level, ice level, something in the sky, some sort of city level, etc. Even if it’s different kingdoms, they still look the same. Sure, some games can add something new now and then but for the most part, they use the same environments over and over again. It just seems off that the Mario games rely on the same places so often rather than expanding now and then.
8 Mario Plays It Too Safe
Obviously, Mario is Nintendo’s golden goose and they don’t want to mess with it. Yet after 35 years, it’s obvious the series could use some more daring entries now and then. Instead, the company plays it safe by putting out mostly the same game over and over. They can do something different now and then like Mario Sunshine or Odyssey, but it still seems they prefer repeating their past successes rather than attempting something fully new.
7 Able To Jump With Such Stubby Legs
This a baffling one. Mario has always been a short and stocky guy who somehow is able to do leaps and bounds that would impress Superman. Some games do play on Luigi being able to jump higher but Mario can still bound massively over huge gaps. It’s wilder when he’s in a “mini” form and yet can do triple jumps easily and reach high places. For such a small guy, Mario has jumping powers that can put Olympians to shame.
6 The Stories Are Bland
In terms of game play, the Mario games are pretty great. Each entry shifts things up with new power-ups, powers, and skills. Sadly that doesn’t make up for how the stories are beyond cliche. Bowser kidnaps Peach, Mario goes on a quest to rescue her, the end. Even the differing ones like Mario Sunshine don’t stray too far from that. It’s a shame the games’ stories can’t match the amazingly inventive gameplay.
5 He Keeps Fighting the Same Guys
Look, stomping Goombas has been a standard for the Mario games for decades. Yet there’s only so many ways you can make doing it seem fun. Likewise, the sight of piranhas sticking out of pipes is old hat. A few games do try to give Mario new enemies and mix them up with the platforming sections. Yet it’s annoying to have to run into the same pack of foes and obstacles time and time again. There’s only so many times you can kick a turtle shell around at bad guys.
4 Not That Good At Swimming
The swimming levels of any Mario game can be a headache. Unless he has a power-up like the frog suit, Mario can’t do that well at all. His bounces can too easily lead him to hit something that depowers or defeats him outright. Unless he has a fire power-up, he can’t take out any enemies coming his way. More baffling is that unlike Sonic, Mario is capable of holding his breath for long periods underwater yet remains a poor swimmer which seems rather illogical.
3 He’s Not Really Human
It used to be fans accepted that Mario was a simple human guy in a strange magical world. It made sense with him fighting so many bizarre monsters and such. Him being human was just obvious. But then Super Mario Odyssey has Mario traveling to New Donk City which is modeled on the real world. There, Mario is two feet tall and looks like a cartoon next to fully regular humans. So if he’s not a real human being, just what the heck is he?
2 Mario Mario?
That name is just.. .weird. In fact, the infamous Super Mario Bros. movie had a bit of him noting his name is literally “Mario Mario” and his brother is “Luigi Mario.” That’s one thing for a small game but another for a guy who’s now a huge icon of the industry. If he had just one name, that’s okay but the insistence on him having the same name twice makes one wonder what Mr. and Mrs. Mario were thinking.
1 The Accent
The accent may be part of Mario’s charm with fans, but it can also be a bit problematic today. The issue, of course, is that it sounds like the most stereotypical Italian voice imaginable. The “It’sa me!” and such really doesn’t sound as fun as it used to. While it’s aimed at kids and it doesn’t get as much backlash as other controversial characters, it can’t be denied while Mario is one of the greatest walking cliches of Italians in gaming which the fans try to brush off.