There are few video game series as legendary as Nintendo’s Super Mario. Mario has appeared in an unbelievable amount of games, with the portly plumber’s numerous digital adventures selling hundreds of millions of copies around the world.
Given the series’ popularity, you would think everything there is to know about Mario is public knowledge, right? Well, not necessarily. Even if you are a huge fan of Mario, there are likely some facts and secrets that you’re not aware of. The following are 15 Easter eggs you may have overlooked in Mario games past and present.
15. Yoshi is in ‘Super Mario 64’
Super Mario 64 is one of the most beloved (and best) Mario games in history. The game revolutionized 3D gaming and provided hours of incredibly fun platforming, but it is a bit of a lonely experience, as Mario runs into very few allies during his adventure through Princess Peach’s castle. However, there is one familiar character you run into in the game, and that is Yoshi. Now, you may be thinking to yourself “where do I find Yoshi in Super Mario 64?”. Well, once you get all the stars in the game, you can get shot by a cannon to the roof of Peaches castle, where you find Yoshi. Sadly, he is not a playable character, but he does give Mario a special message from Mario creator Shigeru Miyamoto, as well as 100 extra lives and sparkly triple jumps!
14. The Bricks are Alive
In the original Super Mario Bros. game, breaking blocks is a big part of the experience. However, did you know that the story behind the bricks is actually more sinister than you ever could have imagined? In the game’s instruction manual, it states that the Koopas invaded the peaceful mushroom people and turned them all into bricks. So yes, every time you smash a brick in the game, there is a good chance you are destroying an innocent mushroom person. This definitely gives the game a bit of a different vibe and is a fact that could have been easily missed if you never bothered to read the manual.
13. The Dark History of the Chain Chomp
The Chain Chomp is one of the most intimidating recurring enemies throughout the Mario series. And if you thought that the enemy resembles that of a chained-up dog, you are not alone. In fact, the inspiration for the enemy’s design was actually from a situation Shigeru Miyamoto went through as a child. A dog ran up to him and tried to bite him, but the dog’s chain held the animal back and Miyamoto was uninjured. Drawing upon the experience, Miyomoto designed the Chain Chomp to have similar qualities as a dog such as barking, and the fact that the Chain Chomps sort of act like a guard dog from time-to-time.
12. Star World
Super Mario World for the SNES was a vast game with a ton to do and see. However, there was one area that many people never discovered unless they were persistent about trying to find everything in the game. Players who were tenacious about searching for all the secrets could find themselves in Star World via one of only five entry points. Star World features a few short levels and in this world, you could find several different Yoshi characters as well. It’s crazy to think that most people who played through Super Mario World probably missed out on this world. Also, if you found a secret exit in Star World, you would be taken to Special World, which has even more levels to play.
11. ‘Super Mario Bros. 3’ Might Have Been a Play
For many years, there was a popular fan theory that Super Mario Bros. 3 was a play, as the game featured hanging blocks, curtains and was played on a largely level map design. This led people to believe the entire game was only a performance and that Mario was never actually in danger. This theory was incredibly popular and recently, the creator of Mario (Shigeru Miyamoto) admitted that it was true and gamers who played the game were merely the audience of this play. This is one of the most popular theories in any game that actually turned out to be true, according to the series creator.
10. The Many Cameos in ‘Super Mario RPG’
Super Mario RPG was one the first Mario games to be developed outside of Nintendo, with Squaresoft handling development duties on this ambitious Super Nintendo RPG. Featuring five main playable character, Super Mario RPG also sported unique graphics and tongue-in-cheek humor, and both of these additions contributed to the game getting a lot of praise from the public and critics alike. Another thing that people loved about this game is the various amounts of different cameos that appear in the game. Many popular Nintendo and Square Enix characters including Link, Samus and Donkey Kong all appear in the game at one point or another.
9. Mario Had a Few Name Changes
While we all know and love a character named Mario, that wasn’t his original name, which might come as a shock to younger fans of the character out there. In fact, Mario went through several different names before his creators eventually landed on “Mario.” Miyamoto originally named him Mr. Video and he was also called Jumpman for a time but after some thought about the game, his name was changed to Mario, which was a very good idea in retrospect! He has also gone through a number of careers, being referenced as both a carpenter and a plumber throughout his many appearances in numerous different games.
8. Super Luigi Bros
Mario often gets all the credit for making this series so popular, but his brother Luigi is no slouch. While Luigi’s had a few games in which he is the central character, his brother is usually the star. However, in Super Mario 3D World, Luigi gets a lot of love. In fact, there is a secret mode in the game called Luigi Bros, which is a remake of the original Mario game with Luigi as the playable character. This game can be unlocked by beating Super Mario World 3D through World 8, or by having a save file of New Super Luigi U on your Wii U console.
7. Birdo is the First Transgender Video Game Character
Birdo is one of the most interesting characters in the history of Mario. This pink, anthropomorphic character was introduced in Super Mario Bros. 2 and has been a recurring character for many years since. The character was originally supposed to be an antagonist, but was eventually seen as a Mario ally. While many would assume that Birdo is essentially a female version of Yoshi, that is not actually the case. According to the game manual for Super Mario Bros. 2, Birdo is a boy who thinks and wants to be a girl, making them the very first transgender character in Mario games.
6. Mario Originally Had a Gun
Despite many video games equipping their protagonists with a lethal weapon of some sort, Mario (for the most part) has avoided such things. However, Mario wasn’t always supposed to look or play the way he traditionally does. Originally, Miyamoto intended the character to wield a gun, and the controls for Super Mario Bros. would have been “up” on the D-pad to jump, B to run and A to shoot bullets. This would have changed the series and character forever, and would have had a profound impact on the video game industry as a whole. As it turned out, the bullets from the gun became the basis for Mario’s fireball projectile power-up.
5. Sirena Beach is a GameCube Controller
Super Mario Sunshine is the second ever Mario 3D platformer and is often not given the love that it deserves. Released on the GameCube in 2002, Sunshine may not have been of the same caliber as its innovative predecessor, Super Mario 64, but it was still incredibly fun to play. And you just know it wouldn’t be a Mario game without a little bit of a hidden secret. The big Easter egg in Sunshine is actually the layout of Sirena Beach level, which is modeled to look just like a Gamecube controller. If you are in the hotel and look out to the sea, you will be able to see what we are talking about.
4. The Minus World
Super Mario Bros. is a game that has been played by millions of people and basically everything about it has been discovered. However, there are a ton of people that don’t know about a glitch/hidden level in the game called The Minus World (fans have given it that name because when the level starts it says World -1). Actually getting to the level requires a pretty extensive list of specific movements, so doing it accidentally is quite difficult. Once in the level, you cannot get out (as the ending is glitched) so you are destined to eventually lose.
3. ‘Super Mario Bros. 2’ Didn’t Start Out as a Mario Game
Super Mario Bros. 2 is one of the highest-selling and most influential games of all time. Several of the game’s features would go on to become massively popular and included in many games going forward. However, did you know that Super Mario Bros. 2 wasn’t actually supposed to be a Mario game? The original Super Mario Bros. 2 was found to be too difficult of a game and thus, developers had to think of something quick. They took the game Doki Doki Panic, and modified it to feature Mario characters and setting. So while Japan had the authentic Super Mario Bros. 2, other territories got the simpler, reskinned Doki Doki Panic.
2. You Can Finish the Original Game in Under 5 Minutes
Speedrunning is a popular brand of gaming in which individuals attempt to finish a game in the shortest amount of time possible. There are many popular speedrunning games, but the original Super Mario Bros. is perhaps the most legendary. While most of us took hours and hours to beat this game, there are players who can do it in under 5 minutes. Watching them play the game at this level doesn’t even seem real and it is amazing to think they can complete such a game in just a few minutes time by abusing small glitches or coding. Various other Mario games have become popular in speedrunning, but it’s the original that remains the holy grail.
1. The 192nd Coin on Tiny-Huge Island in ‘Super Mario 64’
And perhaps the most legendary of all the secrets and Easter eggs in the Mario series is the 192nd coin on Tiny-Huge Island in Super Mario 64. There were always thought to be 191 collectible coins in the level, until someone found a hidden one way back in 2002. The problem was, you couldn’t collect it. In fact, it was the only coin in the entire game that you couldn’t collect. People tried to get the coin for well over a decade, but no one was able to succeed and it was dubbed the “impossible coin”. However, in 2014, someone managed to get the coin by making a frame-perfect jump, and thus finding the solution to one of the biggest secrets in Mario history.