Super Mario (franchise)

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It's-a us! The Mario Bros!

Undoubtedly the most recognizable video game franchise of all time, and centerpiece of Nintendo's gaming empire. It was created by Shigeru Miyamoto, and popularized the Platform Game.

The story of the Mario Brothers begins not in their own game, but in Donkey Kong. In that game, a carpenter (curiously named Jumpman) was charged to rescue the beautiful Pauline from a rampaging ape.

The sequel, Donkey Kong Jr., recast the carpenter, now explicitly named Mario, as the antagonist, from whom the captured Donkey Kong must be rescued. Mario's name and nationality came from the landlord of Minoru Arakawa, the president of Nintendo of America at the time. Said landlord's name was Mario Segale, and he hailed from Italy. Arakawa thought Jumpman looked exactly like him; thus, Jumpman became Mario.

Mario was joined by his brother, Luigi, for their own game, Mario Bros., in which the brothers, having taken up plumbing, fought an infinite number of turtles and other menaces issuing from a number of pipes.

All this led to the game which more or less defined the entire Nintendo product line: Super Mario Bros. The story, which would recur countless times through the franchise, was simple enough: Bowser, a giant fire-breathing turtle dragon ox dinosaur and King of the Koopas, kidnaps Princess Toadstool of the Mushroom Kingdom (who would later revert to her Japanese name, Peach). Mario and Luigi must fight their way through a number of obstacles to face Bowser and rescue the princess. The formula has become codified to the point that the deliberate and highlighted trope subversions in spinoffs have themselves become tropes.

Since then, Mario has become Nintendo's Mascot and their most prolific character, branching out from platformers into racing games, sports titles, Role Playing games, and more. Along the way, he's picked up more friends like his dinosaur buddy Yoshi and Anti-Hero Twin Wario, who along with Luigi and Peach have spun off successful games of their own.

Of course, Mario hasn't completely limited himself to the realm of video games. Mario and Luigi appeared in the Super Mario Bros Super Show, with live-action linking segments featuring the brothers as plumbers in Brooklyn and cartoons that showed them in the world of the games. The secondary Theme Song for the cartoons explains that they "found the secret warp zone while working on the drain" which is how they got to the Mushroom Kingdom from Brooklyn. Interestingly, none of the television show is technically 'canon', inasmuch as the games have that anyway, though it has affected some Fanon. This might be related to the irony that there's never been a show made of it in the country of origin, aside from the obscure theatrical anime The Great Mission to Save Princess Peach. There was also a critically-panned motion picture, where Bob Hoskins and John Leguizamo as the titular brothers faced off against Dennis Hopper as Koopa, a hyperevolved dinosaur from Another Dimension, intent on rejoining his own, mostly desolate world with ours. We were all confused, and the movie's Backstory has never been even obliquely referenced in other media. In addition, Super Mario Bros. 3 was notable for being previewed in the Fred Savage film The Wizard (film), whose climactic scene involved an autistic child playing the first stage of the game. A far Truer to the Text animated film, The Super Mario Bros. Movie, was released in 2023.

In addition to the major games, Mario has appeared in dozens of other Nintendo games, including a random appearance as referee in Mike Tyson's Punch-Out!! and as a painting in The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past and has appeared on every Nintendo platform (except the Pokémon Mini and Color TV Game), including the ill-fated Virtual Boy (in Mario's Tennis and Mario Clash).

The series has contributed the following games:

Main Series

Donkey Kong

Super Mario Bros. (Classic 2D)

Super Mario Land (Game Boy 2D)

New Super Mario Bros. (Modern 2D)





Puzzle Games

Roleplaying Games


Spinoff Platformers

Other Spinoffs


Super Mario (franchise) is the Trope Namer for:

The following tropes are common to many or all entries in the Super Mario (franchise) franchise.
For tropes specific to individual installments, visit their respective work pages.
  • Aborted Arc: Throughout Super Princess Peach, there are little cutscenes that develop Perry's character a bit, showing that he was once a Toad turned into a parasol... this has absolutely no point beyond trivial Character Development. To put things in perspective, in the last of these, Perry says, entirely in parentheses, "Grandpa... I've decided to stay with the princess for a while. I have this feeling that if I accompany her on this adventure...someday...I'll find you, Grandpa..." This may or may not be a Sequel Hook, depending on the nature of the games as a whole...
  • Acrofatic: Several characters in the various franchises can move a lot quicker than their mass might lead you to believe, most of all our protagonist, Mario. His slightly pudgy plumber's physique belies a leaping ability beyond compare.
    • And Super Mario 64 made him into quite the track-and-field athlete, way before Mario and Sonic at the Olympic Games.
  • Action Bomb: Bob-Omb.
  • Adorable Evil Minions: Pretty much every Mook in the series is cute in some way or another.
  • Adventure Duo: Mario and Luigi whenever Luigi isn't a Palette Swap.
  • Airborne Mook: Koopa Paratroopas, Lakitus, Bullet Bills, and many more.
  • Almighty Plumber
  • Alternate Universe: The Mushroom World is an alternate version of Earth.
  • Always Night: Every ghost house in Super Mario World, New Super Mario Bros. for DS and Wii and every haunted house stage in a spinoff (Luigis Mansion, being a haunted house game, also counts). As well as Bowser's kingdom (Dark Land) in Super Mario Bros. 3, Big Boo's Haunt in Super Mario 64 and far too many more to list. Dark Land, in particular, is especially noteworthy for somehow managing to be Always Night DESPITE the sun's presence in one level.
  • Ambiguously Brown: Morton Koopa Jr. is darker brown compared to his siblings, who look much more like their father.
  • And Now You Must Marry Me: Frequently this is Bowser's motivation for kidnapping Peach.
  • Annoying Laugh: Boos let out a grating, high-pitched cackle when they chase Mario.
  • Appropriated Title: Early games in the series went under a variety of titles, the most well-known games being Donkey Kong, Mario Bros., and Wrecking Crew. It wasn't until Super Mario Bros, the 15th unique game in the series (counting Game & Watch spin-offs), that the series finally got a definitive title.
  • Arch Enemy: Bowser and Mario are each other's.
    • And Mario is also Wario's, though he swerves between this and The Rival.
  • Aristocrats Are Evil: Too many examples to list. Princess Peach is an exception, though, and she's a major character.
    • And the kings in Super Mario Bros. 3, the queen Boo in Paper Mario, and actually a lot of others, too. Also, King Crocaus is kind of a subversion in Super Paper Mario, as at first he seems evil but turns out good.
  • Armless Biped: Goombas
  • Artifact Title: Super has remained in games without "normal Mario" and "Super Mario" forms (or the Super NES, for that matter).
    • Distinctively enough, most spinoffs don't use the "Super" before Mario's name, with the only possible exception being Super Mario Strikers (considering that the Mario Kart games ditched it since the N64 version, making the Super NES game a case of Super Title 64 Advance instead), (which even then is known in Europe as Mario Smash Football).
  • Ascended Extra: Luigi started off as little more than a Palette Swap of Mario, and would you just look at him now. We're proud of you, buddy.
  • Attack of the 50-Foot Whatever: All of the bosses from the Yoshi's Island games.
    • Also, the boss of World 4 in New Super Mario Bros. was a giant Goomba, and Giant World from Super Mario Bros. 3 thrived on this trope, as it's... Giant World.
      • And the "Huge" side of Tiny-Huge Island in Super Mario 64.
    • Bowser himself in New Super Mario Bros. Wii and Super Mario Galaxy 2.
  • Audience Murmurs: The title screen for All-Stars.
  • Auto-Scrolling Level: Pops up here and there.
  • Avenging the Villain: Bowser Jr. in Super Mario Sunshine and New Super Mario Bros.
  • Badass Abnormal: Mario and Luigi, with a little help from the Mushroom Kingdom's flora and fauna. In addition, Yoshi's Island DS's revelation that the two have extraordinary power gifted to them by the stars.
  • Badass Mustache: Mario, Luigi, Wario, and Waluigi.
    • The Mario & Luigi series of games have "'Stache" as a character stat. Improving said stat will get you cheaper prices in shops, as shopkeepers respect and admire a well-groomed mustache. It also let you get in more critical hits.
    • Super Mario 64 DS suggests that the reason Yoshi can't do some of the moves the other three have is purely due to the lack of a mustache. Some of the bosses are very proud of theirs too, especially Chief Chilly, who kidnapped Wario and will think little of Yoshi if he somehow gets to the fight.
  • Badly-Battered Babysitter: Yoshi's role in the first Yoshi's Island game.
  • Ballistic Bone: Thrown by Dry Bones, most notably in Super Mario World and Paper Mario.
  • Bat Family Crossover: Done in the spinoffs with Donkey Kong Country and, to a lesser extent, Wario Ware, to the point where Baby Donkey Kong was a major character in Yoshi's Island DS.
  • Big Bad: Bowser plays this role in most games, though some other games have different big bads.
  • Big No: In Mario Superstar Baseball, upon losing a game in challenge mode, Mario will let one of these off.
  • Bilingual Bonus: Waluigi may seem like a dumb name, but in Japanese it's a pun. "Warui" means bad, thus "Wario" by combining Mario and Warui. Waluigi seems to be the same, but with L-R conversion, it's "waru igi," which is also "igi waru (mean person)" backwards. Crosses over with Incredibly Lame Pun.
  • Bold Inflation: Done in many recent games, whether it is colors, text size, wavy/shaky text, small icons next to certain words, or other tricks.
  • Bootstrapped Theme: World 1-1. One of the most famous video game songs ever made, and effectively the theme of the series.
  • Bottomless Pits: These are everywhere in the sidescrolling games.
  • Breaking/Leaning On/Painting the Fourth Wall: Lots of it, especially in the RPGs. But special mention goes to New Super Mario Bros, in which the Mooks "dance" to the stage music. This actually has an effect on gameplay, as you must adjust your timing when attacking the enemy.
    • SMB's running on the top of the screen was essentially breaking the 4th wall.
  • Breath Weapon: Bowser's trademark and most often used attack.
    • He's not the only one. Many other characters have Breath Weapons too, like the Reznor and Petey Piranha (who has goop breath). Also, all of his children share his fire breath, as shown by the Koopalings in Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga. Bowser Jr. was once underdeveloped in this power, but has finally shown mastery of it in New Super Mario Bros. Wii.
  • Brother Chuck: Wart, the Big Bad from Super Mario Bros. 2. Somewhat justified in that Subcon was a dream world. Emphasis on "somewhat" as Subcon natives like Shy Guys and Bob-ombs continue to exist.
    • Tatanga, another platformer Big Bad unrelated to Bowser, appeared in two games and, like Wart, some obscure comics... then he disappeared (though its possible he may have died in Super Mario Land 2: 6 Golden Coins).
  • Bubbly Clouds: World 5 in Super Mario Bros. 3 and some of the bonus stages.
  • Butt Monkey: Later depictions of Luigi are rather harsh. Possibly in retaliation for Luigi's Mansion, he has gotten captured by ghosts in Super Mario 64 DS and Galaxy, depicted as a coward and stereotypically fey in Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga, completely ignorant and possibly a bit of a liar in Paper Mario 2, Brainwashed to evil in Super Paper Mario, and cowardly and ineffective in Super Mario Galaxy. Even in the special unlocked part of Galaxy where you play as Luigi, it's not really Luigi, but some kind of magical clone. Or is the other Luigi the clone?
    • Subverted in Super Smash Bros.. Brawl, in which Luigi is one of only three characters left to rescue all the others after they've been incapacitated by the final boss... if only because he was one of the first to get transformed into a trophy and recovered later because Dedede put one of his badges on him.
      • Not to mention Luigi's freaky Final Smash.
    • Waluigi, when not being outright ignored, is always caught in all kinds of slapstick gags, particularly explosions, as seen in most of the sports games intros. While Luigi is usually labelled the king of second bananas, at least that grants him a shitload of screentime. Waluigi either does´t appear or is there just for him to get beaten up.
    • Bowser is also a subject of mockery in the RPGs, where he had his own castle taken over in Super Mario RPG, failed at everything he tried in Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door, lost his memory and was later possessed in Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga, and is in general treated as a complete joke.
      • As in the Brawl example, this is subverted in Mario & Luigi: Bowser's Inside Story: The game does start with Bowser getting his routine beating from Mario, but due to complications in the plot, Bowser gets full reign of the world, handling the problems the Mushroom Kingdom is having with his own agenda, while Mario and Luigi are stuck inside Bowser's body, but more or less up to their usual antics. Of course, Bowser has no idea the Mario Bros. are inside him, and they both unwittingly help each other out in various ways.
    • When you really think about it, Luigi doesn't have it that bad compared to his brother.
  • The Caligula: King Bowser in the RPGs.
  • Cartoon Bomb: Bob-omb.
  • Cash Cow Franchise: To the point where one can probably take a dump in a plastic baggy, tape a picture of Mario to it (the bag or the feces, doesn't matter which) and sell it for millions.
  • Chaos Architecture
  • Character Development: Played during Super Princess Peach.
  • Clothes Make the Legend: The colors can change, but Mario and Luigi always have their caps and overalls. Peach's dress is also part of this trope.
  • Clown Car Base: Bowser's Clown Copter in Super Mario World.
  • Color-Coded Multiplayer
  • Colossus Climb: The boss Megaleg in Galaxy.
    • Mecha Bowser from the same, as well.
  • Combo-Platter Powers
  • Commedia Dell Arte Troupe: You name a game genre, Mario's probably been in one of them.
    • The only one he definitely hasn't been in is Real-Time Strategy.
  • Continuity Nod: Only on occasion, the most obvious one being Princess Peach's Castle, which seems to now have a mostly consistent design as of Super Mario 64.
  • Crossover: Besides the obvious:
  • Cool Airship: The Koopas sometimes attack in what are essentially flying pirate ships.
  • Cowardly Sidekick: Luigi in the DiC cartoons and various Post-Luigis Mansion games. Example: Mario & Luigi.
  • Cute Monster: Every monster is cute. Yes, even Bowser -- especially Bowser.
  • Cute Little Fangs: Some of the enemies have these.
  • Damsel in Distress: Obstinately Peach; most spinoffs that don't follow the classic setup tend to subvert this almost immediately and without comment.
  • Darker and Edgier: Compared to everything else about the Mario series, the Mario Strikers/Mario Football series is rather edgy, albeit in a sort of tongue-in-cheek way. The Paper Mario series, particularly Super Paper Mario, is also much more dramatic and dark than the rest of the series, but without ever losing that basically-lighthearted Mario charm.
  • Demoted to Extra: The Koopalings in Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga.
    • The first time they've appeared in years, mind you.
  • Depending on the Writer: The sentience of Bob-ombs, as well as their ability to regenerate from explosives.
  • Determinator: Bowser's been dropped into lava multiple times (twice in one game, the second time as a skeleton), sent plummeting of a cliff, had his vehicle explode WHILE HE WAS IN IT, thrown into an airborne bomb, TOSSED INTO THE CENTER OF THE SUN, AND BEEN SUCKED UP BY A BLACK HOLE. And he STILL hasn't died. It's even Lampshaded in Super Paper Mario.
  • Digital Piracy Is Evil: Mario guest stars in one quirky anti-piracy advertisement.
  • Dinosaurs Are Dragons: Yoshi, a fire-breathing, flying dragon that has some markedly dinosaur-like features.
  • Directionally Solid Platforms: They're not very common, but they are here and there in some of the newer 2D games.
  • Damsel in Distress: Peach and Daisy (the latter to a much lesser extent).
  • Divergent Character Evolution: Has happened with Luigi and Daisy.
  • Enemy Mine: There are several occasions where the brothers team up with Bowser to defeat a stronger enemy.
  • Easily-Conquered World: The Mushroom Kingdom.
  • Egocentric Team Naming: Unless you go with the "Mario Mario and Luigi Mario" explanation.
  • Elemental Powers: Several depending on the game and the power up, but fairly consistently in the spinoffs, the characters tend to prefer:
  • Elemental Shapeshifter: In Super Mario Bros. 3, Mario could turn into a statue with the Tanooki suit. It turned him invincible, and he could kill nearly anything by falling on it.
  • Ermine Cape Effect: Unless it's a sports title (and sometimes not even that's an exception), Peach always wears her royal dress.
  • The Everyman: Mario.
  • Everything's Better with Bob: The bomb enemies are named Bob-Ombs, and Mario Party Advance featured a Goomba named Goombob.
  • Everything's Better with Dinosaurs: Super Mario World took place in Dinosaur Land, where Yoshi made his first appearance.
    • The Super Mario World cartoon series and movie also had a lot to do with dinosaurs.
  • Everything's Better with Penguins: Since Super Mario 64, penguins have regularly appeared as Mario's friends.
  • Everything's Better with Princesses: Peach is just the start.
  • Evil Counterpart: Wario for Mario and Waluigi for Luigi.
  • Evil Is Dumb: Almost any time a villain joins the heroes, come to think of it...
  • Evil Overlord: Bowser, with his Mordor-esque kingdom, corrupted populace (Goombas), undead soldiers, sorcerers, ominous castles, and dungeons aplenty.
  • Evil Sorcerer: Foremost being Kamek, but to an extent King Boo and even Bowser himself (the original NES game had him using Black Magic to take over). As well as quite a few RPG villains that have traces of this (Fawful, Grodus and Smithy are pretty much Technopath variants; the Shadow Queen in Paper Mario 2 and Cackletta are this kind of thing played straight).
  • Excuse Plot: Shigeru Miyamoto feels that too much of a plot gets in the way of what makes Mario fun, as trying to understand complex backstories and plots could ruin the light, cheerful feel of Mario.
  • Extreme Omnivore: Yoshi again; just for starters, he can swallow nearly any enemy whole.
    • Because of his cute and lighthearted portrayal, it never dawns on some people just how much of a vicious predator Yoshi actually is...
    • Taken to literal extreme when in Mario Power Tennis, when Luigi comes to give Yoshi his trophy, Yoshi EATS him! No, not licks him up and spits him out, he legitimately EATS LUIGI!
  • Exposed to the Elements: Mario can navigate through levels with hot and cold climates without any apparent problems adjusting to the temperature, and is also able to breathe underwater in the 2D games and Super Mario 3D Land, but not any other 3D games. It's only when he goes into outer space (such as in Super Mario Land 2 and Super Paper Mario) that this really becomes an issue (though even this is given an exception in Super Mario Galaxy).
    • Possible explanation is that his hat is magically enchanted to help protect him, as he takes more damage without it and slowly loses health in sunny areas of Isle Delfino without it.
  • Expy Waluigi Looks a lot like Dick Dastardly.
  • Face Heel Turn: Mario in Donkey Kong Jr.
  • Fakeout Escape: In one comic book, Princess Toadstool fools the Koopalings into coming into her cell with a Ceiling Cling, then beats them up and locks them in.
  • Famed in Story
  • Fartillery: Wario. Hold your nose, everyone!
  • Fireballs: A Mario staple. Mario can throw them with the Fire Flower Power-Up, enemies can use them, and there are Fireballs enemies known as Podoboos, which gained eyes later in the series.
  • Flanderization: If the Galaxy games are anything to go by, if it gives Mario or Luigi a new ability, it's either a fire flower or some type of mushroom. As opposed to the older games where you had leaves and feathers and flowers and all sorts of neat stuff.
  • Flight: Nearly every (platformer) game has a new item to get Mario airborne: Mario Bros. 3 has the Raccoon and Tanooki suits, Mario Land 2 has a Rabbit suit, Mario World has the cape, Mario 64 has the Wing Cap, Mario Sunshine has FLUDD's jetpack function, Mario Galaxy has the Bee Suit and Red Star, and New Super Mario Bros. Wii has the Propeller Suit.
  • Follow the Leader: Mario Kart is often joked about for launching countless ripoffs, but it's often forgotten that the original SMB launched just as many during its time.
  • Fundamentally Funny Fruit: The Eggplant Men in Wrecking Crew. Waluigi also uses eggplants in Mario Superstar Baseball and Mario Super Sluggers.
  • Fungus Humongous: Many games have levels with giant mushrooms that act as platforms.
  • Game Mod: Super Mario World has been hacked frequently, with varying degrees in difficulty and quality. Super Mario Bros 3, the original Super Mario Bros., and even New Super Mario Bros. Wii have gotten a few hacks as well.
  • Geographic Flexibility: Everywhere in the Mushroom Kingdom/World. May as well not be the same place every game, because whole new towns, cities, castles, mansions, stadiums and race tracks get added all over the place on a per game basis, and even things like whether it borders other countries changes per game (some put it as land locked, some as partly bordering countries but having access to the ocean, other games as an island...).
  • Giant Mook: All the baddies in Giant Land in Super Mario Bros. 3, as well as various bosses and minibosses from throughout the series.
  • Giant Space Flea From Nowhere: A lot of examples, but Baron Brrr and Kingfin in Super Mario Galaxy have no story foreshadowing whatsoever.
  • A God Am I: A rare pleasant example. Rosalina is the de facto god of the Mario setting. She was originally just a perfectly normal little girl.
  • Gratuitous English: Two words from Super Mario Sunshine: "Shine get!" (This line was "corrected" for the NA release, but Woolseyism in Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door brought it back.) It returns in Super Mario Galaxy with "Star get!"
  • The Guards Must Be Crazy: If anyone or anything in this series is guarded, expect it to be stolen/kidnapped whenever the current villain feels like it.
  • Half-Dressed Cartoon Animal: Many non-human characters fall under this.
  • Heroic Mime: Mario in most RPGs. Some times taken to hilarious extremes where Mario will shapeshift or defy physics to re-enact a story without speaking a word.
  • Hypnotize the Princess: Peach gets this in a comic and in Super Paper Mario.
  • I Know Madden Kombat: Chargin' Chuck, a football Koopa Troopa from Super Mario World.
  • In a Single Bound: Mario is so famous around the Mushroom Kingdom that people he's never seen before know him by his distinctive jump.
  • Informed Ability: Does going through pipes count as plumbing?
  • Invincibility Power-Up: Starmen
  • Ironic Name: Luigi means famous hero.
  • Jerkass: Wario, and to a lesser extent his partner-in-crime Waluigi.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Bowser from Mario Super Sluggers; when a Bullet Bill shot by Wario and Waluigi nearly hits Mario, Bowser unexpectedly jumps in, hitting the Bullet Bill back toward the two before he is seen later about to leave, much to Mario's notice, though Your Mileage May Vary.
  • Just Eat Him: The ghost disguised as Bowser.
    • Bowser can eat enemies and let Mario and Luigi take care of them in Mario & Luigi 3.
    • YOSHI.
  • Killer App: Along with The Legend of Zelda, this series is usually the one to get the ball rolling in terms of console sales.
  • King Mook: Many bosses in the series are giant aristocratic versions of a regular enemy.
  • Laborious Laziness: Wario is made of this trope. In fact, Nintendo Power commented on it once in a preview of Wario Master of Disguise.
  • Large Ham: Bowser pretty much whenever he has voice acting (especially in Super Mario Sunshine). Most of Bowser's hammy lines come from the RPGs, though. Bowser's antics are very reminiscent of a pro wrestler, saying things like:

"Stomping fools is my business! Show me a fool, and I'll stomp it! I don't even need a reason!"


"I'll Bowserize it!"

  • Laughably Evil: Bowser fits this in the spin off games and RPGs. However, in the main platforming series, he's portrayed in a much more serious manner.
    • Aside from Bowser, many of the villains who originated from the spin-offs and RPGs fill in this spot. Cackletta and Fawful in particular take it Up to Eleven (though one could say that Fawful takes it Up To Twelve).
  • Law of One Hundred: The Bros. series and coins.
  • Le Parkour: Mario is getting increasingly better at it, with 3D games and New Super Mario Bros. (both of them) having the Wall Jump mechanic and triple jumps.
    • As far as fan games go, Super Mario DX: Blue Twilight has the wall jump and triple jump, though only the triple jump is present in Super Mario 63 for some reason.
  • Lightning Bruiser: Mario, Luigi, Wario, and Bowser tend to be this.
  • Limited Wardrobe: Peach has almost nothing but her pink dress to wear, as seen in Paper Mario, where it's revealed that she has a wardrobe full of pink dresses.
  • Loads and Loads of Characters: And just about everyone has fans to boot.
    • Taken to its logical extreme in Mario Super Sluggers, with 41 individual characters (12 captains and 29 team players, without counting the color-swapped ones, like Yoshis and Koopas), as well as incorporating for good the Donkey Kong Country cast into the Marioverse (even K. Rool is playable in that game!).
  • Long Runner: Mario debuted (as Jumpman) in Donkey Kong in 1981. 2011 is his 30th birthday. Happy birthday, Mario!
  • Mad Scientist: Bowser's son Ludwig von Koopa and Luigi's friend Professor E. Gadd.
    • As is Ludwig's younger brother Iggy, with Iggy specializing in mechanics.
  • Magic Mushroom: The Super Mushroom, together with the 1-Up-mushroom, has become one of the most iconic game-items in history.
  • Malevolent Mugshot: Most of Bowser's Castles, airships, and a lot of other stuff has his face as an icon.
  • Man-Eating Plant: The Piranha Plant.
  • Meaningful Name: Pretty much every single character, species, place, item, or anything that isn't Mario has one.
  • Mercy Invincibility: Apparent in most of the main games.
  • Missing Mom: Well, Bowser had to bone someone to have eight freaking kids, but the mother is yet to be seen. As a result of this, fans have their own theories, many of which revolve around Peach.
    • These theories are directly addressed in Super Mario Sunshine, where one of Bowser's kids insists that Peach is his mother, without her denying this in any way (to the shock of many viewers). She's not.
    • Yoshi's Island makes it clear that the stork has a main role in child birth, so maybe you don't need two people in the Mushroom Kingdom...
  • Minsky Pickup: The classic Super Mario Bros. theme starts with The Jimmy Hart Version of this.
  • Moody Mount: Yoshi will run around very fast and become very hard to catch should Mario or Luigi be thrown off his back after Yoshi is hit by an enemy.
  • Moral Dissonance: The NPCs in Sunshine don't like being abused.
    • Tackling opponents into the electric fence in Super Mario Strikers usually results in them letting out a goofy-sounding scream. Except Peach, whose bloodcurdling shriek of pain almost makes you feel bad for slamming her into it.
    • See also the part about Mario (and Luigi) under "Alternate Character Interpretation" under the "YMMV" section.
  • Mordor: The surrounding area of Bowser's castle in any game.
  • Multiple Demographic Appeal: Most main games are meant to be enjoyed by people of all ages.
  • Mushroom Man: Several characters, including Goombas and Toad.
  • Mushroom Samba: The Fuzzies from Yoshi's Island cause Yoshi to stumble around drunk for a little while, screwing up his movements.
  • Mutually Exclusive Powerups
  • Negative Continuity: Shigeru Miyamoto stated that the reason for no continuity between games is because it would limit development of future games in the series.
  • Nintendo Hard: Super Mario Bros: The Lost Levels is just the hardest of them, but others can be punishing as well.
  • Non-Human Undead: A staple of the series is the Dry Bones, a reanimated Koopa skeleton. The Paper Mario series adds variations of Dry Bones, along with other Non-Human Undead (e.g. Bonetail from The Thousand Year Door and Bonechill of Super Paper Mario)
  • No Periods, Period: Super Princess Peach. Some theorize that that game is just one huge thinly-veiled metaphor for menses.
  • Official Couple: With the perchant tendency of stating that Mario is romantically involved or infatuated with any new Princess he meets in a given game being discarded over the years, Peach and Mario is the choice that still stands and seems to have become the only. Hints, statements, and status enhancements over the course of many games reinforce this:
    • In Mario Party 5, Mario and Peach are called the "Cutest Couple".
    • In Mario Superstar Baseball and Mario Super Sluggers, they share status enhancements, namely chemistry, as they are buddy players.
    • In Mario Power Tennis, given it has the most number of voiced lines out of all (all of it) Mario games, Mario outright professes his love for Peach in her trophy winning sequence, and she responds with a smile and blows a kiss. In Mario's own winning sequence, Peach kisses him on the cheek.

Mario: (applauding Peach) I love you so much.

  • Ominous Floating Castle: The Mario series LOVES this. Nearly every RPG has one for the final dungeon, and in the non RPGs, you've got Bowser's Galaxy Reactor in the centre of the universe.
  • One-Hit Kill: Generally, in the 2D games, falling into lava is this (while being squashed isn't), while in the 3D games, it's the other way around.
  • One-Hit-Point Wonder: In the sidescrolling games, Mario doesn't have a life meter. He starts out one hit away from losing a life, unless he grabs a powerup.
  • One-Man Army: Mario/Luigi are usually the only ones to save the princess. And kick everyone's asses while doing it.
  • Our Founder: Bowser's statues. Not quite it, but similar in spirit.
  • Our Monsters Are Weird: The Goombas, the Chomps, the Angry Sun, Birdo, and many, many others.
  • Pacifist Run: It is possible to get through the original Super Mario Bros. without directly attacking any enemy.
  • Painfully-Slow Projectile: Bullet Bills.
  • Pain-Powered Leap: This happens to Mario whenever he touches the lava in Mario 3D platform games, beginning with the Lethal Lava Land in Super Mario 64.
  • Pair the Spares: Back in the day, Peach also blew kisses to Luigi, as he was just a Palette Swap of his brother. Mario also was said to be romantically involved with almost any princess he meets in a given adventure (notably Daisy). Years passed, and with Mario and Peach being appointed as the Official Couple in many games, now and then some games like to hint Luigi and Daisy being at least interested in each other, even though they never had a main adventure to reinforce this; given Luigi's development to Lovable Coward and Daisy's more apparent portrayal as a Tomboy, they are pretty much presented as a Masculine Girl, Feminine Boy example.
    • In Open Tournament Golf, Daisy caddied for Luigi just as Peach did for Mario.
    • In Mario Tennis (Nintendo 64), when choosing Luigi in the doubles tournament mode, his default partner will be Daisy.
    • Their team names from the Mario Party series include: "Steady Sweeties", "Tango Tanglers", and "Shy Sidekicks".
    • The most glaring hint, as it was for Mario and Peach, was in Mario Power Tennis, with her rollerblading and receiving her trophy from Luigi.

Daisy: Hey, sweety! I'll take that.

"After her appearance in Mario Golf, some gossips started portraying her as Luigi's answer to Mario's Peach".

  • Paper-Thin Disguise: Bowser Jr. and the Koopalings hiding in the birthday cake in New Super Mario Bros. Wii. This being Mario, it works.
  • Parental Favoritism: It is implied that Bowser Jr. is Bowser's favorite. It probably falls under the "looks like the parent" version of this trope, since Jr. does look like Bowser when he was his age.
    • And before Jr.'s existence, Ludwig von Koopa, the eldest child, was referred to as Bowser's favorite in one of the instruction booklets.
  • Photo Montage: The ending credits of Sunshine and Galaxy.
  • Pimped-Out Dress: Peach's dress starts out simple, but grows more elaborate as graphics in the games advance. Daisy's similar dress is also elaborate.
  • Pinball Spinoff: Mario's Pinball Land.
  • Pinball Zone: Waluigi Pinball and Bowser's Pinball Machine.
  • Pipe Maze: Some games feature this sort of scenery.
  • Platform Hell: The Lost Levels is the only official game to so much as approach this level of overall difficulty, but we'd be here all day if we tried to list all the fan hacks that can be classified as this.
    • Some of the late-game levels throughout the series come close as well, especially those in the special worlds.
  • Player Mooks: Of all the spinoffs, the baseball games love this trope the most.
  • Playing with Fire: The Fire Flower power-up allows Mario and Luigi to sling fireballs at their enemies.
  • Plot Coupon: Five-pointed stars in 3D games.
  • Power-Up: Loads of them. The first Super Mario game had the iconic mushrooms, fire flowers, and stars.
  • Power-Up Food: Mushrooms, mushrooms, and more mushrooms.
    • Though it's never specified what Mario does with them, the various flowers (fire, ice) may also qualify.
    • In Super Mario Land 2: 6 Golden Coins, Mario can eat a carrot that gives him bunny ears and make him fly a bit.
    • Mario Party 8 has candies that, when eaten, gives the player different abilities, such as zapping opponents with lightning or stealing other players' items.
  • Power-Up Motif: The most common is the Invincibility Power-Up theme but in many games, there are others too.
  • Princess Classic: Peach started out like this, but now is more a spoof of this trope, especially in the Paper Mario games.
  • Princesses Prefer Pink: 90% of every outfit Peach has ever worn.
  • Puzzle Pan
  • Quirky Miniboss Squad: The Koopalings and Count Bleck's minions in Super Paper Mario. The 1337 Hamm0r Bros. from Mario and Luigi 2.
    • The Koopa Bros from Paper Mario would count if it wasn't for the fact that they're the main boss battle of their chapter rather than a miniboss.
  • Real Men Wear Pink: Roy Koopa, probably the biggest and most intimidating of all the Koopalings, has a pink shell, pink head, and pink old-lady sunglasses. His shell is recolored purple in New Super Mario Bros. Wii, but he keeps the pink head and glasses.
  • Recurring Boss: Many, sometimes without any difference in the boss battle.
  • Recurring Riff: The original game had six tunes in it. All of them get reused frequently, including the Level Clear jingle. But the one known for this above all others is the overworld level music, which has effectively become Mario's personal theme music and the theme for the entire franchise.
  • Replacement Mooks: Congratulations on rescuing the Princess, Mario. Why not play again? Huh? Goombas? What's that?
  • Respawning Enemies: But hey. At least you won't feel bad about kicking the tar out of them.
  • Ring Out Boss: About half the examples are probably from this series, including Roger the Potted Ghost, Big Bully, Chief Chilly, Topmaniac and Big Guy The Stilted.
  • RPG Elements: The portable sports spin-offs have your character's stats increase as they level up.
  • Rule of Cool: Next to Rule of Fun, the series basically runs off of this.
  • Rule of Fun: Why does Mario grow when he eats a mushroom? Why are there bricks floating in the air? Why does a fire-breathing, hammer-throwing Ox-Turtle kidnap Peach all of the time? Why must Bowser put something to defeat him in every arena that he's faced? Because it's fun, that's why!
  • Sand Is Water
  • Save the Princess: A recurring plot in the series, including the first and third games, Super Mario World, Super Mario Land (though this was a different princess), Super Mario 64, all the Paper Mario games, and Super Mario Galaxy. Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga had the variation of "Save the Princess's voice". Speaking of which, Mario & Luigi: Partners In Time revealed that Bowser had been kidnapping her since they were babies! It was inverted in Super Princess Peach, where you play as the Princess, and you have to save Mario.
  • Score Multiplier: In most games, your score is multiplied by a Kill Streak. You eventually get 1-Ups instead when the streak is high enough.
  • Sequel Difficulty Drop: Super Mario Bros 3, compared to The Lost Levels, at least. It's still harder than the original Super Mario Bros. though.
  • Sequel Difficulty Spike: Super Mario Bros.: The Lost Levels, compared to the original Super Mario Bros..
  • Serious Business: They take their soccer seriously in the Mushroom Kingdom. As in, they need to put up force fields to protect the spectators.
  • Shades of Conflict: Black and White Morality is most common in the games about Mario, Luigi, or Yoshi. Those characters, Princess Peach and the Toad race are all good, and anyone one else who helps them is generally good as well. Bowser (both his adult and baby versions), King Boo from Luigi's Mansion, and other characters who oppose the Mario Brothers or Yoshis are generally evil. Likewise, Donkey Kong and the other Kongs in his games are good while King K. Rool and other opponents of the Kongs are evil. Wario is the one playable character in the franchise generally portrayed as "gray" or villainous, so his games usually have Black and Gray Morality or Evil Versus Evil.
  • Shared Universe: With Donkey Kong Country, Wario Land, and Wario Ware.
  • She's a Man In Japan: Birdo and Vivian in Paper Mario 2.
    • Actually, Birdo was stated to be male in the U.S. as well back in Super Mario Bros. 2. She's been retconned to be female in all regions, however.
      • While some games and sources still mention Birdo being male (particularly in Europe and Japan), it´s mostly played for laughs or merely given a nod, such as the European Mario Strikers manual or Birdo´s trophy in Super Smash Bros Brawl; the closest to delving in the subject being the (in)famous Birdo mission in the Captain Rainbow game, which jokes around with the topic a lot (even giving Birdo a male sounding voice) yet, despite the jokes, the game technically still concludes that Birdo is female.
      • This has all combined to make it so that she's a post-transition male-to-female transsexual in fanon.
  • Slapstick Knows No Gender: Peach and Daisy (and Birdo) in Strikers. They catch fire, get electrocuted, crushed, and squashed like any other player.
  • Sliding Scale of Realistic Versus Fantastic: Borderline between Fantastic and Surreal. More Surreal in the first game, more generally Fantastic in later games. However, it depends. You've got the fairly plausible normal Mushroom Kingdom stuff and the Good Egg Galaxy and bits of Isle Delfino, the less plausible Toy Time type levels and Matter Splatter Galaxy, the definitely strange Loopdeeswoop Galaxy... and the big 'what the hell' in Tick Tock Clock and some of the power ups. This is not counting the cartoon series (The Super Mario Bros Super Show is WEIRD), and the comic adaptations (Mario as Van Helsing...)
  • Sliding Scale of Silliness Versus Seriousness: Most definitely at the silly/rule of cool end of the scale; the best answer to whether something will happen in a Mario game is whether it looks cool or funny.
  • Slippy-Slidey Ice World: World 4 in Super Mario Bros 2, World 6 in Super Mario Bros 3.
  • Sociopathic Hero: As mentioned in Alternate Character Interpretation. The most horrible example is a little flying insect that RUNS from Mario when they see him, and can't hurt him in any way, unless Mario is Bee Mario, and even that is guessed because the insect likes him. Poor insect.
  • Songs in the Key of Panic: Hurry Music is most commonly used when a timer reaches 100 in most games.
  • Spike Balls of Doom: Present here-there. Most notably, around castles but there are other cases too.
  • Spikes of Doom: These things are present rather commonly in games.
  • Spinoff Babies: The Yoshi's Island series, Mario & Luigi: Partners In Time, and the various sports game include younger versions of the characters.
  • Springs Springs Everywhere: And often springboards can even be carried. Also features other pieces of environment that have functions of a springboard.
  • Squashed Flat: Goombas in some games, after being stomped on.
  • Star-Shaped Coupon: 64, Galaxy, and the Party series see you collect Power Stars. The RPGs have various star-shaped objects as well. Sunshine has Sun Shaped Coupons, which might be considered close enough.
  • Story Overwrite: The endings of Super Mario Bros. 3 and Super Mario World have you in Super form, no matter which form you cleared either game with.
  • Stuck in Their Shadow: Luigi has gone from a Palette Swap to a Garfunkel to this, but this is the only state that's been acknowledged in-universe. According to Bowser's Inside Story, even Bowser tends to forget his name, referring to him as "Green 'Stache."
  • Super Drowning Skills
  • Super Not-Drowning Skills: in the earlier games.
  • Super Speed: Quite a few characters, the fastest being Luigi and Yoshi. Mario's not much slower than them, and Peach isn't much slower than him.
  • Tertiary Sexual Characteristics: Several of the baddies, but especially Wendy Koopa.
  • Third Person Person: A recurring trait in most of the main characters.
  • Tiny Guy, Huge Girl: Mario and Peach provide the page picture.
  • Title Scream: Plenty of games, including the three 3D platformers. Often times, it's done by Mario himself.
  • Tomboy and Girly Girl: To some degree, Daisy and Peach.
  • Tomboy Princess: Daisy is described as a tomboy within the series, although Peach has moments of this as well.
  • Too Dumb to Live: Princess Peach has been kidnappped by Bowser countless times. If it weren't for Mario, she'd probably be married to him or killed by him, depending on whatever his intention is.
  • Took a Level in Badass: Bowser in Super Mario Galaxy, and in Bowser's Inside Story.
  • Trapped in Another World: Mario and Luigi are clearly Italian, and are said to have grown up in Brooklyn. It's not brought up often in the games, and when it is, it's quite minor, but it is still there.
  • Traveling Pipe Bulge: In several of the recent games (but not the NES or SNES games).
  • Treasure Is Bigger in Fiction: With impractically large coins.
  • Trope 2000: Luigi uses a vacuum called a Poltergust 3000 to hunt ghosts in Luigi's Mansion.
  • Tube Travel: The warp pipes. However, in some cases (such as the warp zones), you appear to be teleporting instead of traveling a path.
  • Universal Adaptor Cast: The ever-expanding "spinoff cast" can probably be put into every conceivable genre of game. In fact, they adapt to several themes in Mario Party.
  • Unwinnable: The Minus World (world -1) in the original. A later Japanese release on the Famicom Disk System 'fixed' this by virtue of its Minus World happening to be beatable. Other remakes of the game removed the world entirely. (The GBA and Wii versions of the game do have the Minus World, however, as they are faithful emulations of the original game.)
  • The Usual Adversaries: The Koopa Troopas and Goombas, from all the games.
  • Video Game Flight: Numerous examples throughout the series. Just check the page for plenty of descriptions.
  • Video Game Lives
  • Vile Villain Saccharine Show: We have the Omnicidal Maniac Dimentio and the Eldritch Abomination of the Dark Star as two examples of genuinely terrifying villains in a usually cutesy series.
    • Er, no mention of the Shadow Queen?
  • White Gloves: Mario, Luigi, Princess Peach, Wario, Daisy, and Waluigi love to wear them.
  • White Void Room: The room behind the mirror in Super Mario 64 DS.
  • Wholesome Crossdresser: Birdo, depending on the situation, and Vivian later on in Paper Mario: The Thousand Year Door.
  • Widget Series: Really, the only reason these games make sense to us is because we're used to it.
    • And also because there really are much weirder things that come out of Japan. Rest assured that were these games any weirder, there wouldn't have been any "getting used to it."
    • Miyamoto once admitted that, despite creating the franchise, he continues to be mentally frustrated by the fact that blocks float in midair.
  • The Wiki Rule: The Super Mario Wiki.
  • World of Chaos: While later games tried to establish a viable, somewhat fantasy universe, the first one just plunged you right into a world where you were a plumber of Italian descent who must rescue a "Princess Toadstool" by defeating a turtle-dragon while killing evil walking chestnuts with eyes, turtles with wings, carnivore plants growing out of green pipes, and other similar enemies. Oh, and if you eat a mushroom which comes out of a shining floating block with a question sign, you grow twice as large, and if you pick a flower, you can shoot bouncing fireballs. Jumping stars, climbable beanstalks, walking on clouds and jumping several times your height ensues.
  • Youkai: The classic Koopa enemies are named and slightly based on Kappas, and Mario gets a Tanuki Suit in Super Mario Bros 3.
  • Younger Than They Look: In the TV shows, Peach is 17 years old. In the games, Mario and Luigi are known to be the same age as her. By that logic, Mario and Luigi are actually teenagers. Either that, or Peach is Older Than She Looks.

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  1. Est. release date, October 20th 2023