Today (March 10) marks ‘Mario Day’ – so-called because writing the date as MAR 10 makes it look a whole lot like ‘MARIO’. Get it?
But what of the smaller games? The obscure titles? The weird ones?
There are absolutely hundreds of games involving the red dungaree’d plumber. Here are seven of the absolute weirdest.
Dance Dance Revolution Mario Mix (2005)
Was this Super Mario tie-in really necessary? Konami and Nintendo teamed up for a dance mat game that had the portly plumber and friends dancing along awkwardly to tunes from the Mario games’ extensive past.
Watch the above video for terrifying introduction to the strangeness.
Mario Clash (1995)
Mario Clash‘s Virtual Boy attempts to do a 3D recreation of the original Mario Bros. arcade title might not sound all that strange on paper, but it was the way in which this poor attempt at three dimensions was achieved that puts it firmly into the ‘odd’ camp.
The game’s description is enough to give anyone a headache:
“Levels consist of “foreground” and a “background”, with lower, middle, and upper floors on each plane, and four pipes connecting different combinations of planes and floors. Enemies can be defeated with Mario throwing a shell at an enemy on the same plane as himself, while others can only be defeated if Mario throws a shell at an enemy into the background from the foreground, or vice versa.”
And it was rendered entirely in blood-red. Nothing sinister there then.
Mario’s Bombs Away (1983)
This 1983 Game & Watch title cast Mario not as a plumber, but instead a soldier, who had to carry a bomb to his troops on the other side of the screen as enemies hiding in the trees tried to ignite it.
It also involved a heavy smoker of a comrade, who would carelessly toss burning cigarettes into a stream of spilled oil, which Mario had to avoid from going up in flames. Once five bombs were passed, they would explode the enemy.
Mario in a war game about blowing people in trees up with bombs? No. Just no.
Wrecking Crew ’98 (1998)
This Wrecking Crew sequel featured a cast of characters from the Super Mario universe, and probably didn’t come off as all that weird at the time.
But looking back, why Mario and pals were ever involved in the games’ demolition based action puzzling is beyond us, and it’s one of those weird crossover which was never really explained. Fruitless internet searches turn up no reason whatsoever.
Super Mario Bros. & Friends: When I Grow Up (1992)
This was one of those horrible “edutainment” DOS games that came on floppy disc and didn’t really have a purpose (and was certainly neither entertaining nor educational).
Essentially a colouring book on your PC screen, Super Mario Bros. & Friends allowed users to fill in a number of non-editable pictures of Mario and friends working a number of common careers like Postal Worker, Barber and Nurse. Still not sounding exciting? What if we told you it had a whopping 16 colours to choose from (!), and you can save and print your creations?
No, we don’t get it either.
Mario no Photopi (1998)
The Nintendo 64DD was an external disc-drive type peripheral that allowed more ambitious games to be played on Nintendo’s greatest console. It was introduced to keep up with the disc based titles of the PS1, but never really got a break outside of Japan, and was full of weird applications rather than full games.
Applications like Mario no Photopi, a glorified Mario-themed digital photo album that had users saving their snaps to the DD’s bulky memory discs. Users could edit their pictures with a number of Mario themed stickers and such… and that was about it.
I Am a Teacher: Super Mario Sweater (1986)
Think digital Mario colouring books and photo editors are as strange as it gets? Think again.
This title released, for the Super Famicom in Japan only, was marketed as a ‘sewing simulator’. If that doesn’t sound boring enough, it wasn’t even a real sewing simulator, only allowing users to design Mario themed knitting patterns that then had to be made up in the real world.