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Franchise: Super Mario Bros.
aka: Super Mariobros
It's-a we! The Mario Bros!

For the first NES platformer in the series, see here.

Possibly the most recognizable video game franchise of all time and centerpiece of Nintendo's gaming empire. It was created by Shigeru Miyamoto, and both popularized and crystallized 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 issued 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 doppelgänger 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. In addition, Super Mario Bros. 3 was notable for being previewed in the Fred Savage film The Wizard, whose climactic scene involved an autistic child playing the first stage of the game.

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:

    open/close all folders 

Main Series

    Donkey Kong 

    Super Mario Bros. (Classic 2D) 

    New Super Mario Bros. (Modern 2D) 



Vote on your favorite Mario platformer here!


    Mario Kart 

    Puzzle Games 

    Roleplaying Games 


    Spinoff Platformers 

    Other Spinoffs 

    Related video games 

    Non-Video Game Adaptations 


Tropes throughout the games:

  • 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.
    • Wario takes this Up to Eleven, being cartoonishly obese.
  • 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.
  • Airplane Arms: Mario's default running animation pretty much since Super Mario Bros., and later games gave him the ability to fly with a sufficient running start.
  • 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.
  • Empowered Badass Normal: 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.
  • Enemy Mine: There are several occasions where the brothers team up with Bowser to defeat a stronger enemy.
  • Ermine Cape Effect: Unless it's a sports title (and sometimes not even that's an exception) or she's using a suit power-up (as of Super Mario 3D World), Peach always wears her royal dress.
  • The Everyman: Mario.
  • 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. There was even a penguin-suit power-up in New Super Mario Bros. Wii. Averted, however, with 1995's Yoshis Island, in which penguins are frustrating platforming elements in an already frustrating ice world.
  • 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. In an odd subversion of one of the evil overlord's most common traits, all his subjects seem to love him, though, at least in the RPGs. (They do comment on some of his more annoying traits sometimes, but that doesn't seem to make them facetious about liking him).
  • 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).
  • Evil Sounds Raspy: The various Magikoopas have high-pitched, raspy Voice Grunting.
  • 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. The very reason for the way most Mario games' plots are put together was vaguely lampshaded by Bowser in Super Paper Mario, when he says the major plot points in the game make his head hurt.
  • 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...
  • 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).
  • Expy Waluigi looks a lot like Dick Dastardly.
  • Face-Heel Turn:
    • Mario in Donkey Kong Jr.
    • Luigi in Super Paper Mario.
    • Part of the backstory of Goombas is that they were once allies of the Mushroom Kingdom before defecting to Bowser's army. Though in the Paper Mario series, it is shown that many Goombas are friendly and live in harmony with the rest of the Marioverse.
  • 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
  • Fan of Underdog: Though the series' Butt Monkey and usually in his brother's shadow, a few odd characters appear showing nothing below complete admiration for the guy. A Toad in Super Mario 64 DS idolizes Luigi and will only grant the player a Star if you chat as him.
  • Fantasy Pantheon: The Star Spirits seen in Paper Mario.
  • Fartillery: Wario. Hold your nose, everyone!
  • A Father to His Men: Surprisingly enough, Bowser. Many of the side-games, particularly the Role Playing Games, make sure to establish that his armies don't follow him out of fear or ambition like some other evil overlords, but because they legitimately love the guy. And for good reason - though he's prone to the occasional tantrum or nonsensical, dangerous plot, he does care about his troops and always goes out of his way to rescue them if they're in trouble. In Super Paper Mario, one Koopa NPC whose entire regiment has been taken out by the Bigger Bad points out that if he doesn't act then Bowser would fry his hide - not because he's failed, but because leaving his men behind to save his own hide is something Bowser would find totally reprehensible.
  • Fireballs: A Mario staple. Mario can throw them with the Fire Flower Power-Up, enemies can use them, and there are fireball enemies known as Podoboos, which gained eyes later in the series.
  • 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. New Super Mario Bros. 2 sees the return of the Raccoon Suit note  and New Super Mario Bros. U uses the Flying Squirrel Suit (a mix of the previously mentioned Raccoon Suit and Cape).
  • 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.
  • Four-Temperament Ensemble: It works, sort of. Mario (melancholic), Waluigi (choleric), Daisy (sanguine), Yoshi (sanguine/melancholic), Wario (choleric/melancholic), Luigi (sanguine/choleric), and Princess Peach and Toad (phlegmatic/leukine).
  • 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: Rosalina, a little girl who inexplicably gained gravitational abilities as well a immortality, falls under this category.
    Rosalina: "My name is Rosalina. I watch over and protect the cosmos."
  • 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!"
  • Gratuitous Japanese: In the initial Western releases of Super Mario All-Stars, the box art image for Super Mario Bros.: The Lost Levels was an edited version of the Japanese box art with some of the Japanese text replaced with the English title and other parts of it moved around. However, whoever did the editing must either not have been able to read Japanese or not cared (since the resolution makes it hard to read anyway), since the remaining Japanese text, which was half of the banner reading "Family Computer Disk System", ended up saying, essentially, "Ter Disk System".
  • Grimy Water: Ever since New Super Mario Bros., most forest areas can be expected to contain varying amounts of purple death water. Mostly it's only implied to be poisonous swamp goo, but in Mario & Luigi: Dream Team it's visibly electrified.
  • 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. Despite Luigi's jumping being visibly higher, Toad insists in Mario & Luigi: Partners in Time that Mario is the best.
  • Informed Ability: Does going through pipes count as plumbing?
  • Invincibility Power-Up: Starmen/Super Stars
  • Ironic Name: Luigi means famous hero.
  • Jerkass: Wario and Waluigi.
  • Jerk With A Heartof 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.
  • Jump Physics: The series is the Ur Example. Playable characters are usually differentiated by having slightly different jump physics from each other, and they're mostly consistent between games.
    • Mario: Has an average, all-around jump. Once this was compensated for by giving him a Wall Jump, while other characters lack it.
    • Luigi: He's the best jumper. Usually, his jump is also very floaty in addition to being higher, making aiming for small platforms a breeze. He also tends to have better air control, to compensate for his poor ground control.
    • Yoshi: Jumps like Mario, but can flutter jump as well for a bit of extra height.
    • Peach: Can float in midair, but otherwise her jump is the same as Mario's.
    • Toad: Another all-around jumper, but his jump physics are heavier - He's got a faster falling speed.
    • Bowser: In the rare instances you control him, he jumps about as high as Mario, but he can't really turn around in midair.
    • Wario: Low, but not "heavy", jumps.
  • Just Eat Him: King Boo disguised as Bowser.
    • Bowser can eat enemies and let Mario and Luigi take care of them in Mario & Luigi 3.
    • YOSHI.
  • 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 100: 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.
  • Level 1 Music Represents: World 1-1. One of the most famous video game songs ever made, and effectively the theme of the series.
  • 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!).
    • The only downside of having so many memorable faces is that they have to rotate from time to time. Regulars like Daisy, Diddy, Birdo and Waluigi are bound to miss a game or two eventually. Heck, even main characters like Yoshi or Luigi are also absent occasionally.
  • Loads and Loads of Races: Mario's world has over four hundred species, many of them sentient and most unique to the setting.
  • Long Runners: 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 or Luigi 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. Now that Miyamoto has jossed the Koopalings—and just the Koopalings—out as not being Bowser's children by birth, therefore implying that Bowser Jr. really is Bowser's real son, one can only imagine who the inevitable mother is.
  • Minsky Pickup: The classic Super Mario Bros. theme starts with a variation 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.
  • 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
  • My Species Doth Protest Too Much: Outside of the main platformer games, enemies act as background NPCs or playing characters/partners.
  • 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.
  • Nested Mouths: Some Piranha Plants have small inner mouths that shoot fireballs.
  • Nice Hat: Mario, Luigi, Wario, and Waluigi all wear these.
  • 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). New Super Mario Bros. 2 introduced a Bone Piranha Plant.
  • 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.
    • In Paper Mario 64, one of the Toads tells Mario to take Peach on a date to Shooting Star Summit.
  • 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.
  • The Overworld: The Mushroom Kingdom stages. Usually called Ground stages or Grasslands.
  • Pacifist Run: It is possible to get through the original Super Mario Bros. without directly attacking any enemy.
  • Painfully Slow Projectile: Bullet Bills. And every other projectile that isn't made by a player. Even LASERS.
  • 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.
  • Parallel Porn Titles: Two porn movies based on the series were made, Super Hornio Brothers and Super Hornio Brothers 2. Nintendo themselves actually bought the rights to these movies to make sure they would never be released again.
  • 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. (Although Morton Koopa Jr does look like a grey headed, hornless Bowser.) Now with Shigeru Miyamoto's assertion that Bowser Jr is Bowser's only biological child, this behaviour is somewhat explained. 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. Rosalina's dress is on the mild end of this trope.
  • Pinball Spinoff: Super Mario Bros. and Super Mario Bros. Mushroom World by Gottlieb. Mario Pinball Land for the Game Boy Advance.
  • Pinball Zone: Waluigi Pinball and Bowser's Pinball Machine.
  • Pipe Maze: Some games feature this sort of scenery. Super Mario Bros 3 provides us with the most extreme example of this trope with the second to last world, Pipe World. Guess what every single level in this world is.
  • The Pirates Who Don't Do Anything: Mario and Luigi are plumbers. Have you ever seen them do any actual plumbing within their canon? Not likely. The only artifacts left that imply that they're still plumbers are their outfits and the fact they travel through pipes. This is brought up in Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga. When Mario and Luigi first arrive at Beanbean Castle, Lady Lima drops them into the basement and asks that they fix the building's broken pipes: "You ARE plumbers, aren't you?" This turns out to be a case of Nice Job Breaking It, Hero, as "Lady Lima" is actually Cackletta (the Big Bad) in disguise, and repairing the castle's plumbing is the key to disabling the security system of the Beanstar, which she plans to steal.
  • 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.
  • Punny Name: Luigi's name comes from a play on the Japanese word "ruiji", meaning "similar".
  • 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.
  • Real Women Don't Wear Dresses: Peach has started to get flack for this reason. It peaked in Super Princess Peach.
  • 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!
  • Rule 34: To put into perspective, 1 out of 5 fan works involving Peach, Daisy, Rosalina, or Bowser is Not Safe for Work.
  • 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.
  • Scoring Points: The 2D games have point scores. Most of the 3D games instead track the most coins you've obtained in a level (with Super Mario Galaxy extending this to the most coins in each individual mission, given that a different number are possible to collect in most missions), as well as your best scores and times in minigames and races. Super Mario Galaxy 2 and Super Mario 3D Land however, track your fastest time in each level instead.
  • 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. And Super Mario Galaxy 2, compared to the first Super Mario Galaxy.
  • Sequel Number Snarl: Pretty much every flavor you can imagine - Oddly Named Sequel cases which then get their own numbered sequels, spin-offs, plus the snarl between the two different games called Super Mario Bros. 2 - which are both canonical, so while everyone calls the same game Super Mario Bros. 3, it's the fourth game of the series.
  • 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 WarioWare.
  • She's a Man in Japan: Birdo and Vivian in Paper Mario 2.
  • Shout-Out: See here
  • Sibling Team: Take a wild guess...
  • Single-Use Shield: Just about any time Mario takes a hit, he loses his current powerup (Yoshi, Mushroom, Fire Flower, etc.).
  • 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.
  • Solid Clouds: Clouds can serve as platforms and even modes of transportation in the case of Lakitus.
  • Songs in the Key of Panic: Hurry Music is most commonly used when a timer reaches 100 in most games.
  • Sorting Algorithm Of Threatening Geography: Universally, the games start in Green Hill Zone and end in Lethal Lava Land. Shifting Sand Land is usually world 2, Under the Sea or another aquatic level is typically world 3. An ice world and a jungle world are also common somewhere in the middle.
  • 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 Yoshis Island series, Mario & Luigi: Partners in Time, and the various sports and Mario Kart games 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.
  • Strictly Formula:
    • Bowser kidnaps Peach. Mario rescues Peach. This is the formula for Super Mario Bros., Super Mario Bros. 3 (in World 8), Super Mario World, Super Mario 64, Super Mario Sunshine, New Super Mario Bros., and so on. The various RPGs lampshade this as Bowser predictably chases Peach amid the games' other events.
    • Super Mario 64, Sunshine, Galaxy and Galaxy 2 use the formula where Mario collects 120 Stars (or Shine Sprites).
  • Stuck in Their Shadow: Luigi has gone from a Palette Swap to a Lesser Star 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: In Super Mario Bros., Mario can swim in underwater levels, but not in land levels, where water is nothing but a Bottomless Pit. In Super Mario Land, water is again a Bottomless Pit. In Super Mario Sunshine, Yoshi can't swim. Paper Mario 64 puts invisible walls around the water, and The Thousand-Year Door uses carnivorous fish to keep Mario out of water.
  • Super Not-Drowning Skills: In the 2D games and Super Mario 3D Land.
  • Super Speed: Quite a few characters, the fastest being Yoshi. Mario's not much slower, and Peach isn't much slower than him.
  • Tertiary Sexual Characteristics: Several of the baddies, but especially Wendy O. Koopa. Pom Pom to an extent as well.
  • Third-Person Person: A recurring trait in most of the main characters.
  • Tiny Guy, Huge Girl: Peach is taller than Mario, even with a Super Mushroom.
  • 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 kidnapped 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.
    • Luigi in his Luigis Mansion series.
  • Trapped in Another World: A possible interpretation of the series, Mario and Luigi are clearly Italian, and are said to have grown up in Brooklyn in some American publications. Yoshi's Island, however, shows them as being from the Mushroom Kingdom since birth.
  • Traveling-Pipe Bulge: In several 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 Luigis 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:
  • Weaponized Offspring: Heroic example, the Yoshis use their eggs as projectiles. Birdo has this trademark move of shooting eggs out of her mouth in Super Mario Bros. 2 and Yellow Paragoombas in Super Mario Bros. 3 attack by releasing Microgoombas from the air.
  • 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 main reasons these games make sense to us is because we're used to it, and that there are much, much weirder things that come out of Japan. Miyamoto once admitted that, despite creating the franchise, he continues to be mentally frustrated by the fact that blocks float in midair.
  • Why Do You Keep Changing Jobs?: The Mario brothers have pretty much done everything except fix leaky pipes in the various video games they've starred in, though supplemental comics do show them at their "regular" day job.
  • 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.
  • You Don't Look Like You: One infamous cover for a German Super Mario World strategy guide has Mario inexplicably dressed as a Roman centurion and Yoshi
  • 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. Eventually, one of Mario's bios reveals that he's canonically 26. Definitely more plausible, but still much younger than his appearance would suggest.

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alternative title(s): Mario; Super Mario Brothers; Super Mario; Super Mario Bros Remake Series; Super Mario Bros; Super Mario; Super Mario Bros
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