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 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 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, RolePlayinggames, 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-pannedmotion 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).
Accidental Murder: The instruction booklet for the original 1985 game specifically states that "the quiet, peace-loving Mushroom People were turned into mere stones, bricks and even field horsehair plants..." Every brick broken is a dead citizen, every fire flower Mario eats is a dead citizen (and accidental cannibalism), every struck coin block is another dead citizen. Mario Mario and Luigi Mario; accidental mass murderers.
Maybe they're OK because of Peach's Magic.
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.
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.
Artifact Mook: Viruses in the entire series. In their first appearance they appear as enemies in Dr. Mario, which makes sense. In Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga, they appear in an abandoned university laboratory, which makes sense. In Mario & Luigi: Dream Team? They appear EVERYWHERE. Deserts, the beach, caves, in town, on an icy mountain... And in groups of 16 at a time to boot.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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).
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: The Thousand Year Door, brainwashed to evil in Super Paper Mario, and cowardly and ineffective in Super Mario Galaxy. Even in the special unlocked part of Galaxywhere 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.
Wario, when placed alongside Waluigi, often shares the abuse.
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.
Cash Cow Franchise: Mario is the best-selling video game franchise of all time, by an absolutely ENORMOUS margin. Pokemon, which is in second place, only has half the sales (though it is close to beating the main series in sales).
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.
The first time they've appeared in years, mind you.
They've been getting exposure lately, but Word of God recently said that Nintendo no longer considers the Koopalings to be Bowser's children. The jury's still out on whether or not they were his kids to begin with.
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.
Divergent Character Evolution: Has happened with Luigi and Daisy. In fact, the trope in question was once called "Luigification", after probably the most well-known example.
Dub Name Change: Most of the characters and enemies, and even a couple of the power-ups ("Super Mushroom" and "Super Star" became "Magic Mushroom" and "Starman"). Princess Toadstool's Japanese name eventually made it to America (and was actually combined with her English name, making her Princess Peach Toadstool) and so did the power-ups' names ("Magic Mushroom" was changed almost immediately, but "Starman" held out for much longer), but all of the other names stuck.
In Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door, the enemy Red Bones was called "Bloody Hone Noko" (Bloody Dull Bones) in Japan. The name was changed to remove the notion of a bloody death.
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.
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).
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.
Fan Of The 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.
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 It's not the Tanooki Suit! and New Super Mario Bros. U uses the Flying Squirrel Suit (a mix of the previously mentioned Raccoon Suit and Cape).
Fountain of Expies: Starting with Mario, who developed a twin brother Luigi (who in Japansese doubles as a pun for "Similar" and later an Evil Twin Wario (which is a pun for Bad Mario) who then developed his own twin brother, perhapss Luigi developed his own Evil Twin, Waluigi (pun on bad-Luigi, or similarly-bad) The four main recurring males are all knockoffs of the lead sporting the same basic costume and hairstyle just at different degrees of corruption from the original.
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...).
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".
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.
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.
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.
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!"
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).
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 ocasionally.
Loads and Loads of Races: Mario's world has over four hundred species, many of them sentient and most unique to the setting.
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.
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.
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...
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.
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.
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.)
And before Jr.'s existence, Ludwig von Koopa, the eldest child, was referred to as Bowser's favorite in one of the instruction booklets.
Now with Shigeru Miyamoto's assertion that Bowser Jr is Bowser's only biological child, this behaviour is somewhat explained.
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.
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.
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!
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 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.
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...)
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.
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).
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.
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.)
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.
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.