A Super Mario Thing is an aptly named ROM Hack of Super Mario World by Talkhaus, the community surrounding Let's Playerraocow. Originally made as a "tribute" to his hack-related efforts, it's a game that follows his, at times, Surrealistic commentary to a T, even moreso if one doesn't know about the plethora of insider jokes with which the community could not help but fill the game. It was started and originally managed by Kristian, and later taken up in the management department by YoshiCookieZeus.The game stars Demonote and, if you choose Player 2, her slightly purpler Palette Swap, Iris, an armless cycloptic demon alien minion, which pretty much summarizes the nature of the game. During an attempt to purchase vegetables for her anonymous master, something goes wrong and she is sent to what appears to be the Mushroom Kingdom of the future, falling right into (or as it were, onto) a deep-seated political conflict about food and is sent out to create a peaceful understanding between the two parties. Mayhem ensues....Okay, so we lied. The real goal of the game is to murder the king of the Charlies (Chargin' Chucks), who resides deep within a volcano beyond a great veil of Nintendo Hard platforming, item puzzles, silly Touhoushout outs and other assorted obstacles.You can find the game as an .ips patch on ROM Hack archive SMWCentral.A sequel, A Second Mario Thing (A2MT), was stuck in Development Hell for a while before being officially discontinued on January 25th, 2014, but that didn't stop Raocow from playing it anyway.Finally, in March 2013, Talkhaus released a prequel on the Super Mario Bros X engine: A Super Mario Bros. X Thing: Prelude to the Stupid, which throws in even more raocow-fan-bonuses, up to and including raocow himself being a playable character. The plot finds Demo and her sister Iris in the Castle of Absolutely No Significance, where they plan to stock up on vegetables. Meanwhile, Koodnote the Ensemble Darkhorse star of another Super Mario World hack, Drama Mistery is infiltrating the same castle for unknown reasons, Sheathnote the protagonist of Raocow's webcomic, Artificial Time XS sort of falls into their reality, and a certain wacky Let's Player finds himself surrounded by his own creations...The sequel to that game, A2MBXTnote Or, because of the sheer scale of work involved in its production compared to the last installment, A2MBXT Episode 1: Analog Funk, was released in August 2014. Demo and Iris, having completed their excursion through the Castle of Absolutely No Significance, return to their mothership to find that someone had broken in and stolen all the Super Leeks powering it. Not long after the cycloptic sisters are sent back to investigate, Kood teleports to them in time to warn them about someone creating a generator of dimensional portals using the stolen leeks—threatening to rip apart the multiverse in the process. It is now up to the three of them (and Sheath and raocow) to journey across the dimensions to recover the Super Leeks and "save the everything" at all costs. But there is something more sinister afoot than before...A spinoff game called A Zelda Classic Thing is also being made. Demo also originally starred in a duo of Platform Hell ROM hacks, What the Hell? and What the Hell? 2, by raocow himself. One of A2XT's plot writers has stated they take place before the rest of the series, and they occasionally receive callbacks and references in the ASMT series proper, but they are mostly unconnected otherwise.See raocow's characters page for ASMT's character sheets.
Anti-Climax Boss: Invoked. Black Plague, the true final boss, is deliberately incredibly easy. According to Raocow himself, who designed that battle as a joke, what little difficulty involved was supposed to come from the time limit. The timer in that room is disabled.
The Backwards R: Present at the very end of the End of World 4 Cutscene in A2XT. Or rather, the ЕИБ ОГ ШОЯЛБ (Yeib og Shoyalb) 4 Cutscene.But to be fair... the game does get the Cyrillic symbol for the "l" sound right.
Bad Future: The game takes place in the Mushroom Kingdom many years after the disappearance of all the familiar characters, with Mario missing, King Charles taking Bowser's place as Big Bad, and the Yoshis living as refugees.
Happens again in the prequel in a certain level that takes place in the Mushroom Kingdom, wherein you have to fight your way through Bowser's army. Dying in this level replaces it with a decidely more... bleak version where the Mushroom Kingdom is a lava and soot-covered wasteland. Don't worry though, beating the Bad Future version restores the level to its original state.
Bee Bee Gun: One fortress level has cannons that launch bees.
At the end of the intro cutscene after you warp to the Mushroom Kingdom, you end up landing on a Charlie's head. At the beginning of the final stage of the King Charles fight, you end up landing on his head.
A2XT Ep.1 World 4 begins with Demo Roseclaire and the Militarists, and the final stage is called Johnson McCain and the Communists.
Bootstrapped Theme: The Lullaby, a small little song raocow improvised on the spot while playing one of the (bgm-less) endgame levels in ASMT, can be heard in several levels in the subsequent games in the series. It was even planned as the final boss theme in A2MT, and Science gets a wonderful remix for his first two battles in A2XT.
(at the beginning of the game) Demo: Oh dear. This certainly isn't a grocery store. What to do? (later, at the beginning of the bonus world) Demo: Oh dear. These certainly are not my master's quarters. What to do?
The Cameo: Very frequently throughout the series. Characters from Touhou, games raocow's played, Mario and Nintendo in general, Webcomic/Artificial Time XS characters, users who helped contribute to the game, and many, many others show up to make brief appearances, and sometimes not so brief appearances.
Semi-averted in A 2 MT's Smouldering Stones. While you're still not hurt for being near the lava, it does heat up the ground, so you have to keep jumping frequently or else it'll burn you.
Cool Starship: A2MT takes place aboard Demo and Iris's mothership, which contains a number of different biomes, buildings, and more. As you may expect, some of the areas are pretty wacky. Due to the game being incomplete, though, this being the location for the game is only brought up twice in two separate stages via message boxes.
Difficulty Spike: In A2XT, Feed has the courtesy to warn you that things will become much harder once you begin World 4. Another more subtle one happens after the siblings are introduced, who now have boss fights dotted around every world map starting from the fifth.
"the hardest lvl" is a parody of Kaizo hacks. That said, not everything in that level is a fake trap. As Pink Kitty Rosepoints out, the rule seems to be that anything nigh-impossible is fake, but anything reasonably doable is real.
Spin! Pierce the Heavens! has an invisible block + spike pit trap. Falling into it teleports you right to the leek.
Feathers/Leaves are... well, still leaves, but it's a Spinach leaf instead of a stock leaf. The transformations differ between characters in ASMBXT: Demo gets the classic Mario cape, while Iris gets the traditional raccoon ears and tail.
The Smart Guy: Kood, a high-ranking freedom fighter/agent who knows about the leek-stealing plot that kicks off A2XT. However, his love of exposition causes the others (Demo and Iris in particular) no small amount of ire.
The introductory level of World 4 in A2XT features statues of several Goopas and Garish. In the cutscene after the last level, Garish shows up in the flesh, leading his army of Grey Goopas. Additionally, his alias Johnson McCain is mentioned a few times beforehand, especially in the final level of the world.
Hypocritical Humor: Catnip calls Demo and Iris out for eating a Toad whole in A2XT's Fun Fungus Function...despite being the stand-in for a particular stupid horse that does essentially the same thing all the time.
Invisible Anatomy: Demo and Iris have no arms, despite the fact they can lift shells and such just like Mario would normally.
Fixed in the prequel; apparently they are very good at balancing something on one leg while managing to move around normally with the other.
It Makes Sense in Context: As raocow mentions after finding a bunch of easter eggs, the non-fans playing the games will have a lot of trouble understanding all the references. See Widget Series for an example.
Kaizo Trap: You are told to press L via coins at the goal of Overly Hot Beach. If you don't, a Boss Bass eats you during the victory sequence.
Red Koopa's Red Sparkling Death is filled with exit-spheres that cause Demo to walk into Bottomless Pits.
King Mook: King Charles the Fourth and Master Snailington.
Knight of Cerebus: The moment that Garish and the other siblings show up, A2XT goes from a MacGuffin hunt to having something resembling a serious plot.
A2XT wastes little time in referring to Kood's relative lack of presence in its predecessor (for which see Out of Focus below).
Demo: Why are you asking us for help [saving the universe,] Kood? You hardly know us. Kood: But what about our amazing adventures in the Castle of No Significance? Demo: From what I remember, you sort of just stared at us creepily from across the room and then stood silhouetted with us after we killed that key. Kood: No, I'm sure we totally talked and all became great friends along with raocow and Sheath. Iris: Who the heck is Sheath? Demo: I'm almost certain you dreamt that.
Much of the games references raocow's previous LPs, such as:
Levels that are based on games he's played (e.g. Four of a Kind in ASMBXT)
Cameo appearances of characters (e.g.Kood and Jowey the poison cow in ASMBXT)
Music using soundbytes from his videos or lifted from the games (e.g. the music from Hina's Fluffy Dream used in A2XT)
Raoquotes (e.g. Garish's battle cry, some books in the A2XT library)
Never Say "Die": Those aren't deaths, they are very much intentional demos.
No Fourth Wall: ASMBXT has "Technical Difficulties," where one of the pipes will take you directly outside of Raocow's house as he does a Let's Play.
This even happens In-Universe: a particularly powerful Computer Virus destroys Raocow's computer to such an extent that it breaks reality, causing him to go and kill the virus physically, winding up right at Demo's side at the Castle Of Absolutely No Significance afterwards. He's understandably freaked out by standing face-to-face with his own creation. In Raocow's own Let's Play of ASMBXT, this even doubles as Recursive Reality.
You can speak to one of the grass-patches outside the castle in ASMBXT, and it will tell you what version you're playing, along with some nonsensical message.) On the final update, the message is addressed to "Samuel"note Raocow's real first name.
Nostalgia Level: The Castle of Absolutely No Significance returns as a level in A2XT.
Our Monsters Are Weird: Doughnuts of Doom! A flying lighter that throws out enemies who don't want their heads on fire, torpedoes with Groucho Marx faces, Yaranaika Bullets.
Out of Focus: While Demo and Iris are the only characters that are playable for a vast majority of ASMBXT, Kood still stands out because, until you unlock the "Turn into Everything!" room, he only features in one single level. The sequel lampshades this hilariously.
Palmtree Panic: And So It Began, Water Water Everywhere, Overly Hot Beach
Pipe Maze: In a literal sense in The Switch Where Yoshi Jumps A Lot. Played straight in a later level.
Platform Hell: Although the game normally qualifies as a Nintendo Hard hack, there is one section in King Charles's Castle that first of all, disables Spin Jumps. So? Well there's a spinning Koopa Shell that you have to jump over and avoid... while in a room with a disco-light like dealing with giant spiked pillars, Thwimps, Thwomps, blocks that enemies can go through but you fall through, and Fishing Boos. Raocow even calls this specific room "Hell".
The Reveal: After defeating Pily, she reveals the true nature of Demo, Iris, and the Siblings.* She reveals that the cyclops were minions kept in line by brainwashing for "the great space masters of space", due to their ability to be revived. A grand rebellion known as "the Grand Rebellion" took place, but took place during the Great Green Radish Famine of October. Eventually, all cyclops were starved, revived, and then starved again. Eventually, they starved "to complete death". The Artist learned of their former existence, and attempted to recreate the cyclops to assist him in taking over the galaxy. He created, respectively, Science, Pandamona, Garish, Nevada, Mishi, Pily (who is perfect in every way), Calleoca, and finally, Demo and Iris. Each sibling following Science was made with different catalysts in an attempt to balance them out. Demo and Iris were made from a bunch of packing peanuts, a slab of meat, a lead weight, asbestos, and most importantly, a kangaroo. Demo and Iris escaped brainwashing and became servants of one of the masters of space. Now Demo and Iris must free the rest of their siblings from their brainwashing.
Schizophrenic Difficulty: The very final level of A2XT is a patchwork level, with every screen of content having been contributed by a different person. This leads to stuff like confusing platforming areas leading into harmless jokes.
Sequel Hook: Added in the public release where Demo returns to her master's ship to find everybody gone.
In A2XT, Pandamona destroys the universe and everybody dies, except for Sheath, who is told by Science to undo it. Demo walks through the credits as a ghost, and the sequence closes with an image of Sheath, still alive.
The game is basically made out of shout outs to Raocow and stuff he played, such as other ROM Hacks (2chan's Vip and Wall Mix series in particular), cat planet, Touhou and a lot of other things.
In addition, one of the levels in the prequel, "Blood Cavern", is a homage to Space Funeral, Eversion, and other games with a creepy aesthetic.
More bizarrely, the ASMBXT level "Oh, No! It's Lakitu!" contains numerous shout outs to Devo. Word of God from the creator of the level says they were sneaked through the development process to see if any of the other contributors would notice them. They didn't.
Show Within a Show: "Talkhaus presents ASMBXT". The Stinger reveals that it was a movie/show/whatever that Nevada was watching (on screen), making it a Show within a Show within a Show.
Songs in the Key of Panic: Intentionally taken to hilarious extremes in "Panic Puzzle". The level starts with 100 seconds' worth of time, which, once it counts down to 99, speeds up the already somewhat frantic-sounding level music. The level is designed in such a way that the repeated going through of pipes is necessary, and the timer is reset to 100 seconds every time Demo passes through a pipe, which then triggers the speed-up in the level music once again. By the time the player reaches the end of the level, the music will have become a chaotic-sounding mess.
World 4's castle, a Honeypot Trap, uses a different set of sprites than the rest of the hack, with many of the enemies being replaced by bees—specifically, all of the ghost-type enemies like Eeries and Boos. The latter are therefore Boo Bees.
Stylistic Suck: the hardest lvl, A Terrible Level, 26th - AUS - 'Level1 - Winter City', and My First SMB Level, to varying degrees.
Surreal Horror: A2MBXT starts taking this approach as the game progresses, with a (relatively) abnormally high frequency of unnerving levels. There's also a noticeable quantity of unsettling easter eggs hidden in otherwise-normal levels.
Surreal Humor: Gives off this feel with some of the particularly inexplicable parts of the game.
Unique Enemy: In the original ASMT, the Worms' Cave is the only level in the game that has Blarggs other than the credits. And since the Worms' Cave's gimmick is that all of the regular sprites are replaced with worm sprites, this means that the Blarggs' normal replacement for the game, the Yellow Submarine, only appears in the credits sequence.
Unusual User Interface: USS Suboptimal in ASMBXT, which you control by guiding a Parakoopa with the chasing AI to where you want to go.