All There in the Manual: Dedede's teacher in Cocoon Academy is a Mr. Dragmire. Sound familiar? It shouldn't. This is the last name given to Ganondorf in the English manual of A Link to the Past, and hasn't been mentioned in canon since.
Ascended Extra: Considering the original media of the characters, Adeline.
Ascended Fanboy: Matthew recently got the chance to work with Howard Phillips of Howard & Nester fame after Howard was impressed by Brawl in the Family's Howard and Nester tribute. He's hard at work updating a weekly comic strip detailing Howard's life and work with Nintendo!
Matthew is now an official game developer for Nintendo with his first project, Tadpole Treble.
Ass Shove: No, seriously. One time, when a Yoshi sat on its egg, the egg pushed through its bottom. It then spat a Shy Guy out of its mouth.
Bad Future: In "It's A Plunderful Life", it's shown that if Dedede was never born, "Pinky" never fought Dark Matter at Cocoon Academy and "Midknight" (who is actually Waddle Dee) would take over Dream Land and turn it into a dystopian hellhole.
The Bad Guy Wins: In "A Mushroom Kingdom Carol," Bowser finally beats Mario basically by leaving the Mushroom Kingdom until old age catches up with the hero and then an adult Bowser Jr. comes back with a vengence.
The third part of the December 2013 holiday comic, "It's A Plunderful Life", has a scene where Meta Knight ( known as "Pinky" at that time), Gooey, and Adeline assault two Waddle Doos in this manner.note This is all happening while (invisible to the others) King Dedede stares at a poster of what his replacement would be.
Book Ends: The comic started around the time Super Smash Bros. Brawl came out, in addition to being partially named after it. The day it will end, October 3rd, 2014, is the exact same day Super Smash Bros. for the 3DS comes out in the US.
Likewise, the first and last lines said by Dedede (and by extension, the comic as a whole, musical strips aside) are the exact same.
Peach's appearance in "If it Takes a Lifetime" is meant to imply that it takes place in the same continuity as The Captive Princess.
One that almost happened, but didn't (still brought up in the mouse-over text) - Link pays a gossip and she would've mentioned hearing about Moblins playing with dolls, which references an earlier strip where a Moblin was playing with dolls.
Dream Land Mix calls back to multiple unfortunate situations involving Kirby's eating habits.
A Mushroom Kingdom Carol, for 2009, depicting Mario as Ebenezer Scrooge, Luigi as Bob Cratchett, Wario as Jacob Marley, Rosalina as the Ghost of Christmas Past, Kirby as the Ghost of Christmas Present, and Shadow Mario as the Ghost of Christmas Yet To Come.
One in-universe strip features one between Lakitu's Cloud and Mother Brain. And she got pregnant!? Matt admits that this is one of his sillier ones. And their baby? Kracko, thus making this A Kracko pairing!
#409 Zora Lineage◊ has Ruto marrying Lord Jabu-Jabu. Their children are the River Zoras.
Meta Knight/Adeleine has been implied, mainly from Adeleine's side. One of her paintings portrays Meta Knight giving her a flower.
Crap Saccharine World: Often the comic lampshades like Nintendo worlds tend to seem colourful, joyful worlds, innocent, cute realms full of wonder and happiness, but under the surface they tend to be deeply disturbing.
110 - Have you stopped playing Animal Crossing for a while? These are the consequences.
Creator Thumbprint: Though the comic is meant to give every Nintendo franchise the occasional spotlight, based on the prominence of characters, it seems pretty apparent which Nintendo franchise is Matthew's favorite.
Pit is starting to take on an ever-increasing presence in the comic. Matthew admits that it's become apparent how much he likes Kid Icarus: Uprising.
While there have been only a few strips about Fire Emblem: Awakening -and two Fire Emblem strips previous to the release of Awakening, 231 and 404-, the author made clear that it was his new thing, mentioning it in several blog posts and one podcast. In that podcast, he discussed for 23 minutes before moving on to the comic itself.
There is many strips dedicated to Earthbound, one of the Matthew's favorite games, and tons of little easter eggs included in many non-Mother strips.
Inverted with Final Fantasy VI, which has only got one strip -albeit many easter eggs- in spite of it is his second favorite game. This is because he wants to keep his strip Nintendo-focused and because he's afraid of FFVI jokes would fly over his readers' heads.
Everything's Better with Penguins: Dedede, of course, who was much, much more penguinish when he was a kid. His father was a photorealistic Emperor penguin, and his mother regurgitated chum for him to eat, despite them all living in a suburban house.
Snake: But first, a drink. Waiter! Something light. Hm, water or punch? Yeah, punch sounds good. Punch. I'll take the PUNCH. NOW.
(Samus nods at Captain Falcon. He grins and adjusts his tie)
Foreshadowing: A minor case, but Shadow Mario being the Ghost of Christmas Yet-to-Come in "A Mushroom Kingdom Carol". Now, if you played that game, you should know who that really was... And now, consider who shows up near the end...
Waluigi's takeovers getting Running Gagged was the first warning sign that the comic was ending. A few months after that strip it was announced the comic was ending.
Four Philosophy Ensemble: In the Return to Dreamland comics, we have King Dedede as the Cynic, Kirby as the Optimist, Meta Knight as the Realist, and Waddle Dee as the Apathetic.
Fridge Logic: A lot of the In-Universe humor comes from applying the funny stuff from Nintendo games, and seeing what happens.
In "Where's Waluigi", in the lower left part of the scene Ike is seen showing off his enormous sword. Marth, who has a normal sized sword, is standing next to him looking annoyed, while Toon link is standing nearby looking a bit anxious about his very small sword. Does This Remind You of Anything?
In "Prodigal Robot", we get a montage of a homeless and jobless Mega Man willing to work for anything. At one point he lists "screws"; in the next slide, his expression has turned extremely disgusted, and the sign has been edited to "screws (the currency!)".
In strip 512Captain Falcon wants to vote Jody Summers in the next Smash because "She's got all- fast reflexes, dangerous curves, amazing-" What? Amazing WHAT?
Okay, fine, you still want a Valentine's Day theme with this one? "As Ganondorf and Bowser shook mighty hands, their eyes met for the first time. Initially thinking he got the better end of the deal, Bowser could suddenly only focus on one thing: the impressive fullness of Ganondorf's eyebrows, poetically mirroring his own. Ganondorf, meanwhile, had never felt the ironclad grip of a spiny turtle monster before, and was instantly impressed. As his thoughts wavered from his plan to defeat Link, he slowly began to wonder what his new friend's scaly arms would feel like gently wrapped around his shoulders..."
Invoked also in the Kirby Super Star homage multi-comic, in the Spring Breeze strip. After Kirby sucks in one of the stars that come from Dedede's ground pound attack, he stops and thinks "What did I just eat...?'
If I Can't Have You: A non-romantic example; in "The Legion", Monster!Kirby stated that his friends were being mean, so he ate them all so they won't leave him.
Interface Screw: A rare non-gaming example. If you're going on an Archive Binge using the old version of the site, you'll hit the 2009 Waluigi April Fool's page. There's no "next" button, so the only way to continue is going to the archive page and clicking the next comic in line.
Ironic Echo: Dedede's line, "I'm gonna get you, Kirby" has been turned back on him on a few occasions:
Once in the Cocoon Academy arc, when he got into a cafeteria fight with Pinky.
In the Alt Text for one strip in the sleepover arc.
Klingon Promotion: Pichu is kicked out of Brawl for being (gameplay-wise) a clone of Pikachu, but evolves into one soon after. He then uses a Poké Ball on Melee's Pikachu, and takes over his position. See Cheshire Cat Grin above.
Morton's Fork: If the waiter brings the soup that Waluigi hates, Waluigi will throw it in his face. If the waiter brings the soup that Waluigi likes, Waluigi will throw it in his face. If Waluigi brings the soup that Matt likes, Matt will throw it in his face.
Not So Different: King Dedede and Kirby. Meta Knight even calls the former out on it.
Not What It Looks Like: In strip 477 Raiden encourages Snake to join them in the Battle Royale, but Snake claims being busy. Shortly after Raiden catches him hanging with the Smashers, and Snake swears that "It's not what it looks like" (although it IS).
The Playstation characters in "B.Royale In The Family." Word of God is that this was intentional — he drew the characters from memory, then altered them. Kratos has an eyepatch (which, along with his facial tattoos, constantly changes position) for example.
In "Rock or Roll", Matthew states that Sonic is otherwise accurate, but he's almost completely off model in every panel.
OOC Is Serious Business: During the Grand Finale arc where the universe keeps undergoing Art Shifts for some unknown reason, Meta-Knight tries to get Kirby and King Dedede's attention to explain what's going on. With King Dedede ignoring him to blame Kirby, and Kirby too amused by it to pay attention, Meta-Knight finally gets fed up, takes his mask off, and throws it at Dedede, revealing his face for the first time since the Cocoon Academy arc.
Original Character: Eario, the janitor who cleans up after the Mario Bros. Kingsonnn Dededoo and the Bug Catcher as well.
Orphaned Punchline: A downplayed example in the final strip of "Waluigi Finaluigi". In any other Waluigi strip, "SANDCASTLES ARE NOT PRACTICAL" would be the punchline in the final panel, but here it's in the first panel without any prior set-up.
Remembered I Could Fly: Strip 384 has Kirby, Meta Knight, Dedede, and Waddle Dee preparing to launch themselves upward out of a cannon to get an item. When an accident sends them flying into a wall, Dedede points out that they should just fly up there instead.
Rule of Funny: The Pokéwalker can only give 1 level-up per transfer to the device, and 24601 EXP is not nearly enough to get a Pikachu to level 74. Doesn't stop this from being goddamn hilarious.
Similarly, the Intensity level for the Fiend's Cauldron defaults at 2.0; decreasing the Intensity results in spending hearts note as opposed to increasing the Intensity, which results in betting hearts, and the minimum Intensity level is 0.1. Doesn't stop Ending 1 of thisfrom being goddamnhilarious.
Running Gag: Several, including Kirby's "Food!", and King Dedede's "We gotta get that Kirby!"
Don't forget Kirby eating Dedede and turning into a minature version of him.
Schizo Tech: In a somewhat minor example; in this comic 541, Adeleine has both a Wii and a rotary phone in her living room. And the TV looks like it was ripped straight out of just about any newspaper comic from the 80's or 90's.
The fact that it piggybacks on Super Smash Bros' massive crossover of characters from diverse fictions means this trope is often going to crop up in various other ways related to that.
Waluigi, as of Comic 556. Though the "evil" part here is debatable.
Self-Imposed Challenge: Comic #200 has led to Pacifist runs of games, where the goal is to kill no minions (except those who are used to kill bosses) and if any minions are to die, have it be due to anyone other than the player i.e. a Koopa walking into a lava pit.
Seven Deadly Sins: The fourth part of the "Turnabout Kirby" arc has Meta Knight using photographic evidence against Dedede, with each picture containing a certain sin from previous comics.
Played literally in "Cocoon Academy": Meta Knight was originally pink, like Kirby. He gets a blue color after swallowing Dark Matter.
One unconfirmed fan theory is that, since the only characters shown to have been covered in dark slime are confirmed future villains (and a raccoon from Animal Crossing), that entire fight was the incidental start of darkness for many characters.
Assist Trophy features Link and Ganondorf having a truce to go after Tingle. The author notes that just about every Gaming Webcomic has some sort of obligation to draw the creepiest Tingle they can.
Good Dog shows the Duck Hunt Dog getting replaced by the much more encouraging Poochie and Exiled to the Doghouse. Matt however feels that the Dog doesn't really deserve his status, as his infamous snicker wasn't really all that mean-spirited, and he does a good job as a hunting dog otherwise.
"I was going to have Luigi be the one to get the Spiny in the face...but you know what? No."
Luigi proves to be surprisingly competent when it comes saving Hyrule. Matthew points out after this one that on a comic-by-comic basis, Mario's been far, far more abused than Luigi has in the webcomic's run.
Tomato Surprise: At the end of the "Cocoon Academy" arc, we learn that "Pinky" is actually Meta Knight. And Headmaster Hand is Crazy Hand. Master Hand and Kirby were never actually in the arc at all. Also, the masked figure presumed to be Meta Knight is actually Waddle Dee, who later gives his mask to Meta Knight.
Took a Level in Badass: Mario is shown to be a dork in Cocoon Academy, with Luigi of all people being the popular one. But when Dark Matter attacked, Mario gains admiration upon spinning Bowser around and using him as a living flamethrower.
Traitor Shot: In the "Turnabout Kirby" arc, after Meta Knight gives the Judge evidence that Dedede may just be framing Kirby by showing his own flaws, Dedede angrily demands to know where Meta Knight got such evidence. He replies "Let's just say... I have an informant". Cut to the jury bench. The scene then zooms in on Waddle Dee as his eyes shift.
Also, when Meta Knight is "banned" (reflecting his real-life ban from Brawl tournaments): as Master Hand takes him away, he angrily raves about how he thinks it was Dedede who orchestrated this. It was actually Kirby, as the scene zooms in on him and he gives a barely noticeable smile.
Triang Relations: Type 4 between Samus, Captain Falcon, and Snake in "Snake in the Grass".
Victory Is Boring: In 456, Ganondorf travels to Zebes but he accidentally ends in Dreamland. He quickly conquers the place... and just so quickly he finds out he hates it: the realm is unbearably cute, the local hero will not fight him because he thinks the King of Evil taking over sounds funny, the citizens are apathetic and do not care who the king is, and his palace's servants are so sugarily servile and solicitous it disgusts him. Before long he gets fed up with being tucked in the bed and having his back scrubbed as he takes a bath, and he returns to Hyrule to rule the place with tyranny, violence and fireball-throwing.
Public indecency: The Sneech and the Pokémon are naked.
Frightening imagery: A particularly creepy image of Tingle. Teddie too if you're familiar with Persona 4.
Wacky Marriage Proposal: Matt considered proposing to his girlfriend through the comic, complete with a Waluigi Time joke... but ultimately ended up going with a more serious proposal. Still, in terms of What Could Have Been, it's pretty wacky. ("Expecting a ring? TOO BAD. WALUIGI TIME.")
White and Grey Morality: The villains usually have a soft side to them, the heroes can be honest but have some bad habits, and most of the trouble of the world-ending kind is usually unintended. The only truly evil character is Dark Matter.