Mario Gives Up is a ROM hack of Super Mario World with a few major twists. First and foremost, Mario has Peach marched off to her death into lava at the beginning (hence the title - he's given up on her). He then goes on an adventure for no reason at all, followed by a ghost the entire time. Second, without a Princess to kidnap, Bowser and the Koopalings have very little role to play in the plot, and bow out entirely in favor of a slew of completely unique bosses.
The hack also has a sequel, Mario Gives Up 2, in which Mario has a crisis of conscience and tries to get Princess Peach back from hell.
Tropes in Mario Gives Up:
- Bonus Boss: A rare platformer example—heading to the optional level mentioned below after getting all four switch blocks allows you to reach an area where you fight the Key Boss.
- Green Aesop: The game has a few minor, yet blatant examples in world 4. The entire level is one huge Take That! at BP for the oil spill.
- My God, What Have I Done?: Implied whenever Mario enters a level — he actually hides his face.
- Nerf: The cape no longer allows you to fly. YMMV on whether or not this is a good thing.
- Nintendo Hard: Moreso than the original game. One of the first levels you can play is pretty much Tubular 2.0. Thankfully, that level is completely optional, and the game proper doesn't start picking up the difficulty until World 4.
- Platform Hell: Gloriously averted. The game is definitely harder than the original Super Mario World, has Fake Difficulty at a few points, and goes screaming into the depths of Nintendo Hard towards the end of World 4, but it never reaches the level of "completely unfair" made notorious by Kaizo Mario World and its successors. You do have to know Mario's abilities very well to get through the later levels, but you're never required to pull off nigh-impossible stunts except in a few bonus levels.
- Russian Reversal: Just before the Bonus Boss fight against a giant key, a text box appears saying In Soviet Russia, Key uses you!
- Take That!: The entire fourth world, which takes place in the desert, is a massive example of this, explicitly calling out BP Oil for its recklessness and taking a very dim view of drilling for oil in general. The boss of the world is a sentient oil drum that can and will kick your ass the first several times you fight it.
- World 3, a forest, has a mild one against the logging industry.
- Villains Out Shopping: The final battle is initiated by Mario interrupting Bowser watching Seinfeld and smashing his TV for no good reason.
Tropes in Mario Gives Up 2:
- Drugs Are Bad: Spoofed in "Just Say No" in World 2, which gets ridiculously trippy about halfway through the level.
- Nintendo Hard: Even moreso than the first game — it starts getting cruel as soon as World 2 this time! Heck, the very first world has a few dick moves, as well; you need to go well out of your way for a Yoshi, and you need him to even begin the first level of World 2.
- Shout-Out: Castle 2 is a huge one to King of the Hill.