The Mario universe (マリオ, Mario) refers to the Super Smash Bros. series' collection of characters, stages, and properties that hail from Nintendo's expansive and highly successful Mario video game franchise. The Mario universe is Nintendo's flagship franchise, and it is flat-out the most successful game franchise in global sales and in history (although the Pokémon franchise has found even greater success when counting non-game media). The Mario universe is a franchise of fantasy video games, and the most popular games are the fantasy adventure platform games called the Super Mario games. Mario himself is Nintendo's mascot and is considered the most famous video game character in the world. Mario and his brother Luigi, along with their many friends and nemeses, have appeared in dozens upon dozens of Nintendo's video games, many of them being best-sellers and several of which are considered some of the greatest games ever released.
As a direct result, there are more Mario-themed characters, items, and properties to be found in the Smash Bros. series than any other Nintendo franchise, not the least of which are fourteen distinctive playable characters who originated from the series between Smash 64 and Ultimate: Mario, his clone Dr. Mario, Luigi, Bowser, Princess Peach (who has Toad as an attack), Rosalina (who uses Lumas to attack), Bowser Jr. (who has the Koopalings as alternate costumes), Daisy (who functions as a clone of Peach), and even the Piranha Plant. The Mario universe is so expansive, in fact, that Donkey Kong, Yoshi and Wario are considered stars of their own sub-universes: Donkey Kong, Diddy Kong and King K. Rool from the Donkey Kong universe, Yoshi from the Yoshi universe, and Wario from the Wario universe. The Wrecking Crew universe is also a sub-universe of the Mario universe, although no playable characters hail from it. It is the most heavily represented universe in the Super Smash Bros. series, by far, with the highest Trophy, sticker, and item count in the series, with the total amount of playable characters falling second to the Pokémon universe (nine to ten if Pokémon Trainer is counted as three separate characters).
By the beginning of 1981, Nintendo had developed a series of cabinet arcade games that were moderately successful in Japan, but its efforts to market them to Western audiences had fallen flat. In the most spectacular representation of this performance, thousands of units of an arcade shooter named Radar Scope, the first game Shigeru Miyamoto ever helped develop, were left sitting in warehouse storage. The president of the newly founded Nintendo of America division, Minoru Arakawa, faced financial disaster, so he pleaded with Nintendo CEO Hiroshi Yamauchi to provide him with a new game that he could install as a replacement into Radar Scope machines. Miyamoto agreed to the task of "fixing" the game so it would appeal to gamers, and instead of tweaking the original, he designed an entirely new coin-op game out of the Radar Scope hardware, and created new characters that could then be marketed and used in later games.
The finished product, Donkey Kong, became a huge success for Nintendo and moved 60,000 units by 1982. Its popularity was owed to the many differences from the maze and shooter games of the time that being the first example of a platform game with actual jumping mechanics afforded it; these included its multiple-stage structure and its visual approach to story and characterization. It is considered to be the earliest video game with a storyline that unfolded on the screen itself, with cutscenes in between levels establishing a love triangle between characters inspired by the Popeye comic. The eponymous ape Donkey Kong is the de facto villain, shown stealing away a damsel-in-distress (later given the name Pauline), and it is up to the player-character, a carpenter named "Jumpman" at the time, to save her. This was the earliest incarnation of the character that came to be known as Mario, and his design's most iconic elements were necessitated by severe pixel-based graphical limitations; he was given a mustache because that was the only way to show he had a human face, and he was depicted wearing colorful overalls to show he was wearing something more defined then a shapeless blob. Mario was given his official name in Miyamoto's modestly successful 1983 arcade follow-up Mario Bros., which also introduced Mario's green palette-swapped brother Luigi, changed his occupation from carpenter to plumber, and introduced the idea of him using strong jumping abilities to fell turtle-like enemies.
Throughout the North American video game industry recession that lasted from 1983 to 1985, Nintendo released the Famicom (the Western equivalent of which was the NES), which eventually found success as a hardware platform in its own right. Miyamoto began development of a successor to Mario Bros. for the console, and the game went through many ideas before settling as a side-scrolling platformer with a very clearly defined diversity to its gameplay elements, onscreen characters, and setting. The 1985 release of Super Mario Bros. is labeled by many as the single most influential video game involved in not just the popularization of the side-scrolling game genre, but the direction the video game industry itself would take following the 1983 crash, and is often described as the game that began the modern era of video games. Almost all of the game's aspects have been praised on separate occasions; the precise controls, creative power-up system, and well-tuned speed and momentum mechanics came into play against a varied set of level-design obstacles and distinctive enemies, and Mario's whimsical quest through his newly established setting, the Mushroom Kingdom, to rescue his love interest Princess Toadstool from the dragon turtle-like Bowser was timeless. The game became the best-selling title in the history of the industry, a record it held for over twenty years.
The Super Mario franchise indisputably became Nintendo's foremost property immediately, and Mario himself earned a permanent position as the company's mascot. It became a custom to release a steady stream of Mario-related titles for each and every Nintendo console and handheld launched in the company's history, and as of 2013, over 200 games featuring Mario characters in some way, shape or form have been released. While many entries into the series enjoyed a high level of success, none of the subsequent Mario games necessarily had anywhere near as much influence on video game genres as Super Mario Bros. itself had, but there is one clear exception: Super Mario 64 was the core platform-based series' inaugural transition into the third dimension, released in the Americas in September 1996, with a free-roaming, non-linear design, and an overarching collection aspect. A launch title for the Nintendo 64, it became the system's best-selling game and is given much of the credit for allowing the Nintendo 64 to attain the success that it had. The game set many precedents for the 3D platformer genre that would forever reappear in 3D platformers to follow, including player-character movement precisely dictated by the controller's analog joystick, a hub-based level design where each level accessible from the hub was a self-contained area containing a large variety of objectives to complete, and the first-ever "free" camera in a game with 3D environments, where the camera could be controlled independently of the character and was not rigidly fixed either to the character's position or a specific point in the level itself. Numerous other Mario platformers, particularly Super Mario Bros. 3, Super Mario World, Super Mario Galaxy and Super Mario Odyssey, are also frequently cited as some of the greatest games ever made; rather than kickstarting their respective genres as Super Mario Bros. and Super Mario 64 did, they instead garnered high praise for innovating on and refining the formulas set by the first 2D and 3D installments.
The Mario setting itself most often stars Mario, a free-spirited and heroic man with strong jumping abilities who is, by this point at least, a celebrity in the colorful and cartoon-like Mushroom Kingdom. Mario is often accompanied by his taller and more cowardly brother Luigi, who is occasionally mocked in-universe for being less famous than his sibling, but also goes on a few adventures of his own. His love interest and the ruler of the kingdom, Princess "Peach" Toadstool, regularly gets taken away by Mario's trouble-making arch-nemesis, Bowser, who is depicted as a menacing figure and/or a comedic one depending on the game. The most common setup for a Mario game is that Mario goes on an obstacle-laden quest to defeat Bowser and save Peach. Mario games rarely devote focus to lore or characterization; Mario, his world, and the established personalities that are his numerous allies and enemies represent Nintendo's primary "tileset" for creating colorful games of various genres that prioritize the quality of the gameplay itself, and Mario games sometimes satirize some conventions in video games. The Mario franchise is so big, and its side characters so thoroughly established, that several of these characters are the stars of their own semi-regular releases: Donkey Kong has starred alongside a simian supporting cast of his own in various games that, for a time, were primarily handled by British company Rareware; a pet-like dinosaur companion for Mario named Yoshi was introduced in the SNES launch title Super Mario World, and has been the focus of several of his own games; and a mischievous anti-hero equivalent to Mario who debuted in Super Mario Land 2: 6 Golden Coins for the Game Boy, Wario, has starred in both his own platformers and a series of party games that deliver a more outward parody of video game trends.
The many games of Mario have explored a large variety of video game genres, and one genre the series seems to avoid making a purely Mario-centric title for is the fighting genre, a gap the series regularly fills in with its guaranteed appearances in every installment in the Super Smash Bros. crossover series:
Being Nintendo's biggest franchise, the Mario universe understandably outnumbers every other universe in Smash 64. It is one of two universes to have two playable characters, and is the only one to have two stages, and a boss character. Yoshi and Donkey Kong also appear as playable characters with their own stages, however they are represented as different universes.
Melee has a lot more Mario content than before. Three new characters join Mario and Luigi as playable characters, and the Mario universe continues to have the most stages and items, along with having the most trophies. Three bosses also appear, one being considered half Mario, half Smash Bros. property. Sub-universe characters Yoshi and Donkey Kong return as well.
Bold italics denote an item new to the Smash Bros. series.
Main article: List of SSBM trophies (Super Mario Bros. series)
In a maneuver both traditional and expected, Super Smash Bros. Brawl is rife with Mario-based content. In addition to every previous character from the universe (sans Dr. Mario, making Brawl the only Smash Bros. game to cut a Mario character) returning, the sub-franchise revolving around series anti-hero Wario has been recognized as its own universe for this game, as well as Diddy Kong joining Donkey Kong as the second Donkey Kong fighter. Yoshi returns as well. Discounting the sub-universes, Mario is third only to Pokémon and Zelda in terms of total characters (counting the Pokémon Trainer as three separate characters and Zelda/Sheik as two) and has twice as many stages as the next most represented franchise. Brawl is also the last game in the series to have an unlockable Mario stage.
Four characters from the Mario franchise are playable in Brawl, not counting any sub-franchises, in which case the total number is eight. On the final character select screen (after all characters are unlocked), the first two columns are dedicated to the playable Mario characters, with the first column being the Mushroom Kingdom denizens, and the second column being the sub-series stars.
In total, when sub-franchises are accounted for, 12 of the 41 playable non-custom stages are based off the various Mario-related games. Only the six stages with the Super Mushroom icon are listed below. For the Yoshi stages, see Yoshi's Island (SSBB) and Yoshi's Island (SSBM) (for info on the Melee stage). For the Donkey Kong stages, see 75m, Rumble Falls, and the Melee stage Jungle Japes. For the Wario stage, see WarioWare, Inc. (the only Wario stage in the whole game).
Bold italics denote an item new to the Smash Bros. series.
The Mario franchise features easily the most commonly summoned Assist Trophy characters with a total of three (whereas no other represented franchise has more than one) - this total goes up to four when Kat & Ana (from the Wario series) is counted.
See List of SSBB Music (Super Mario Bros. series), and List of SSBB Music (Mario Kart series) See also Donkey Kong, WarioWare, Inc., Yoshi and Nintendo (which features some tracks originating from Mario games)
By far, the Mario series has the most music tracks in the game (not counting tracks based on musical motifs that originated in the Smash Bros. series). Only tracks from the main Mario series are listed here (even then, not all are classified in-game under the Super Mario Bros. series).
Main article: List of SSBB trophies (Super Mario Bros. series)
Main article: List of stickers (Super Mario Bros. series)
Main article: Masterpieces
As with past installments, the Mario franchise is well represented in Super Smash Bros. 4. The four primary fighters from Melee and Brawl — Mario, Luigi, Peach and Bowser — were confirmed to return in no more than three months after the games' official showcase at E3 2013. After a hiatus of new representation in Brawl, the series received newcomers in Rosalina and Bowser Jr., as well as the return of Melee fighter Dr. Mario. Even with the conclusion of DLC in February 2016, the Mario franchise still has the most playable fighters, excluding the series-related characters Donkey Kong, Diddy Kong, Yoshi, and Wario, who all return as well.
for Nintendo 3DS
for Wii U
Stages exclusive to the Wii U version. Unused data left in the game's files suggests that a stage based on Dr. Mario was planned but ultimately scrapped. Like Wily Castle and Gaur Plain, it would have included the Viruses as bosses.
Main article: Items
Bold italics denotes an item or Assist Trophy new to the Smash Bros. series.
Smash Tour items
Main article: Enemies
Enemies that appear in both Smash Run in the 3DS version and Smash Tour in the Wii U version.
Enemies exclusive to the 3DS version. They appear in Smash Run.
Smash Tour enemies
Enemies exclusive to the Wii U version. They appear in Smash Tour. Unused data left in the game's files suggests that the Viruses from Dr. Mario and Petey Piranha were originally going to appear as bosses, but were ultimately scrapped. Models of the former were re-purposed for a collectible trophy.
Main article: Alternate costume (SSB4)/Mii Fighter
Main article: List of SSB4 Music (Super Mario Bros. series)
Arrangements and remixes unique to SSB4.
Arrangements and remixes from previous Smash titles.
Compositions and arrangements directly sourced from the Mario series with no alterations.
Several tracks from the Mario series are used in promotional material for SSB4 without appearing in either of the final games. "Peach's Castle Stolen" from Super Mario Galaxy is used in "Comet Observatory", the reveal trailer for Rosalina & Luma. "Attack of the Airships" from Galaxy and "Bowser Jr.'s Fiery Flotilla" from Super Mario Galaxy 2 are used in "The Future King", the reveal trailer for Bowser Jr. "Beware the Forest's Mushrooms" from Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars is used in the DLC trailer "Mii Fighters Suit Up for Wave Five" during the segment focused on the Geno Outfit.
Main article: List of SSB4 trophies (Super Mario Bros. series)
Main article: Masterpieces
The Mario universe once again has considerable representation in Ultimate. Despite already having the most characters in Smash 4, the Mario universe introduced two new fighters in the form of Daisy, an echo fighter of Peach, and Piranha Plant, the first DLC character for Ultimate. However, between returning characters and newcomers, the Pokémon universe now has more playable characters compared to Mario. All the characters from Mario's sub-universes also make a return, with the new addition of King K. Rool, included under the Donkey Kong universe.
Main article: Items
Bold italics denotes an item or Assist Trophy new to the Smash Bros. series.
All past Assist Trophies return except for Lakitu & Spinies.
Main article: Alternate costume (SSBU)/Mii Fighter
Main articles: List of SSBU Music (Super Mario Bros. series) and List of SSBU Music (Mario Kart series)
Arrangements and remixes unique to Ultimate.
Arrangements and remixes from previous Smash Bros. titles.
Compositions and arrangements directly sourced from Mario games with no alterations.
Main article: List of spirits (Super Mario series)
Games with elements from or in the Super Smash Bros. series
Main article: Wrecking Crew (game)
Main article: Super Mario Bros.
Main article: Super Mario Bros.: The Lost Levels
Main article: Super Mario Bros. 2
Main article: Dr. Mario (game)
Main article: Super Mario World
Mario Kart series
Mario Kart is a series of racing games where Mario characters race to the finish line on go-karts, bikes, and ATVs to attain the checkered flag while attacking each other with items from Item Boxes scattered across the course during the race such as Red & Green Shells and Banana Peels. In Brawl and Ultimate, the series has its own section in My Music, while it is grouped with the greater Mario series in SSB4.
Mario Party series
Mario Golf series
Mario Golf is a series of sports games where Mario characters play golf by hitting a ball through the hole on various courses.
Mario Tennis series
Mario Tennis is a series of sports games where Mario characters play tennis on a court by using a racket and a tennis ball to win a series of sets in a match.
Paper Mario series
Paper Mario is a series of role-playing and action-adventure games where characters are depicted as flat two-dimensional drawings, akin to a pop-up book. This series has a greater slant towards story and dialogue compared to other Mario series, and every entry features a battle system governed by action commands. In the story, Mario and his party members embark on an adventure to collect a set of special items like Crystal Stars and Big Paint Stars while defeating enemies and solving puzzles along the way.
Mario & Luigi series
Mario & Luigi is a series of RPG games where the Mario Bros. embark on adventures to protect the Mushroom Kingdom and other regions while solving puzzles and defeating enemies.
Mario Strikers series
Mario Strikers (known as Mario Football in PAL regions) is a series of sports games where Mario characters play soccer (known as football in PAL regions) on a stadium to score goals by kicking a soccer ball into the net.
New Super Mario Bros. series
Some of Knuckles's Spanish voice clips from Super Smash Bros. Ultimate are recycled in this game.