Welcome once again to Warped Pipes, the series where I try to make sense of the Super Mario timeline. This time around I’m talking about Mario’s second small screen adventure...
The first game to introduce Wario, an antihero we will be seeing a lot of going forward, Super Mario Land 2 expands upon its predecessor by bringing in many elements from the home console games like an overworld map. It also appears to take place immediately following the first Super Mario Land based upon the introduction given in the manual:
While I was away crusading against the mystery alien Tatanga in Sarasa Land, an evil creep took over my castle and put the people of Mario Land under his control with a magic spell. The intruder goes by the name of Wario. He has been jealous of my popularity ever since we were boys, and has tried to steal my castle many times. It seems he has succeeded this time. Wario has scattered the 6 Golden Coins from my castle all over Mario Land. These Golden Coins are guarded by those under Wario’s spell. Without these coins, we can’t get into the castle to deal with Wario. We must collect the 6 coins, attack Wario in the castle, and save everybody!
As stated in the manual, Mario returns to his home to find it taken over by Wario and sets off across the island to recover the Golden Coins.
In order to do so Mario ventures up a massive hollowed out tree and fights its animal denizens, swims through the water and into a submarine, travels through a haunted land filled with spirits and witches, shrinks down to the size of ant, and even explores the innards of a giant automaton made in his likeness.
Mario even makes his way to space where he explores the moon and surrounding areas while wearing a space suit. At the end of this space region Mario again encounters none other than Tatanga, the alien who lead the invasion of Sarasaland. Mario defeats the extraterrestrial again and claims the Golden Coin.
With all 6 coins in hand, Mario finally faces Wario and bests him in single combat. We see Wario exit, alive but injured, as Mario reclaims his home.
The story, as presented, is actually fairly straightforward and there isn’t a lot that requires interpretation, so let’s jump straight to...
Super Mario Land 2 adds a lot of new concepts to the series, so I’ll address them one by one.
Mario Land - It seems that, following his victories over Bowser, Mario was granted his own island fiefdom and castle. It’s unclear where Luigi is and whether he got the same treatment. Presumably Mario rules over the other inhabitants of Mario Land. This land appears to be substantially smaller than the Mushroom Kingdom and Dinosaur Land but still large enough to have separate regions with their own biomes.
Wario - We don’t get a great read on Wario from this game but we know that, “He has been jealous of my popularity ever since we were boys, and has tried to steal my castle many times” from the manual. Wario doesn’t appear to be strictly evil but just very amoral relative to Mario and has a deep obsession with the red plumber, which may be why he is styled so similarly. We also know that they have been acquainted since childhood. He seems to be able to use all the same power ups as Mario based on his boss fight but is much more of a heavy weight brawler relative to the more nimble Mario. Interestingly, Wario also appears to be versed in magic and put the entire island under a powerful hypnosis spell.
Space - For the first time, we actually see Mario explore outer space. Space in this universe seems to be somewhat similar to our own universe, such as having lower gravity, but is a much more active place and generally has smaller celestial objects. We also see that it is quite easy to get to space in this universe as just a large bubble can get Mario to the moon. We can also infer that it is this region of space that Tatanga fled to following his defeat in the first Super Mario Land. It’s unclear whether Tatanga is from this region originally and whether he willingly teamed up with Wario or just got caught up in the same spell as the other characters in the game.
Super Mario Land 2 explicitly takes place immediately after the first Super Mario Land, so its placement is quite easy. Since we learn that Mario has his own land/castle here and that Wario has actually tried to steal it many times, we can also assume that these games take place relatively late into the Post-War era. This gives us the following timeline:
In the next entry of Warped Pipes we will see Mario reunite with Yoshi and... use a gun?! It’s Yoshi’s Safari!
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