Welcome back to Warped Pipes, the series where I try to sort out the proper order of events for the Mario franchise. This time, as is necessary once in a while, I’m taking a quick detour to discuss the games that I won’t be considering as part of the Mario canon. Let’s start with...
Super Mario Bros & Friends: When I Grow Up
One of a few educational games released for home computers, this title was neither developed nor published by Nintendo and their lack of involvement definitely shows. The game is basically just a virtual coloring book depicting various scenes based on the games. It was also clearly made before the era of strict style guides:
Mario Teaches Typing
This is the same case as the above game, albeit this time being a digital typing instructor. While not being a particularly good game by any metric - and just what is going on with Toad in that picture? - Mario Teaches Typing does have the interesting distinguishing factor of being the first game to feature actor Charles Martinet as the voice of Mario. Martinet has voiced the Mario in nearly every game since and has become inextricably linked to the character in the minds of many fans.
Mario is Missing!
Yet another educational game; this one actually released for the SNES in addition to the PC, presumably giving it more direct involvement from Nintendo. However, the game seems to follow the canon of the cartoon series rather than the games, with the brothers being from Brooklyn and traversing real world locations. This clearly excludes it from our timeline.
I must admit that I have a soft spot for this SNES oddity, which feels like a strange precursor to Super Mario Maker, among other games. That said, Mario Paint is more of a creation tool than a game and doesn’t really feature a story or setting we can use to place it in the timeline.
NES Open Tournament Golf
Given that it was developed by Nintendo and features a number of Mario characters, I really tried to find a way to make this one fit into the timeline but it just doesn’t add up. Instead of the fantastical settings we’ve come to expect from the series, this game takes place on Earth with real world locations like Hawaii and the UK being featured and the players earning actual dollars instead of coins. This doesn’t mesh with what we know about Mario canon and has to be considered a separate continuity.
Yoshi and Yoshi’s Cookie Although these two Yoshi puzzle games are fun enough and competently made by Nintendo, they lack any sort of story or setting to contextualize what we see on screen. As such, there just isn’t any way to determine a timeline placement or an effect on the ongoing story, as is the case with most puzzle games in the series.
Update: I am now considering the Yoshi games canon based on additional story elements being added in subsequent releases/ports.
Super Mario Bros. Pinball
While it is undoubtedly a very cool arcade machine, Super Mario Bros. Pinball features about as in depth a story as you can expect from any pinball table, which is to say none at all. Essentially, the game is like a “greatest hits”for Mario and doesn’t feature anything that would add to our timeline.
This Japanese gambling machine uses the assets and aesthetics of Super Mario World, but otherwise lacks any real story or setting that would warrant its inclusion in the timeline.
A Japan-only arcade machine that I was totally unaware of before doing this research, Mario Undoukai seems to be a dancing game for children. Beyond that, it is difficult to find much of anything about this game. Overall, I think this one is best left ignored by the canon.
In the next article I will discuss the SNES classic Super Mario Kart. Check back in soon!
Click here to view all entries in the Warped Pipes series.
Want to see what else I’m up to? Follow me on Twitter @Jeremy_Whitson.