You’re reading Warped Pipes, the series where I try to sort out the inscrutable timeline of the Mario video game franchise. This time around, we are cramming things down into the smallest of screens in...
Super Mario Land
A personal favorite of mine, Super Mario Land is Mario’s first true portable outing and expands his world by introducing us to Sarasaland and a whole host of new characters and creatures. Let’s look at what the manual has to say:
Once upon a time, there was a peaceful world called Sarasaland. In this world there were 4 kingdoms named Birabuto, Muda, Easton and Chai. One day, the skies of Sarasaland were suddenly covered by a huge black cloud. From a crack in this cloud, the unknown space monster Tatanga emerged to try to conquer Sarasaland. Tatanga hypnotized the people of all the kingdoms so that he could control them in any way he liked. In this way he took over Sarasaland. Now, he wants to marry Princess Daisy of Sarasaland and make her his queen. Mario came to know of these events, and he has started on a journey to the Chai Kingdom where Princess Daisy is held captive, in order to restore peace to Sarasaland. Can Mario defeat Tatanga, release people from his interstellar hypnosis, and rescue Princess Daisy? It’s all up to you and Mario’s skill. Go for it Mario!
Once again, it’s up to Mario to traverse strange kingdoms and rescue a princess. Let’s examine...
The Events of the Game
Mario travels through all four of Sarasaland’s kingdoms, battling their strange monsters along the way. Sarasaland’s hypnotized inhabitants and leaders try to kill Mario who must ultimately defeat the Sphinx King Totomesu, sea dragon Dragonzamasu, statue-like Hiyoihoi, and cloud-like Biokinton; ostensibly the rulers of the four kingdoms.
In order to traverse these kingdoms, Mario must also rely on his personal submarine, the Marine Pop, and his airplane, the Sky Pop.
It is in his Sky Pop that Mario takes on Tatanga in the air, who fights back in his space ship. Mario wins this dogfight, freeing Princess Daisy and Sarasaland. The princess thanks Mario with a kiss and the two blast off across the kingdom in one of Tatanga’s spaceships.
Super Mario Land’s story is surprisingly straightforward and well-explained so I’m going to skip the normal interpretation and go straight into the world building.
It’s unclear exactly what the relationship and geographical proximity of the Mushroom Kingdom and Sarasaland are, but the two feel simultaneously very similar and very different. Sarasaland features distant cousins of Mushroom Kingdom creatures, such as the Goomba-like Goombo and the Bombshell Koopas whose shells explode after being injured.
Both kingdoms are ruled over by human princesses, despite the primary constituency of the lands being non-humans. It’s also unclear if the two princesses are related in anyway, although they have a strikingly similar appearance and are often shown to have a cordial relationship.
Sarasaland consists of four very unique kingdoms:
Birabuto Kingdom - This desert region has a clear Egyptian influence and is inhabited by the Sphinx-like Gao. It’s leader is the King Totomesu.
Muda Kingdom - A partially-submerged marine region inhabited by the seahorse-like Yurians and ruled by the mighty Dragonzamasu.
Easton Kingdom - A land based heavily on the real world Easter Island. The primary inhabitants of this land are living Moai statues who are ruled over by the rock-throwing Hiyoihoi.
Chai Kingdom - Inspired by ancient china, this kingdom heavily features bamboo forests and highlands. This kingdom does not have a clear set of sapient inhabitants and is guarded by the cloud-like Biokinton.
Although we don’t learn much about Tatanga or his people in this game, the fact that there are alien species with the ability to reach Mario’s world and stage an invasion is a significant piece of world building. It’s unclear why Tatanga feels it is necessary to marry the princess when he has already hypnotized the entire kingdom. Most likely, as with Peach, Daisy holds some magical power over her people that Tatanga wants to control.
The Timeline So Far
Given the lack of manyfamiliar elements and Mario’s access to resources such as a submarine and airplane, I am going to place the game at the end of our timeline, after the conclusion of the Koopa Wars, for now. This gives us the timeline below:
In the next article we will see Mario put away his plunger and pick up... a stethoscope? That’s right, I’m talking about 1990's Dr. Mario!
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