You’re reading Warped Pipes, the series where I try to do what Nintendon’t and sort out the timeline of the Super Mario franchise. This time around, I’ll discuss a particularly odd entry in which Mario enters into armed conflict. I’m talking, of course, about...

Mario’s Bombs Away

Box Art
Image: In The Attic

Released as a Game & Watch handheld in late 1983, Mario’s Bombs Away features a wartime jungle setting. According to the game’s manual:

In Mario’s Bombs away you move Mario left and right through the jungle. His mission is to receive a bomb from his comrade on the left side, then deliver it to his fellow-man on the right side to blow up the enemy. The enemy is waiting in the trees and try to ignite the bomb while Mario is carrying it. Mario also has to watch out for the fire from the oil spill below which the smoker has ignited, so he doesn’t blow up. After delivering 5 bombs the enemy is wiped out.

An image of the game in action is shown below:

Gameplay image from box
Image: In The Attic

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The gameplay is relatively simply, although frantic, as Mario must avoid both the enemy torches and the cigars dropped by a careless comrade in order to place the bombs and take out the opposing platoon without blowing himself and his squad members up.

My Interpretation

Although it is unclear why the two sides are fighting, this appears to be a conflict that has been going on for a while given how entrenched the forces seem to be.

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I also think it is a fair assumption that this jungle is the same one seen in Donkey Kong Jr. given that, to this point, all of the games have taken place in very similar city or jungle settings. Is it possible that it is this conflict that results in DK Sr. making his way into the city? Hopefully this will become clearer after looking at additional games.

World Building

This game actually adds quite a lot to our understanding of the world. Namely that, just as in our own world, humans seem to commonly go to war with one another. This game also shows the existence of some objects we have not seen to this point: explosives and tobacco.

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Overall, this game shows that the parallels to our own world are even stronger than have been revealed to this point.

Furthermore, we learn more about our protagonist Mario. We now know that Mario is an army veteran who has had to kill and seen friends killed on the battlefield.

Placement in the Timeline

Because Mario’s Bombs Away feels so starkly different from anything we have seen in the series thus far, it is somewhat difficult to place. However, I believe the lack of these familiar features is our best clue as to where it should go in the timeline. I propose that Mario’s Bombs Away takes place at the beginning of our timeline, with Mario as a young man drafted into the war. This gives us the timeline shown below:

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This is very tentative and could definitely change as we learn more about this world and its characters. For now though, I believe this to be the most logical order of events.

Next Up

Next time we will return to the jungle setting but trade in the bombs for equations in Donkey Kong Jr. Math.

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