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Happy Mario Day: 8 Games You Might Not Know That Feature Nintendo’s Mascot (Photos)

Wednesday, March 11, 2020

March 10, or Mario Day (MAR10… get it?) wasn’t invented by Nintendo, and it’s not tied to the company’s marketing, but that didn’t stop everyone from declaring today the magical Italian plumber’s unofficial holiday. Of course you know Mario appears in over 50 games under his own moniker (and often alongside his twin brother, Luigi). But he has also had clever cameos in tons of other Nintendo games, many that have since been forgotten. So on Mario’s Day, dust off your old consoles — here are some games you might not have known Mario is involved with.

“Donkey Kong” (Arcade, 1981): Older gamers know this, but for people who didn’t come of age in smoke-filled video arcades, Mario’s first-ever appearance was in this 1981 release from Nintendo — though he didn’t have his name yet. Before Nintendo settled on Mario, they called him Mr. Video, and then Jumpman. He’s appeared in almost every “Donkey Kong” title since — and even filled the rare role of villain in “Donkey King, Jr.”

“Mike Tyson’s Punch-Out!!” (NES, 1987): Come for the impossibly hard final battle with Iron Mike himself, stay for the completely unauthorized cameo by Mario as the referee. And uh, we weren’t kidding about that by the way. In 2009, the game’s desginers admitted they added Mario without permission from corporate bigwigs.

“Tetris” NES (1988), Game Boy (1989) or SNES (1994): Of course Nintendo sneaked Mario into the port of the super addictive Soviet-made puzzle game. But you had to be really, really good to find it. The NES version included animated bumpers between levels, and players who made it all past Stage 9 Level 5 were rewarded with the dancing sprites of several contemporary Nintendo characters, including Mario and Luigi (along with Peach, Bowser, Samus and others). “Tetris 99” also has a Mario-themed level.

“The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past” SNES (1991), Game Boy Advance (2002): The absolute best “Legend of Zelda” game (fight me, “Breath of the Wild”) also features one of the most fun Mario cameos. Just walk over to Kakariko Village and enter one of the houses. Along the back walls you’ll find a portrait of our handsome plumber that will even give you money.

“Golf,” Various Nintendo systems beginning with Arcade (1984): Later renamed Mario Golf, this series started out as just a run of the mill (for the time) golf simulator with a very familiar player character that, if you look closely, is definitely Mario taking a personal day.

Minecraft (2011): The puzzle-building game from Mojang and Microsoft Studios added a Mario-themed resource pack in 2016, letting users play as Mario (and 40 other Nintendo characters). But the upgrades exclusive to the Wii U version.

Source: the wrap feed