The weirdest Super Mario games ever
Though we usually associate the mustachioed plumber with Nintendo’s own consoles, from the NES through to the Wii U, it’s far from the first time the plumber has turned up in some weird places. And, equally, the mushroom muncher has been on some bizarre adventures even at home on Nintendo’s own hardware.
Mario’s Cement Factory
And you thought Mario’s DIY skills were limited to just plumbing. In this Game & Watch title from 1983, Mario has to empty cement from a trucks, hopping around moving platforms to do so. Somewhere between a platformer and a puzzler, it’s something of a collectors’ item these days, as it can only be found in a standalone miniature desktop device with its own LCD screen.
I Am A Teacher: Super Mario Sweater
One for budding fashion designers, this 1988 title was the first in a surprisingly long series of educational Mario games. As a super-popular character, it was thought that Mario could be a good gateway into a whole world of knowledge for younger players. But they were almost uniformly awful games.
I Am A Teacher: Super Mario Sweater was designed by Royal Industries Co, a Japanese appliance and sewing machine company – so it wasn’t exactly known for its gaming heritage. Using Super Mario Sweater, you could design your own jumpers, which Royal Industries would then turn into a real item of clothing for a fee.
Super Mario Bros and Friends…
Or to give it its full name, Super Mario Bros. and Friends – When I Grow Up. Pre-dating the well-known Mario Paint by about a year is the much more snappily titled Super Mario Bros. and Friends: When I Grow Up. It’s another creative painting title that lets you color in pictures of (you guessed it) Mario and his Nintendo chums. The thinking behind the When I Grow Up bit is anyone’s guess, though.
Mario’s Early Years! Fun with Numbers
No fun can be had with numbers. That is a fact that anyone who has ever sat through a single mathematics school lesson on quadratic equations can attest to. But that didn’t stop Nintendo putting out this educational game teaching you the fundamentals of arithmetic.
And it didn’t stop even pre-school players nodding off and dreaming of Super Mario World. Still, it’s good to know that Mario can count well enough to avoid having to cough up for an accountant for all that coin he’s carrying.
Mario is Missing!
A game so bad, it prevented Luigi from taking a lead role in a Nintendo game for a full nine years. Released in 1992 for the SNES and PC, its infamy saw Luigi relegated to the sidelines until 2001’s far superior Luigi’s Mansion.
Somewhere between a point-and-click game and a sleeping pill, Mario is Missing is a Mario game in name only. Though its wacky story is notable (Bowser plans to flood the human world with hairdryers – just go along with it – allowing him to steal Earth’s greatest landmarks) it’s only real saving grace was the half decent Super Mario World soundtrack remix.
Think Bates Motel, but with more koopalings – Hotel Mario is almost as horrific. A shoddy puzzle game developed for the Philips CD-i console, this one thankfully wasn’t developed by Nintendo, but Philips Fantasy Factory instead. Featuring unresponsive controls and bizarre full-motion video cutscenes, Mario has to work his way through a series of hotels… shutting doors. Not exactly a vintage outing for Mario. It’s often considered the worst of all the Mario games.
Don’t believe us? Check out this montage of its awful, awful cutscenes. Don’t blame us for any lost sleep though…
Dance Dance Revolution Mario Mix
He’s always been a pretty nimble guy, jumping up to hit those blocks, lobbing banana skins off the back of his motor, and throwing punches like a heavyweight in Smash Bros. So it makes some sort of sense that Mario could dance, too.
A rhythm music game for the Gamecube, it was bundled with a Dance Pad controller and saw Mario getting his groove on to a host of Nintendo tunes in order to prevent Waluigi using the wishes granted by the “Music Keys” he’d stolen from “Truffle Towers.” We kid you not.