The Mario Games Family Tree

The Mario Games Family Tree

From his humble beginnings in Donkey Kong to his latest release in Mario Maker, we attempt to map out the Mario Games Family Tree.

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Family Tree Section Four

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Finally, we reach section four of the Family Tree, which contains no less than 49 different games.

Mario Bros Game and Watch

The Game and Watch lineage is an extensive one, stretching almost two decades from the very first original Game and Watch release – Mario Bros. all the way through to the fourth Game and Watch Gallery on Game Boy Color.

Although it has the same name as the arcade game, the Mario Bros. Game and Watch has nothing to do with the original Mario Bros. in terms of gameplay. The game is set in a bottling factory and features both Mario and Luigi loading pallets of bottles onto a truck. While it's supposed to be a single-player game, it can be played by two players, with one player controlling Luigi on the left of the screen, while the other controls Mario on the right.

Game and Watch fans might spot that I haven't included every single game that featured Mario on this list. I decided not to include Donkey Kong Jr, and Donkey Kong II, since they are variants of the original arcade games. The two feature the first, and third and fourth levels from Donkey Kong Jr. respectively. Both of these games were subsequently featured in the Game and Watch Gallery series, hence their omission from the Family Tree. However, if enough people believe they should be included in this list in their own right, I'll add them to version two.

Continuing on the Donkey Kong theme, the Game Boy version is a fairly significant entry in this section. Released in 1994 and featuring the four original levels of the arcade game – plus 97 additional ones – this game essentially spawned the Mario vs Donkey Kong series, which has seen five iterations since it was first launched in 2004 on Game Boy Advance.

A quick shout out goes to NES Remix for its ingenious re-tooling of different games and levels, including several starring Mario: Donkey Kong, Donkey Kong Jr., Super Mario Bros., Mario Bros., and Wrecking Crew. NES Remix 2 also features several Mario games, amongst which include Super Mario Bros. 2, Dr Mario, Super Mario Bros. 3, and Super Mario Bros.: The Lost Levels. The game also features a port of the original Super Mario Bros., but with Luigi as the main playable character. He has a similar control scheme that was used in Super Mario Bros.: The Lost Levels, but this time around, the entire game is mirrored, running from right to left.

Super Mario Fushigi no Korokoro Party

A lynchpin game in this section is Mario Party. The game-of-many-minigames has gone on to spawn no less than nine sequels, plus two arcade games – and four additional games based on the series. The arcade games are interesting in that both are produced by Capcom. The first supports up to six simultaneous players, rather than the four supported by the original Mario Party 5, upon which the game is based, while the second coin-op is basically the same design, but supports up to sixteen people simultaneously!

Alleyway makes an appearance here, because it features Mario, albeit briefly, who is also pictured on the game box art controlling the bat. It's basically a fairly simple Breakout game in which the player breaks blocks over a series of levels. There's a bonus level after every fourth screen which features various sprites from Super Mario Bros., including Mario himself.

Moving across this section, we reach two puzzle game lines. The first is Dr. Mario, a popular and enjoyable match-four puzzler in which the player lines up bi-colored pills in an attempt to eliminate viruses that spawn on the playfield. A potential point of controversy is that I've included Tetris Attack within this Family Tree. Mario himself doesn't make an appearance in the game, but Yoshi and several other characters from Super Mario World 2: Yoshi's Island do – and since I see Yoshi as part of the Mario Family Tree, I've therefore included the game here (as well as the subsequent Tetris DS, which does feature Mario). If enough people feel that Tetris Attack shouldn't really appear within this Family Tree, I'll go with the popular vote and remove it when I create version two.

Another puzzle game also included in the Family Tree is Mario's Picross, which stars the mustached one as an archeologist. The game features nonograms which are logic puzzles where you have to remove tiles from a grid to reveal a pixilated picture. The original 1995 Game Boy title was a lot of fun, and spawned two additional Picross games – a Japan-only SNES game the same year, and a Game Boy sequel the year after.

Next up is a pair of obscure Satellaview games – Undake 30 Same Game, and Satella-Q. The former was created by Hudson Soft, and is a simple puzzle game that's based on the Monte Carlo card game, while the latter is a quiz game series featuring Toad that was released in 28 different parts between 1995 and 1999. While Mario appears in Undake 30 Same Game, he doesn't feature in Satella-Q, making it another game that may or may not be relevant to this Family Tree, depending on your point of view. I'll leave it to the USG readership to decide whether or not it should be included in version two.

Finally, there's Puzzle and Dragons: Super Mario Edition. It's based on the hugely successful Japanese iOS match-three puzzle game that has dungeon-crawling RPG overtones. Basically, you fight your way through dungeons filled with Mario's enemies and attempt to beat them by matching gems of different colors to initiate attacks. It's a very entertaining game, and one that is surprisingly addictive and deep. Incidentally, the original Puzzle and Dragons game is the all-time biggest-grossing iOS title in Japan, having been downloaded more than 40 million times!

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