10 Mario Games You've Probably Never Heard Of
For closing in on three decades, Mario has been the undisputed star of the video game world. No one else even come close to his unparalleled universal popularity. If Nintendo were a country and every single sale of a Mario game was a citizen, then that country would be the fifth-most populous country on Earth. Mario has moved twice as many video games than Prince has moved albums. Are you getting the picture?
And as any Wii or 3DS owner knows this has led Nintendo to slapping the mustachioed one's visage into any game they can knowing that it's basically a license to print money. We'll pay a lot more to watch Mario play tennis than we will to watch Tennis Man play tennis. Hell, we'll pay more to watch Mario play tennis than we will to watch Andre Agassi play tennis.
Yet even with all this there are still Mario games that fly under the radar of the average gamer, and today we celebrate these lost entries in his history.
Hotel Mario:: Nintendo almost never licenses its properties to other developers or systems because characters like Link and Samus are arguably the only things that have kept the company going during rough spots. One of the few times they have was to Phillips and their CD-i system, which was part of a deal where Phillips would develop a CD-ROM drive for the SNES. That fell through, but Phillips did indeed release a few Nintendo properties to almost universal disdain.
Hotel Mario followed Mario and Luigi as they attempted to rescue the princess from a series of hotels run by Bowser and his kids. You destroy each hotel by closing all the doors in them, and the princess is then whisked away to the last one. It's honestly not that terrible a game considering the source. At least it's better than Legend of Zelda: Wand of Gamelan, which is a pretty low bar to clear.
Wrecking Crew: There's a theory that Mario and Luigi are actually two day-laborers just struggling to get by doing various construction jobs when they stumble onto the Mushroom Kingdom to become heroes in the first Super Mario Bros. The subsequent games on the NES are just dreams of that first adventure (SMB2) and a theatrical performance based on the same adventure (SMB3).
I like this theory because it sort of explains a lot of what Mario was up to in the early '80s clearing sewer pipes of turtles and working on construction sites that attract giant monkeys. In Wrecking Crew he was doing demolition work. For further investment in the theory, Mario is set against an abusive foreman named Spike who is sort of an early version of Wario. Maybe Spike followed his former employee into the Mushroom Kingdom to try and win some acclaim for himself!
More obscure Mario fun on the next page.