It’s MAR10 Day, the annual celebration of all things Super Mario. Nintendo itself is doing all sorts to mark the special occasion, including the introduction of a new Mario-themed Switch console bundle, a healthy dose of discounts from Mario games, and of course, a brand new trailer for the upcoming Super Mario Bros. Movie. There is a lot to get excited for!
Here at Nintendo Life, we thought it would be fun to take a non-exhaustive look back on how Nintendo advertised its various Mario games over the years, spanning from the original Mario Bros. right up to Super Mario Odyssey. Hits or misses, there’s no doubt that Nintendo — or the ad firms it hired — flexed its creative muscles with some of these.
If you’ve got a favourite out of our selection below, be sure to make it known in the poll at the bottom of the article. Also, if you think we’ve missed any that deserve to be highlighted, then let us know with a comment.
Now let’s check out some weird and wonderful commercials…
Mario Bros. “Mario Where Are You?!” – Atari
Despite its obvious age, the advert for Mario Bros. is actually kind of impressive.
Sure, it’s cheesy as heck, but the production values here aren’t terrible; we love the little model monsters and Luigi’s “Mario, where are yoooou” outburst. It’s like a bizarre precursor to Luigi’s Mansion…
Super Mario USA “BIRDO!” – NES
Super Mario Bros. 2 — the one we got in the West — went by ‘Super Mario USA’ over in Nintendo’s homeland, and who better to advertise it than the one and only Birdo, or Catherine as she’s known in Japan?
This is certainly a bit of a disturbing one, ending with Birdo regurgitating an egg which proceeds to explode, showcasing some brief gameplay from Super Mario USA. Weird!
Super Mario Bros. 3 “Mario! Mario! Mario!” – NES
Mario is a global superstar, and nowhere is this more prevalent than in the Super Mario Bros. 3 commercial.
Here, millions and millions of Mario fans call out our favourite plumber’s name, with the camera zooming out to show that they’re all aligned perfectly to create an exact replication of Mario’s head. How did they do that?! Magic, that’s how.
Super Mario Land “Your Only Hope” – Game Boy
The dodgy quality of this one kind of works in its favour, in our opinion. It looks like one of those over-the-top UFO B-movie flicks from the ’50s.
It’s an awesome mix of live-action scenes and footage from the game, showcasing a variety of different biomes you’ll be visiting throughout. What a great commercial!
Super Mario All-Stars Rik Mayall “Repellent Celebrity” – SNES
Rik Mayall was, unquestionably, a national treasure here in the UK. He appeared in a number of advertisements for the SNES, but this one for Super Mario All-Stars is great fun.
He has seemingly locked a number of scientists in chambers to play each game in the collection, communicating to the audience the apparent effect each game has on the psyche. As you do.
We miss you, Rik.
Super Mario World 2: Yoshi’s Island “Still the Big One” – SNES
This is just gross, man. Plain wrong.
There’s not much more that can be said. Nope.
Super Mario 64 “Really Sweet!” – Nintendo 64
We’ve all fantasised about being sucked into our favourite video games, right? Heck, that’s the whole point of many of them; to metaphorically pull you into their worlds so that you’re completely oblivious to the disconnect between your reality and the one on the screen.
While not the most technically impressive advertisement we’ve seen, this one for Super Mario 64 feels about as ’90s as you can get, with a kid that looks like he’s been plucked right out of Malcolm in the Middle chilling out with Mario as they explore each in-game world. Sweet!
Super Mario Advance “Throw Your Enemies” – GBA
This is quite a rare commercial in that it barely shows anything from the game. Instead, it uses live actors in a kind of stop-motion animation segment that teaches you the fundamentals of Super Mario Bros. 2. Namely, pick stuff up and chuck them at your enemies! Nice.
Super Mario Advance 4 “Gotta Go Fast” – GBA
Remember when you got your games from retail stores? Yeah, they’re still around, but… only just.
This commercial for Super Mario Advance 4 (which is a port of Super Mario Bros. 3), however, showcases a boatload of school kids racing to the nearest store to pick up the new game.
Why all their faces change to Mario is beyond our comprehension, mind. Definitely not unnerving.
Super Mario Sunshine “Clean is Better than Dirty” – GameCube
Uhhhh, what? If Nintendo ever wanted to shed its “child-friendly” image, then perhaps this spot for Super Mario Sunshine was not the right move. It’s so, well… clean.
That’s not to say that the tune itself isn’t great. Okay, it isn’t, but it is an earworm; it’s still stuck in our heads even now, as you’re reading this. But wow… This is the total opposite of edgy. It’s “smoothy”.
Yes, we’re aware that the over-the-top nature is probably by design, but the cleanliness is making our skin crawl.
Super Mario Galaxy 2 “Planets” – Wii
Okay, now we’re at the ‘idyllic family sitting down to play together’ phase that Nintendo went through with Wii. In all fairness, though, how this commercial is set up is quite smart, showcasing a number of locations that have been “Galaxy-fied”, making them all spherical in appearance. It’s nice!
Super Mario 3D Land “3D Worlds Await” – 3DS
While admittedly a bit bland in its overall presentation, this ad for Super Mario 3D Land kind of feels like an evolution of what was tried with Super Mario 64.
It showcases a boy traversing the typical Mario-themed obstacles in real life, signifying how the 3DS can effectively make things “come to life” with its remarkable 3D technology.
Super Mario 3D World “Be Together” – Wii U
Nintendo is once again showcasing flexing its Dominic Toretto muscles with another family showcase, this time utilising in-game 3D World features like the warp pipe and the cat costume to bring all the family together for a bit of platforming fun. Wholesome, indeed.
Super Mario Odyssey “Jump Up, Superstar!” – Switch
Nnnnnngh, that song! So good. There’s just something automatically uplifting about this one, right? Not just the music, but the theatrics of it. It’s so overblown, but it works.
We love the dancing, and we’d quite like a Cappy hat of our own, thank you very much.
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