Unknown Mario - 40 obscure facts and random trivia about Nintendo's mascot

Nintendo trademarked "It's on like Donkey Kong"

Popularized by one-time gangsta rapper Ice Cube, "It's on like Donkey Kong," has now entered the popular lexicon. Back in 2010, in part to popularize the release of Donkey Kong Country Returns, Nintendo formally announced plans to register a trademark for the phrase. It now joins the ranks of "Let's get ready to rumble!" (wait, can we be sued for writing that?).

Nintendo cancelled a Mario volleyball game

Next Level Games has become one of Nintendos closest third party developers of late, creating Punch-Out!! for Wii and the upcoming Luigis Mansion sequel. The dev also created two of Marios sports games: the intense soccer titles Super Mario Strikers and Mario Strikers Charged. In 2011, it was revealed the team had worked on a volley ball game as well; unfortunately, it wasnt released. A short demo video is all thats left to prove it existed.

Bowser's original name was King Koopa

The first Super Mario Bros introduced so much of Mario mythology, though some of it has been retroactively abandoned. For instance, arch nemesis Bowser was known as King Koopa, a fairly accurate translation of his Japanese name. He's since become known as Bowser, though we suppose his title would remain King of the Koopas.

New Super Mario Bros Wii originally had a Chicken power-up

As seen in these official images leaked onto the web, Nintendo once played with the idea of a chicken suit transformation for the NSMB characters. Eventually Nintendo decided to use penguins instead, which we have to say is a little more dignified.

Cranky Kong is the original Donkey Kong

Donkey Kong Country was full of the cheeky sense of humor developer Rare is known for, and the belligerent Cranky Kong was one of the funniest parts. He continually complained about how terrible current games are compared to the old days, continually talking about his adventures as the Donkey Kong of the arcade originals. Since he's the grandfather of the Donkey Kong in DKC, just where is Donkey Kong Junior?

Super Mario Galaxy boss Major Burrows is voiced by the game's director

Recently we had the pleasure of meeting Koichi Hayashida, one of the lead designers on recent 3D Mario titles, including the Galaxy games and 3D Land. He revealed that players might even recognize his voice, as he supplied the vocals for Galaxy boss Major Burrows. That must be one of the perks of directing a video game.

Mario breaks bricks with his fists

One of the core ideas of the Mario series is jumping up and hitting bricks. You do it countless times every playthrough, but the moment happens so fast, you might mistakenly think Mario is breaking them with his head. If you look closely in a freeze frame, you'll see his fist hits the bricks first, which is a slightly safer way of doing things (but still, don't try it at home).

Princess Peach's dress has changed over time

Many Mario fans no doubt missed Princess Peach's swapped outfit: From the first Super Mario Bros all the way through the N64's lifecycle, Peach sported the look on the left, but sometime around her appearance in Super Mario Sunshine, the hemline of darker pink was thrown out and a cloth called panniers were added to the waist, giving her the standard looks she still has today.

Shake your 3DS to get a surprise in Super Mario 3D Land

Super Mario 3D Land is one of the 3DS's premiere titles, and when we talked to the game's director, Koichi Hayashida, he clued us in to some of the game's secrets. For instance, you get multiple photos from Princess Peach as the story unfolds, but many missed the interactive bits. Shake your portable and you'll see different characters and items pop up in the background. Give it a try!

That thing at the end of the bridge is an axe

When we were kids, we thought the item behind Bowser in the original Super Mario Bros was a switch of some kind that pulled back a drawbridge. How foolish we were. It's actually an axe that Mario uses the cut the rope bridge to send Bowser to his fiery death.