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

For over 30 years, Mario has been entertaining people the world over in some of the best games of all time. With such a long history, theres a mountain of trivia and seemingly useless facts to learn about the franchise. We've wasted our lives collecting much of this info, bringing together facts both great and small about Mario and his friends. Curious about Super Mario Bros 4, how Mario was once Popeye, or the secret voice of a Super Mario Galaxy boss? Read on.

Mario was depicted as bald in early Donkey Kong merchandise

Though Nintendo has portrayed Mario hatless with hair many times since the NES hit store shelves, before then the rules weren't as defined. In many of the early Donkey Kong merch, artists in the US frequently drew Mario as balding. Perhaps Mario picked up a particularly good wig after he had the money on consoles. That would explain why his mustache and hair are different colors.

Japan got a version of Excitebike that starred Mario

Excitebike: Mario Battle Stadium is easily one of the most obscure Mario titles. Released on the Super Famicom's Satellaview, an early experiment in online gaming. Featuring only a few of the usual Mario characters, it was only available for download on the service, though it can still be found through less legal means.

Supercade was the first Super Mario cartoon

Think Super Mario Bros Super Show or an obscure anime film are the first Mario cartoons? Wrong, it was the forgotten Saturday morning treat Supercade, a show that featured cartoons based on arcade hits including Donkey Kong and Donkey Kong Junior. Pretty much out of print, you can find some of the episodes on that internet repository known as YouTube.

Mario was considered for Sega All-Stars Racing

After Sega did Nintendo the favor of lending Sonic to Super Smash Bros Brawl, its only fair that Nintendo would pay Sega back with a Mario cameo. Outside of the Olympic games the two shared, it hasnt happened, though it almost did in the first Sega All-Stars Racing for Wii. As revealed in an interview Mario was considered for the mascot racer, but was ultimately scrapped in an effort to make the Olympic titles more unique. In a strange turn of events, former N64 stars Banjo and Kazooie did end up in the 360 version of the game.

Mario and Luigi are twins that were born in the Mushroom Kingdom

The Mario cartoons of the 90s may have given the impression that Mario and Luigi are from New York City, but at far as Nintendo is concerned, the brothers were born in the Mushroom Kingdom. As seen at the end of Yoshi's Island, a stork delivers the newborns to a toadstool house similar to the ones that cover the Princess Peach's realm. Also, we'd still call Mario the older brother, since he left his bundle first.

The Warp Whistle in Super Mario 3 is from Legend of Zelda

For many players, the Warp Whisltes hidden throughout Super Mario Bros 3 was their only hope for finishing the game in one sitting. But the handy travel accessories weren't a Mario original, and instead the instrument was borrowed from the first Legend of Zelda. The distinct musical notes played by the whistle are even the same.

Kamek was almost in Mario Kart 64

Kamek, Bowser's right hand Koopa and head of the Magikoopas, has appeared in many Mario titles, but rarely as a playable option. But as early screenshots of Mario Kart 64 prove, they almost appeared in the classic racer. For unexplained reasons, he was replaced by Donkey Kong.

Luigi's Mansion was once planned as a 3D game

Luigi's Mansion getting a long-overdue sequel on the 3DS was quite a surprise, but the reasoning for it caused an even bigger shock. The sequel came about after original Luigi's Mansion stages were rebuilt on the handheld to test out the 3D. Why was that game chosen to test the new feature? Because the GameCube was originally intended to have optional 3D visuals and Luigi's Mansion was developed with those capabilities in mind. The functional 3D version never left testing, but now Luigi can reach his full graphical potential in the sequel.

Mario was once a bad guy

In Mario's second ever gaming appearance, Donkey Kong Junior, the mustachioed star did something he's never done since: played the bad guy. As punishment for his crimes in the first came, Donkey Kong has been imprisoned by the whip-wielding Mario. DK's son tries his best to free him in spite of Mario's deadly traps and utter disregard for Junior's life. Series creator Shigeru Miyamoto has said he did this to show shades of grey in both Mario and DK, with neither being all bad or good.

Henry Gilbert

Henry Gilbert is a former GamesRadar+ Editor, having spent seven years at the site helping to navigate our readers through the PS3 and Xbox 360 generation. Henry is now following another passion of his besides video games, working as the producer and podcast cohost of the popular Talking Simpsons and What a Cartoon podcasts.