7 Things You Learn Reading Super Mario Bros Manuals

Barely anyone reads Super Mario Games manuals. But they hold some interesting secrets.

Barely anyone reads the Super Mario game manuals. However, you can learn a lot of interesting things about the game by reading them -- many of which will probably take you by surprise. Here are 7 things you missed out on by skipping over the manuals:

1. Mario has tortured gorillas

Donkey Kong Junior’s game description reads:

“Mario has locked up Papa Donkey Kong! Junior must make his way through a treacherous jungle to free him. Racing against time, Junior climbs across vines, while avoiding dangerous creatures, all to reach a flashing key to release his Papa. (…) Can you help Junior save his father?”

Mario is surely not the hero in this story, but the enemy. He has not only kidnapped a gorilla, but also attempts to kill his son who wants to save him. Maybe Donkey Kong deserved it after kidnapping Mario’s girlfriend in the previous game, but it's possible that Donkey Kong was acting out of revenge. After all, Mario has been torturing him in Donkey Kong Circus. He made the ape balance atop a barrel and juggle with pineapples as fire balls were shot at him. What was Mario doing instead of being a hero? He was laughing at him. He is certainly not the plumber we thought he was.

2. The first game was all about taking a bath

The Mario Brothers didn’t think of saving any women in the first Mario Bros. All they thought about was plumbing.

“Mario the carpenter and his brother Luigi are hopping mad! The water pipes in their house are blocked with nests of crawling creatures. If the two brothers can’t get rid of them, they’ll never take a bath again!”

This is also why we now know Mario as a plumber nowadays, as he was previously supposed to be a carpenter.

3. Mario is constantly killing inoffensive Toads

Any gamer who ever played Mario has destroyed bricks. Obviously, this is part of the game and it earns the player points. The manual of Super Mario Bros even says that you get 50 points for every brick you smash. But when you read the rest of the game manual, you realize that you've been perpetuating a horrible crime all this time: killing those you thought you protected.

“One day, the Kingdom of the peaceful mushroom people was invaded by the Koopa, a tribe of turtles famous for their black magic. The quiet, peace-loving Mushroom People were turned into mere stones, bricks and even field horse-hair plants, and the Mushroom Kingdom fell into ruin.”

You have been a murdering all these little mushrooms to save the life of one Princess and didn’t even realize it.

4. Mario had many jobs

Mario isn’t only a plumber or a doctor (even if, in fact, he hasn’t been working as a plumber for a long while). He started working as a carpenter in the first games, then began to paint and cure people. He also once started his own toy company with action figures of himself. Unfortunately, he stopped doing this job after an impatient Donkey Kong stole his toys because he couldn’t wait for the next shipment.

And don’t forget the infamous times he has been a Vietnam soldier (Mario’s Bombs Away), a brewery worker (Mario Bros Game & Watch), a cement factory worker (Mario’s Cement Factory), a demolition worker (Wrecking Crew), a pilot (Alleyway), a marine archaeologist (Octopus) a rifleman (Yoshi’s Safari), an animal trainer (Donkey Kong Circus) and theme park owner (Mario vs. Donkey Kong: Mini-Land Mayhem).

....wait, we haven’t even mentioned yet all the sports he played!

5. Mario kills innocent creatures

You thought you'd been killing enemies during all this time? Maybe you are the enemy everyone is trying to stop. As you read character descriptions, you realize that red Koopa Troopa and Cheep-Cheeps (the fishes) are really passive creatures:

“This turtle is chicken! Very timid, he gets scared easily and runs back and forth a lot. Jump on him and he stops moving for a while.”

Even if some other creatures are described as bad...

“A mushroom who betrayed the Mushroom Kingdom...”

“Soldier of the Turtle Empire, his orders are to find and destroy Mario...”

...they don’t really act so bad when you see them. After all, it is hard to believe that Goombas are dangerous when they're so stupid they constantly walk until they fall to their death.

Most of the time, these creatures are just walking by, and will only harm Mario if he hits them.

“If you want to get a lot of points, be sure not to leave any enemies alive behind you, since the more enemies you kill the newer ones appear.”

It's not surprising that they end up to attacking Mario -- they are just defending themselves against this killer. Fortunately, the game manual proves false the belief Mario is hitting Yoshi to make him stick his tongue out. He is just pointing what Yoshi has to catch.

6. Mario has psychic skills

“They all walk together up the stairs and at the top, find a door just like the one in Mario’s dream. When Mario and his friend, in fear, open the door, to their surprise, the world that he saw in his dream spreads out before them!”

In Super Mario 2, Mario dreams of the world he is about to discover. Or maybe you have been playing in a dream during all this time? But why can he never see that Peach is about to be kidnapped for the fourteenth time?

7. Mario likes killing shy people

Want to know more about those you killed? Goombas are timid mushrooms that are believed to have betrayed the Mushroom Kingdom, and Koopa Troopas are very timid and easily scared. The Shyguys are wearing a mask because (obviously) they are shy too, just like the boos that are too shy to look anyone in the face.

If this wasn’t enough shyness, Blokinton (Super Mario Land) is even so shy it hides in a cloud and has never been seen by anyone. Tryclyde (a snake with three heads) used to be an outsider, and Ostro thinks he is a girl. We also learn by reading the manual that Wiggler (the caterpillar) is very quiet and only gets mad once jumped on (like anyone else). The first manual in which it appears even advises the player to treat her with respect. Oops.

Also, many enemies are not as bad as we thought. They are simply cursed or hypnotized by Koopa, Wario, or by the space monster Tatanga. Maybe killing them wasn’t the right thing to do. 

Did you learn something new or surprising about Mario from this list? What other discoveries have you made by reading the manuals? Let me know down in the comments!

Published Feb. 4th 2016
View Comments
  • Samuel Smith
    Featured Contributor
    Still got some of my early game manuals, although did not realise most of these.

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