Game Identification is one of the single most important skills a Mario player needs. Without game identification skills, the consequences can be severe. Just listen to this tragic tale.
A small child is innocently playing a game of Super Mario World. He is currently "normal" (or small) Mario and is riding Yoshi. Suddenly, the boy comes across a long pit he needs to jump. He briefly considers swallowing a blue koopa troopa to aid in the jump, but decides against it and rather tries to "flutter jump" across the pit. He starts the jump and holds the B button, only to realize the jump isn't going far enough. He desperately tries to remember how to do a spin jump off Yoshi to clear the gap but it is too late... Mario is already dead.
This is an all too common story of how a lack of game identification skills can cause much heartache. Due to the presence of Yoshi nad a small Mario on the screen, he thoughtlessly assumed he was playing Yoshi's Island, and that he could easily clear the pit. His mistake cost him Mario's life. The information presented here should let you quickly determine which Mario game you are playing and prevent accidents like this before they happen.
Quick Identification skills
The first clue as to what game your playing comes from the system that it's on. If you are at any time unsure of what game is being played, take a quick glance around the room and look for the system (it should be a grey or black box). Once found, examine the oute casing to determine hte system. Using this information, and the
, you can narrow down the possibilities. (Important note: If you are holding the system in your hands while playing it is a Game Boy of some kind, or a Nintendo DS. If you are looking into the system, it is a Virtual Boy.)
If the system is not readily visible for some reason, another good indicator of what game you are playing is the colors on the screen. A quick glance at the game will tell you all you need. If the colors are muted and mostly basic, you are playing an NES game (or, if the picture is smaller, Game Boy Color). If the colors are rich and vibrant, but still 2 dimensional, you are playing an SNES or Game Boy Advance game. If they are vibrant, but seem to jump out of the screen at you a little, they are pictures from an N64 or DS game. However, if the pictures jump out at you, but are not colorful, and instead shades of red, you are playing the Virtual Boy. Finally, black and white or "pea soup green" coloring indicates a Game Boy game.
Once the system is determined with one of these quick checks, you will need to determine what specific game you are playing...
Specific game ID
Listed here are flash card style notes on some unique, identifying features for most of the Major Mario games. Use these notes to determine what game you are playing.
A note about how Mario looks/can look
Something you can do to test if it is that game
Mario Bros/Donkey Kong
If a giant monkey is hurling barrels at you, or the stage you are in is one screen and is trying to kill you, you are playing Mario Bros/Donkey Kong.
Unique hazards include: Barrels, fireballs, sentient ice beings.
Mario can actually die from falling in Donkey Kong, while in Mario Bros he can hit a POW block to cause everything to be knocked upside down.
Super Mario Bros./The lost levels
If Mario looks blocky and animation is minimal, you are playing SMB
Unique features include: Bowser throwing hammers.
Standing still, Mario's body will be facing you, but his head will be pointed to the right or left.
Super Mario Bros. 2
If Mario looks like Princess Toadstool or Toad, or has a HUGE nose, you are playing SMB2
Unique enemies include: Snifit, Cobrat, Trouter, Mouser, Tryclyde, Fryguy, Wart...
Ducking for too long will cause you to flash
Common misconception: Shyguys are not exclusive to SMB2... they are also in YI.
Super Mario Bros. 3
If Mario looks like a Frog, Raccon, or Hammer Bros., you are playing SMB3
Unique area types include: Mushroom House, White Mushroom House, Airships...
Hitting "A" on the map makes an item bar appear
Game Boy games
Super Mario Land
If you have to squint to see Mario, you are playing SML
Unique enemies include: Many with hard to pronounce, Asian names
Turtles turn into bombs when jumped on
Super Mario Land 2
If Mario has a feather in his cap or is in a spacsuit, you are playing SML2
Unique features include: A map screen that is actually easy to navigate
Hitting down and "A" will do a spin jump when you are big
Super Mario World
If Mario has a cape, you are playing SMW
Unique cute creatures include: Baby Yoshi's
R,L, and start on a beaten castle will let you re-enter it
If Mario is wearing a diaper, you are playing Yoshi's Island
Unique items include: Eggs, watermelons, magnifying glasses...
No button you press makes you get off Yoshi
Super Mario RPG
If Mario looks vaguely 3D, yet is being seen from somewhat above, you are playing Super Mario RPG.
Unique enemies include: Axem Rangers, enemies shaped after tools, a giant Sword.
You use the buttons to select various attacks in battle.
Super Mario All-Stars
If you are confused as to which game it is and all the graphics are the same, and you hear people talking in the background when you are at the title screen, you are playing Super Mario All-Stars.
Unique Features include: Updated graphics of old Mario games, The Lost Levels, Save features.
Some versions of this game in the US included Super Mario World.
Super Mario 64
If Mario has no hat, or has wings on his hat, or is made of metal, or is all fuzzy... you are playing SM64
Unique ways of dying include: Being pushed off a slide by a penguin, drowning, being thrown by a bob-omb king...
Hitting down causes you to run instead of ducking
If Mario is paper-thin, encountering enemies causes a strange battle screen to appear, is followed around by random characters, and has HP, you are playing Paper Mario.
Unique story includes: Star Rods, a rival, and travelling around the world.
Timed button presses allow you to deal more damage.
Gameboy Advance games
Super Mario Advance
If Mario, when chosen, begins speaking constantly throughout the game, as you pick up vegetables and hurl them at bizarre monsters, then you are playing Super Mario Advance.
New Features not originally in SMB2 Include: Stealing Birdo's bow, giant enemies, and the ability to save.
No buttons you press can stop the characters from talking.
Super Mario Advance 2
If Mario has a cape, random parts of the screen are cut off, and you can play as Luigi, you are playing Super Mario Advance 2.
Unique errors include: Botched sound effects, odd screen resolution, lack of buttons used in Super Mario World.
You cannot turn around mid-air as caped Mario in this version.
Super Mario Advance 3
If Mario wears a diaper and is on a small screen, you are playing Super Mario Advance 3.
Unique changes include: New voice samples, shoe colors, and Super-challenging levels.
The controls in this version are not as widely complained about as in Super Mario Advance 2.
Super Mario Advance 4
If Mario's name appears in the same title twice, as well as two numbers, as well as 'Super', and the number 4 and 3, you are playing Super Mario Advance 4.
Unique Additions include: E-reader cards and levels, a save system, rumble feature when put in Gamecube player.
You can make two kinds of saves in this version.
Super Mario Sunshine
If Mario is carrying a large backpack with water in it, and has a water meter... and there is a lot of water around... you are playing Super Mario Sunshine.
Unique features include: Cleaning up graffiti, chasing a blueish transparent version of Mario, and the world brightening up as you collect 'Shine' sprites.
R button causes Mario to shoot water.
Paper Mario 2
If Mario is paper flat, folds into different shapes, and frequents a town full of thieves and organized crime, you are playing Paper Mario 2.
Unique quirks include: Morphing to move around obstacles, fighting on top of trains, and strange enemies with coke-bottle glasses.
The Start button brings up a very detailed menu in this game.
1) Why is game identification important? (in 10 words or less)
2) Why can't you just look at the cartridge and read the name? (Answer: No reason)
3) What game are you playing if Mario looks like a female in a pink dress? (Answer: SMB2, SMA)
4) What game are you playing if Mario looks like Yankee Doodle? (Answer: SML2
5) What game(s) are you playing if Mario looks like Superman? (Answer: SMW, SMA2)
6) What game are you playing if Mario looks like he's in the exorcist? (Answer: SMB)
7) What game(s) could you be playing if you see a shyguy? (Answer: SMB2 or YI)
8) What game(s) could you be playing if you see Mario doing a spin jump? (Answer: SML2, SMW, SMA2)
9) Which Nintendo system is normally black? (Answer: N64)
10) Who is Mario's brother? (Answer: Luigi)
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