Top 10 Mario Power-Ups

Infendo’s top ten list:

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10.) This one’s on here more for the look, sound and feel it gave to Mario and Super Mario 64 than anything else. It made Mario heavier and therefore more maneuverable underwater, which was cool, but out of water things slowed down and became kind of annoying. The t1000 shine was awesome for the system it was on, and the metal footfalls sounded like a massive armored knight coming to tear off your head. Plus, it makes fights in SSBB all the more frustrating. That’s good enough for the bottom spot in my book.

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9.) Go big or go home Mario. This mushroom gave our hero big ups, and allowed him to basically run through entire levels (pipes, blocks, enemies, you name it), and accumulate points that turned into 1-ups. Pretty nifty. It showed up occasionally in New Super Mario Bros., and was a welcome escape from the hard to control blue shell and the next to worthless mini mushroom. Plus New Super Mario Bros. as a whole was one of the games to demonstrate that the DS had the audience and innovation to become the incredible system it is today.

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8.) Staples from another era in gaming. An era of newfound portability and monochrome graphics. An era when the Game Boy was king (wait, it still is) and Super Mario Land was a completely new, completely foreign land for millions of gamers around the world. These power ups were given to you, not earned, making them more akin to the FLUDD pack than a mushroom, but they were far cooler. Since they are basically the same play mechanic, but with different levels as backdrops, I included them both. They allow you to move freely around the entire screen for forced scrolling levels, a la Life Force or some other shmup, firing missiles, bullets, torpedoes or whatever it was you pretended they were since the Game Boy’s graphics were, well, what they were.

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7.) In Mario’s world, flowers equal heat. Makes perfect sense, right? Actually, if you criticize a Mario game for making sense please check yourself out of video game town immediately. These games were never about real world physics, crossing the Uncanny Valley or mapping 100 commands to 100 buttons. Instead, they were all about grabbing hot tamale floral arrangements and tossing some serious fire balls at talking turtles and walking, angry looking mushroom men. Again, we could revisit the psychedelic drug reference here and wonder what Miyamoto was thinking, but what’s the point? Fire flower = fun, fiery death for your enemies.

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6.) I don’t know what kinds of psychosomatic drugs Shigeru Miyamoto was on when he invented Super Mario Bros. back in the 1980s, and frankly I don’t care. In addition to creating one of the most beloved video game franchises — and characters — of all time, he also invented a power up, in the form of a yellow and red mushroom, that made an Italian plumber grow to double his size. Does Mario really grow when he eats a Super Mushroom, or is it really an acid trip? We’ll never know for sure, but what we do know is getting hit by an enemy whilst big knocks you down a peg and kills whatever buzz you were riding. The Super Mushroom is definitively worthy of this list and this position because it is the base from which all other power-ups have sprung. To keep this list varied and diverse, this is one of only two mushrooms that made it! Yep, that means the Poison Mushroom, Mini Mushroom, 1-up shroom, SMB2 alternate universe mushroom, etc., have all been cut! Maybe next year!

See the top 5 

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About the author:

Mickey – who has written posts on NintendoFuse.