The Extended Mario Universe


Mario is inarguably Nintendo’s prized pig. With it being by far the most successful video game franchise of all time it’s not hard to see why this would be the case. As with any success, usually a string of spin offs and sequels are bound to follow, and while this certainly applies to Mario, this is not the only focus of this article.

All throughout gaming there are hints that the many different worlds are interconnected, be it through crossovers, cameo appearances or easter eggs. Today I’m here to present a look at who inhabits the same canon universe as Mario and friends. As the nature of this was to discover who exactly inhabits the same world as Mario, I’ve disregarded non-canon examples of such instances, this means that games like Super Smash Bros. and Sonic & Sega All-Stars Racing Transformed do not apply. I’ve also disregarded cases such as Pac-Man’s sprite being carved into the background of a Mortal Kombat stage. This also applies to instances such as Shenmue, where Sonic appears, but it is only as an inanimate figureine.

I designed this image to show just how these worlds connect with eachother. There’s a handy key at the bottom, the blue lines indicate a closer tie to Mario, while green is to show a more distant relation. However, I’m only human so if I have missed something then feel free to point it out in the comments below!

EDIT #1: 10/01/16
I want to thank everybody both here, and on twitter for all of the suggestions and interest in this endeavour. I’m glad to know there are people out there who take as much of an interest in this kind of thing as I do. I realize that there is still probably more work to do with this, this is not finished yet. So I’d love everyone to continue their input on both the SourceGaming comments below and on my twitter page. You can still see the original picture I created here.


If you’re unsure of how some of these connect, I’ve prepares some easy to read notes for you to read below!
-Mario and Donkey Kong both debuted in the same game. Though Mario was simply named Jumpman at the time. ‘Donkey Kong’ was released in in 1984 to universal critical acclaim and commercial success.
-Diddy Kong Racing spins off from Donkey Kong. It was Diddy Kong’s third starring role in a video game and introduced the world to future stars in Banjo and Conker. The game features Diddy Kong being asked by Timber, the son of the Kongs friends, the Tigers to help him in ridding his island from the villainous wizpig. Diddy decides that Wizpig will be a tough foe to face, so he enlists the help of his friends, Conker and Banjo, using Squawks to carry the messages for help to them.
-The Banjo-Kazooie series has additional tie ins to the DK franchise. There is a picture on the wall of his house standing in Fungi Forest, a level found in Donkey Kong 64. Gnawty, a boss from Donkey Kong Country (as Very Gnawty) also appears in Click Clock Woods, asking Banjo for assistance in getting back into his house.
Mario is mentioned by name in Banjo Tooie, when Loggo the toilet asks Kazooie about a plumber.
-Tip Tup from Diddy Kong Racing also has roles in both Banjo Kazooie and Banjo Tooie.
-Sabreman from Sabrewulf appeared in Banjo-Tooie in Hailfire Peaks. Banjo & Kazooie had to unfreeze him!
– Banjo’s Goldfish Roysten can be seen swimming around in his fishbowl in Baron Von Ghoul’s creepy haunted mansion. Roysten was later found swimming in a fish bowl on top of Miss Petula’s head in Viva Pinata.
-Wario span off from Mario into two very different franchises, however 1994 saw the release of a very unique game that few talk about; Wario Blast: Featuring Bomberman! In this game, Wario stumbles across Bomberman’s world and decides to loot it. He acts as an antagonist to Bomberman!
-Link physically appears in both Donkey Kong and Mario games. He can be found sleeping in the Rose Town Inn in Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars, and is on the pedestal of Cranky’s Video Game Heroes at the end of Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy’s Kong Quest. Additionally, Bazaar the Bear makes mention of the character in Donkey Kong Country 3: Dixie Kong’s Double Trouble. Link apparently visited his general store and offered him rupees in exchange for information. Link later leaves disappointed that his seashells are not the correct shape (Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening sidequest).
Also, Manhandla, a boss from Zelda games is described as being a large Piranha Plant. Chain Chomps and Wart also appear in various roles.
-Like Link, Samus also appears resting in Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars.
-Like Link, Sonic The Hedgehog, or at least a part of him makes a physical appearance in Donkey Kong Country 2 in Cranky’s Video Game Heroes. He is placed in the no hopers section as a reference to the rivalry at the time between Nintendo and SEGA.
-Earthworm Jim’s gun is placed in the no hopers section in Donkey Kong Country 2, just like Sonic.
-Bowser and Donkey Kong appeared in the latest Skylanders game, Skylanders SuperChargers. Skylanders is a Spyro the Dragon spinoff.
-Subsequently, Crash Bandicoot and Spyro the Dragon have made numerous appearances in each others games.
-Both Mario and Donkey Kong physically appear in Punch Out!! games. Donkey Kong is in the Wii version as an opponent, and Mario acts as the referee for the NES game.
-Mr Game and Watch can be seen hammering a piper in the background of in Donkey Kong Country: Returns in the Foggy Fumes level.
-Mario, Luigi, Toad, Birdo, Wario, Bowser and Princess Peach are seen in the crowd of the battle between Kirby and King Dedede in Kirby Super Star.
-Tamadra appears in Puzzle & Dragons: Super Mario Bros. Edition.
– Sonic The Hedgehog makes an appearance in a bonus stage of Bug, as you control Bug, you are set the task of racing Sonic!
– Sonic appears in Crusader of Centy in a cameo role.
– Sonic Challenge mode appears as an unlockable mode in Samba De Amigo Wii. It comprises of three songs that challenge the player. Sonic and Amigo dance right alongside each other.
-Sonic, appears alongside other members of his series in Billy Hatcher and the Giant Egg as hidden egg animals.
-Kapu Kapu from Chu Chu Rocket, Rappy from Phantasy Star, Amigo from Samba De Amigo and NiGHTS from NiGHTS Into dreams also appear as hidden egg animals in Billy Hatcher and the Giant Egg.
-Donbe and Hikari from Shin Onigashima, Goku and Chao from Yuyuki, Samus and ROB all appear in various Kirby games.
-Paper Mario features a scene in which Luigi references Mario Kart, meaning that the following franchises are linked to Mario through appearances in Mario Kart; Pac-Man, Tamagochi, Taiko no Tatsujin, ROB and Animal Crossing. Additionally, it further Links Zelda to the Mario franchise.
-The Great Cave Offensive contains many items and characters that populate other games, including: Earthbound, Metroid, Kid Icarus, Zelda, Donkey Kong, F-Zero, Fire Emblem, as well as Mario and Donkey Kong.
-Mario appears (in voice only) as an announcer for the Miyamoto-designed Pac-Man vs.
Dig-Dug enemies; Pookas have become a recurring villain in the Pac-Man franchise.
Addittional Notes:
– Starfy and Wario have made numerous appears in eachothers games.
– Pikmin have references in both Animal Crossing and Mario. In Mario Golf: Toadstool Tour, numerous Pikmin can be seen being disturbed if you hit your ball in the garden of yellow flowers.
Captain Olimar sends your character a red Pikmin hat in Animal Crossing: City Folk.
– R.O.B. makes a cameo appearance in Capcom’s Viewtiful Joe game.
– Additionally, Dante (and Trish) from Devil May Cry were playable characters in a Viewtiful Joe game.
-Dig Dug further connects to both Mr Driller and Baraduke. Taizo Hori from Dig Dug is the father of Susumu. Taizo’s ex-wife is Toby Masuyo of Baraduke.
-Bowser appears in Sim City. He will terrorize your city in a Godzilla-esque fassion.
-Bomberman Saturn has many playable characters from other Hudson Soft games, these characters include: Bonk, Master Higgins and others *this needs to be fleshed out*.
-F-Zero and Star Fox are connected through Octoman. Octoman is both a playable character in F-Zero, and an enemy boss character in Star Fox: Command. While not the same character, F-Zero and Star Fox both feature a character named James McCloud who wear the same clothes.
-Samus ship can be seen in the background of Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze in the stage Busted Bayou.
-Bubbles from Clu Clu Land is a playable character in Donkey Kong: King of Swing.
-A gaggle of ducks from the game Duck Hunt appear in Tropical Freeze in the level: Sawmill Thrill.
-Mr Pants’ trademark bowler hat appears as an item in Viva Pinata. He is referenced in that game further when he is described as being a frequent vacationer to Pinata Island. He also appears in Banjo-Tooie on a Television Screen in Boggy’s House in Hailfire Peaks, before his game was ever released.

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  1. Very thorough, but you have missed some connections from the Animal Crossing series that transitively applies to the Mario universe.

    In Animal Crossing: Wild World, after talking to Gulliver once his U.F.O. is complete, he’ll ask if you’ve seen “A space fox or a bounty hunter who can roll into a ball.” I think it’s more than likely that the “space fox” is Fox McCloud, from the Star Fox series. This also connects the Metroid series and the Animal Crossing series.

    The Pikmin series is connected too. In Animal Crossing: City Folk, Captain Olimar will send the player a Red Pikmin hat.

    1. Also, and I’m not sure if this really qualifies, in Bayonetta 2, when Bayonetta wears the Princess Peach or Princess Daisy costumes, Madam Butterfly is replaced with Bowser, linking him to the Bayonetta series.

      No that I think about it, Bowser appears in SimCity on the NES as well, acting as a Godzilla-like monster. I believe Dr. Wright even asks where Mario is.

      1. Also, Octoman is both a playable driver in F-Zero GX and a secret enemy in Star Fox Command, connecting the Star Fox series with the F-Zero series, and transitively the Mario universe.

        1. I’m sorry to be filling up the comments section… Peppy Hare is one of the characters in Steel Divers: Sub Wars’s free download, recommending you buy the full game.

  2. Well if you want to go further into left field, the Mario gang appear as playable characters in the Gamecube port of NBA Street V3, linking the Mario Universe with real-life basketball stars.

      1. Fair enough. Would you count the Mario-centric sports titles as canon? Mario Sports Mix in particular has a boatload of Square-Enix characters as unlockables.

  3. I liked this article. Very creative. However, I’m not sure if this site is the best place to present it the way it was here. It’s not bad, I love it but.. Well.. There are a lot of annoying Mario fans that try to take Mario too serious when Mario is not meant to be taken that way. I don’t think Nintendo really cares about if it is or not linked to games like NiGTHS and Saberman, I mean, they might not even know about those connections. And I know how that this post was also not meant to be taken seriously, but like I said before, there are people who take it seriously and well… You can notice it if you’re watching a random video of a videogame and there’s a lot of comments talking about the “game theories” theories as if they were official. So I guess that a better name for that post would be “the supposed extended mario universe” or “technically extended(…)” (hope you get what I mean, because I can’t speak english too much), something that would say that this wasn’t necessarily official.

    Anyway, I like how Luigi’s sprite is a pose from Brawl but he’s angry and has his poltergust. xD
    I also am not sure if Earthworm Jim’s appearance should be considered since it’s creators didn’t authorized such appearance.
    Starfy appears in a game with Wario and Samus’s ship appears in Tropical Freeze. There’s a reference to Olimar’s ship in Super Mario Galaxy, I don’t know if that counts. Malon has a Bowser necklace. Bubbles (Clu Clu Land) appears in DK:King of Swing, and Jill from Drill Dozer has a Mario, Pulseman and Leaf costumes, finally connecting Mario with Pokémon I guess…? Well, they’re just costumes. Bomberma has a lot of other crossovers but I guess that’s not very relevant to Mario.

    1. Er… By “annoying fans who take it serious” I don’t mean you by making this article, I meant those who take game theory as canon and spread it in youtube comments and might just as well take this article as canon. Sorry if it may have had a double-meaning.

  4. I do have some infos regarding to some similar cases to this article, but some can be referenced mainly as Japanese exclusives…

    – Captain Rainbow do have many cameos of minor Nintendo characters, Shin-Onigashima’s Hikari, Giftpia’s Mappo and Tao, Punch-Out’s Little Mac, Mystery of Murasame Castle’s Takamaru, Link’s Awakening’s Tracy, Famicom War’s Famicom Soldiers, Devil World’s Devil, Panel De Pon’s Lip, the character from the Golf, and Chibi-Robo’s Drake Redcrest. Birdo also made it’s cameo as part of the main characters, while Mario and Link also made a cameo as being shown as a photograph located in Tracy’s house. Cheep Cheep and Blooper also made it’s cameo appearance by fishing.
    – And speaking of Takamaru, he also made a crossover appearance in Samurai Warriors 3/Sengoku Musou 3, but mainly time warped from his Edo period to the Sengoku period to join with the warlords to stop Murasame.
    – ROB also made it’s cameo appearance in Capcom’s Viewtiful Joe for Gamecube, co-starring Devil May Cry’s Dante and Trish. It’s secretly shown in the background of the item box.
    – I don’t know if this’ll count, but the Tamagotchi game released for both Nintendo 64 and Sega Saturn had special Tamagotchi modeled as Mario, Wario, and Sonic. Nintendo 64 version had a Mario and Wario-like Tamagotchi called “Mariotchi” and “Wariotchi”, while it looks like an Oyajitchi cosplaying as them. Sega Saturn version had a Sonic-like Tamagotchi called “Sonikkutchi”.
    – Cheep Cheep and Blooper also made it’s cameo appearance by fishing in Streetpass Mii Plaza’s Ultimate Angler.
    – Ocarina of Time’s Link also appeared as a GC exclusive fighter for Soul Calibur II, stating he was summoned to the world of Soul Calibur to save the world.
    – I don’t actually remember where I got this info, but I’ve heard that Metroid, Kirby, Star Fox, and F-ZERO takes place in a same universe.
    – Sonic and NiGHTS may have many crossovers to each other, like Sonic being a special playable character for Christmas NiGHTS, and NiGHTS having cameo appearances as Sonic Adventure’s pinball poker in Casinopolis and Sonic Adventure 2’s hotel in Radical Highway. But Sonic Riders have more other Sega characters having their crossovers with both Sonic and NiGHTS before Sonic & Sega All-Star Racing. The first game had Ulala and AiAi, and Zero Gravity had Amigo and Billy Hatcher as secret characters.

    I think that’s about it. I don’t know if these will count though…but if I can find anything more, I’ll comment again.

    1. Oh yeah, I just remembered one more thing…

      – The Mysterious Ruins in Wii Sports Resort somehow has a Mario reference hidden to it. According to the i point messages from the airplane game, a block full of coins and turtle shells were discovered in the ruins, possibly relates to those ? Blocks and Koopa Troopa’s shells. Not to mention Wuhu Island also became part of Mario Kart 7’s race course.

  5. The list goes on and I feels that a pert 2 for this article might be needed. One thing to add is the Dragon Quest series and having Link’s grave in one of the games. Fortune Street could be mentioned as well.. Also the character Midbus from M&L Bowser’s Inside Story has a birthmark/ tatoo that references the Pigmasks from Mother 3. There’s never an end to this is there.

  6. Nobody’s yet mentioned Clu Clu Land, and how just like Manhandla is an overgrown Piranha Plant, Digdogger is a giant Unira. The rupees are the same as Bubbles’ gold ingots, too.

  7. Text wall incoming.

    The Rhythm Heaven and WarioWare franchises tend to cameo each other quite a bit. In the intro to Game & Wario the Chorus Kids from Rhythm Heaven DS can be seen in one of the TV channels Wario flips to. In the opening to the Pirates minigame in Game & Wario two of the citizens in the background of Diamond City are the Wrestler and Reporter from Rhythm Heaven Fever. As well, in Rhythm Heaven: The Best Plus, one of the challenge levels stars WarioWare characters in the minigames as opposed to the normal characters.

    This one might be non-canon but Game & Watch Gallery could be seen as connecting the Mario and Game & Watch worlds. Mario and Mr. Game & Watch even appear with each other when you view the present in the Gallery Corner in Game & Watch Gallery 4. Rhythm Heaven and Game & Watch could as be seen as connected as a Game & Watch style character appears in the Rhythm Heaven Fever level Working Dough as well as all levels that borrow from this one in Rhythm Heaven Fever and Rhythm Heaven: The Best Plus (such as Remix 3 and 8 in Rhythm Heaven Fever).

    Aside from the obvious references to Mario in Link’s Awakening, there are several other cameos in that game. Two of the enemies, Sea Urchins and Anti-Kirby, are references to Gordo and Kirby from the Kirby franchise (and in Japan the Anti-Kirbies are simply referred to as Kirbies). The Sea Urchins also make an appearance in both Super Mario Land 2 and Super Mario Maker, with their Super Mario Land 2 appearance looking the most like Gordos. Mr. Write is a reference to Dr. Wright from SimCity, and the theme in his house is Dr. Wright’s theme from SimCity. Dr. Left from Oracle of Seasons and Minish Cap is also a reference to Dr. Wright. Richard from Kaeru no Tameni Kane ha Naru makes a direct appearance in Link’s Awakening.

    Mute City, Big Blue and Excitebike Arena are all tracks in Mario Kart 8 alongside the Zelda and Animal Crossing tracks. As well, one of the games for the Satellaview was Excitebike: Bun Bun Mario Battle Stadium, a remake of Excitebike with Mario characters.

    Wario makes a direct appearance in Densetsu no Stafy 3 in World 8.

    Thanks to the recent crossover title Genei Ibun Roku #FE, Fire Emblem may be linked to Shen Megami Tensei.

    This may also be non-canon, but a Moogle, a Cactuar, a Ninja, a Black Mage and a White Mage all make playable appearances in Mario Hoops 3-on-3. These characters all make a reappearance in Mario Sports Mix, alongside the Slime from Dragon Quest. Mario also has a more direct crossover with the Dragon Quest games through Itadaki Street DS and Fortune Street. Lastly, Culex from Super Mario RPG is designed to be a reference to Final Fantasy and is even implied to come from the Final Fantasy universe.

    Kirby has a direct connection to Super Smash Bros. as Master Hand appears as a mini-boss throughout Kirby & the Amazing Mirror and, alongside Crazy Hand, as the boss of the final world, Candy Constellation. He even grants Kirby the Smash ability upon defeat, giving him his abilities from Smash Bros.

    Metroid has had various cameos, crossovers and references throughout the years. Famicom Wars includes Samus Aran as the Red Star commander on Donut Island. Kid Icarus has many references to Metroid, a reference to the fact that the original games run on the same engine and were developed alongside each other. Dead or Alive makes a direct reference to Metroid: Other M in Dead or Alive: Dimensions as the Geothermal Power Plant where Ridley is fought is an available arena. Both Ridley and Samus make cameo appearances as a stage hazard in this arena.

    The Bayonetta series has far too many references to count but there are two notable ones. When using the Peach and Daisy costumes in Bayonetta 2, Bowser replaces Madame Butterfly in several of Bayonetta’s attacks. There is also a level in Bayonetta 2 where you can fly an Arwing.

    There’s a minor cameo on the Peach’s Castle Grounds field in Mario Golf: Toadstool Tour. If you hit the ball into the flower patches, Pikmin will be sent flying out of hiding.

    Likely non-canon but Tekken Tag Tournament 2 on the Wii U has a special mode where several Mario power-ups appear and cause effects in battle. Not only that, but Pac-Man is a cameo character in Street Fighter x Tekken on PS3 and PS Vita, as well as Cole MacGrath from Infamous, Sony mascots Toro and Kuno and a bad boxart version of Mega Man.

    Soul Caliber has a history of bringing in various guest characters in its games. These include Link from Zelda, Heihachi and Devil Jin from Tekken, KOS-MOS from Xenosaga, Dante from Devil May Cry, Lloyd from Tales of Symphonia, Kratos from God of War, Ezio from Assassin’s Creed, and, funnily enough, Yoda, Darth Vader and the Apprentice from Star Wars.

    Here’s the big one. Its already established that Pac-Man is connected to Dig Dug. Dig Dug, otherwise known as Taizo Hori, is connected to Mr. Driller as the father of the main character, Susumu. Susumu’s mother and Taizo’s ex-wife is Toby Masuyo, star of Baraduke. Taizo and Toby both appear in Namco x Capcom, a crossover title starring many Namco and Capcom characters as they try to get back to their worlds. It’s sequels, Project X Zone and Project X Zone 2 also bring in the characters of Sega and Nintendo. Among these include Chrom and Lucina from Fire Emblem, another franchise already established to be linked to Mario. The resulting links are far to many to count, but there are notable ones such as Shenmue, Xenoblade, Street Fighter, Mega Man, Tekken, Devil May Cry and Ghosts ‘n’ Goblins.

    TL;DR Mario has possible connections to Rhythm Heaven, Game & Watch, Kirby, SimCity, Kaeru no Tameni Kane ha Naru, F-Zero, Excitebike, Starfy, Shen Megami Tensei, Final Fantasy, Dragon Quest, Super Smash Bros., Famicom Wars, Kid Icarus, Dead or Alive, Bayonetta, Star Fox, Pikmin, Tekken, Street Fighter, Infamous, Soul Caliber, Xenosaga, Devil May Cry, Tales of Symphonia, God of War, Assassin’s Creed, Star Wars, Mr. Driller and all of the many, many franchises represented in Namco x Capcom and the Project X Zone games. Not to mention any franchises that have connections with these.

  8. Well, it’s a bit old now, but Banjo-Kazooie and Conker characters appear in Minecraft skin packs on Xbox. If you count those as ‘canon’ like some at DK Vine do, then you can connect the Mario series to everything from Halo to Marvel comics to Star Wars to Doctor Who.

    Banjo also appears in one of the Sonic All Stars racing games, which connects a bunch more Sega franchises.

    Ex Rare employee Ed Bryant claims Roysten appears in his mobile game, Goldilocks and Little Bear:

    Which would connect that to Banjo-Kazooie.

    Apparently Sea of Thieves (Rare’s new game) has Captain Blackeye from Banjo-Tooie in it, making that part of this expanded universe too:

    (though the image seems to have broke).

    1. That’s insane there. Thanks for sharing.

      The issue with this article is on whether or not certain games/events are canon to the Mario universe. I don’t believe we’re given what constitutes as canon, and I feel the author of the article was rather selective in this regard.

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