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.
– 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.