Let’s take a look at some of Mario’s coolest powers from 1981 to 2011.
Effect: Makes Mario temporarily invincible.
First Appearance: Super Mario Bros.
Description: Who knew that flashing multi-colors, and exuding a catchy jingle could make you invincible? Maybe more of a side effect, Mario exhibits these showy aesthetic additions after retrieving the Starman. Also called a Star, Super Star, Rainbow Star, and Invincibility Star, this item turns the hero into a super powered, ultimate badass…with a colorful ensemble.
Power: Mega Mushroom
Effect: Makes Mario temporarily gigantic and super-strong.
First Appearance: Mario Party 4.
Description: Mario is a tiny guy; short stature, portly frame, and a simple disposition. Sometime he feels a little inadequate in the height department. Luckily for him, one bite of a Mega Mushroom grants him the ability to grow to an enormous size, towering over friend and foe. Let’s see Princess Peach call him small again.
Power: Penguin Suit
Effect: Turns Mario into a Penguin with mastery over water and ice.
First Appearance: Super Mario Bros. Wii
Description: Perhaps one of the most multifaceted power-ups in the Mario Universe. The Penguin Suit awards Mario with the capacity to perform a belly slide, shoot ice balls, swim better, and it also prevents slipping and sliding when on ice. Why can’t all mushrooms have these benefits?
Power: Tanooki Suit
Effect: Allows Mario to Fly, turn into an invulnerable statue, and a tail attack.
First Appearance: Super Mario Bros. 3
Description: I can’t decide which aspect I like most about this power, the cute raccoon costume or a name that rhymes with “Dookie”. All I know is that beating Bowser and rescuing the Princess is only half the battle. What good is saving the world if you don’t look good doing while it?
Power: Copy Flower
Effect: Creates clones of the Mario Bros.
First Appearance: Mario & Luigi: Partners in Time
Description: When either Mario or Luigi uses the Copy Flower, the four heroes are multiplied, producing massive amounts of red and green duplicates. There is power in numbers, and Mario has capitalized on this firsthand.
Power: Bee Mushroom
Effect: Turns Mario into a Bee that can fly and stick to honey combs.
First Appearance: Super Mario Galaxy
Description: Being an insect isn’t half bad. They can float about, stick to surfaces, and this bug in particular has a nasty sting. Unfortunately, Mario doesn’t receive the latter of these abilities. He is able to converse with Bee soldiers however.
Power: Metal Cap
Effect: Temporary invulnerability, shiny metal appearance, and ability to sink in water.
First Appearance: Super Mario 64
Description: Mario’s regular red hat is so boring. It’s about time he traded it out for one of the metallic variety. When worn, Mario turns into the Tin Man on steroids, destroying everything in his path.
Power: Hammer Suit
Effect: Allows Mario or Luigi to throw hammers.
First Appearance: Super Mario Bros. 3
Description: Typically the act of throwing a hammer can indicate a moment of rage, stupidity, or a combination of the two. Equipped with an unlimited number of mallets and a shoddy excuse for protective armor, Mario successfully skirts in between these lines turning critics into believers or at least enemies into concussion victims.
Power: Rock Mushroom
Effect: Mario becomes a boulder which can destroy enemies and objects when rolling.
First Appearance: Super Mario Galaxy 2
Description: Two tons of fun is an understatement in this case. Mario turns into a rock version of himself but not a sedentary stone. With the flick of the Wii remote Mario launches at enemies in a giant boulder, crushing unassuming Goombas and Koopas alike.
Power: Rabbit Mario
Effect: Slows Mario’s descent from the air and grants him the ability to hop continuously.
First Appearance: Super Mario Land 2: 6 Golden Coins
Description: Mario seems to have an affinity with animal transformations. Instead of channeling the inner beast of a lion or the ferocity of a shark, Mario chooses a cute, cuddly bunny rabbit. At least he is granted the ability to hop and not an insatiable hunger for carrots.
Effect: Shell Surfing
First Appearance: Mario 64
Description: Mario has been kicking Koopa butt for over nearly three decades now. Typically two consecutive jumps is all it takes to thwart Bowser’s personal soldiers. In Mario 64, the mustached plumber found a much better way to dispose of bad guys which I’d like to call shell surfing. While technically not a power up, riding a Koopa shell is much cooler than kicking one any day.
Mario has had a multitude of power-ups since his origin in heroics nearly 30 years ago. If we’ve learned anything from Mushroom Kingdom’s savior it’s that being regular is boring. Which Mario power is your personal favorite?