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Mini Mario Articles (Under Construction)

rando

Bite-sized in fact!

Mario and else articles that don't contain oddities for the most part, are sometimes more personal, and overall too small to be one webpage

Table of Contents

  1. My Top Video Games
  2. Mario shipping

My Top Video Games (WIP):

No order! Hear me? Mostly Mario games too, except when they aren't!

Note that I will be disinclined to put games that are less than five to tenish years old on this list. It’s nothing against new stuff, I just need marinate in the experience, consider how I feel about it years later, consider its impact, etc as I highlight the main points I like.

Mario 64???

Official* box art.

**This may or may not be a lie

0. Super Mario 64 and DS remake: This is ground zero, my introduction to Mario around 2003 and what made me crazy for a Nintendo 64. Read more about it here and just know that I like everything about it. Just like poetry the DS remake was the first Nintendo DS game I owned. I was amazed out of my mind that they not only recreated that game on a handheld but added more content. It's as golden of an example as a remake can be, at least if you can adapt to using a D-pad.. SMW

Historically accurate to actual dinosaur times..

1. Super Mario Bros 4: Super Mario World: This my favorite platformer no doubt for the graphics, the settings, and the gameplay. Oh and it IS a sequel to SMB3. Exploring is so fun, the world feels so big, and the controls are so responsive. It’s I feel a big leap for our red plumber and the first (to me) ‘modern’ 2D Mario game. I like Super Mario Bros 3, which also plays and controls well and has some interesting level design, but it’s a more primitive adventure, and I mean that in the most respectful way possible. It’s a slog to get through if you really want to explore the game without warping around (a big pet peeve of mine). Super Mario World does not have that issue, and in fact encourages you to find secrets all of the time. Like SMB3, the worlds are diverse yet reigned in somewhat to fit the theme of Dinosaur Land. This extends to the items too, as there are fewer here than the previous game, yet what we have is refined and not a rare gimmick you may only enjoy for a level or two. Plus, as a personal aside, Yoshi and the Cape Feather beat the Tankooki suit any day. Okay, sure the Hammer Suit is really cool in SMB3, but how often did you use it without cheating with a Game Genie? Be honest!

I like the reserve item in stage, but miss the supply you had in previous games. Some NSMB titles would bring that back. Nonetheless items are frequent in level with one level existing to supply you and nothing more, almost egregiously, but appreciated. I like the mechanics of holding items, kicking and catching them, even while climbing, a sorta niche but nimble mechanical actually stripped from later games. I used to think the music was blah, but that is because I grew up on the GBA port. The SNES sound font is full of much more depth, making the tracks and sound effects pop. Speaking of the mixing, this game sounds very open in a unique way. Some of the platformers before this game and even much later with the infamous NSMB games, the music feels louder, takes up more of the soundstage, and etc.

Is it perfect? No. The save points are not as convenient as a newer game would have them, but you can invent a sort of quick save if you know how. (Aka, complete a Ghost House quickly) Some secrets get formulaic, typically involving flying somewhere with a cape or using Yoshi. Navigation can be slow if you don’t have all of the Star Road cleared and accessible. Some of the Koopaling fights are copies of each other (but.. that’s a sin for a lot of Mario games, even newer ones!) The overall difficulty outside a few special levels feels a little on the easier side, particularly compared to SMB3. Mario in the SNES version (fixed in GBA, see my coverage on differences) is reduced to small Mario with a single hit. Not something I like when this auto-deploys your reserve item.

Overall, it couldn’t be more aptly named. Unlike SMB3 where technically you travel a lot more, those levels are separated from each other. (Sorta. GBA port shows the proximity of the numbered kingdoms, but that’s hardly referenced) Here the worlds genuinely flow and while offering some diversity, also link common themes to make you feel like you’re on a dinosaur land adventure.

Mario deluxe scans

A preview of what was to come..

2. Super Mario Bros Deluxe: A GBA color ‘enhanced’ port of SMB. Why am I lauding it? I consider this a precursor to the Mario Advance series remakes and a few other 'modern' design decisions in general. It ports over the NES classic with a few tweaks (such as allowing you to backtrack a little) to account for the screen resolution. Some people have trouble with it, but you can get used to it after a while. This port was how I first beat SMB1 in fact. It added a map system for fluff, but also a helpful save system. Now we get to the goodies with the added extra ‘modes’. One is a general treasure hunt of sorts and it’s no laughing matter. Special coins and yoshi eggs are hidden in the vanilla SMB1 levels and you have to find them. Just try without a guide.. There’s also a You vs Boo race where you do what it sounds like and race the incorporeal baddies through a level while trying to survive. There’s stamps and other goodies that.. well you need attachments to enjoy so never mind. Had to sell those somehow!

Like I said at the outset, it feels ahead of its time. Super Mario All-Stars had already reissued older games with new graphics and a few quality of life tweaks, but that's on a home console. At this time of 1999 we know that obviously handhelds struggled with processing power, and could have a reputation of being the lesser offering automatically. This game went for a straight port, albeit of an older game, and added more content and QOL tweaks. In the next era the GBA and even DS (see entry #1) would take this to new heights. As for SMB: Deluxe, not to be confused with the not so novel New Super Mario Bros U: Deluxe, it’s just a cool underrated game!

Welcome

It IS great to be back..

3. Paper Mario: The Thousand Year Door (org. not remake): God's gift to us. Okay that's hyperbole, but not even the backtracking and stage hazards ticks me off that much, so I must be a true fan. Picking up this game at random, as it was a Player Choice 19.99 game in the later 00s, I had no idea what I was getting into, aside from the Gamestop clerk actually telling me how great it was off the bat. My view of Mario comes from the world this game crafts. Aside from slowish navigation, there's nothing I don't like about this game. See, and I not really an anomaly here, so like Super Mario World I don't have to talk too much. Fun fact: as a kid I was very proud of how I beat the Shadow Queen on my first try, albeit by the skin of my teeth. Replaying as an adult, it's not nearly that bad, but we can't discount a memory like that. It's a 10/10 for me.

Mario Galaxy

Like me unable to count

4. Super Mario Galaxy: This 3D Mario platformer was an unforgettable experience for many, myself included. Funnily it wasn’t a killer app for me on the Wii like some of the other titles you’ll see on this list, though when I’d play it in game store demos I was impressed overall.

Gameplay goes back to basics in ways, so much that it’s more linear as many noted back then. Like Mario 64 you need to get a star by reaching an end point, racing a NPC, or collecting things, all until you have 120… Or is it 121? (Spoilers!.. Eh not really) Sometimes there are extra gimmicks attached with the prankster comets. There might be a time limit, added collectibles, or giving you one hit. Remember that in this game Mario only has three by default anyway, expandable to six maximum. Some of these get intense quickly but are a worthy challenge in my opinion. Mario’s moveset is only enhanced only by his spin move, but I liked that over F.L.U.D.D. (sorry fans), find it natural very quickly.

Galaxy has a hub like the previous titles, though the observatory isn’t as multifaceted as Peach’s Castle or Isle Delfino. It is pretty but the sections of the space station and the levels or galaxies themselves are compartmentalized from each other. The story also starts almost like an excuse plot, as you’ve never heard of a Star Festival before have you, but beneath that we have new characters with honest to goodness backstory… which some later games would ignore or invalidate. Oh well!

There are plenty of bangers as far as level and boss fights go, but most of the worlds aren’t as iconic as in 64 or Sunshine. They cover lots of environmental tropes of water, desert, lava, grassy etc, yes even in space, but some are very brief ordeals or just a floating obstacle course to get one star in and you're done. Still, one can compare this to subareas in the previous games I suppose. Galaxies don’t have as many star missions as you might be used to if we aren’t counting the prankster comets, and like Sunshine missions are locked to one star unless a secret one is there. Luigi made it in and you rescue him, but he can only play as him in the end. Replaying the game again (yes I know) wasn’t as horrible as you might think, but it’s a drag if you’ve not taken breaks. He does behave differently than Mario, intended to be harder maybe, but for us die-hard Luigi stans it’s nothing we’re not used to.

Bonus: Super Mario Galaxy 2: See? I CAN count. It’s an expansion pack really, with a few extra ideas but for the most part just additional Galaxy levels to enjoy, tied together by a few quality of life but immersion diminishing features like a NSMBish level select. At least you can use Luigi early on, though in the process you lose details where his version of a mission was harder. Green stars are littered everywhere as an extra challenge if you like scavenger hunts. I don’t hate this game by any means, (though check out this article for more in depth thoughts) but it’s derivative and not a new adventure in my eyes.

Mario Kart competitive

That's me!

5. Mario Karts in General (Except less than half of them): Like Smash Bros as we'll get into later, I didn't intend on getting Mario Kart: Double Dash!! sometime around 2005ish. I wanted Mario Superstar Baseball, but the game was new on shelves at fifty bucks, so I left that EB Games if I recall with a used copy of MK:DD instead. I didn't have a memory card to keep my unlocks until later, but by then there was a new game on the horizon and I'll get into that, but regardless it meant I didn't fully appreciate this game until in retrospect. Still, I had lots of fun co-op moments here and loved the tracks and the karts. This is the only MK title to me where the roster is tight yet generous at the same time. Toadette was created just for this game, koopa came back from Super Mario Kart, we had the starting to become typical spin-off game crew here of Daisy and Waluigi, plus some villains of Bowser Junior, Petey and King Boo (also pretty newish characters). This is the only MK game with the double racer gimmick, and while there's not a ton it does aside from allowing you to punch others and create zany teamups, you have character specific special items. Normally I don't like things that separate characters into tiers like that, but this is the first game where karts are just tied to the weight class, and you can mix and match. Some kart designs are funky I realize, or derivative of a worser version, but they are 'fun' and 'karty' unlike some of the later designs in later games that I understand are sleeker and stuff, but lose some of the focus.

Mario Kart DS splash

Thought ink came from that other place? Well.. it doesn't?

Mario Kart DS: The game that made me crazy for a Nintendo DS in 2006. The cast is adequate, if odd. Why Dry Bones over Koopa? Also R.O.B. is from left field intentionally, but they spoil his karts before the character which I always thought was funny. The visuals are nice for the system, maybe ugly sometimes on closeups but not distracting in actual gameplay. The stand out is the sheer amount of content. The new courses blew me away and the retro options were fantastic considering they were from other 3D games like Double Dash!! and 64. The controls are very tight, almost too much so, once you are adapted and while things can get crazy as in any other game, the ability to see everyone’s items in real time can put the ball in your court uniquely here. The touch screen in addition showed the map and obstacles, one of the better implementations.

There was for the first time a full single player versus and battle mode with customization on rules. Mission mode was also a hoot in a good way, escalating to ridiculous tasks that are very satisfying to perfect and get a great rating. There were boss battles here as well. Sadly I couldn’t use the wifi in this game, as I didn’t have the option back in the day, but I heard it was decent. I didn’t like karts being tied to characters when Double Dash!! before it didn’t do that, but later you unlock having every kart for every character which.. Is a bit of an over correction but cool. Just a top MK game, for it’s time and even now, though I fully understand why they stopped letting you create your own custom banner. Let's uh.. leave it at that heh heh..

2014 custom meme by yours truely

Mario Kart Wii: Like most of the Wii era this game focuses on being an accessible yet crazy experience. Yes this game is broken balance wise, but it’s fun either way with good courses, good multiplayer, good wifi, a cast that’s exactly as large as it needed to be, karts that look cool and are tied to the weight class like it should be as opposed to the character, and the final MK title where stats were set in stone, meaning you don’t have to min/max to be remotely competitive. Oh wait..

Mario Kart

Replace 'RTX' with 3D. Was it enough from MK7?

That last point is highly personal, but I always felt that the kart building mechanic in Mario Kart 7 onward took away from the concept of iconic karts (though certain karts were revived in the form of parts at least). Note that the ability to fine tune your vehicle's performance didn’t remove the hidden stats you’d need to look up. Those games also further segmented the weight classes in to more categories, but I’m digressing. (Actually just see this article for what I really feel about MK:7)

No MK: Wii wasn’t perfect. The visuals are glossed to high heaven. Twelve racers made things nuts with cpus or humans, especially humans online who might be cheating. Hacking was easy, I did it for fun back in the day, and no not online some fraudsters. Tracks were either awkwardly wide sometimes or a huge traffic jam. Karts and bikes were not well thought out. They really believed that being vulnerable during wheelies was enough of a weakness. Yeah it wasn’t. The missions were removed from MK: DS, but some of the changes of the battle modes were welcome. I just wish they’d allowed it to not be a team thing all of the time, flexibility MK: DS had. Single player verses is still in full force though, so whatever. Motion controls were the one thing everyone loved to rag on in the day but it was a free bonus, a cool gimmick to get your grandma to give it a try, was optional, and was something that you couldn’t get used to if you were dedicated enough. The game gives you an icon to show your supremacy if you do. VR was ostensibly an indicator of ‘skill’ in online races. Short term it was more of a numbers game, but if you were semi decent you’d get it up.

Addendum: A review of MK: Wii was my first submission to Lemmy's Land under ‘super_stanly’. (See: here) What? No Mario Kart 8 section, or the mobile game? I have observations, especially over MK:8, but let me think about it more. What about Super Mario Kart, 64, and Super Circuit? They are okay. SMK is a little hard to play from a modern perspective and doesn't use the conventions you're used to, but it was the start. MK64 has legendary tracks and music in my opinion, but the actual racing part and cpus are some of the most broken things in any game and that's sorta important. Super Circuit was sorta trying to bridge old and modern (for it's time), doing the best it could on the hardware and giving us a crude version of some retro tracks, but again that flat style isn't my thing.

SSB:M???

Official* box art (for real this time).

**Yeah, really.

7. Super Smash Brothers Melee and Brawl: Even though I suck at it! This more or less introduced me to a lot of Nintendo IPs. I actually learned the name of a lot of Pokemon from this. Also yes once a friend of mine thought Marth(a?) was a girl, long before we heard of memes! This game has been so overly analyzed that there’s little a layman like me could add to that, so I’m mostly going to discuss my personal connection for this entry.

Anyway it was a game I randomly picked up, not sure what it was and fell in love with. I later got the Nintendo Power strategy guide as a subscription renewal bonus and I discovered what all I was missing because I was too terrible to unlock it yet. Donkey Kong was an early main for me here, later Mr. Game and Watch after I played enough battles to get him. I really liked the stages and modes here, plus the visuals even if they appear off-model by modern standards. Overall, not to be that guy, but Sakurai’s observation that there was too big of a discrepancy between expert players and regular players was on point. I’m fine with Melee being what it is, but I’m even more fine with later Smash Brothers iterations attempting to give us regular people a little more of a fighting chance.

SSB

Here comes the GOAT!

Brawl: Melee but for plebeians like me. While like a lot of dumb teenagers I was smug about how Melee was so much better initially, I have more fond memories with this game in retrospect. Heck, during a wifi match with some old NintendoLand forum buddies I earned the ‘Mecha Epic Yoshi’ moniker I still use to this day. We also must applaud the huge amount of content here. I used to think The Subspace Emissary was overblown and a bit ostentatious compared to Melee’s simpler and more down to earth Adventure mode, but looking back I like the sense of adventure and progression, even if the plot is mostly ‘things happening’. You had tons of other modes, stickers which in addition to trophies represented various games and could have gameplay purposes, a well done soundtrack, and demos of iconic old games, set to a time limit.

While a couple of folks from Melee disappeared, the cast was great and graphics fantastic for the Wii. Some of the stages had to grow on me, but they did and eventually and being able to make your own courses could occupy you for hours. Final Smashes were iffy to me sometimes, because it wasn’t a last chance mechanic like in some later Smash Brothers, but an item to chase around. You couldn’t risk ignoring it or someone else would get it and wreck you. The item could always be disabled for a cleaner fight and I didn’t hate the idea of it existing though. There were tons of control methods for this like Mario Kart: Wii, but if you knew what was what, you used the good old Gamecube controller. 10/10 Oh wait, tripping was a thing. Fine, 9.5/10. Oh, wait I stopped giving scores a few entries up. Take my word for it!

Addendum: I like SSB: Ultimate alot over SSB4, aka WiiU and 3DS, but it's too soon and my thoughts on the other two are better suited for a different article.

Earthbound

I won't forget anytime soon.

9. EarthBound (..And Mother 3): While this isn’t a Mario game, Mario’s name can be prominent in it if you make it that way. As this is another game analyzed to death by die-hard fans that have been obsessing over the Mother series long before I discovered this game in the Feb 07 issue of Nintendo Power (though I’d technically seen Ness in Melee before then), I’m going to focus mostly on my experiences only and not recap the plot much or dissect every gameplay element.

As someone that didn’t play a lot of RPGs outside of Paper Mario this was a pleasantly surprising experience. It’s not hand holdy and has lots of tough areas, but if you pay attention you’ll know what to do most of the time. I played through 90% of it without using a guide on purpose and it’s always neat to see how others had different approaches to certain situations. Despite an element of ‘destiny’ being involved in the plot, which might seem typical or trite on the outside, the actual lessons and themes here are very progressive for the time, and in a legitimate way, not the red flagish way that term can unfortunately mean these days. The music ranges from weird but catchy to absolute banger, and while the over world sprite work is stylized and a bit simple, all of that processing power gets used with the battle screen. On a blind playthrough there are certainly some sequences that will wipe the floor with you, but I'd hesitate to call the game grindy. The power mix match between your party is partially a consequence of how the narrative puts them together (or takes them away occasionally). This game which inspired countless later ‘quirky’ indie creators gets my approval.

Mother 3

Mrs. Saturn found??? (That I struggled to find the right funny image says enough.)

Mother 3: Somewhat like with PM: TTYD, I'd almost have too much to say. It's a very different game that EB to me that has to grow on you. We lose our urban appeal and mood is dark from the start, only getting darker! This is a very raw game without going over the top, and for once I didn't find the internet's perception to be overblown. It's still a great RPG adventure with some familiar and not so much mechanics, like integrating the battle music into timed hits. No, not action commands per say, nor absolutely required (because some of the later songs they give you are very odd on purpose), but a fantastic bonus to keep fighting from being a straight A button basher. Sprite work and sound is fantastic, though to nitpick the battle backgrounds aren't as trippy as Earthbound nor most of the songs. Likely because it came later, the difficulty jumps didn't slap me in the face. It felt like it gradually expected you to understand how to battle with each member optimally not cheese strats like in EB, at least not easily. Even money is sorta tight until later in the adventure, you have to think more about buying equipment. Without recounting the story of everything, the tightly knit cast here are some of my favorites in the series, likely because you go on a deeper level and see them change over time. You don't get the full diversity in location and setting however like the previous game due to that. Earthbound might be slightly a better 'adventure' in my eyes, because it's going for that for classically, and has a final boss that cannot be forgotten, but Mother 3 is a better 'story' to me and has an 'ending' (quotes intentional) that I can never forget either, for different reasons.

Odyssey

Nice

11. Super Mario Odyssey: A return to form with 3D Mario games, giving us very large worlds and varied worlds containing many star missions, er.. Moons that you must discover on your own. Since you don’t know what the Moon mission is until after the fact, the incentive is to explore and interact with virtually everything until something happens. Even the plot caught my attention considering it involves both Bowser and Mario being overtly romantic to Peach.

The capture mechanic was fun and allowed for the game to throw some diverse mechanics at you without it being overly committal. There are references galore to older titles. It’s fantastic. The end. Okay not the end. More coming soon.

Wario Land

Nice (2)

??: Wario Land 2 and 3: Yes I gave up counting. Yes I also wish I remembered how I got into this series. It was around the time I started getting into retro gaming, but I’m not sure if it was picked up on a whelm or if like Earthbound a Nintendo Power (upon checking, WL3 WAS in the Playback section of issue 216 so..) tipped me off. Anyway, I’m combining the entries because I played them interchangeably, though they are rather different games in reality.

On an initial WL2 playthrough you’ll go chapter by chapter in a ‘story’ that comes down to reclaiming your treasures from Captain Syrup. After reaching one ending you’ll have a level map where the secret routes are spoiled, but whatever, at least you know what you’re looking for. To collect treasure there are two games, a memory game and the other something of a logic puzzle with numbers. Play well and lose little money or play badly and bleed it. Wario takes on his signature transformation when exposed to certain enemies or stimuli and this is the key to navigation or a punishment for not platforming well enough. Bosses get annoying because, similarly, messing up tends to transform you detrimentally or they plain kick you out, but it’s a great game for me overall with lots of content. Note that there were Gameboy and Gameboy Color versions of this cart. If you started the GBC version up, you wouldn’t be able to play it on a normal Gameboy without resetting your save, which I found irritating when I owned several handhelds. The sprite work is sharp either way.

Wario Land 3 has the anti-hero suffer a forced landing in a strange village. It’s all about exploring big levels for keys and chests to collect treasure, gradually having access to new areas as your pillaging triggers new events to give Wario additional abilities. There is a day and night feature that affects the levels sprinkled across four maps. One downside is that the early game is a little slow, as some of Wario’s not so smooth moves from WL2 are stripped from you at the outset, though you gain them and then some by the end of the adventure.

Money does matter, but oddly enough for a golfing minigame that’s half skill half RNG on the course it’ll assign you. Since you cannot die the bosses like in WL2 tend to turn you into a one-hit wonder, kicking you out of the arena at a moment's notice to have to start again. Transformations again vacillate between being the thing you need to get somewhere or a punishment for getting hit once. They are even more varied fights though, since you are fighting the goons of a surprise villain instead of Captain Syrup. The environment does look better than WL2, but I was always bothered by how Wario himself looks the same. Overall there are some annoyances but this is sealed in my hall of fame for being (along with the DS remake of Mario 64) the very first video game that prodded me to go on my slow-as-heck computer and look up a gamefaqs. WL3 would then become the first game 100% as a kid.

And Wario Land 4: Oh my, me and numbers strikes again! Just a year after WL3, this game is a huge step forward and perhaps the pinnacle of his series. Wario has a health bar, but the typical moveset is present from the start and there are transformations from non damaging enemies, albeit a little de-emphasized. The adventure feels a little small though, Wario treasure hunting down four main passages in a temple, each containing a few levels and then a boss. The bosses are legendary though, at least to me and tough on harder difficulties. In typical gameplay, it’s often easy to each the end and trigger the frog switch and then rush to the starting portal again, but finding the chests and the CD can be another issue.

So my issue… yeah it’s just so short. Every level has an identity for sure, but once all the tricks are shown off that’s it. The levels are far less spectacular in WL2 and 3, but they feel like longer adventures regardless with secrets. WL4 has secret areas within levels but you will see the majority of the game without doing anything special, killing replayablity. Fun fact: I bought 'Game Design Companion: A Critial Analysis of Wario Land 4' book by Daniel Johnson and you should too! There's a choose your own adventure book based on this game too. That might be.. a bit disappointing.

Macho run

See ya! Just avoiding the flames!

?? Paper Mario: The Origami King: Aptly named as the ‘king’ of modern Paper Mario (unless we want to count remakes of previous masterpieces, alas I really don't). I go into a lot of my thoughts already here so let us be brief. Unlike Sticker Star and even Color Splash which people tend to like more (but I’ve nitpicked to death in many a mini-article) this is about the best they could have done within their parameters, and then some with the honest attempt at a story with real stakes and no nagging issue where he endlessly wonder why certain characters did or didn’t do what. Not to mention the worlds were plain better, and while they had to incorporate a puzzle element in our battling, at least it feels cerebral this time and flips on its head in boss battles. Is it a perfect game? Of course not, again see that Super Paper Mario defending article where I address the issues. This game is just slightly not old enough to be honest, but I put it on anyway because of the impact it had on me for the time and very long after. The cast isn’t large but you think about them a lot and that’s what matters.


That time I filled out a Mario shipping meme

shipping meme

And soon regretted it.

If you read any of my works on the Works or Personal Collections tab, it will be apparent that I'm not a huge shipper. There are relationships to be found, but never the focus of my works. Yes, this is meant to be silly, enjoy. Credits to the creator listed on the image for template. This was in 2019 posted to my Deviantart and since I've.. reconsidered. If there isn't a line between someone at all, assume I hate it I just didn't want too much clutter..

Favs: Mario x Bowser. Yes I went there! Personally I never go for outright romance (or at least past me didn't) but rather fluff and/or a hinted love triangle thing. While I rate Luigi x Daisy highly here and have paired them in some of my own stories, it's not a ship I fawn over by any means. It comes off obligatory because of Mario x Peach. If I'm writing the characters I can give them more similarities from being awkward or dorky, but canonically those character traits aren't really there.

Loves: This is a lot of stuff. Mario x Peach is obligatory. Peach x Bowser is a common switcheroo, and it's easy to make either out of character, but if one can write it well it's fire. Yoshi x Birdo, obvious but works. Toad x Toadette obvious but works. Wario could be with maybe Mona I guess, but this list isn't about Ware Ware affairs. Diddy x Dixie, sure, even though I don't know their characters well outside of the early Donkey Kong Country games. *New* Luigi x Toad. I did this in Mario and Bowser: Frenemy Forever Redux on a complete whim and while cracky intentionally, I made it work.

Likes: Mario x Pauline. Mario's Real World history is sometimes overly analyzed. Writers of official and unofficial works often hit similar beats with his Brooklynite life, from 80s programs to the 2023 movie. Still that's unfair to pit against Pauline, and the way her and Mario would connect before our plumber becomes a super star is still interesting overall. Waluigi x Daisy actually crack to me since I think they canonically hate each other, but I can see some writer playing off of that tension. Not my style, but I get it, see? Donkey Kong x Candy is simply because, who else?

Ok: Bowser x Rosalina. It can work I guess, but where's the chemistry? 2019 me thought something was there with 'Return Customer' (Personal Collections), but current me doesn't see it. Mario x Rosalina is mild on my list, I don't see the vibe between the two, outside of trying to be subversive.

Dislike: Any combos of the Marios plus the Warios is a no for me, dawg. I'll mention Mario x Luigi in particular because aside from the obvious issues with that I've never seen it done in a way that keeps them remotely in character, or wasn't a ridiculous angst fare. (Is that a challenge? Maybe.) Boom Boom x Pom Pom are one of those obligatory pairs, plus I'm just not a fan.

Hate: Inb4 Koopaling incest parings. I know what I said about not using the 'hate' lines but this is my pet peeve. Later for my own story, 'Ain't Talkin Bout' love, I admit did add fluffy parts, but that's not to be confused with this.

Crack: Mario x Toad I think I only put this here as response to someone, not sure who but it's certainly crack. Ludwig x Luigi only because I forced them to work together in New Frenemy Adventure. Donkey x King Krool? Uh, I've never seen it? Surprise me. Babies x babies well, they're babies! Don't put me on a watch list.

We're done. Please stop laughing.