He's the most recognized video game mascot in the world, but even the biggest Nintendo fans haven't played every single Mario game. Whether they're Japanese exclusives or dated educational games, there's a good chance you have not only never played the Mario games on this list, but never even heard of them either. We all love titles like Mario 64 and Super Mario World, but it's fascinating to learn about the lesser-known Mario games that only a select group have played. Some are so obscure there are barely any pictures of them on the Internet - take Mario Undoukai for example, a Japanese Mario arcade game that played like Dance Dance Revolution.
This list includes Mario educational games, Japanese Mario exclusives, Mario arcade games that were coin (or medal) operated, and much more. These are definitely deep cuts when it comes to the beloved Mario franchise, so hopefully you learn a thing or two about these weird games.
Mario RoulettePhoto: YouTube
A rare Japanese medal (coin-operated) arcade game, Mario Roulette was developed and released by Nintendo in 1991, in partnership with Konami. Based on the Bonus Game from Super Mario World, the player would insert a coin, and then press the button on the machine to stop the 8 blocks from spinning. If the player successfully lined them up and ended up with Princess Peach in the center square, they would win.
- Release: 1991
- Genres (Video game): Gambling
- Platform: Arcade game
- Photo: EmuParadise
Released in 1998 for Super Famicon, Wrecking Crew '98 was a direct sequel to the original Wrecking Crew, which was a launch title for the original NES. Wrecking Crew '98 took a more competitive approach to the concept of the original, pitting two players against each other with the goal of demolishing all their bricks before the other player did so. Although you can play as Mario and Luigi, characters that are unique to the game include Eggplant Man, Gotchawrench, and the nefarious Foreman Spike (who some believe was the inspiration for Wario.)
- Release: 1998
- Developer: Nintendo
- Genres (Video game): Puzzle game, Action game
- Publisher: Nintendo
- Platform: Super Nintendo Entertainment System
Super Mario Bros. & Friends: When I Grow UpPhoto: MyAbandonware
When it comes to bizarre Mario titles, this one might take the cake. Released in 1992 as a MS-DOS game, Super Mario Bros. & Friends: When I Grow Up was essentially an electronic coloring book (think Mario Paint but with way less options.) Each page featured a theme from common careers, including lawyer, pharmacist, traffic director, and more.
- Release: 1991
- Genres (Video game): Educational game
- Platform: IBM PC compatible
- Photo: BlackMoonProject
Widely considered one of the worst Mario titles ever made, Hotel Mario was published by Philips Interactive and Nintendo for the Phillips CD-i in 1994. The image above is from one of the many cut-scenes in the game, which were horrible quality and completely non-interactive. The object of the game was to close doors at one of seven hotels being ran by Bowser, all while avoiding enemies and not exceeding a given time limit. The gameplay from this terrible puzzle game looked like this:
- Release: 1994
- Developer: Fantasy Factory
- Genres (Video game): Puzzle game, Action game, Strategy video game
- Series: Mario Series
- Publisher: Philips Interactive Media
- Platform: Philips CD-i