by Christopher Castro
After 35 years, the little plumber that could is still going as strong as ever. Mario has become one of the most popular video game characters of all time. Throughout the years, many iterations have been created to milk the money-making Mario. These games are strange and have evolved over the years, but one thing remains the same…the patented Mario mustache. To properly judge the numerous ‘staches, I will be using the mustache scale, which is based on two things. One is the importance of the game the mustache is in, and the other is if I think it looks cool. It’s not very scientific, but hell, we’re talking about Mario mustaches for crying out aloud.
10. Mario the movie
This is probably one of the worst uses of anything Mario related ever conceived. If you ever want to see how not to convert a game into a movie, this would be a prime example. The Mario video games aren’t exactly known for their cinematic and heart gripping stories, so making a film about it really had to have a lot of liberties taken. Even still, they should have burned this idea before the abomination was filmed. Being the only real mustache, however, is something. The mustache rating gives it a miserable 2/10.
9. Hotel Mario
Okay, this Mario is kind of gross. To be fair, the entire show is gross looking. It feels like someone drew it while having a slight manic episode. Still, it’s one of the first animated Mario mustaches. That counts for something, I guess. The mustache rating can only give it a 2/10.
8. Smash Bros N64
Mario’s mustache looks a bit worse here than in Mario 64, which came out three years earlier. Keep in mind that both of these games were on the same hardware, being the N64. I’m not sure how they could make it worse, but it’s still the first Smash Bros and gives us the first taste of a battle royale between all of Nintendo’s greats. The mustache fails to impress in the long term, however, so it’s a 6/10.
7. Super Mario Sunshine
Being one of the first great-looking open world Mario games, Super Mario Sunshine has a lot going for it. Mario’s mustache looks great here, but with the Gamecube’s lack of HD graphics, much is still to be desired. The game is a 10/10, but Mario’s mustache is more of a 6/10.
6. Mario 64
Mario 64 is the grand papi for not only all of the third-person Mario games, but also for the whole 3rd person genre. It was one of the first games to have a fully rendered 3D world and a player controlled camera mechanic. At the time it was revolutionary. And so was Mario’s mustache. Looking at it now, however, it isn’t much to behold. With it being the first attempted 3D Mario mustache, however, it is given a slight edge. It’s still a 6/10 on the mustache scale, but its cultural significance places it in the number 6 spot.
5. Donkey Kong
Released before the original Super Mario, Donkey Kong was an arcade classic that first brought Mario to the gaming world. Okay, don’t fact check that. There was some weird little game that had Mario before this one, but I don’t even think he had a mustache so it’s irrelevant. Also, Mario wasn’t even called Mario in this game. He had no name yet and was just called “jumpman” or “plumber.” But still, this is one of the original incarnations of the ‘stache. It surely isn’t the best, but you have to respect your elders. The mustache rating is affected since he isn’t actually called Mario yet, but still receives a 7/10.
4. Super Mario Galaxy
One of the premiere games on the Nintendo Wii, Super Mario Galaxy is quite gorgeous and broke new ground in what could be in an open world Mario game. Its gravity mechanics when involving planets was awesome, but the lack of Mario’s mustache being affected is definitely a missed opportunity. 7/10.
3. Super Mario
It’s the classic sprite. The original Mario. It’s not beautiful by any means. Hell, some could say it’s downright garbage. But its iconic cuteness and the instant satisfaction of hearing the opening Mario music at just the sight of it speaks volumes. I would say it’s one of the most recognizable images ever, just barely trailing Jesus and Coca-Cola. Don’t fact check me on that one though. Mustache rating 8/10.
2. Paper Mario
Paper Mario is a fun little game that most people enjoy. That’s all I can say about the newest installment. I found it to be just fine, but it’s nothing that will keep me up at night wanting more. There’s quite a number of people who love his series, but the hogwash of a combat system in the newest game has driven many away. It’s a very interesting Mario design, however. The 2D sticker in a 3D world is great, and all its glory is in crisp HD. The mustache scale gives it a 9/10.
- Super Mario Odyssey
I feel Super Mario Odyssey has to be the undisputed number 1 pick. There are plenty of HD Mario’s to choose from, but Odyssey is the greatest for sure. Maybe the style looks quite similar to Mario Kart 8 (the newest HD installment on Switch) but the game sets itself apart. Odyssey takes Mario 3D platforming to new heights. It makes a world that feels similar but completely different than anything we’ve seen before. The levels are fresh, fun, and give us Mario in totally strange environments. With all that, it has the DEFINITIVE mustache to boot. You can see the literal hairs; like come on people! The mustache scale gives it a 10/10 and the golden seal of approval.
Overall, when looking at Mario’s mustache, we can see quite an evolution. As times change, and as we grow older and evolve, Mario has changed right alongside us. He’s still the same old recognizable Mario we’ve all grown to love. Nonetheless, after 35 years and multiple generations of Nintendo fans, we can still all connect to the little plumber eating psychedelic mushrooms and hanging out in a sewer.