Super Mario Encyclopedia: The Official Guide to the First 30 Years review


Since 1981, the Mario video game series has been charming gamers young and old. With a pedigree and consistency that is rarely matched, the series has turned out some of the greatest and most memorable video games of all time. Now, Dark Horse and Nintendo are giving you an opportunity to look back at the first 30 years of platforming perfection in the Super Mario Encyclopedia.


Whether it’s 2D or 3D, Mario is pretty much the bar when it comes to platforming video games. The 1985 Super Mario Bros NES game defined the platform genre and 1996’s Super Mario 64 revolutionised 3D gaming. Whether you’re a fan or someone working in the game industry, the odds are you have been influenced by the Mario series in some way or at the very least have some fond memories. It’s hard to believe just how many great games this Italian plumber has been in. Luckily, this book covers them all.


Taking inspiration from the recent Zelda books (The Legend of Zelda Encyclopedia in particular), the encyclopedia features a breakdown of all the games in the main Super Mario series starting with Super Mario Bros all the way up to Super Mario 3D World which includes plot overviews, production history, pictures and descriptions of every character; enemy and power-up, a rundown of every level and – in a particularly great touch – references to hidden secrets in the games whether hidden by the developers or famous glitches (the minus world, the infinite 1-UP trick, jumping over the flag and much more). Even Mario’s handheld adventures are covered including the Super Mario Land Gameboy games and the New Super Mario Bros series that helped revive 2D platforming.


Beyond the main games, there also several articles that cover other aspects of Mario’s history. The comprehensive list of every game Mario has appeared in is a great touch for completists and there also detailed looks at the history of Mario spinoffs, sports games, remakes and promotional material. But probably the highlight is the introduction from Nintendo legend Takashi Tezuka who has a long history with the Mario franchise. You can quickly tell the level of enthusiasm and imagination that was needed to bring these games.


And for those who are collectors, there is a limited edition that comes in a slipcase resembling the classic ? box and 3 alternate covers featuring classic power-ups. Which one are you going to get? You’ll have to punch the box to find out (please don’t punch the books).


This is a perfect time capsule of all that makes the Mario series great and an excellent showcase of the evolution the games have gone through. This is a must have for any Mario fan and anyone who appreciates video game history.

Super Mario Encyclopedia: The Official Guide to the First 30 Years is published 25 October by Dark Horse

Regular Edition: 9781506708973 – H/B – £33.50

Limited Edition: 9781506708072 – H/B – £66.99

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