Welcome to the final part of the Obscure & Forgotten Mario Games Remastered series. In the last eight parts I’ve talked about Mario games that fit in a specific genre, but with this last part, we’ll be looking at games that couldn’t fit into any of the other categories. While some of them may be somewhat traditional in their gameplay, others are not or maybe they star characters that aren’t directly Mario related.
- Mario’s Brewery– 1983: Commodore 64 (Europe only)
This game may hold the “honor” (although this game is certainly not deserving of any kind of honor) of being the first fan-made Mario game. Created in 1983 by Jeremy Thorne, this game is a clone of Donkey Kong released on the Commodore 64 in Europe. The game is overall poorly made.
Mario’s Brewery plays the same as Donkey Kong. Players control Mario, jumping over barrels, except rather than having to save Mario’s sweetheart from DK, they’re trying to reach the drink at the top of the building. Or at least they would be if the game was more completed since when the player manages to get to the top, they not only pass through the drink, but the strange thing throwing barrels at Mario.
Would this game be worth playing? The game is in such a state, that it’s basically unplayable, so no; you can pass on this one. Plus it’s very rare. If you’re looking for a weird Nintendo knock-off game, might I suggest Frank Bruno’s Boxing, another Europe exclusive game for the Commodore 64, ZX Spectrum, and Amstrad that rips off Punch-Out!!.
- Donkey Kong no Ongaku Asobi & Return of Donkey Kong– Cancelled: NES
While I’m not mentioning cancelled games in this series, I thought I’d mention these two games since I’ve never heard anyone talk about these games when talking about cancelled Nintendo/Mario games.
Starting with Donkey Kong Ongaku Asobi or as I’ll be referring to it, Donkey Kong’s Fun with Music, this game was going to be another educational game by Nintendo in the vein of Donkey Kong Jr. Math. The game was only announced once in a Japanese gaming magazine from 1983. Going by the title, the game was going to teach kids about music. Fun with Music had two game modes: Music Quiz and Donkey Band. Music Quiz would’ve had Donkey Kong on bass playing notes that were displayed on the screen from Mario and/or Pauline pounding piano keys with a hammer. This mode supported two players: player one would be Mario while player two would’ve been Pauline. Donkey Band may have been the game’s composition mode where players could create their own 8-bit tunes; the ability to compose music would later appear in Mario Paint on the SNES. This mode has four characters, each playing something: DK was the bassist, DK Jr. played the drums, Mario played the piano, and Pauline was the vocalist. It is unknown why this game was cancelled. Perhaps it had to do with Donkey Kong Jr. Math’s sales or maybe the developers at Nintendo EAD were busy with other projects.
Next is Return of Donkey Kong. Very little is known about this game. It was announced in the Official Nintendo Player’s Guide in 1987 and would’ve been most likely released sometime between 1987-1989. There are three theories as to what this game could’ve been.
- A sequel to the original Donkey Kong.
- An early name for Donkey Kong Classics, a compilation game that contained both Donkey Kong and Donkey Kong Jr. and was released in 1988.
- A Famicom Disk System remake of the original game but with more content added like Kaettekita Mario Bros.
Would either of these games be worth playing? They’re cancelled, so you can’t play them even if you wanted to. Stinks that Donkey Kong Fun with Music got cancelled since I feel that it would’ve been a better edutainment game compared to Donkey Kong Jr. Math. You’re going to have to stick with Miracle Piano for your music learning needs on the NES.
- Donkey Kong Circus– 1984: Game & Watch
DK Circus one of the panorama Game & Watch games. In the game, players control Donkey Kong as they need to dodge flames while balancing on a barrel and juggling pineapples. This was one of the few Game & Watch games to have color; Gunpei Yokoi had the idea to move the background around the characters instead of the other way around. This game could be considered the prequel to Donkey Kong (arcade, 1981) since Mario is shown to be mistreating his pet gorilla by having him perform circus acts while throwing fireballs at him.
Would this game be worth playing? Maybe. The game is pretty expensive though. Perhaps go with one of the other Mario Game & Watch games like Donkey Kong II, Donkey Kong Hockey, or Mario’s Cement Factory. The Game & Watch Gallery Game Boy games are also a great way to play Game & Watch games.
- Mario Bros. II– 1987: Commodore 64 (Europe only)
An unofficial sequel to the Mario Bros. game on Game & Watch that was only released in Europe. Mario and Luigi are working in a bottling factory and have to prepare packages of bottles that will be shipped. Players control both Mario brothers simultaneously in this game. The game was developed by Thundersoft and published by RIFFS as a demo game to show the programming skills of the developers.
Would this game be worth playing? Maybe. The game is better made than Mario’s Brewery if that means anything.
- Alleyway– 1989: Game Boy
Alleyway isn’t technically a Mario game per say; basically it’s Nintendo’s version of Breakout/Arkanoid. What makes this a Mario-ish game is that in every fourth round players go to a bonus level which has many Mario characters like Mario, Koopa Troopas, Goombas, and Bowser. Also Mario is the person controlling the paddle ship.
Would this game be worth playing? Maybe. If you were a fan of Atari’s Breakout or Taito’s Arkanoid, then I’m pretty sure you’ll enjoy this game.
- Qix– 1990: Game Boy
This port of Taito’s 1981 arcade game was developed by Nintendo R&D1 and Minakuchi Engineering. This was just one of roughly eleven ports of Qix made between the years of 1982 and 2003 ranging from platforms like the Atari 5200 to mobile phones. The goal of this game is to fill portions of the screen with colorful, or in this case, grey geometric shapes, usually 75% of the screen to clear the stage. Players will want to avoid sparks while filling the screen along with the titular enemy, Qix, a strange being made of nothing but lines; failing to do so will have the player lose a life. Now what does this game have to do with Mario you may wonder? Well of all the ports of this old arcade game, what makes the Game Boy version special is that when the player gets a game over, a scene with Mario is shown. Depending on your score, different scenes are shown that take place in a variety of locations around the world with Mario wearing very stereotypical outfits that “fit” each location. For example, the Africa scene has Mario with dark skin along with a spear and shield. Their were going to be more scenes like Mario in Egypt dressed as a mummy and native American Mario, but they were cut. Other than those scenes, which I personally find awkward but funny in the “they could never get away with this now a days” way, this is a fine port of Qix and cheaper than the NES version.
Would this game be worth playing? Yes, if you enjoy arcade games and are looking for one with fun/unique gameplay. While the Game Boy version has a two player mode, it’d be easier to play two player on the NES version since you’d need two GBs, two copies of Qix, and a link cable. If you’re easily offended by stereotype imagery from an almost thirty year old game, then you may want to pass on this version or get a high enough score that Mario along with Luigi, Peach, and a bunch of Toads congratulate you in a castle.
An extra bit of information about this game: Minakuchi Engineering would later go on to make many games for Capcom like Bionic Commando and Mega Man: Dr. Wily’s Revenge on the Game Boy, along with Mega Man X3. Mario would also make an appearance in other GB games like Tennis, Golf, and the Game & Watch Gallery games.
- Yoshi’s Safari– 1993: SNES
This was one of just twelve games that used the Super Scope peripheral for the SNES. Mario needs to save the king and prince of Jewelry Land from Bowser and the Koopalings. Unlike his previous adventures, Mario is sporting a bazooka to blow up the Koopa invaders while riding on Yoshi’s back. This game is a first person railshooter, but it also has platforming sections. While the game can only be played with the Super Scope, it does have a two player mode where player two uses a standard controller to control Yoshi, making him move side to side, duck, and jump. In total, the game has twelve levels split between two worlds: the Light Realm and the Dark Realm. Yoshi’s Safari even had a two manga issues by Kazuki Motoyama who created manga adaptions for various Mario games.
Would this game be worth playing? It looks fun but you’ll need a Super Scope, a Super Scope receiver, six AA batteries, and a CRT TV. While those might be difficult to get, Super Scope games are typically inexpensive.
- Satella-Q– 1995-1999: Satellaview (Japan only)
This Satellaview game is a series of quiz game events with Toad as the main host who guides players through quizzes and mini-games. The game was originally called Waiwai de Q during the early years of the Satellaview service and aired in periodic intervals, week-by-week until its conclusion. Like with other Satellaview games, it uses the add-on’s soundlink technology to better get the feel of a quiz show with announcers and various music tracks ranging from classical to J-Pop and even British Rock; some of the music tracks were even key to solving quiz questions. Satella-Q episodes were split into rounds that consisted of both multiple-choice and type-out the answer questions. Questions asked ranged from Japanese cultural trivia to the contents of blurred-out photorealistic pictures. Occasionally mini-games could be played, one of them involving Toad where players guide him through a pool table, collecting balls that the game requests. In the four years Satella-Q was around, 28 episodes were made.
Would this game be worth playing? It doesn’t really exist anymore, so no.
- Donkey Kong GB: Dinky Kong & Dixie Kong– 2000: Game Boy Color (Japan only)
This is a Game Boy Color version of Donkey Kong Land III (Game Boy, 1997). The original game never saw a release in Japan, yet this version ended up being Japan exclusive. Like with Donkey Kong Land III, this game is loosely based off of Donkey Kong Country 3: Dixie Kong’s Double Trouble! (SNES, 1996). Unlike the Game Boy Color version of Wario Land II and other black cart GBC games, this game is not backwards compatible with the original Game Boy or Super Game Boy. Although the game is on more advanced hardware, animations on the map screen like waves in water are static. Also, the bear character, creatively named Bear, only has one frame of animation in this version. While certain animations may be lacking, this game doesn’t suffer from as much slowdown as the Game Boy game. There are some other differences between versions, but as mentioned, they’re minor.
Would this game be worth playing? Yes. Either version of DK Land III is worth playing, but of the two, the Game Boy Color version is the better one.
- Mario Pinball Land– 2004: Game Boy Advance
Mario is the pinball in this game. Explore four locations in The Fun Fair and rescue Princess Peach from Bowser. The game was developed by Fuse Games and was developed in eighteen months by five people for the GBA due to budget restraints. This company would later go on to make Metroid Prime Pinball (DS, 2005). Fuse Studios would later be renamed to Silver Ball Studios and are owned by Barnstorm Games with their most recent game being Pro Pinball: Timeshock! (2014) for Windows and Xbox 360 arcade.
Would this game be worth playing? If you enjoy pinball, then sure. Personally, I suck at pinball, so I have zero interest in playing this. It should be noted though, that while the game looks nice, it was criticized for its length and design.
- Donkey Konga 3: Tabehodai! Haru Mogitate 50 Kyoku– 2005: Gamecube (Japan only)
Donkey Konga 3: All-You-Can-Eat! Springtime Freshly Picked 50 Tunes was the final game in the Donkey Konga series and it was never released outside of Japan. Like with the other Konga games, players use the DK Bongos, hitting the drums to the beat of a song (although the option to use a normal gamecube controller is also available). In total there are 57 songs and four playable characters: Donkey, Diddy, Dixie, and Funky Kong. The songs are separated into nine categories: J-Pop, anime, TV, variety, western, classic, games, children’s music, and Famicom.
Would this game be worth playing? Having only played a little of Donkey Konga 2, these games are fun to play and it stinks that the final entry didn’t get localized since I’m sure I would’ve enjoyed beating the bongos to video game music, especially compared to popular music from the late 90s- mid 2000s like in Konga 2. Due to the Gamecube being region locked, I would recommend playing the first or second Konga game before playing this game so you don’t go through all the trouble of modding your Gamecube to play Donkey Konga 3.
- Bird & Beans– 2009: Nintendo DSi
Of the over 75 games I have found for this list, this is probably the least obvious Mario game of them all. What does this random DSi game have to do with Mario you ask? For people who have played Wario Ware: Megamicrogame$ (GBA, 2003), this game is a remake of the two Pyoro mini-games that were made by five people. For European readers, this game is still called Pyoro. The game stars Pyoro, a little red bird who either has to eat or shoot as many falling vegetables as possible to get the high score. Also players will want Pyoro to attack the vegetables to avoid them touching the ground; any veggies that don’t get eaten will create a hole in the ground. To fill in any holes, the player needs to get Pyoro to eat either a white or glowing vegetable to fill one or all the holes respectively. Other than combining two games into one and a name change, Bird & Beans increases the size of the playing field from the GBA mini-game. If the player reaches the high score of 10,000 points, they’re rewarded with Pyoro 2, which is called Bird & Beans 2. In the second game, Pyoro needs to spit seeds at falling vegetables.
Would this game be worth playing? If you enjoy arcade games like Missile Command, Centipede, or Space Invaders, then yes. The game is only 200 points on the DSi shop or $1.99 on the 3DS eShop.
- Mario Clock & Mario Calculator– 2009: Nintendo DSi
Mario Clock and Mario Calculator are apps that can be downloaded to your DSi or 3DS. While they may be simple apps, they do have easter eggs in them which is what’ll basically be the only thing talked about since surprise, surprise, there isn’t much to say about a clock or calculator.
In the clock app the player can jump around and collect coins. Collecting 100 will swap Mario brothers, so the other can collect 100 coins, rinse and repeat. If the analog clock is set, every 100 coins collected, a sprite of Mario or Luigi will appear over one of the numbers on the clock, starting with the 1. When 1200 coins are collected, the player arrives at world 8-4 with Princess Peach waiting to thank whatever Mario brother arrives and present them with another quest. While coin collecting, players can grab Super Mushrooms and should avoid Poison Mushrooms. Stages change every fifteen minutes, so by the time an hour roles by, the stage is a castle (since there are four fifteen minute segments in an hour and four levels in a world with the last one always being a castle in SMB). Outside of the easter egg, the only other notable features of this app is the option for analog or digital clock display, setting an alarm, and if the clock will be twelve hours or twenty-four hours.
Mario Calculator’s easter egg isn’t as exciting. On the calculator, if the summary’s resulting digits are sequential (123456789 or 987654321); the flagpole sound along with the end level tune will play. Toad will also appear with nine fireworks. Depending on the amount of digits in the summary, the number of fireworks changes. There is a second easter egg where if the summary is equel to the player’s birthday. For example, January 31 (01-31) would be 131, text shows up saying “Your Birthday” with all the same sound effects and music playing as the previous easter egg, except now Princess Peach will show up rather than Toad. Other than the easter eggs, this app has a unit converter where players can convert length, area, weight, speed, volume, temperature, time, and age.
Would either of these games be worth playing? With smartphones being so widespread now, no. The unit converter tool in Mario Calculator is nifty but all of that can be looked up on smartphones nowadays. I’d pass on these unless you don’t have a smartphone or wrist watch.
Not exactly the most interesting games to end it on I know, but regardless, thank you for reading this series of blogs. The grand total of games covered in this series ended up being 94 (although since I paired a few together due to similarness, it looks like about 80). While I could’ve included more weirdo unlicensed Mario games like Donkey Kong 5: The Journey of Over Time and Space, I didn’t want this series to go on forever. Information about each of these games was mostly from SuperMarioWiki along with sites like Giant Bomb, GameFaqs, and The Cutting Room Floor.