The Mario franchise is a series of video games developed and published by Nintendo that features an extensive cast of characters. Below you can find our list of 10 of the best Mario characters.
Mario is depicted as a portly plumber who lives in the fictional land of the Mushroom Kingdom with Luigi, his younger, taller brother. In the television series and film, Mario and Luigi are originally from Brooklyn, New York.
Little is known of Mario’s childhood, though the infant version of Mario, Baby Mario, first appeared in 1995 in Super Mario World 2: Yoshi’s Island, and has often appeared in Nintendo sports games since then. Baby Mario has a major role along with Baby Luigi in Mario & Luigi: Partners in Time and appears in Yoshi’s Island DS. He, along with the adult Mario, is voiced by Charles Martinet.
He wears a longsleeved red shirt, a pair of blue overalls with yellow buttons, brown shoes, white gloves and a red cap with a red “M” printed on a white circle. In Donkey Kong, he wore a pair of red overalls, and a blue shirt. In Super Mario Bros., he wore a brown shirt with red overalls.
He has blue eyes, and, like Luigi, has brown hair, and a dark brown or black mustache. This consistent difference in color is attributed to being a relic from designing the characters for their original platforms, wherein certain features were actively distinguished while others had to be curtailed due to technical limitations. In a 2005 interview, Miyamoto stated that Mario’s physical age was about 24-25 years old.
Luigi is portrayed as the taller, younger brother of Mario, and he is usually seen dressed in a green shirt with dark blue overalls. Although Luigi is a plumber, like his brother, other facets of his personality vary from game to game.
Luigi always seems nervous and timid but is good-natured and not as quick to anger as his more famous brother. A baby version of the character named Baby Luigi debuted in Super Mario World 2: Yoshi’s Island, who is held captive by Kamek. He also appeared in Mario & Luigi: Partners in Time as a playable character along with Baby Mario. He is voiced by Charles Martinet, just like his adult self.
While it has not been made official, Daisy may be Luigi’s romantic interest. They were a romantic couple in the Super Mario Bros. film and in Mario Kart Wii they are seen in statue dancing together. She was his caddy in NES Open Tournament Golf as Peach was to Mario. Also on Daisy’s trophy in Super Smash Bros. Melee, it says that she is possibly Luigi’s answer to Mario’s Peach.
Nintendo did not initially give Luigi a surname. The first notable use of “Luigi Mario” was in the 1993 live-action film adaptation. In September 2015, at the Super Mario Bros. 30th Anniversary festival, Miyamoto stated that Mario’s full name was Mario Mario. Consequently, this indirectly confirms Luigi’s full name as Luigi Mario.
Yoshi has a variety of abilities that stand out relative to other characters in the Mario series. Yoshi’s prehensile tongue can extend a considerable distance to eat enemies, grab distant objects, or act as a grappling hook to access otherwise out-of-reach areas. After eating an enemy or object, Yoshi may either spit it out as an attack, or swallow it to instantly turn it into a distinctive spotted egg; eggs can then be thrown at distant targets to collect or damage them, and depending on the game they either explode on impact or ricochet off surfaces.
Another signature technique is the Flutter Jump, where Yoshi quickly flaps his arms and legs to slow his descent from a jump or even gain height in midair. Yoshi is also a noted user of the Ground Pound, which involves dropping bottom-first after a jump in order to destroy blocks or damage opponents. Yoshi’s large nose unsurprisingly allows for the detection of hidden collectibles as well as flowers by smell and, as demonstrated in the Super Smash Bros. series, may be used as an offensive weapon.
Yoshi can form an egg around himself, which can be used for protection as a shield against attacks or for mobility by rolling or launching himself. Finally, in sporting events, Yoshi’s special shots tend to leave a rainbow trail behind the ball or involve rainbows in some other way.
The Yoshi species appear in a variety of colors. This is generally a cosmetic difference used to differentiate individuals. However, the color of a Yoshi can also provide additional offensive or movement abilities, such as fiery breath, wings, balloon-like inflation, or juice-spitting. In some games this is a characteristic of the Yoshi’s natural colour, while in others it is a temporary status gained by eating certain fruit or flowers. Yoshis of various colors appear often in multiplayer games as alternate choices, which may or may not have statistics unique from the default green color.
In games where the player can ride Yoshi, he acts as an extra hit point; taking damage causes the player to be knocked off Yoshi instead of any other negative effects. This makes Yoshi start to run around haphazardly until he is remounted or falls off-screen. Yoshi is otherwise indestructible; he can freely walk over spikes, does more damage to enemies when jumped on, and can take any number of hits without additional penalty.
Combined with his other unique powers, this makes him very strong in levels designed for Mario’s abilities, while a level designed for Yoshi may be overly difficult for Mario alone. As a result, Yoshi’s presence tends to be limited to certain levels; for example, in Super Mario World he is not allowed in haunted or castle levels (explained in-universe by him being scared of such areas). While riding Yoshi, bongos or other thematically-appropriate percussion instruments are added to the level’s background music.
Yoshis’ language skills are inconsistent. In some games, they speak the same language as all other characters. In others, they are shown with their speech in parentheses to imply speaking a different language that is translated for the player to read. Sometimes they are shown only speaking the repeated word “Yoshi”. Whether other characters can understand Yoshi speech is also inconsistent.
Bowser is portrayed as the “King of the Koopas,” anthropomorphic turtles that inhabit the world of the Mushroom Kingdom. Bowser differs greatly from the rest of the Koopa clan, which consists mainly of bipedal tortoises. He is characterized by a large, spiked turtle shell, horns, a draconic muzzle, razor-sharp fangs, taloned fingers, three clawed toes on each foot, red eyes and a shock of red hair.
He is physically endowed with immense strength, is nearly indestructible, and can breathe fire. He can also jump surprisingly high for his large size, although his speed and agility are most of the time lacking. He is also accomplished in black magic, thanks to which he can teleport himself or summon objects, fly, generate a huge amount of electricity, use telekinesis or metamorphose.
Bowser’s physical size tends to vary from game to game. In most games, he towers over the majority of characters, but there are exceptions. In Super Mario RPG, he stands only slightly taller than Mario. He is shown changing his size at will or through others’ sorcery in games including Yoshi’s Island, Super Mario Galaxy and Super Mario Galaxy 2.
Bowser aspires to take over the Mushroom Kingdom and merge it with his own realm. He is infatuated with Princess Peach, and routinely kidnaps her as part of his plans for domination. Sometimes, he kidnaps Peach simply to lure Mario into a trap, but occasionally he hopes to marry her.
The character’s role in the franchise varies. He is typically the main antagonist in the main series, but in the RPG series, he sometimes works with the heroes to defeat a greater evil. The RPGs also portray Bowser in a more humorous light as a blustering, buffoonish bully with a hidden softer side. He also cares for his minions.
Bowser has a son, Bowser Jr., who helps his father kidnap Princess Peach. Bowser Jr.’s mother is unknown, as Bowser isn’t officially confirmed as having a previous marriage yet. Originally in Super Mario Bros. 3, Bowser was stated to be the father of the Koopalings with subsequent official sources adding that he was their biological father, but since their return in New Super Mario Bros. Wii they have been referred to as Bowser’s minions.
Though Toad has been seen wearing a mushroom hat on his head in the non-canon Mario cartoons, it has been confirmed by Super Mario Odyssey producer Yoshiaki Koizumi that since the creation of the character in 1985 the mushroom cap was intended to be part of his head.
Toad bears a similar appearance to the rest of his species with his large mushroom caps and clothes. He is very small in size, and has no legs visible, with just his typical brown shoes showing. Unlike other Toads, he features five red spots on his mushroom cap and wears a blue and yellow vest; however, his coloration will change if he gets a fire flower, as his cap’s colors will be reversed while his clothes turn red.
A yellow outline was added to his vest in the recent Mario games, starting with Super Mario Sunshine. Sometimes, Toad appears with a red vest, though he is most often seen with his blue vest. In the Mario cartoons, Toad has on occasion removed his non-canon mushroom cap, revealing three strands of hair. Toad is also seen with pants of a white color that resemble the base of a mushroom or toadstool stalk.
At most times, Toad is portrayed as a rather cowardly character. Despite his fears, Toad is usually one of the few people who tries his best to support Mario when he is on his adventures, from providing items to actually adventuring alongside the hero on his quest. Despite the fact that Toad is usually seen as a cheerful character, he can get extremely distressed when a major event occurs, such as the kidnapping of the princess.
He has been mentioned to being a hard working Toad with a strong loyalty to his Princess and friends. In many games, such as Super Mario 64, Toad is helpful to Mario and his crew on their search for Peach, despite the fact Toad is portrayed as quite a shy character.
In Luigi’s Mansion, he is seen crying in certain places because he cares so much about Mario getting kidnapped by ghosts, he was sent to the mansion to look for Mario in commands of Princess Peach. He was extremely loyal because he was scared and feared that he could get captured too. In Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon, five colored Toads are trapped in paintings by King Boo.
Wario is portrayed as a caricature of Mario; he has a large head and chin, huge muscular arms, a wide and short body that is slightly obese, short legs, a large, pointier, zig-zagging moustache, and a bellicose cackle. He also wears a plumber outfit with a yellow and purple color scheme, which is a short-sleeved yellow shirt and purple overalls along with an indigo “W” symbol.
He also wears green shoes and white gloves with an indigo “W” symbol as well. However, in his early appearances Wario wore a yellow long-sleeved shirt and fuchsia overalls. The name “Wario” is a portmanteau of “Mario” with the Japanese adjective “warui” meaning “bad”; hence, a “bad Mario” (further symbolized by the “W” on his hat, an upside down “M”). Official Nintendo lore states that Wario was a childhood rival to Mario and Luigi who became jealous of their success.
Voice actor Charles Martinet, who has voiced Mario since 1995, is also the voice for Wario. During the audition for the part, Martinet was told to speak in a mean and gruff-sounding tone. He described voicing Wario as a looser task than voicing Mario, since Mario’s speaking manner and personality are more free-flowing, rising from the ground and floating into the air, while one of Wario’s cornerstones is jealousy.
Starting with Wario Land: Super Mario Land 3, Wario experiences rejuvenating effects from garlic in a similar manner as Mario is powered up by mushrooms. Wario often uses bombs, as seen in Wario Land: Super Mario Land 3, Wario Blast and Mario Kart: Double Dash!!. The WarioWare series prominently uses bombs as a visual motif to represent the time limit.
In video games in which Wario makes a cameo appearance, he is often portrayed as a villain. However, the development team for Wario Land: Shake It! stated that he was not really a villain, and they did not consider him one during development. They focused on his behavior, which alternates between good and evil.
Etsunobu Ebisu, a producer on Shake It!, considered Wario to be a reckless character, who uses his strength to overwhelm others. Tadanori Tsukawaki, the design director of Shake It!, described Wario as manly, and said he was “so uncool that he ends up being extremely cool”. Because of this, he wanted Wario to act macho rather than silly and requested that the art designers emphasize his masculinity.
Waluigi was created during the development of the game Mario Tennis, to serve as the bitter rival to Luigi and as a doubles partner for Wario (who didn’t actually have one). He was created by Fumihide Aoki and is voiced by Charles Martinet. His name is a portmanteau of Luigi’s name and the Japanese adjective warui meaning “bad”; hence, a “bad Luigi”.
He is said to be a mischievous, cunning man. Martinet stated that the cornerstone of Waluigi’s personality is one of self-pity, a character who feels that everything goes right for everyone but himself. As displayed in Mario Power Tennis and Mario Hoops 3-on-3, Waluigi features the ability to summon a body of water and swim towards each game’s respective ball, which IGN editor Rob Burman described as “baffling”.
He is the same age as Luigi and wears black overalls, a purple long-sleeved shirt, a purple hat with a yellow “Γ” symbol (an inverted L, paralleling Wario’s W as an upside-down M), orange shoes, and white gloves with a yellow “Γ” symbol as well. When asked whether Waluigi was a brother to Wario, Martinet stated that while he did not know, he felt that they were just “two nice, evil guys who found each other”.
8. Princess Peach
Princess Peach’s initial appearance was drawn by Shigeru Miyamoto. Miyamoto later asked Yōichi Kotabe to redraw Peach with his instructions. He had asked Kotabe to draw her eyes to be “a little cat-like”. With Kotabe’s influence, Princess Peach changed considerably throughout her gaming system.
Peach was not a playable character in New Super Mario Bros. Wii because a satisfactory mechanism to use her dress was not found, however, she is the main protagonist in Super Princess Peach and is a playable character in most Mario spin-offs such as Mario Party, Mario Kart, and also sports games.
Princess Peach has long, blonde hair (except in Super Mario Bros. 2 and Super Mario Bros. 3, where she has brown hair), blue eyes, tall frame, an hourglass figure, and a rosy complexion. She generally wears a pink dress with a ruffled hemline, short puffy sleeves, a frilled collar, and a pannier-style overskirt. Her accessories are red high heels, opera-length white evening gloves, a sapphire brooch, sapphire earrings, and a gold crown adorned with sapphires and rubies.
Her hair is sometimes pulled back into a ponytail, first in Super Mario Sunshine and later in the Mario Kart and Mario Sports games beginning with Mario Kart: Double Dash!! and Mario Golf: Toadstool Tour respectively. In sports games, she wears pink athletic clothing, ranging from shorts and a T-shirt to a set of armor to motorcycle leathers. She also wears a light pink sundress in Super Mario Sunshine. It is worn with a sapphire ring and a gold bracelet.
9. King Boo
King Boo is bigger and larger than the average Boo. In the first game he ever appeared, he had menacing red eyes, purple ruby on top of his head, black eyelashes, sharp fangs, and blue tongue. His modern look is similar to his original look, but wears a golden crown that resembles Princess Peach’s, less menacing-looking black eyes, and his tongue is now pinkish-red. His fangs are still the same as original.
His first game was in Luigi’s Mansion as the main antagonist, where he traps Mario in a painting, and plans to do so with Luigi. Luigi has to defeat King Boo with his Poltergust 3000, which will suck up any Boo. In the final fight with King Boo, he is actually piloting a giant Bowser mecha, and when he comes out, that’s your chance to harm him.
He also makes many other appearances such as a boss in Super Mario Sunshine, Super Mario 64 DS and Super Princess Peach, a playable character in Mario Kart: Double Dash‼, Mario Kart Wii and Mario Superstar Baseball., and as a challenging boss in in the fourth level in mission mode of Mario Kart DS.
In Luigi’s Mansion, he is the size of a regular Boo, if not slightly bigger, has a bigger mouth with vampire like fangs, and a ruby crown on his head, but in Super Mario Sunshine he is much larger and wider then he was in Luigi’s Mansion and has tired eyes, and a huge, long tongue coming out of his mouth. His battle is in Hotel Delfino’s Casino. In Mario Kart: Double Dash and other games he looks more like he did in Luigi’s Mansion, only with different colored eyes and a different crown.
He also appears in Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon once again as the main antagonist, where he once again traps Mario in a painting, as well as shattering the Dark Moon in evershade valley. His appearance is more similar to his Luigi’s Mansion appearance, except he still has a full row of teeth like his modern appearance instead of his vampire like fangs in Luigi’s Mansion, he also speaks with his sped up voice in the modern Mario games.
Fawful is a Beanish character and a major antagonist in the Mario series. He was created by Masanori Sato, who worked as the illustrator for Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga, the first game in the Mario & Luigi series. Fawful’s Japanese name, Gerakobits, is derived from geragera, the Japanese onomatopoeia for a scornful laugh, while his English name is a pun combining the words “awful” and “guffaw.”
Because Fawful was not based on any existing characters in the Mario series, the Nintendo Treehouse, which is responsible for localizing games for North American audiences, had more creative freedom in writing for the character. Bill Trinen and Nate Bihldorff, both employees of the Treehouse, wrote the English dialogue for Fawful through the exchange of notes.
Rather than sticking close to the original Japanese script, where Fawful simply adds “Fururururu!” to the end of every line, Trinen and Bihldorff intended to make Fawful as “wacky” and “crazy” as possible in the Western release. Thus, in English versions of the games, all of Fawful’s dialogue consists of broken English and word salads, like “Have you readiness for this?”, and his catchphrase, “I have fury!”. In Mario & Luigi: Bowser’s Inside Story, Fawful is voiced by Nami Funashima.