Top 20 Nintendo cameos
10th Feb 2008 | 15:00
From tiny Pikmin upwards, our favourite Nintendo characters can't stop elbowing their way onto our TV sets on someone else's shift.
In celebration of the upcoming Smash Bros cameogeddon, here's 20 of the more bizarre cameos from Nintendo games past and present...
Five surreal intrusions into The Mushroom Kingdom
1. Last Night a DJ took my life
DJs, eh? A decade's worth of Sara Cox banshee wails/Chris Moyles fart noises has left 90% of Great Britain with a morbid fear of daybreak.
All Night Nippon Mario Bros, a 1986 Super Mario Bros remix for the Famicom Disk System, allowed the Japanese public their chance of revenge by replacing Bowser's minions with DJs from a popular Japanese radio show, All Night Nippon. Faster, fanboys, Kill! Kill!
2. Boom! Chi Ka Wawawawawawa
Like Bomberman? Like Wario? You'll, er (are you sure about this? - Rest of the World) love the Game Boy's Wario Blast, which is, as you'd suspect, a Bomberman game starring Wario as a playable character. When he dies, Wario explodes gut-first. Let's just move on.
3. Give that bot a hand
The NES's Robotic Operating Buddy might have been incapable of holding anything smaller than a medium-sized chimney stack, but that didn't stop him resurfacing in the early 2000s to put a chimneystacksized pen to paper for a number of lucrative cameo deals.
Between the time he spends towering over F-Zero GX's Port Town circuit, ROB demonstrates his uncanny grasp of mass-shifting by shrinky-dinking down to squat plumber-size for the Mario Kart DS tournament.
4. Trash talk
Donkey Kong Country 2's levels were populated with collectable Hero Coins. Collect enough of them, and you'd take a Nintendo legend's place on the podium.
Beside the podium lay a trash can containing Sonic's sneakers and Earthworm Jim's gun, with a sign that read 'no-hopers'. Meow !
5. Samus sleeping - SMBRPG
There are numerous nods to other Nintendo characters in 1996's seminal Super Mario RPG (you even wake up next to Link at one point), but Samus' appearance is the strangest.
Go to the Mushroom Kingdom's guest house after defeating the second Belome, and you'll find her in the guest room bed. "I'm resting for Mother Brain", she sleepily explains.
Did you know that the number of games Mario has made brief cameo appearances in vastly outnumber those in which he is a playable character?
Pictures of him adorn the castle walls in Ocarina Of Time for example, and there's a colossal ice statue of him on one of the 1080: Avalanche slopes.
Five surreal trespassers
6. Romancing the clone
Mushroom Kingdom denizens can be spotted in the crowd during Megaton Punch, an otherwise unremarkable minigame on the SNES's Kirby Fun Pak.
But wait... two Marios? Two Luigis? Clearly, the Mario Bros' baby doppelgängers have blossomed into adults at an accelerated rate of growth, possibly because they're evil aliens, like in the 1995 film Species starring Natasha Henstridge. It's the only rational explanation.
7. E-bombs: now 42% cuddlier
A floor-scut tling, wall-clambering yellow bomb-on-legs can be collected in Ocarina Of Time, either from the House of Skulltula in Kakariko Village, or 'won' like some manner of explosive goldfish in the Bombchu Bowling Game located in the Market.
This is a militant subspecies of Pikachu, or we're not the Ultimate Nintendo Magazine. Which we are!
8. Someone needs to 'mallow out
Everyone's favourite pastel windbag (if only there was another pastel windbag) pops up as an enemy towards the end of Zelda: Link's Awakening, presumably as a pre-emptive strike before the upcoming Smash Bros tournament.
He's not the only familiar face who's looking for a word in Link's pointy ear during his adventures on Koholint Island; those looking hard enough will find a Goomba.
9. Save the cheerleader, save the bedlinen.
Now, what kind of an NGamer top twenty list would this be, if we didn't somehow manage to crowbar in an Osu! Tatakae! Ouendan 2 reference?
Well, two suspiciously familiar plumbers appear in a young bedwetter's dreams. Your task is to cheer them on as they set about repairing his internal plumbing. Did we mention this is a Japanese game?
10. Not all TY rants make it big
We probably could have conjured up an entire list of top 20 cameos from Link's Awakening alone. The pick of the litter has to be Wart's (of Super Mario Bros 2 infamy) bizarre appearance.
The deposed Subcon despot, withered and penniless, without so much as a Mario Party invite to his name, has been reduced to slumming it in a cave on Koholint Island, where he hungrily accepts 300 rupees from passers-by in exchange for a sing-song.
Unfortunately, as he's singing at you through a Game Boy Color speaker, it sounds a bit like a wasp's nest being fed into a paper shredder.
5 cameos that occur when the Ghostbusters 'cross the streams'
11. Final Fantasy origins
Visit Elfheim in the original Final Fantasy, and you'll likely encounter a gravestone that reads 'Here Lies Link', a name that Square probably didn't randomly pull out of a hat.
On the flipside, Super Mario RPG plays host to a generic Final Fantasy beast named 'Culex'. It's not straight mockery, mind - Square co-developed it.
12. Halo 3
An 'Easter Egg' (or hidden bonus) that was encountered in both Halo 2 and the Halo 3 beta. Occasionally when a Spartan falls to his doom, he'll squeak out a familiarly-pitched 'yahooooo' - commonly known in Halo circles as the 'Super Mario Scream'.
We don't know if it's in the final game, as it appears to be randomly generated. If you find out, tell Xbox World 360 and not us, eh?
13. EA Sports big
Yeah, this was a weird one. EA signed a deal to let them use Mario, Peach and Luigi in their games in 2004, which resulted in the frankly ludicrous sights of Mario and his chums dunking hoops in NBA Street V3 and tearing up the mountains in SSX On Tour.
They were about as comfortable a fit in their new environments as Charles Manson and Pol Pot would be in DisneyLand.
14. Soul Calibur II
Each version (PlayStation 2, Xbox and GameCube) of Namco's Soul Calibur II had its own characters exclusive to its format.
There's nothing strange about it in itself; publishers often employ this tactic to wrench extra money out of their loyal fanbase's wallets.
However, the Cube's exclusive fighter was none other than Hyrule's own Link. As a result, Soul Calibur II became the only multiformat release of its generation to sell more copies on Cube than on Xbox/PS2.
15. Metal Gear Solid: Twin Snakes
We've covered this one before, so let's keep it brief; you'll find figurines of Mario and Yoshi in Otacon's lab. Shoot 'em in the mush and you'll bag yourself a 1UP. Makes sense.
They've in ur TV set, breaking ur forth wallz
16. South Park
Readers with freshly-sharpened brains might remember when the Wii console itself cameoed in a South Park episode in mid-2006, starring as the subject of rotund greedyguts Cartman's affections.
More recently though, Mario and Link made an appearance when the boys are whisked away to a place called Imagination Land. And on the evil side of the land? Wario.
17. Power puff girls
Disaster strikes when the Mayor of Towns ville decides to 'have a bash' at playing a Zelda game.
After depleting the lion's share of his energy by walking nose first into a wall, he then proceeds to slice his own fairy in half.
The good people of To wns v ille surely pray that their simple-minded Mayor never tries his hand at Sim City.
18. The Simpsons
Our absolute favourite Simpsons/Nintendo moment occurs in the Season 8 episode 'The Simpsons Files'. At the Noiseland Arcade, we see a chain-smoking gorilla crouched underneath a sign that reads 'Meet Donkey Kong in Person'.
When the surly owner tells DK that he's just not a draw any more, the enraged tiewearer lobs a nearby barrel at the back of his head. "Hey, he's still got it!"
Professor Farnsworth's "What If" machine once famously answered the question 'what would life be like if it were more like a videogame?' The answer: a world at war with the mysterious Planet Nintendu 64 (which ages the episode in question) after Ambassador Kong attacks the Earth President.
Mario, the Italian ambassador of the United Nations Of Earth, gives a moving speech about the perils of wartime; "Mamma mia! The cruel meatball of war has-a rolled onto our laps, and-a ruined our white pants of peace."
20. Tiny Toons Adventures
One episode featured a fake commercial for the videogame Super Pluck-O Brothers, featuring Plucky-O and his twin brother, Linguini.
Sadly, that was probably the funniest joke of the entire sketch. Hmm. That was kind of a disappointing finish to our feature.
Would it make things any better if we pointed out that the Warp Whistle tune from Super Mario Bros 3 is the same melody as that of the same whistle in the original Legend Of Zelda? No? Well, at least we can say we tried.