My 6 Favorite Super Mario Power-Ups

The Super Mario Bros. Movie is here and it’s hopefully fun! I’ll be going to see it tonight after work and I have high hopes. It looks colorful and wonderful and full of energy and character. Will Chris Pratt’s voice be as bad as we’re all fearing? Will this kick off a whole new cinematic universe? The only way we’re going to know for sure is to get out and watch the film. And write Mario-themed listicles, of course.

Mario loves eating big mushrooms

It’s a simple list this week. I already did a list for what characters I want to see show up in a post-credits scene. I’m hoping at least one of those comes true and blows my little mind. So how about a nice, easy list of my favorite power-ups in the entire Mario Bros. franchise? Everybody loves power-ups! And surely everybody has their favorites! This isn’t a comprehensive list of the objectively best power-ups of all time. Nope! This is all about me and my personal tastes in power-ups, and a trip down my own personal Mario memory lane. I’ve been playing these games since the original Super Mario Bros. on the NES, so I’ve seen almost everything!

Join me after the jump for my favorite Super Mario power-ups! And feel free to share your own in the comments below!

6. Fire Flower

“I will burn this Mushroom Kingdom to the ground.”

Let’s start things off simply enough with the fire flower, the second most original power-up in the Mario games. You grab the flower, your outfit turns white and you can launch fireballs at the bad guys. It’s great, it’s simple, it’s classic, and it’s always rewarding, all these games later. You grab a fire flower in any modern Mario game and you still feel special and invincible. That’s staying power. And this also helps me establish what I consider a power-up: Anything Mario gets that alters him and his gameplay is a power-up, especially if it comes out of a Question Mark Block. Those are the ground rules for this list.

5. Bunny ears

Bring them back!

This one dates me and I’m perfectly fine with that. Super Mario Land 2: 6 Golden Coins was my Mario game as a kid. My parents were staunchly against my having video games as a child (jokes on them now!), so I didn’t have my own Nintendo or Super Nintendo. But at some point, they relented and I was allowed to have a Game Boy. Those big, clunky, gray original Game Boys. That thing was my lifeline! And I had 6 Golden Coins and played the hell out of that game! I found every secret level on my own, pre-internet. I beat it a dozen times or more. Wario is my favorite character in the whole franchise. And the bunny ears that make Mario glide/slow fall will always have a special place in my heart. Why have they never come back?

4. Little Mario

Despite this image, the mushroom is actually very tiny

There are so many power-ups in modern Mario games, but one of my favorites has been the tiny mushroom that makes Mario super small. It’s used to add some secrets to levels and have some tiny levels, but I enjoy it because it seems and feels so silly! I’m Tiny Mario! That’s all there is to it, honestly. I just think it’s neat.

3. Giant Mario

“I am become death, destroyer of World-1.”

On the other hand, Big Mario is king of the god damned world! You get one of those big mushrooms and become a giant, then just go stomping through the entire map, destroying everything in your path! It’s a wonderful feeling and a giddiness you can’t find in just any game! It’s so much fun and used so well; the whole experience is one big hoot! I can’t remember which games this has been in. All the modern Mario games blend together for me. But I’ve played it on a handheld, and I’ve played it on the Switch, so it’s good to know this one is out there stomping up a storm.

2. Yoshi

Is it a shell or a saddle?

Yoshi is a power-up. I’m putting my foot down right now and declaring this to be so. I know he’s developed into his own character at this point, and that’s fine. But when he originally appeared, and his use in regular Mario games, is as a power-up. He’s just the coolest power-up. He’s not a new suit for Mario, he’s a kickass dinosaur mount! He eats bad guys, spits them out at other bad guys, and sometimes turns them into flingable eggs. Yoshi is super fun and so unique. But there’s one more nostalgic power-up that tops even Yoshi, in my opinion.

1. Raccoon tail

Just living his best life

I will always love the leaf and raccoon tail power-up. I loved raccoons as a kid, so this Super Mario Bros. 3 power-up came along at the right time. Give Mario a cute little tail and some cute little ears, allowing him to run and fly, and you’ve got the makings of every little gamer’s dreams! And as I mentioned before, I didn’t have my own NES, so I only got to play Mario 3 at friends’ houses, making it even more rare and special. This is as classic as Mario power-ups get, while being cute and unique. And I never got to play Mario 3 enough to ever get the full-on Tanooki Suit, so that doesn’t make the list. Raccoon tail all the way!



About Sean Ian Mills

Hello, this is Sean, the Henchman-4-Hire! By day I am a mild-mannered newspaper reporter in Central New York, and by the rest of the day I'm a pretty big geek when it comes to video games, comic books, movies, cartoons and more.

Posted on April 5, 2023, in Lists of Six!, Video Games and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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