Mario characters – our favourite deep cuts

There are so many Mario characters, more than six hundred in fact, so we’ve whittled them down to the best and most interesting of Nintendo’s creations.

Mario characters are ten a penny in these parts. By ten a penny, I mean there are a lot of them. And by these parts, I mean a Nintendo Switch and mobile gaming website. We spend our time subsumed in a pile of Mario-adjacent folks, and we sure do love it. So, while buried under a pile of more than six hundred Mario characters, we’ve sifted through the bunch and chosen our favorites. They range from the endearing to the niche, and hopefully, you learn something in the process!


Okay, let’s start with an apology. There’s a list of Mario characters and the first name is Luigi – it seems like a joke, right? But, hear me out. Luigi is an underappreciated gem in the Mario series, with his anxious personality combined with excellent spin-off games.

Considering he started as a plain old palette swap of Mario just so we could have a second player option, for Luigi to blossom into a unique part of the Mushroom Kingdom is wonderful to see. He deserves more love.

Funky Kong

Check out that video above. Listen to that excellent, jittery music. Look at Funky Kong. Look at his sunglass-covered eyes. Hear what he has to say. Do you love him? Do you want to love him? Do you want to want to love him? Or, have you always loved him?

Well, if a monkey with a surfboard saying the word “bodacious” doesn’t make your heart burn with love, then I have no interest in being friends with you. This fella’s chill vibes pushed beyond just the classic DKC games, into a wonderful easy mode in Tropical Freeze. He’s a beautiful Mario character, simply for the chill vibes.


Another Mario character chosen based on voice-line vibes alone, Toadsworth is the 60-year-old steward of Princess Peach and overseer of all the other Toads. With appearances in over a dozen Mario games, he’s an underappreciated gem.

Why? Well, he says stuff like “pip pip” and “great hoogly-boogly”, just like my grandpappy and his grandpappy before him. He’s an ancient British gentleman – a long-lost beauty with a mushroom for a head.


Okay, so Birdo is amazing whether you like it or not. One: her name is Birdo but she’s a dinosaur, which is excellent nonsense. Two: check out this unbelievable cursed depiction of her in The Super Mario Bros. Super Show! and tell me you’re not obsessed.

But, most importantly, she is one of the first transgender videogame characters. You can read all about it in our article on Birdo’s gender, but either way, she’s a gosh darn icon. A true top-tier Mario character

Baby Bowser

Part two of our clear-up is examining who Baby Bowser is. While he looks identical to Bowser Jr., Baby Bowser is in fact just a child version of Bowser Jr.’s daddy. What I mean is, that Baby Bowser is the OG, just much younger.

First appearing in Super Mario World 2, Baby Bowser gives us an excellent bit of lore that he was raised by Kamek. So, while Kamek may seem like an underling, Bowser owes a lot to him. The funniest thing is that Kamek still doesn’t really seem to like his boss – maybe he raised him just because he is, deep down, a good, broom-riding Mario character?

Mario character Koopa Kid, a dinousaur type tortoise with a finger in the air, all yellow and green, looking like a cartoon character.

Koopa Kid

For the third and final part of our clear-up, we’ve got another lookalike – Koopa Kid. While a doppelganger for Baby Bowser and Bowser Jr., Koopa Kids are not a single entity. They are many, and they’re here to ruin your day in Mario Party.

To make things even more confusing, Koopa Kids were originally known as Baby Bowsers in the first three Mario Party games. If you think trying to pick apart the Zelda timeline is hard, Nintendo’s upping the ante with this Mario character nonsense.


Il Piantissimo is an interesting Mario character from an etymological perspective. Sure, they feature in Mario Sunshine which is chill, but that’s not what interests me. What interests me is the word ‘piantissimo’. What is it meant to be a riff on? It’s obviously Italian, but what word?

Is it ‘pianissimo’, the music notation denoting that something should be played extra softly? Is it ‘piantassimo’, the first-person plural imperfect subjunctive of the Latin ‘piantare’, which can occasionally mean ‘to maroon’ (‘cause, you know, they’re on an island)? Or is it ‘piatissimo’, the first-person plural imperfect subjunctive of ‘piatire’, meaning ‘to complain’, ‘beg’, or ‘nag’? Well, it’s probably none of them. It’s probably just meant to mean ‘very Pianta’. But still… maybe there’s a deeper mystery.


Brian sits here as a microcosm of a larger point. He’s a character from the Mario Tennis game on GameBoy Color. This game has a load of people you need to defeat to rise up the ranks, and my favorite thing about it is that all their names are just so plain.

There’s Allie, Brian, Alex, Harry, Nina, and Kate, just to name a few. For a series that has so many absurd names (look above if you don’t believe me), it’s wonderfully odd to have such a plain crew of Mario characters. I love it.

There you have it, friends, far too many words on many far too strange Mario characters. For more, check out our picks for the best Mario Lego sets for some IRL fun.

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Ben Johnson Ben has years of experience with Nintendo games and mobile phones, with bylines for PCGamesN, Gear Nuke, and many more. When he’s not reviewing the latest tech or hunting out smartphone leaks, he’s playing Civilization, Splatoon, and even a little Roblox. He’s covered the biggest tech events, like MWC in Barcelona and IFA in Berlin, interviewed legends like Yoko Taro and bigwigs like Samsung’s Head of Mobile R&D Won-joon Choi, and reviewed the biggest Nintendo games like The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom and Xenoblade Chronicles 3. Oh, and he knows Nintendo Switch 2 will run at 4K60, just don’t ask him how…

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