5 Forgotten Black Mario characters That Disappeared From The Franchise

black mario characters

Over 200 characters have appeared in the Mario franchise since 1983. And that number only increases when a new character is introduced to go along with the aesthetics and gameplay of a new title.

You could say Mario games have a diverse cast when you take into account the dozen of animal characters which has appeared in games as enemies or allies. 

However the line is drawn at human characters who are humongous in appearance and only come in the unseasoned variety.

Mario games lack racial diversity, and the same could be said for many Nintendo games, despite the gradual appearance of Black Nintendo characters throughout the years.

Which is why it might surprise you that several human characters with dark skin have appeared in the games as side characters. The first evident Black character appearing in an obscure Mario Puzzle game.

However, unlike some side characters who became major mainstays, these characters were a one and done affair and have been seemingly forgotten by Nintendo since their introduction.

Wreck Crew 98 - Oyazi 

black mario character

Wrecking Crew 98 is an obscure puzzle game released in 1998 for the SNES in the console's final years. It was also an exclusive title to Japan. 

Starring Mario, the game tasked the player with once again stopping Bowser and his henchmen. Only this time it didn't involve rescuing princess Peach, but instead knocking down fortresses with a hammer.

While the game included the usual suspects like Mario, Peach, Luigi and a couple of notable enemies, it also featured several new characters. This oddball group included a ghost girl, living rice ball, animated clay figure and a drunk guy. 

The drunkard is called Oyazi and he is a secret character in the game. When Mario first encounters him he is seen wallowing in self pity and complaining that the building he built is freezing cold, as he drinks from a bottle. 

Despite this he still challenges Mario to a match to defend it. After defeating him, Oyazi relishes in the building's destruction and claims he will build warm and cosy houses from this point on, and with that the old man's story comes to an end.

It's worth noting that Oyazi has distinct features for a human character in the Mario universe, due to the fact that he has a dark skin tone and apparent 4c hair.  

Mario Golf - Kid 

Kid initially appeared in the Game Boy Color version of Mario Golf as one of four characters that the player could select from the beginning.

Introduced as a young golf prodigy with prominent lips and kinky hair while appearing dark skin in-game, his character appeared to draw inspiration from the early years of real life golfer Tiger Woods. Although official art masks his skin color.

According to his bio on the official Japanese Mario Golf website, he started playing golf at the age of three and was a prodigy by the time he turned ten. Sound familiar? 

In the Nintendo 64 version of Mario Golf, Kid was one of the characters who could be unlocked with the Transfer Pak, and in this version his physical features were most prominent.

Wearing a red baseball cap flipped backwards over his kinky hair, while possessing dark skin and large prominent lips, this kid was undeniably Black. 

However in his next appearance, Mario Golf: Advance Tour, Kid returned with an older and updated appearance that lightened his skin tone.

Super Mario Sunshine - Il Piantissimo

black mario characters

Often regarded as the first Black Mario character due to his dark tanned skin, ll Piantissimo is a human disguised as a pianta in Super Mario Sunshine. Is he really though?

Piantissimo exudes confidence and believes he is better than everyone else. He is viewed by some Pianta Village residents as a creep and isn't related to the Piantas whatsoever.

Essentially Il Piantissimo is a sprinter who Mario must footrace for a Shine Sprite on three different occasions, and he effectively takes the role of Koopa the Quick from Super Mario 64.

Although Piantissimo is seen as the first Black character to appear in a mainline title, his blackness is bought into question due to the fact that he has straight hair and under his mask he resembles the running man from The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time.

Mario X Qix - African Mario

black mario

The obscure gameboy port of qix also known as Mario X Qix features cameos of characters from the Mario series, including Mario himself, as he travels to different countries and dresses up in a typically stereotypical fashion.

Mario travels to various different countries, including the continent of Africa where he wears a tribal garb, carries a spear and is dark as night. This weird depiction of African Mario, in what could only be described as blackface, is a problematic aspect of Nintendo history.

Mario Party - Fun Gus 

black toad mario

In Mario Party for the Nintendo 64 resides a tanned Toad in the option house of Mushroom Village called Fun Gus, whose name is clearly a pun on the word fungus.

Wearing a pair of hoop earrings, ethnic inspired clothing and possessing a darker complexion than the average Toad, Fun Gus could possibly have been created as a black coded character.

Further proof of this is the jazzy remixed underground theme playing in his humble abode, which was composed by Yasunori Mitsuda, the same composer for the Chrono games.

A new era

In Super Mario Odyssey, New Donkers are human beings that are mostly located in the Metro Kingdom's New Donk City area.

Their designs are more lifelike than those of most characters in the Super Mario series. They are named after the citizens of the city (or state), New Yorkers, just as New Donk City is a reference to the actual state New York City.

 The voice snippets from The New Donkers are made up of American English-sounding gibberish. In Super Mario Odyssey, there are New Donkers with light and dark skin tones, officially making this the first time that an evidently Black character has appeared in the mainline Mario games.


Your thoughts?

  1. Super mario bros wonder was the perfect opportunity for Nintendo to introduce a new black character.

  2. Super mario bros wonder was the perfect chance for Nintendo to introduce a new black character.

  3. This is probably an unpopular opinion but Princess Daisy should have dark skin, seeing as how her kingdom is in a giant desert.

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