While the Mario Strikers series, known as Mario Football in Europe, is based on one of the most popular sports in the world, it doesn’t have quite as many entries as one would expect. Alongside Mario Baseball and Mario Hoops 3-On-3, Mario Strikers has one of the lowest amount of entries for a Mario sports spin-off series, when not counting games that feature several sports like Mario Sports Mix and Mario Sports Superstars.
Despite only having three entries throughout its nearly two-decade long history, there are plenty of fun facts that players may not know about the Mario Strikers series.
8 The Original Game Had A Promotional Poster Pulled
The 90s and early aughts were a strange time for video game advertisements, where the general public still thought of video games as “kid stuff,” yet many advertisements tried to be as raunchy as possible.
Nintendo had some bizarre advertisements during this era, and Super Mario Strikers was no exception. A promotional poster for the game featured a pair of soccer balls in a hanging net, complete with the caption “you’re gonna need a pair” placed under the net. Although the poster was never used, images of it can be found on the internet.
To promote the release of Super Mario Strikers, Nintendo developed a flash game called Super Mario Strikers Heads-Up. This was a simple game where the objective was for players to bounce a soccer ball on Mario’s head for as long as they could to get the most points, getting a game over if they dropped it.
Heads-Up also featured icons of other characters that, when touched with the ball, would award players with more points, each worth a different amount. Players could also speed up or slow down Mario’s bouncing if they picked up a mushroom or a blue shell.
6 There Was A Canceled Volleyball And Wrestling Spin-Off
Super Mario Spikers was a planned spin-off that would have combined elements of both volleyball and wrestling. Before developing the idea for Super Mario Spikers, Next Level games had been working on WWE Titans: Parts Unknown, a wrestling game that was also canceled and where they possibly got the idea to integrate wrestling into Super Mario Spikers.
Nintendo rejected the pitch due to the more violent nature of the game that didn’t seem in line with the rest of the Mario franchise. While the game didn’t make it past the pitch phase, volleyball was featured in Mario Sports Mix for the Nintendo Wii, although it lacked the wrestling integration.
To celebrate the release of Mario Strikers Charged, the popular culture card game Top Trumps made eleven promotional cards featuring characters from the game. All characters featured on the cards also happened to be captains in the game.
Mario Strikers Charged wasn’t the only Nintendo product to receive promotional Top Trumps cards either, as the Nintendo 64 got its own set as well. There were also other sets based on video games such as Super Smash Bros. and Street Fighter. Many of these sets are more difficult to find these days, which may mean that not many copies were printed.
4 Charged Had Slightly Different Loading Screens Depending On Region
The European and Australian versions of Mario Strikers Charged, which launched first, featured the heads of each captain on the loading screen. In contrast, the North American, Japanese, and Korean versions use mugshots of each captain on the loading screen, showing both their head and their shoulders.
While localization changes are common, even in plenty of first-party Nintendo games, it’s unclear why such minor change was seen as necessary. It’s possible that Europe and Australia just preferred not having mugshots of family-friendly Nintendo characters. Still, it’s difficult to determine whether something like that was the actual reason for the change.
3 The Korean Release Of Charged Was Three Years Late
Mario Strikers Charged launched for the Nintendo Wii in Europe, Australia, North America, and Japan in 2007. The South Korean version of the game, called Mario Power Soccer, wouldn’t launch until three years later, in 2010.
The Nintendo Wii itself did not launch in Korea until 2008, two years after it launched in the previously mentioned territories, so it makes sense that Nintendo fans there would have to wait a little longer for previously released games to be localized. The Nintendo Selects version of Charged was also released in South Korea in 2014, three years after its North American and European launch in 2011.
2 The Strikers Series Has Never Been Exclusively On A Handheld Console
Although several entries in the Mario Tennis and Mario Golf series have been on handheld consoles since their first entries on the Nintendo 64, no game in the Mario Strikers series has ever been released on an exclusively handheld console, a fate it shares with the Mario Baseball series.
Although neither series has appeared on an exclusively handheld console, the 2017 Nintendo 3DS title Mario Sports Superstars has soccer and baseball modes but other than being based on the same real-world sports, they differ significantly from Mario Strikers and Mario Baseball. This also means Mario Strikers: Battle League is the first game in the series that can officially be played in a handheld mode.
1 Changing Goalies
In Strikers and Strikers Charged, the goalie was usually Kritter, an enemy from the Donkey Kong series, while a robotic version of the character served as the goalie of the Super team in the first game. In Mario Strikers: Battle League, the only goalie is Boom Boom, an enemy from the Mario franchise that has been around since Super Mario Bros. 3.
Boom Boom has also appeared in Mario sports games before, such as Mario Sports Superstars and Mario Tennis Aces, and is playable in the latter. It’s unclear why Kritter was replaced, but maybe Nintendo thought it would be more fitting to have a Mario enemy serve as the goalie.