6. Super Mario Bros. 3 is just a play


It seems so obvious now, but it was pretty easy to miss when you were a kid. The eternal Nintendo classic Super Mario Bros. 3 begins with a set of red curtains being drawn open, and characters bouncing onto a stage. The whole thing is like a theater performance

There are plenty of clues to support this theory. When you first boot up Super Mario All-Stars, you see a bunch of silhouettes chattering before the curtain rises. It's like we're backstage before the show

Remember the strange intro in Super Mario 64, where the camera is revealed to be operated by a floating Lakitu? It makes much more sense if you realize this is a performance by Mario (and in a way, you).

The theory gained some serious cred in a recent video put out by Nintendo themselves, in which Mario creator and video game wizard Shigeru Miyamoto answered some burning questions.  

Note that this is only specific to Super Mario Bros. 3, so Miyamoto has yet to confirm the "actor/play" theory for the hundreds of other Mario games. Maybe someday we'll finally learn whether these video game characters are real.

7. Bowser had a terrifying live-action show in the 1980s


Many grown-ups out there have fond memories of The Super Mario Bros. Super Show, a campy mix of live-action and original animation that's more fun to remember than it is to re-watch. Though the Super Show starred Mario and Luigi and one time Magic Johnson, Bowser was actually to get his own show around the same era. In 1989, King Koopa's Kool Kartoons was broadcast in what seems like a test run for a full series. KKKK, a show which was obviously created without abbreviation in mind, starred a gruesome live-action Bowser who  introduced public domain cartoons and handed out Power Gloves in local contests. 

The show was canceled pretty quickly, and only a few grainy videos remain online. For the nightmares it would have caused for millions if the show was syndicated nationwide, that's probably a good thing.

8. The cloud sprite in Super Mario Bros. is just a recolored bush


You've either heard this a mllion times already or you're about to have your mind blown into a fine pink mist. In the screenshot above, look at the clouds. Now, look at the bushes. They're the exact same with a different color scheme. This is another product of technical limitations, but it's a testament to the brilliant designers at Nintendo that most people didn't notice it until adulthood.

9. The firebar was stolen from The Legend of Zelda on NES


Even trickier than fireballs and the Piranha Plants, the twirling fire bars are the bane of anyone rolling through Bowser's castle. A similar obstacle appeared in Zelda games starting with 1991's A Link to the Past, but fire bars were originally created for 1986's The Legend of Zelda. In development at the same time as Super Mario Bros., at one point the fire bar made the leap from Hyrule to the Mushroom Kingdom -- before either game came out. 

10. Super Mario Sunshine has a secret Zelda cameo

mario sunshine

There are plenty of odds and ends that don't add up in Super Mario Sunshine, but one of the most intriguing mysteries has already been solved by the community. Though obviously a human, Il Piantissimo shows up "disguised" as one of the local Piantas to race Mario in a series of challenges. You never get to see under his mask in the game, but fans hacked apart the code to figure out the speedster's true identity. 

What's under that mask will shock you! Well, unless you played Zelda games on the Nintendo 64. 

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Though a little shorter in stature, the man known as Il Piantissimo is undoubtedly the same person known as the "Running Man" in Ocarina of time, and the mailman in Majora's Mask.

Fans can find just about anything if they have a set goal in mind. Maybe if they look hard enough into Super Mario Sunshine, they can find a good game.