The Hidden Casino Games of the Mushroom Kingdom

The Hidden Casino Games of the Mushroom Kingdom

Waiting to be discovered

If you are a gamer who enjoys the Super Mario franchise (and let's be honest, there can't be many gamers who don't!) then you are undoubtedly aware of the many casino-style games that Nintendo seemingly love to include in Mario's adventures!

The first known example can be found in 1988's Super Mario Bros. 2 (for clarity, that's the American version formerly known as Doki Doki Panic! In Japan and later released in that same region as Super Mario USA) when a slot machine style game allows you to win extra lives at the end of each stage.

How many of these examples did you already know about? We hope you'll learn something new today!

Slot Machines

Following on from our first example, slot machines have been found in several later Super Mario games in addition to his early 8 and 16-bit adventures. It's perhaps not surprising that slots are so common in Mario games, as Pachinko - a form of slot machine - is something of a national obsession in Japan, where almost all of the Super Mario titles have been developed. Slot machines are also by far the most popular of all online casino games and bring in more than 80% of the revenue at land-based casinos as well.

Our favourite Super Mario slot has to be the imaginatively titled "Slots'' minigame featured in Super Mario Odyssey for the Nintendo Switch. Mario must pay a Tostarenan ten coins to play, after which he uses Cappy to stop the reels in the hope of winning prizes such as Power Moon's, hearts, Life-Up hearts, or additional coins.

Roulette

Another icon of the casino world is the game of Roulette, which comes in second place behind the slot machines in terms of popularity (and revenue) at most casinos. A version of the game appeared in Super Mario World 2: Yoshi's Island for the 16-bit Super Nintendo (known as the Super Famicom in its home country of Japan), a title that is often regarded as one of Mario's best ever outings of all time and, as a late release for the platform, is fondly remembered by anybody who was born during the majority of the 1980s.

In some cases minigames are removed when remakes of some of these games are made for later systems, but the roulette minigame definitely does not fall into this category, as it can be played in the later Game Boy Advance and Nintendo DS ports of the title as well.

In this version of roulette you select a wager using your remaining lives, up to a maximum of 99, after which two wheels will begin to rotate. The first wheel chooses an operator symbol, whilst the second features a multiplier factor between zero and three. The best possible result is the multiplication operator and a factor of 3, which will award you upto an enormous 298 extra lives! The multiplication symbol can also result in the dreaded x0 outcome too, however, so hold your breath as the second wheel is in motion if you do manage to get the elusive "X" on the first wheel.

Casino War

Nintendo perhaps wanted to avoid the words both "casino" and "war" when naming this minigame, so went for something entirely different instead - "Luigi's Thrilling Cards!". It doesn't matter how you turn it, however - this card game is undoubtedly War! In its simple, basic, and truest form.

It can be found in New Super Mario Bros, both the original version for the Nintendo DS and its later port to the monstrously popular Nintendo Wii several years later. No computer opponent has been implemented, and as War is a two-player game this means that you can only find Luigi's Thrilling Cards when playing in the game's Versus mode.

As a result, you might never have seen this one if you only ever played the DS version of New Super Mario Bros and never bothered with the versus mode, which, let's face it, was always a pain with older handheld systems as you required two systems as well as two cartridges, a link cable which was usually sold separately... oh, and a friend to play against, too! Undoubtedly the simplest of all casino games, in War! Each player receives two cards face down, and the two of them bet against each other until one player decides to call rather than raise. The cards will then be turned over and the player with the best hand wins. Several variations exist in the casino world, with the most common being a kind-of community card-less version of the modern game of Texas Hold'em. The Nintendo variant is much simpler, with each player simply having their cards totalled together using the same values as in Blackjack.

Blackjack

Speaking of Blackjack, what better game to finish on? Also in New Super Mario Brothers on the DS (and its later ports) is another card game named Luigi-Jack! This one can be played by up to four players, though I would assume this functionality is only available on the Wii version of the game or the later versions of the DS which had better online connectivity.

Each player starts with 30 coins and can win more by beating the other players by reaching a total closer to 21 than the other players in the game. Successfully do this, and the spoils are yours!

There are other examples of casino games in Super Mario titles too, such as the full-on Poker game in Super Mario 64 DS - should we make a part two of this list? Let us know in the comments section, and who knows, we might just consider it!

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