Nintendo’s Mario Bros series of games remains one of the all-time classic franchises of the video gaming world. If you’ve played through your fair share, you’ll already know that Nintendo likes to include the occasional gambling game…OK, a lot of gambling games as mini-game features as you progress through the various levels.
This no doubt introduced generations of gamers to the allure of gambling, taking a risk for that bigger payoff. Of course, it’s all in the name of good fun, and there’s nothing tangible to lose. But when you strike it lucky, there’s everything to gain from these mini-features, which can help you on your way to completing Mario’s mission.
In virtually every Mario title, you’ll find one or more gambling games somewhere in the game world. Here are a list of our favourites to look out for, especially if you’re a fan of gambling games.
Picture Poker – Super Mario 64 DS
Have you ever played video poker? That’s pretty much what’s going on in Super Mario 64 DS with Picture Poker. One of the table games organised by Luigi, it’s akin to five card stud poker – except obviously there are no card symbols here, and instead it’s all about icons from the game, like mushrooms, ghosts and Luigi face cards. Your aim is to build the best five card hand you can, and in any event to create a better hand than your opponent. The winning hand takes the coins, which are awarded on a sliding scale depending on the quality of your hand – that’s the bit that resembles video poker most closely. A fun aside from the main game action, Picture Poker definitely ads excitement to this Mario title.
Blackjack – New Super Mario Bros, Nintendo DS
Luigi is at it again in New Super Mario Bros for Nintendo DS. This time, he’s set up a game that;’s pretty much identical to casino blackjack, although obviously it’s called Luigi-Jack…catchy. The idea is that you get as close as possible to 21 without going bust, and if you hit 21 from 3, 4 or 5 card draws, you get an extra bonus thrown into the mix – 2x the winnings, from your opponent’s wallet, which is doubly nice.
Luigi-Jack pays 3x, and going bust will cost you 5 coins. The game is played for up to 7 rounds, or until one of you is fresh out of coins…just make sure it’s not you. This version of blackjack can be found across a number of Mario Bros titles, including Super Mario RPG for SNES.
Slots – Various Mario Titles
Of all the gambling games to make their way into Mario Bros. titles, none is more commonplace than slots, which appear in virtually every installment of the game franchise. The slots in Mario’s world are similar to real slot machines, however, often a little quirky, but pay out decent rewards in the game, and are a good element to look out for as you play through different levels. In earlier iterations, there were single reel slots where you either picked up a prize or nothing, and over time these morphed into more complex slots games with multiple reels, paylines and winning combinations of differing values – much like the real life slots games you can play online.
Roulette – Super Mario 64 DS
Roulette also features prominently, in this case through a game called Mushroom Roulette. The concept will be instantly familiar to anyone who has played the real thing, with a similarly designed wheel and table map, complete with better grid. The idea is that you place your bets on red or black, on a specific Mario-themed symbol, or on a combination of symbols via the corners like in the casino roulette, before the wheel is spun to determine the outcome. You start with a bankroll of 10 coins, and there’s a maximum bet of up to 5 coins per spin. The game finished when one player runs out of coins, and payouts are determined based on your bet type, just as with the real thing.
Whatever your gambling game of choice, chances are you’ll find it represented in the Mario series. There are so many gambling mini-games built into these titles that it would be hard to list or cover them all. As you discover while you play through, these games not only help keep up the pace of the action, but can also be extremely rewarding, in granting you more coins, lives and other bonuses.