Super Mario Odyssey Has Tons of Sneaky References and Easter Eggs

Back in March, The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild reminded us that Nintendo’s attention to detail is second-to-none. Super Mario Odyssey isn’t out yet, but if the E3 trailer and previews are anything to go by, it might even surpass Link and Co. in the easter egg department.

If there’s one thing Super Mario Odyssey puts front and center, well, it’s the wonderfully bizarre ability to possess almost any object or enemy in the game. After that, though, Mario’s new, extensive wardrobe seems to be the series’ biggest new feature. Acquired through clothing shops littered throughout Odyssey’s worlds, the special outfits appear to award new abilities and unlock new paths. And, as it turns out, many of these costumes are direct references to games in Mario’s past — some pretty obscure! Take the safari garb, for instance. 


Seems like your typical explorer gear, but this look has precedence dating back to the mid-90s. 


The Mario’s Picross games released in 1995 and 1996 were sleeper puzzlers that didn’t gain too much traction outside of maybe Japan (the only place Mario’s Picross 2 was released), but they both featured Nintendo’s premier plumber in that same safari gear seen in Odyssey. 


Releasing in 1992, Yoshi’s Cookie was what you’d call a “late-era” NES game. Though a Super Nintendo version was available, the 8-bit version was the one with Mario in a sharp chef’s outfit, which he needed to uh, arrange baked goods in a certain way. 

And then there’s the sombrero. 


Believe it or not, this isn’t even close to the first time this Italian stereotype has messed around with Mexican stereotypes. Mario has worn a sombrero on at least two occasions in the past — neither of them are what you would consider “hard canon.”


On the left is a still from a little-seen Mario anime movie from 1986. Doesn’t really resemble the outfit in Odyssey, but a sombrero is a sombrero, I guess. Mario’s getup in the special endings for Qix on Game Boy is a little bit closer to the real deal — check out the pattern on the hat. 

Fans have already mined Odyssey’s most popular level for tons of cheeky easter eggs. The world is, after all, called New Donk City.


Many have suggested that NDC has strong ties to the Donkey Kong family, and the evidence makes that hard to deny. Signage on the street like “Diddy’s Mart” and “Dixie Street” are crystal-clear references to Diddy Kong and Dixie Kong. They’re far from the only Donkey Kong Country reps namedropped on the streets of New Donk City.



“Cranky” and “Krool” street signs unambiguously refer to Cranky Kong and the little-seen King K. Rool. Here’s hoping there’s a “Funky Ave” hanging up somewhere.

Sealing the deal is a car that is seen driving over the camera super-quickly in the first Odyssey trailer. 


What year was the original Donkey Kong released? You guessed it, 1981.

Names and signage are cute and all, but where are the actual DK characters? May I present to you: Mayor Pauline.


While Princess Peach was busy getting kidnapped in almost every single video game she has ever appeared in, Pauline was doing work. She’s come a long way since being the obligatory video game damsel in distress, first seen in the original Donkey Kong. 


Odyssey seems to have evolved Pauline’s look from her appearance in the DK/Mario puzzler franchise. Let’s hope she sticks around in the Mario Universe. Think she knows how to kart race?

Before we go, we should hit on the bit you’re most likely to have missed — the Donkey Kong jingle hidden in the jazzy Odyssey theme.

Listen closely and you can hear that trademark warble, albeit gussied-up in a proper musical style. Just imagine, this is only a small part of the game. A complete list of easter eggs in the finished game would probably be hundreds of entries long. I guess we better get started.

Tristan Cooper can be found on Twitter.

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