- Mario's Brewery- 1983: Commodore 64 (Europe only)
Mario’s Brewery plays the same as Donkey Kong. Players control Mario, jumping over barrels, except rather than having to save Mario’s sweetheart from DK, they’re trying to reach the drink at the top of the building. Or at least they would be if the game was more completed since when the player manages to get to the top, they not only pass through the drink, but the strange thing throwing barrels at Mario.
Would this game be worth playing? The game is in such a state, that it’s basically unplayable, so no; you can pass on this one. Plus it's very rare. If you’re looking for a weird Nintendo knock-off game, might I suggest Frank Bruno’s Boxing, another Europe exclusive game for the Commodore 64, ZX Spectrum, and Amstrad that rips off Punch-Out!!.
- Donkey Kong no Ongaku Asobi & Return of Donkey Kong- Cancelled: NES
Starting with Donkey Kong Ongaku Asobi or as I’ll be referring to it, Donkey Kong’s Fun with Music, this game was going to be another educational game by Nintendo in the vein of Donkey Kong Jr. Math. The game was only announced once in a Japanese gaming magazine from 1983. Going by the title, the game was going to teach kids about music. Fun with Music had two game modes: Music Quiz and Donkey Band. Music Quiz would’ve had Donkey Kong on bass playing notes that were displayed on the screen from Mario and/or Pauline pounding piano keys with a hammer. This mode supported two players: player one would be Mario while player two would’ve been Pauline. Donkey Band may have been the game’s composition mode where players could create their own 8-bit tunes; the ability to compose music would later appear in Mario Paint on the SNES. This mode has four characters, each playing something: DK was the bassist, DK Jr. played the drums, Mario played the piano, and Pauline was the vocalist. It is unknown why this game was cancelled. Perhaps it had to do with Donkey Kong Jr. Math’s sales or maybe the developers at Nintendo EAD were busy with other projects.
Next is Return of Donkey Kong. Very little is known about this game. It was announced in the Official Nintendo Player’s Guide in 1987 and would’ve been most likely released sometime between 1987-1989. There are three theories as to what this game could’ve been.
- A sequel to the original Donkey Kong.
- An early name for Donkey Kong Classics, a compilation game that contained both Donkey Kong and Donkey Kong Jr. and was released in 1988.
- A Famicom Disk System remake of the original game but with more content added like Kaettekita Mario Bros.
- Donkey Kong Circus- 1984: Game & Watch
Would this game be worth playing? Maybe. The game is pretty expensive though. Perhaps go with one of the other Mario Game & Watch games like Donkey Kong II, Donkey Kong Hockey, or Mario’s Cement Factory. The Game & Watch Gallery Game Boy games are also a great way to play Game & Watch games.
- Mario Bros. II- 1987: Commodore 64 (Europe only)
Would this game be worth playing? Maybe. The game is better made than Mario’s Brewery if that means anything.
- Alleyway- 1989: Game Boy
Would this game be worth playing? Maybe. If you were a fan of Atari’s Breakout or Taito’s Arkanoid, then I’m pretty sure you’ll enjoy this game.
- Qix- 1990: Game Boy
Would this game be worth playing? Yes, if you enjoy arcade games and are looking for one with fun/unique gameplay. While the Game Boy version has a two player mode, it'd be easier to play two player on the NES version since you'd need two GBs, two copies of Qix, and a link cable. If you're easily offended by stereotype imagery from an almost thirty year old game, then you may want to pass on this version or get a high enough score that Mario along with Luigi, Peach, and a bunch of Toads congratulate you in a castle.
An extra bit of information about this game: Minakuchi Engineering would later go on to make many games for Capcom like Bionic Commando and Mega Man: Dr. Wily's Revenge on the Game Boy, along with Mega Man X3. Mario would also make an appearance in other GB games like Tennis, Golf, and the Game & Watch Gallery games.
- Yoshi's Safari- 1993: SNES
Would this game be worth playing? It looks fun but you’ll need a Super Scope, a Super Scope receiver, six AA batteries, and a CRT TV. While those might be difficult to get, Super Scope games are typically inexpensive.
- Satella-Q- 1995-1999: Satellaview (Japan only)
Would this game be worth playing? It doesn’t really exist anymore, so no.
- Donkey Kong GB: Dinky Kong & Dixie Kong- 2000: Game Boy Color (Japan only)
Would this game be worth playing? Yes. Either version of DK Land III is worth playing, but of the two, the Game Boy Color version is the better one.
- Mario Pinball Land- 2004: Game Boy Advance
Would this game be worth playing? If you enjoy pinball, then sure. Personally, I suck at pinball, so I have zero interest in playing this. It should be noted though, that while the game looks nice, it was criticized for its length and design.
- Donkey Konga 3: Tabehodai! Haru Mogitate 50 Kyoku- 2005: Gamecube (Japan only)
Would this game be worth playing? Having only played a little of Donkey Konga 2, these games are fun to play and it stinks that the final entry didn’t get localized since I’m sure I would’ve enjoyed beating the bongos to video game music, especially compared to popular music from the late 90s- mid 2000s like in Konga 2. Due to the Gamecube being region locked, I would recommend playing the first or second Konga game before playing this game so you don’t go through all the trouble of modding your Gamecube to play Donkey Konga 3.
- Bird & Beans- 2009: Nintendo DSi
Would this game be worth playing? If you enjoy arcade games like Missile Command, Centipede, or Space Invaders, then yes. The game is only 200 points on the DSi shop or $1.99 on the 3DS eShop.
- Mario Clock & Mario Calculator- 2009: Nintendo DSi
In the clock app the player can jump around and collect coins. Collecting 100 will swap Mario brothers, so the other can collect 100 coins, rinse and repeat. If the analog clock is set, every 100 coins collected, a sprite of Mario or Luigi will appear over one of the numbers on the clock, starting with the 1. When 1200 coins are collected, the player arrives at world 8-4 with Princess Peach waiting to thank whatever Mario brother arrives and present them with another quest. While coin collecting, players can grab Super Mushrooms and should avoid Poison Mushrooms. Stages change every fifteen minutes, so by the time an hour roles by, the stage is a castle (since there are four fifteen minute segments in an hour and four levels in a world with the last one always being a castle in SMB). Outside of the easter egg, the only other notable features of this app is the option for analog or digital clock display, setting an alarm, and if the clock will be twelve hours or twenty-four hours.
Mario Calculator’s easter egg isn’t as exciting. On the calculator, if the summary’s resulting digits are sequential (123456789 or 987654321); the flagpole sound along with the end level tune will play. Toad will also appear with nine fireworks. Depending on the amount of digits in the summary, the number of fireworks changes. There is a second easter egg where if the summary is equel to the player’s birthday. For example, January 31 (01-31) would be 131, text shows up saying “Your Birthday” with all the same sound effects and music playing as the previous easter egg, except now Princess Peach will show up rather than Toad. Other than the easter eggs, this app has a unit converter where players can convert length, area, weight, speed, volume, temperature, time, and age.
Would either of these games be worth playing? With smartphones being so widespread now, no. The unit converter tool in Mario Calculator is nifty but all of that can be looked up on smartphones nowadays. I’d pass on these unless you don’t have a smartphone or wrist watch.
Not exactly the most interesting games to end it on I know, but regardless, thank you for reading this series of blogs. The grand total of games covered in this series ended up being 95 (although since I paired a few together due to similarness, it looks like about 80). While I could've included more weirdo unlicensed Mario games like Donkey Kong 5: The Journey of Over Time and Space, I didn't want this series to go on forever.
Information about each of these games was mostly from SuperMarioWiki along with sites like Giant Bomb, GameFaqs, and The Cutting Room Floor.