In fact, most games in the Super Mario franchise begin with some mistake made by the plumber in red. However, through his sheer determination (and, to be fair, infinite lives), Mario always comes out on top. These missteps by Nintendo's greatest icon are some of his biggest, yet not entirely irredeemable, blunders.
It may be surprising to younger video game fans that Mario's second-ever appearance was as a villain. After his debut in Donkey Kong for arcades, Mario next appeared in the follow-up Donkey Kong Jr. However, in this title, players control the titular son of Donkey Kong rather than Mario himself.
In the story of Donkey Kong Jr., Mario has captured Donkey Kong as revenge for the kidnapping of Pauline. Now, Donkey Kong Jr. must rescue his father from the clutches of Nintendo's greatest hero. In the end, Donkey Kong Jr. is successful, resulting in Mario getting kicked off-screen by Donkey Kong himself.
Mario's console debut, Super Mario Bros., features many errs from the supposed hero. Each world of the game contains four levels, with the final one being a castle where Mario faces off against Bowser. Though he succeeds in conquering these lands, Mario is met with a harsh reality before he advances onwards.
At the end of every castle level, Mario encounters a Toad, who tells him that Princess Peach is in another castle. Though it's not a bad thing for Mario to rescue so many Toads, it only delays his eventual rescue of Peach. In fact, the game's booklet even claims that Peach could save them all herself if she was only freed sooner!
More times than once, Mario's adventures begin after he displays some pretty lackluster boyfriend skills. Often, Bowser's schemes to kidnap Peach succeed in the beginning, despite Mario's attempts to stop them. This is true in the openings of games like Super Mario Galaxy for the Wii and New Super Mario Bros. for the DS.
It even happens when Bowser is nowhere to be found. In Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door, Mario arrives at Rogueport to find that Peach has been kidnapped by X-Nauts. In the future, Mario should be a little more punctual after Peach invites him to her castle, or other foreign destinations.
Peach is not the only one who ends up as the damsel in distress. On many occasions, Mario is absent from the action thanks to his own blunders. This is what results in Peach getting her own solo game with Super Princess Peach for the DS.
Another example of Mario getting captured is in Super Mario 64 DS, a remake of the iconic 3D platformer. This remake features many changes from the original, the biggest being that Mario is also captured by Bowser at the game's start. Players must control Yoshi instead, and can only play as Mario after the plumber is rescued.
There are even more instances where Mario ends up the captive of somebody evil. In the GameCube title Luigi's Mansion, Mario meets this exact fate after his twin brother wins a mansion in a contest he didn't enter. Quite foolishly, Mario decides to meet his brother there, only to be captured by King Boo upon arriving.
In an ironic twist of fate, the plumber who used to travel via painting ends up imprisoned in one. Thanks to the hard work of his ghost-catching brother Luigi, Mario ends up saved by the end of the game. However, a post-credits scene finds Mario the target of humiliation when he emerges with his head caught in a picture frame.
The GameCube title Super Mario Sunshine, for the most part, lives up to its name. The game finds Mario exploring colorful, tropical settings and cleaning up Delfino Island with F.L.U.D.D, his trust water sprayer. However, the game's story has a pretty gritty opening when Mario is arrested by Delfino Island's police.
After being put on trial for vandalizing Delfino Island, Mario is sentenced to community service by cleaning up the island. In actuality, the crimes were committed by Bowser Jr., who is masquerading as Shadow Mario. As Mario sets out to prove Delfino police wrong, it certainly doesn't look good for his permanent record.
Mario is nothing without his iconic red hat, emblazoned with an "M" on the front. Since Super Mario 64, losing this important article of clothing is very bad for Mario's adventures. Without his hat, he takes more damage when attacked, so it's important for Mario to find it whenever he loses it.
The newest mainline entry in the Super Mario series, Super Mario Odyssey, takes similar risks with Mario's headwear. In the opening of the game, Mario's hat is destroyed during an encounter with Bowser. Thankfully, the cap is saved by a Bonneter named Cappy, who becomes Mario's ally throughout the game.
Mario appears as a major character during the Adventure Mode of Super Smash Bros. Brawl. Titled "The Subspace Emissary," this story mode finds Mario teaming up with his fellow Smash competitors to fight the Subspace Army. However, their attempts often lead to lots of destructions and chaos in the Smash world.
During Mario's first encounter with Subspace, he and Kirby narrowly avoid the explosion of a Subspace Bomb. In Mario's case, he's found in Skyworld by Pit, the lead character from the Kid Icarus franchise. Together, they reunite with their fellow fighters, but not before Tabuu transforms him and everyone else into Trophies.
A similar fate befalls Mario in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate's Adventure Mode. This story mode finds all the Smash Bros fighters throughout history the victims of a being known as Galeem. As a result, the fighters are imprisoned in the World of Light and turned into Puppet Fighters, possessed by random spirits.
Thankfully, Kirby is the only one who avoids Galeem's curse. The Adventure Mode follows Kirby as he frees each individual fighter, who join him along the way. While this is a pretty gnarly fate for Mario, the plumber is lucky enough to be the first hero rescued by Kirby at the start of the story mode.
Mario has faced a lot of treacherous worlds since his debut, with monstrous enemies as well. However, there are no greater challenges for Mario's strength than the ones that await him in Super Mario Maker and its sequel, Super Mario Maker 2. This game allows players to create their own levels, tormenting Mario and other players online.
While the mainline games feature difficult bosses like Bowser, King Boo, and Donkey Kong, Super Mario Maker raises the stakes. Here, Mario is faced with levels that test each and every single one of his abilities. When he loses, he's also faced with a recap of every spot where another Mario has perished: the ultimate threat.