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Monday, September 5, 2016

The Nintendo Mushrooms In Mario's World

Because I hold friend and reader FFF in such high regard—it was she that made me come back to write another blog (written under a pseudonym) I had previously given up on (not because of a lack of readership - it actually out-did THIS relatively popular blog)—because I asked, and she answered (Julien, I'll get to it!), this article is in response to me asking what blog should I finish.

The article below is something I started about a year ago but left for some reason or another... probably too much work to rework.

Regardless, FFF has been a good long-distance friend, and I enjoy reading her e-mails and LOC (letters of comment). I enjoy all your e-mails and comments. Makes me think I have friends.

This blog is a supposed be-all and end-all of all the various types of mushrooms in the Nintendo world of Mario (he of Donkey Kong and Mario Bros. fame).

A few years back, I created the be-all list of Japanese mushrooms... poisonous... and non-poisonous... why? Because there simply wasn't an all-inclusive on-line guide listing what Japanese mushrooms are deadly, and which are safe to eat. The Japanese are nuts for mushrooms... often going out to pick them themselves armed only with a basket, a guide to mushrooms, and a rudimentary understanding of how to use the guide.

The Japanese are so crazy for eating fresh mushrooms, that Nintendo, when it created the world of Mario, had no qualms about filling it with mushrooms and mushroom people.

Just for the heck of it, here's a list of all the mushroom characters I could find in the Nintendo system's world of Mario.

You know Mario. He's the guy that President Abe Shinzo dressed up as during the closing ceremony of the 2016 Rio Olympics in anticipation of Japan having the honor and financial burden in 2020.

At least I think he dressed up as Mario. What if it was all just a horrible coincidence? What did Sony have to say about Abe snubbing them. He could have dressed up as Crash Bandicoot,

or Sackboy.

Nintendo's gain—they were at the front of the video game revolution 35 years ago.

Mario is the supposed Italian gentleman who rescues the boss' daughter from an angry giant gorilla atop the stereotypical skyscraper construction site (Italians were/are the creme de la creme construction dudes in Canada... and I suppose Italy) and for whatever reason Nintendo thought this was okay. Whatever. He doesn't speak in the video game. We just assumed he was of Italian heritage thanks to his name. Oh, and his clothing. And that mustache, as well. See? Stereotypes.

Mario was created by Japanese designer Miyamoto Shigeru (surname first), and plopped down initially in the arcade game Donkey Kong, originally as a carpenter in New York. In the home video games, he was employed as a plumber, seeing as how most of the adventures took place within a pipe sewage system.

So... Mario is a short, chubby, Italian plumber with a thick mustache... who nowadays lives in the Mushroom Kingdom, spending most of his waking hours rescuing Princess Peach from the villainous Koopa named Bowser... and every time I hear that name I think of Sha-na-na. Google it.

So... the Mushroom Kingdom where he lives, is heavily populated with Mushrooms. In the video games, touching (and therefore ingesting) these magical mushrooms provide a variety of abilities and disabilities for Mario and his brother Luigi in this world.

Here is a list of those mushrooms, a brief video game historical point of reference of those mushrooms, and just what each mushroom can do to Mario and/or Luigi, or even Yoshi, or another great Nintendo character involved in the game.

To be fair, I am going to present the damn things in alphabetical order, which sucks because you have to know what they are called to find them... like knowing how to spell a word to find it in a dictionary.  


As the name suggest, the 1-Down Mushrooms takes a life away, with Mario unharmed unless it’s his last life. There are many different version (looks) for this mushroom, including different colors depending on the Mario game being played, but sometimes they actually look like a real 1-Up Mushrooms, thus being a mind-screw. If at all possible, get really, really close to the playing screen and look for eyebrows perched angrily over the eyes. These mushrooms first appeared in Super Mario World: Wii.


This is a player's best friend... a green mushroom with white spots... usually sliding all over the board daring you to grab it and eat it... and it gets you one extra life. See... no angry eyebrows (see 1-Down Mushroom).

And, when you get it, the system makes a "diddley-bee-blip-bloo-bleep" sound...

The thing is... the 1-Up Mushroom didn't always look like a 'shroom with a white dotted green cap.

Before this current look where it appears to be a green cap with four white dots around its cap, it also came with:
  • a green cap and at least five white dots;
  • white cap with ate least five green dots;
  • full white stemmed mushroom with a red cap and the words 1 Up written on it in white; and
  • a full mushroom with a white stalk, and a dark yellow-orange cap and green dots (three of ‘em).
I should note that several Game Boy games used, instead of the Mushroom, a grey-scale heart - three versions - to give Mario and extra life (1-Up). There was also a yellow crescent moon with smiley face that gave players three extra lives… but none of these are mushrooms… so screw-em.

Absorbing Mushroom

This is a one-off mushroom only found in Mario Kart Arcade GP. A blue mushroom that can only be obtained by Yoshi after he wins a race course, after grabbing the blue mushroom a vortex of color appears over Yoshi's head giving him the ability to steal an item from another player—but only for a limited time. Yoshi mush hit another player character to steal an object, which is immediately transferred to the Yoshi player. You'll notice it is called an "absorbing" mushroom and not a "stealing" mushroom, because we all know that stealing is wrong.

Bee Mushroom

You might think that interacting with this mushroom wold give Mario the power he would become obsessed with something - say the first thing he see for a short-duration, making it a negative aspect mushroom. I can picture him humping Bowser’s leg.

Instead, it’s something completely different and weird. More weird than Mario humping Bowser’s leg? Yup.

First appearing in Super Mario Galaxy in 2007 for the Wii gaming system, the Bee Mushroom allows Mario to turn into a bee so he can walk on clouds and flowers and stick to honeycombs.

I had no idea bees could walk on clouds (though I did hear Katrina talk about walking on sunshine), but this is a magical place. Effects last for a short period of time.

Big Mushroom (similar to Super Mushroom - so see Super Mushroom)

This bad boy first appeared in Super Mario Maker, first appearing in 2015 for the Wii U system. I read the description for Mario Maker and I still don’t understand what the heck it is all about.

Anyhow, if you eat the Big Mushroom, pasta fazool, Mario will, for a period of time turn into Big Mario so he can destroy blocks, ice blocks and even hard blocks when he runs into them or jumps on them.   

Boo Mushroom

Another new mushroom that makes its appearance in Super Mario Galaxy in 2015 for the Wii U, the Boo Mushroom turns him into a Boo Mario where he can then read Boo-ish and also to pass through fences. He becomes a ghost for a short period of time.

Golden Mushroom

The Golden Mushroom is an item that appears in several Mario games. It is a rare Mushroom, sometimes depicted with a crown on its head, and it always gives the player a positive effect when used. Golden Mushrooms sometimes vary by color and luster between games, but they are always a strong item. 

This mushroom has an inconsistent design. The most common seems to have a purple or dark blue cap with a picture of a skull on and angry eyes.


The Goombas are known in Japan as Kuribo (クリボー), and are sentient species (in a video game) of mushrooms that first appeared in the NES version of Super Mario Bros. as the first enemy players encounter. They have appeared outside of video games, including in film, television, and other media. They are usually brown and are most commonly seen walking around aimlessly, often as an easy-to-defeat obstacle. They are practically every single Mario video game.

Invincibility Mushroom
Appearing in Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker, the Invincibility Mushroom gives the imbiber invincibility… but not just for a short time, the player gets it for the entire level. This video game and mushroom debuted in 2014 for Nintendo’s Wii U system.

Life Mushroom

The Life Mushroom makes its initial appearance in Super Mario Galaxy in 2015 for the Wii U, which doubles the size (and thus available health) in Mario’s Health Meter until accrued damage equals the increased amount… then it’s back to normal. Is it just me, but does this mushroom look like a holdover from the Soviet-era, isn't that right tovarish?

Luigi Mushroom

Debuting in Super Mario Maker, this is one of the all-time rare mushrooms, because let’s face it - no one want to really be Luigi or having anything to do with Luigi in these Nintendo games. I have nothing against anyone named Luigi - just this copycat character. I hated him back in Donkey Kong 3, I hate him now.

Upon use, Mario will turn slimmer and gain the abilities of Luigi, with higher jumps but lower traction.

This power-up was originally a bug while developing the Super Mushroom which made Mario skinny, but the designer decided to keep it in the final version of the game as a joke. Because even he thought it ridiculous that Mario would ever want to be like his brother Luigi.

To unlock the Luigi Mushroom for real, you must complete the four Nintendo World Championship 2015 courses at least once, in any order. After clearing them all, a message will pop on the Sample Courses page saying: "Congratulations! You cleared all four of the Nintendo World Championship 2015 courses! Proving your skills as a super player surely deserves a special reward. Next time you're making a course, choose the Super Mario Bros. game style, select a Super Mushroom, and give it a shake...".

After that, you can use the Luigi Mushroom by shaking a Super Mushroom in the Super Mario Bros. game style any time you want.

I stole those last two paragraphs from somewhere - let me know if it's your site and I'll provide credit where credit is due.

Magnet Mushroom

I don't even know if this magnet mushroom even exists. I found this HERE, as part of mushrooms supposedly appearing in the New Mario Bros. 3 video game. What powers does it have? It's a magnet, so maybe it would attract all coins in the general vicinity of Mario on screen, including some hard-to-reach ones. Just a guess.

Mega Mushroom
This is a rare mushroom in the Mario Mushroom Kingdom that allows the eater to grow large... as though they were Gojira (Godzilla) to walk over and destroy everything in your path.

These Mega 'shrooms first appeared in Mario Party 4, looking like a standard mushroom with a green cap. However, in later in carnations (first introduced in New Super Mario Bros.), these babies, have big orange-yellow caps with red spots on them... and while all other types of mushrooms slide or glide along the ground, these guys hop.

Metal Mushroom

First appearing as the metal mushroom orb in Mario Party 6, the Metal Mushroom transform Mario into Metal Mario giving him long hair with incredible head-banging powers. Kidding.

As a metal man, Mario becomes invincible for a short period of time, walking on lava, or walking into enemies… but beware that in water, Mario will sink - such as a geyser - so you’ll have to wait till the effect wears off.

Mini Mushroom
At the opposite end of the size spectrum, is the Mini Mushroom, which logically will shrink the player (Mario or Luigi).

While it might sound like it could suck, it actually allows a player to enter small spaces, allow you to walk on water like you were Jesus and even make float-y jumps because I would assume that Mini Mario would thus be lighter than air - sort off.

Despite the beautiful appearance as above, the Mini Mushroom's first appearance back in 2002's Mario Party 4 had it as a pink capped mushroom sucking on a pacifier. I guess it was more of a baby mushroom, rather than a mini mushroom. See below.
Mini Mushroom used to look like a baby.
This lasted until 2006, when the more familiar blue hue first appeared in the video game New Super Mario Bros. Blue mini mushroom now works its magic without a pacifier.

Mushroom People
Now known as Toads (so see Toads below).

Mystery Mushroom

Holy crap but this ability sounds lame, and makes me question why anyone would want to play with Super Mario Maker on the Wii U system circa 2015. Using the mystery mushroom with the question mark right on it so you know it's a mystery, Mario becomes Costume Mario which provides him with a random look—it’s a mystery what you’ll look like, until it happens—and it will give the player some of the super powers (if you are so lucky), provided you are in the Super Mario Bros. graphic style. I wrote this, and still don’t know what it means.

Poison Mushroom
Just like in the real world (that’s where you are - but please… be careful you don’t wake up the Red King)

The Poison Mushroom (or Poison Shroom) is a mushroom that powers down or defeats Mario or Luigi if they touch it.

They have the opposite effects of a Super Mushroom, and while they are sometimes called a Power-Up, they act more like a hindrance or trap. They first appeared in the Japan-only game, Super Mario Bros.: The Lost Levels, and later to on the SNES in the game Super Mario All-Stars.

Propeller Mushroom
Okay… I really like Propellerheads’ song History Repeating

… but this mushroom—first appearing in New Super Mario Bros. in 2009 for the Wii system is only sorta interesting, as it turns you into a Mario wearing a suit with a propeller atop his head allowing him/you to fly as Propeller Mario (of course) through the air, drill (while in the air) in an effort to land quicker.

Rock Mushroom

Oh, Rocky… this one is all over the place as far as abilities go. First appearing in 2010’s Super Mario Galaxy 2 for the Wii, when Mario eats the Rock Mushroom, he becomes The Rock—Rocky Johnson—and is able to defeat his enemies merely by raising a single eyebrow.

Okay, had you there for a moment, I bet. Actually, Mario turns into Rock Mario, and as a rolling stone that gathers no moss, Rock Mario destroys enemies and objects.

I think my idea would have been cooler.

Spring Mushroom

Ah yes… Spring… when a young man’s heart turns to pitchin’ woo. Sorry… I went back to the the 80s… the 1880s, but not the gay 90s of the 19th or 20th century, not that there’s anything wrong with those decades. I know I had a spring in my step every time I went out for a drinky-poo at my local watering hole in Ohtawara-shi, Tochigi-ken. It was just a matter of who… not even when. Oh well. Spring has sprung.

Debuting in Super Mario Galaxy in 2007 for the Wii, the Spring Mushroom allows Mario to become Spring Mario, of course, which lets him jump extremely high.

Is it just me, but does this mushroom dude look like a condom... ribbed?

Super Mega Mushroom

Here's a mushroom that only (so far) appeared in Mario Party 4, but turns the character into a giant version of themselves like the Mega Mushroom does. However, with this glowing mushroom, if the player had rolled three Dice Blocks (instead of two)... and you get all three of the same number, you can earn 30, 50 or 100 coins.

This isn't gambling, is it? You can earn Super Mega Mushrooms during the minigames on the board, the Lottery Shop, or through the Item Shops only.

Super Mini Mushroom
The Super Mini Mushroom appears only in Mario Party 4 (so far). It's a glowing mushroom, which has always been, in my experience, not a good trip. This one has a pacifier in its mouth.

If consumed by the player character, you become small, just like a regular Mini Mushroom... except: the character can only move five spaces or less. While this is a negative, the positive is that the player can hit two Dice Blocks numbered one through five. This way, one could possibly move the normal 10 spaces (if you get two five's). The effects of smallness wear off after you move the number of spaces indicated by the Dice Blocks.

Super Mini Mushrooms can only be won during the minigames on the board, the Lottery Shop, or through the Item Shops.

As a bonus... as a mini, you can play mini games after passing various points in the game... where you can win an item or coins. Being mini allows the character to pass through small orange gates.

Super Mushroom

The Super Mushroom boosts attack and makes you bigger until an enemy attacks. It's the most common mushroom around in the Nintendo Mario universe, and turns the character into Super Mario… enabling you to break bricks. When hit, he turns back into the regular-sized Mario. First appeared in Super Mario Bros.

It looks a lot like one of those psychedelic Japanese mushrooms. In fact, when the Super Mushroom first appeared back in 1985, it was actually called a "Magic Mushroom" in the game manual.

For its first appearance, it was originally red with orange spots, but after that, in all subsequent appearances it is the familiar red with white spots.

The mushrooms can be made to appear after jumping up and smashing with your Mario head, a brick with a question mark on it... above it, the Super Mushroom will appear and drift from side to side unless there is an opening for it to fall down to you and turn you super-sized.


We all know Mario from the Donkey Kong and Super Mario Bros. video game series... games in which you can eat a mushroom to grow larger - which I suspect was stolen from Alice in Wonderland, but what do I know? An homage, perhaps.

But, in later video games, Mario made a new friend.... Toad... a Toadstool dude... who is known as Kinopio (キノピオ) in Japan.

He's a Red with white humanoid with a spotted mushroom cap.

Why a mushroom/toadstool guy? All we know is that the man who created Super Mario Bros. back in 1985 where Toad first appeared—Miyamoto Shigeru—says he loves to eat mushrooms, and seems to have a bit of a fixation on them, noting that he really likes how often mushrooms appear in 'strange or weird' stories. Dude was a freaking genius... he's allowed to have quirks.


First appeared in 1985 in Super Mario Bros., they are a humanoid species and appear to be the dominant race in the Mushroom Kingdom - though their king is a human, as is their Princess Peach.

For the most part, these NPC( non-playing characters, though I bet you can play as them in the Mario Kart racing games) are in the background of the Mario Universe... maybe they'll interact in conversation, but heck, they could have had a talking mailbox do the same.  

There are plenty of colorful Toads - more than you can shake a stick at, but don't do that. There are so many toad variations, I'm thinking I should have created a separate Toad blog.
  • Red Toads: Are subservient and the most common seen in the games;
  • Green Toads: Shy and happy to talk to Mario. Second-most common;
  • Blue Toads: The smartest or youngest Toads have blue spotted caps;
  • Yellow Toads: Joke-tellers, but also 'fraidy-cats and sleepy. First appeared in Super Mario Sunshine;
  • Purple Toads: They providde hints to Mario, and are the ones most likely to deliver mail. First appeared in Super Mario Sunshine;
  • Cyan Toads: Likes to swim or to sail and can hold a lot of air underwater. I have no idea why this is important to anyone... I just man this Toad, and not this blog;
  • Orange Toads: Very brave, they debuted in Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door;
  • Pink Toads: Usually female, but the males to prove they aren't feminine go overboard acting rough and tough. No... really;
  • Brown Toads: Their brown and they like to dig because they love holes. Many of the older male Toads are brown, so I assume there is a low occurrence of cave-in's;
  • Lavender Toads: Can be Toads who loves to invent or like to learn alchemy. Older female Toads are this color;
  • Indigo Toads: These like to draw doodles. Seriously... can I stop now?;
  • Lime Toads: These love to eat, drink, sleep, and eat. They are quite lazy. This isn't a casual depiction of the stereotype of lazy Mexicans, is it? Put a lime in a Mexican Corona beer... I know I'm thinking outside the box, but how do you think some people come up with things?;
  • White Toads: These Toads are very unfair to each other - okay I probably went too far in accusing Nintendo of anything with the Mexicans/Lime Toads... unless the White Toad represents Americans and Europeans? Nawwwww; 
  • Black Toads: These Toads are a little mischievous. What? Black Toads causing trouble? That's racist, man! On the other side of the coin, they are also really cool. No... the guide says they are mischievous, and that's pretty much it;
  • Gray Toads: The silent type of Toads—I'm guessing it's because they are older and wiser and greyer;
  • Tail Toads: Toads powered up by a Super Leaf. If you are Mario (or Luigi - why?), when you encounter a Super Leaf, you get a racoon tail, which allows you to fall slowly through the air if you wag your tail... or you can fly if you fill the Power Mete and then run... or you can use the tail to hit blocks and enemies. I assume that Tail Toads simply have a raccoon tail and can be seen drifting or flying/gliding.
  • Bomb Toads: They explode every once in a while... they are black when all is safe, and red when they are going to explode, so maybe you don't want to stand beside one of them.
Weird Mushroom

The Weird Mushroom (or Luigi Mushroom or even Lanky Mushroom) is a strange power-up introduced in the 2015 title Super Mario Maker. The Weird Mushroom is similar to the Super Mushroom, as it grants Mario an extra lift once collected. Unlike the Super Mushroom, however, the Weird Mushroom transforms Mario into Weird Mario, granting him the powers of Luigi: higher jumps and less traction.

There is a one-in-10 chance of a Weird Mushroom replacing a Super Mushroom in any Super Mario Maker level. Upon completing all of the courses that can appear in the 10 Mario Challenge, players unlock the four courses that were used in the Nintendo World Championships held at E3 2015. The Weird Mushroom can then be placed in a level upon completing the four NWC2015 levels by shaking a Super Mushroom in the Super Mario Bros. game style. 

You can tell I didn't really write any of that last paragraph. Yours? Let me know, I'll credit it. 


If I have missed any Mario World mushrooms, I'm not sure I care. How many hours did I kill doing this? Okay, okay... e-mail me or leave a comment below and I'll update. This blog is supposed to be an Encyclopedia Japanica

Andrew Joseph
PS: After realizing just how much work I had to put into this one blog, I just want to provide a huge sarcastic thank-you to FFF. Twenty-two hours.


  1. Ooooh, I can tell you suffered through this one. Very colorful visually and verbally ... so thank you, An-do-ryu sensei. (So many damn toads!) And that is a great song by Propellerhead with Shirley Bassey (forever associated with Goldfinger in my head). I barely remember it, though, 'cause the 90's were a blur as I was learning how to balance life with kids. I'm still learning ...

    1. Ha! You are welcome, my dear. I made it a promise to myself back in my 20s after nearly flaming out of university, that I would always finish everything that I started... especially with writing. I've got a novella that I've been working on for 20+ years... that I should re-write... problem is... I tend to write without any thought of how my story will end, preferring to let it flow. When I discovered women in Japan, my train of thought changed dramatically. I should revisit it with over 13,000+ hours of writing practice to see what comes up.
      Check out more of the Propellerheads stuff... they were very good... and yeah. Bassey in Goldfinger was superb... I think it's the best Bond music ever.