Lego Super Mario
SubjectSuper Mario
Licensed fromNintendo
AvailabilityAugust 1, 2020–present
Total sets51
Official website

Lego Super Mario is a Lego theme based on the platform game series Super Mario.[1] It is licensed from Nintendo.[2] The theme was first introduced in 2020. Since its release, the Lego Super Mario theme has received generally positive reviews.

Overview

Mario stomping a Goomba in My First Course.
Mario stomping a Goomba in My First Course.

The Lego Super Mario theme was the result of the collaboration between The Lego Group and Nintendo for the 35th anniversary of the 1985 game Super Mario Bros.[3] The sets are essentially a mix between a Lego set and a video game, where people can build real life versions of 2D Super Mario levels, including grasslands, deserts and Bowser's Castle.[4] The key part of the theme is the interactive Super Mario figurine. Unlike traditional Lego figurines, the Mario figure is large and electronic,[a] with the eyes, mouth and chest use an LED display. Another key feature of the figurine is the scanner on the bottom of the Mario figurine, and Bluetooth connectivity. The scanner uses colors or machine-readable codes to operate.[5] The scanner can change the LED display to affect the expressions or actions of Mario. For example, if the scanner scans the color red, Mario will detect it as lava and pretends to "lose a life". Codes can be placed on enemies, ? Blocks, power-ups, Warp Pipes and flag poles to display action on the chest display, like coins when Mario defeats an enemy.[6][7] All of these produce sound effects, attributing the Super Mario franchise. Finally, the Mario figurine utilises Bluetooth to connect to the official app.[5] The app can also be used for challenges, as a camera and as a digital instruction booklet,[8] and to update the firmware on the Mario figurine. The theme was sold with 11 sets of Mario levels, 4 costume packs which reference previous Mario power ups[b][9] and a blind-bag collection featuring 10 reoccurring Mario enemies.[10][11]

Lego Nintendo Entertainment System.
Lego Nintendo Entertainment System.

In July 2020, Nintendo unveiled the Lego Nintendo Entertainment System. This set includes a full size replica of the console with a cartridge and controller and a miniature CRT TV which displays gameplay of Super Mario Bros.' World 1-1.[12] The TV supplies a crank, which when turned, can make the game scroll manipulating the 8-bit Mario on the screen move. While unrelated to the original theme, the TV can connect with the interactive Mario figurine, causing it to make sound effects when winding the crank. Inside the console is a homage to the warp zone.[13] This is the largest set out of the whole theme.[14]

In addition, The Lego Group built a life-sized model of Super Mario who appears in the video game. Super Mario contained a total of 23,000 Lego bricks, and stands at 1.2 metres tall. Just like the small version, he features a screen on his chest, for his eyes and for his mouth. Pressing the various buttons will elicit different reactions that match up with what happens when regular Lego Super Mario stands on certain types of bricks.[15]

Development

Talks began between The Lego Group and Nintendo in Summer 2015, where the upper management of Nintendo asked to collaborate with the company.[16][17] This followed into a discussion which generated many ideas, before voting on what idea to use. The idea that was the most popular was the idea of an interactive figure. The team didn't have much to work with, with the only words to work with were "do something that only these two companies could do together. It's a Lego product, but it's also a Nintendo product". Lead designer, Jonathan Bennink took some inspiration from the toys-to-life video game Lego Dimensions, but in reverse by bringing the video game to life using toys.[4] The team also took inspiration from Super Mario Maker, taking the idea of players constructing Mario levels and incorporating it into Lego building.[6] The sets themselves took inspiration from many mainline Mario games, however describing the result being "a mix between Super Mario Bros. and also 3D World, with the rounded corners".[16][18]

With the figure itself, the concept for making Mario took 2 years. Bennink and his teams brainstormed a wide range of ideas and prototypes that took advantage of different technologies such as Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality. Another design involved the figure having a giant screen to display Mario's face, but decided against it due to the vacant void left when being turned off. Bennink then came up with an interactive 3x3 brick with a display, something of which the team hadn't seen before, and decided to settle on it.[16] The design went through rigorous testing for durability and strength, resulting in Nintendo dropping 6,000 prototypes to ensure its quality.[19] Many prototypes were taken to Kyoto workshops for further testing, with the help of Nintendo's creative leader, Takashi Tezuka.[20] These visits occurred often before they were stopped due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The sound effects that are emitted from the figure were newly recorded lines from Mario voice actor Charles Martinet, as well as music from composer Koji Kondo.[21]

The Lego Super Mario theme was first teased on March 10, 2020, also known as MAR10 / National Mario Day on both the official Nintendo Lego Twitter, depicting Mario's LED display.[22] The theme itself was then official revealed two days later, when Nintendo released a trailer detailing the sets and overview.[23] Official Lego Stores set up demos for the theme, allowing customers to test it out.[24] The Lego Nintendo Entertainment System was first leaked online by Chinese website VJGamer and German websites Promo Bricks and StoneWars, leaking price and date info.[25] On July 13, 2020, the Lego Twitter account posted a silhouette of the set before being officially revealed the next day.[26][27] Both the theme and the NES set released on August 1, 2020.[28][29] Three sets were made available on July 10, 2020.[20]

In July 2020, Design Manager Jonathan Bennink and Marketing Director Christian Munk discussed the Lego Group and Nintendo became close collaborators on Super Mario. Jonathan Bennink explained, "But there is also LEGO DNA at the core of it because after that rough patch that we had, with management saying “where are the bricks?”, in one of the online brainstorms we came up with the idea of the start and the finish. And that anything you build in between out of LEGO bricks is a level. This was also the time where we added the colour sensor to it and this meant that Mario didn't just react to the RFID bricks but also any other bricks, because he can read the basic LEGO colours. Now the whole level became interactive. Then we came up with the idea of collecting coins and you can get coins from jumping on the enemies, from beating the challenges. We added a timer to it, you can get blocks that will give you a little bit more time, for example on the Piranha Slide where you spend a lot of time balancing, you want more time. That is how it evolved into what it is now." Christian Munk explained, "I think we have a unique partnership with Nintendo. This is a LEGO line and the LEGO development process but this has truly been cocreated together with the partner – three times a week we are having Skype calls with Nintendo, they have been helping us as Jonathan said with the tech part and also with the game part, what makes this fun for kids to play, so it’s a good Nintendo and LEGO experience. It’s all about being creative, so what we are hoping is the kids will create the coolest and wackiest creations possible and then play them out to see how many coins they can collect."[30]

Jonathan Bennink revealed why the upcoming theme doesn't use minifigures and how the interactive character was developed. Jonathan Bennink explained, "Mario himself looks like he is built out of fused LEGO bricks. For instance, his tummy is the car element, the car hood, and his hair is 1×1 LEGO set plates, so he looks like he is built up from LEGO bricks. Then the enemies followed suit, because the line is all about building and creativity we also felt that the enemies needed to be built rather than moulded out of one piece. Boo is super rounded in the game but he is square because it is a LEGO version."[31]

Jonathan Bennink and Christian Munk revealed why Super Mario took four years to develop and what they learned from Lego Dimensions. Jonathan Bennink explained, "Yes it did, our bosses are not too happy with it but we made something in the end, so that’s good. It’s definitely about finding the play recipe, that took one and a half years, from that initial idea of an interactive character, then what do you do with him? Because a lot of tech toys out there, they are fun for maybe a day, and then they drop off and here we hope there is a longevity in building levels, just coming up with your own ideas and putting your own creativity into it, and then sharing that with people around you. That just took a little while, then we had to make everything, and then Nintendo was also very concerned about quality and safety so everything that we shipped to them, they dropped five thousand times as well to make sure that it is strong." and Christian Munk explained, "Just to build on that, what also makes me really proud is we have probably one of the first truly interactive play experiences from the LEGO Group. But also what makes it truly unique is it is a hand held interactive play experience where you have the LEGO Super Mario figure in the middle but then you can build this whole world of interactive play around, so you actually build the world yourself. Of course you can follow instructions but you can creatively free build your own level, it’s not special bricks, he reacts to the colour of the bricks, so you can also use the bricks you already have to build a cool world, and then he reacts both to the way you play out the world but also how you have built it, and that’s what I am particularly proud of in this line."[32]

List of sets

This is a list of all current Lego Super Mario sets.[33][34]
Number Name Pieces Year Notes
30385 Super Mushroom Surprise Pack 18 2020 Free with qualifying purchases on the Lego shop website or at brand stores.[3]
30389 Fuzzy and Mushroom Platform Pack 39 2021 Free with qualifying purchases on the Lego shop website or at brand stores.
40414 Monty Mole & Super Mushroom Expansion Set 163 2020 Only available from preorders of the "Adventures with Mario Starter Course" or from any purchases at official lego stores.[3] Includes Lego toy figures of iconic Super Mario enemies - Monty Mole
77907 Toad's Special Hideaway Expansion Set 120 2020 Was planned to be a 2020 San Diego Comic-Con exclusive, but with cancellation of the event this limited edition set was distributed through Target.
71360 Adventures with Mario Starter Course 231 2020 Includes Lego toy figures of Super Mario and iconic Super Mario enemies - Goomba, and Bowser Jr.
71361 Character Packs 23 2020 Every pack contains a buildable character and action brick to play within Lego Super Mario games – it could be a Paragoomba, Fuzzy, Spiny, Buzzy Beetle, Bullet Bill, Bob-omb, Eep Cheep, Blooper, Urchin, or Peepa.
71362 Guarded Fortress Expansion Set 468 2020 Includes Lego toy figures of iconic Super Mario enemies - Bob-omb, Koopa Troopa, and Piranha Plant.
71363 Desert Pokey Expansion Set 180 2020 Includes Lego toy figures of iconic Super Mario enemies - a buildable Pokey cactus-like figure and a Monty Mole figure.
71364 Whomp's Lava Trouble Expansion Set 133 2020 Includes Lego toy figures of iconic Super Mario enemies - Whomp and Lava Bubble figures.
71365 Piranha Plant Power Slide Expansion Set 217 2020 Includes Lego toy figures of iconic Super Mario enemies - Goomba and Koopa Troopa.
71366 Boomer Bill Barrage Expansion Set 132 2020 Includes Lego toy figures of iconic Super Mario enemies - 2 ‘flying’ Boomer Bills and a Shy Guy.
71367 Mario's House & Yoshi Expansion Set 205 2020 Includes Lego toy figures of iconic Super Mario figures - Yoshi and Goomba figures.
71368 Toad's Treasure Hunt Expansion Set 464 2020 Includes Lego toy figures of iconic Super Mario figures - Goomba, 2 Cheep Cheeps, and Toad and Toadette figures.
71369 Bowser's Castle Boss Battle Expansion Set 1010 2020 Includes Lego toy figures of iconic Super Mario enemies - Bowser, Dry Bones, Boo and Lava Bubble figures.
71370 Fire Mario Power-Up Pack 11 2020 Costume for the Super Mario figurine.
71371 Propeller Mario Power-Up Pack 13 2020 Costume for the Super Mario figurine.
71372 Cat Mario Power-Up Pack 11 2020 Costume for the Super Mario figurine.
71373 Builder Mario Power-Up Pack 10 2020 Costume for the Super Mario figurine.
71374 Nintendo Entertainment System 2646 2020 Not under the Super Mario brand, but can connect with the Mario figurine. Only available at Lego retail stores and Lego shop website.
71376 Thwomp Drop Expansion Set 393 2020 Only available from Amazon and Lego stores in the United States and Canada.
71377 King Boo and the Haunted Yard Expansion Set 431 2020 Only available at Target stores in the United States and Toys "R" Us stores in Canada.
71380 Master Your Adventure Maker Set 366 2021 Includes Lego toy figures of 4 iconic Super Mario enemy characters – Larry, Goomba, Bob-omb, and Paratroopa, along with 3 customizable blocks. 2 of them are ?-blocks, and one being a timer block.
71381 Chain Chomp Jungle Encounter Expansion Set 160 2021 This toy playset includes Lego figures of 2 iconic Super Mario enemies – a Chain Chomp and Bramball.
71382 Piranha Plant Puzzling Challenge Expansion Set 267 2021 Includes Lego toy figures of iconic Super Mario enemies - 2 Piranha Plants and Spiny.
71383 Wiggler's Poison Swamp Expansion Set 374 2021 Includes Lego toy figures of iconic Super Mario enemies – a Wiggler, Goomba and Paratroopa.
71384 Penguin Mario Power-Up Pack 18 2021 Costume for the Super Mario figurine.
71385 Tanooki Mario Power-Up Pack 13 2021 Costume for the Super Mario figurine.
71386 Character Packs – Series 2 24 2021 10 unique Lego Super Mario toy characters to collect: Huckit Crab, Spiny Cheep Cheep, Ninji, Foo, Parachute Goomba, Para-Beetle, Poison Mushroom, Thwimp, Fly Guy and Bone Goomba.
71387 Adventures with Luigi Starter Course[35][36] 280 2021 Includes Lego toy figures of Luigi and iconic Super Mario characters- Boom Boom, Pink Yoshi, and Bone Goomba.
71388 Boss Sumo Bro Topple Tower Expansion Set 231 2021 Includes Lego toy figures of iconic Super Mario enemies - Boss Sumo Bro and Crowber.
71389 Lakitu Sky World Expansion Set 484 2021 Includes Lego toy figures of iconic Super Mario enemies - Lakitu, Fuzzy and Bullet Bill.
71390 Reznor Knockdown Expansion Set 862 2021 Includes Lego toy figures of iconic Super Mario enemies - 2 Reznors, Blue Toad and Grrrol.
71391 Bowser's Airship Expansion Set 1152 2021 Includes Lego toy figures of iconic Super Mario enemies - Magikoopa, Goomba and Rocky Wrench.
71392 Frog Mario Power-Up Pack 11 2021 Costume for the Super Mario figurine.
71393 Bee Mario Power-Up Pack 13 2021 Costume for the Super Mario figurine.
71394 Character Packs – Series 3[37][38] 23 2021 Every pack contains a buildable character and action brick to play within Lego Super Mario games – it could be a Swoop, Boo, ScuttleBug, Crowber, Torpedo Ted, 1-Up Mushroom, Amp, Galoomba, Bony Beetle or Parachute Bob-Omb.
71395 Super Mario 64 ? Block[39] 2064 2021 Not under the Super Mario brand, but can connect with the Mario figurine. Only available at Lego retail stores and Lego shop website.
71396 Bowser Junior's Clown Car Expansion Set 84 2022 Costume for the Super Mario figurine. Also contains a Bob-omb.
71397 Lab And Poltergust Expansion Set[40] 179 2022 Includes Lego toy figures of iconic Luigi's Mansion enemies and figures - Professor Egad, and Golden Ghost.
71398 Dorrie's Beach Front Expansion Set 229 2022 Includes Lego toy figures of iconic Super Mario enemies and figures - Dorrie and Huckit Crab.
71399 Entryway Expansion Set[40] 504 2022 Includes Lego toy figures of iconic Luigi's Mansion enemies and figures - Polterpup, Boo, and Bogmire.
71400 Big Urchin Beach Ride Expansion Set 536 2022 Includes Lego toy figures of iconic Super Mario enemies and figures - Big Urchin, Yellow Yoshi, Dolphin, and Cheep Cheep.
71401 Haunt And Seek Expansion Set[40] 877 2022 Includes Lego toy figures of iconic Luigi's Mansion enemies and figures - King Boo, Toad, TrashCan Ghost and a Grabbing Ghost.
71402 Character Packs – Series 4 29 2022 Every pack contains a buildable character and action brick to play within Lego Super Mario games – it could be a Stingby, Bully, Goombrat, Ant Trooper, Mechakoopa, Scaredy Rat, Freezie, Coin Coffer, Para-Biddybud or a Baby Penguin.
71403 Adventures with Peach Starter Course[41][42] 354 2022 Includes Lego toy figures of iconic Super Mario enemies and figures - Lemmy Koopa, Yellow Toad and Lava Bubble.
71404 Goomba’s Shoe Expansion Set[42] 76 2022 Costume for the Super Mario figurine. Also contains a Goomba.
71405 Fuzzy Flippers Expansion Set[42] 154 2022 Includes Lego toy figures of iconic Super Mario enemies and figures - Only 2 Fuzzy’s.
71406 Yoshi’s Gift House Expansion Set[42] 246 2022 Includes Lego toy figures of iconic Super Mario enemies and figures - Yoshi and Monty Mole.
71407 Cat Peach Suit And Frozen Tower Expansion Set[42] 494 2022 Includes Lego toy figures of iconic Super Mario enemies and figures -

Cat Goomba, Magikoopa and Toad. Also contains a cat power-up suit for Peach.

71408 Peach’s Castle Expansion Set[42] 1216 2022 Includes Lego toy figures of iconic Super Mario enemies and figures -

Ludwig Von Koopa, Toadette, Goomba, Bowser and Bob-omb.

71408 Big Spike’s Cloudtop Challenge Expansion Set[42] 540 2022 Includes Lego toy figures of iconic Super Mario enemies and figures -

Big Spike, Boomerang Bro and Piranha Plant.

App

An app titled Lego Super Mario was developed by The Lego Group for Android, iOS and Fire iOS. It was released on 1 August 2020.[43] In 2021, players will be able to activate the experience via the app and won't be restricted to using only Lego Mario and Luigi, but can instead use any combination of the two characters.[44]

Reception

Super Mario Theme

The theme received generally positive reviews, with most claiming it is a perfect item for kids, but can work for Lego and Mario fans.[45][46] CNET's Scott Stein described the theme to be "solid summer entertainment" which allowed for something to do during lockdown, praising the cute, simplistic to build sets as well as the amount of intractability with the theme but criticized the overwhelming amount of open design and a lack of replayability.[47] Many reviews compared the idea to other Nintendo products such as Super Mario Maker and Nintendo Labo. For example, Alex Olney of Nintendo Life wrote how he realized this was like Mario Maker in a physical form. In the review, he summarized that the Mario figurine is very charming and quite likable as well as citing the simplicity being better suited for younger audiences. However, he did criticize that the level designs and concepts lacked the same charm that the figurine had.[48] Mike Fahey of Kotaku discussed that the best way to play with the theme was to use imagination to enhance the experience. With the figurine, whilst the design started to grow on him, the figurine turned off was unsettling. He felt as a Lego collector, he felt the theme lacked a certain element, adding that more interactive figures could help increase the experience of the theme.[49] In The Telegraph's review, Tom Hoggins felt that the homages in the sets added charm to the overall product, praising the idea as a whole, but did point out that the price range of the sets didn't seem to match with the age range, adding the pricing was more for Lego collectors.[50]

In July 2020, Lego Super Mario was shortlisted for the Play Creators Awards 2020.[51] In October 2020, Adventures with Mario Starter Course was listed on the Tesco’s top ten toys for Christmas 2020.[52] In November 2020, Adventures with Mario Starter Course was listed on the Top Toys for Christmas 2020 as selected by ITV's This Morning.[53]

Lego NES

Similar to the Mario theme, this set received positive reviews. Many reviews praised the accuracy of the set to the original design.[54] Other reviews also praise the interactivity with set, mainly with the crank and the console.[55] Kevin Wong of IGN thoroughly enjoyed building the set, even with the long building time. He praised the set for its homages whilst staying faithful to the original design.[56] Graham of Brick Fanatics found that the NES set was far superior to the Mario theme, praising the functionality and appeal of the set to hardcore Nintendo and Lego fans.[57]

Awards and nominations

In 2021, Lego Super Mario won the NPD Group's Global and European Toy Industry Performance Awards.[58]

In February 2021, Character Packs and Bowser's Castle Boss Battle Expansion Set won the Toy of the Year Awards 2021.[59]

Notes

References

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