Thanks to a conversation my friend Yami (@idsanty on Twitter) and I were having the other day about how silly it would be if the Mario universe had a timeline, I lost my mind today and decided to try and link the most of the core games together in a semi-logical chronological order and fill in some gaps. This is what I came up with.
There are only 7 or 8 other humans in the Mario universe. Either this means that humans are facing extinction or humans are from somewhere other than Mushroom Kingdom. If humans are from elsewhere, this would be explained by the Super Mario Bros. movie which featured a dimensional rift created by a meteor impact that separated Bowser's world (the world in which Mushroom Kingdom is a place, not a crack dream) and the world as we know it. If we are going with this theory, then Yoshi's Island, Yoshi's Island DS, and Yoshi's Story are all tales young Mario created to explain childbirth to his younger brother Luigi since they were orphans and didn't have anyone to tell them differently. That is why the games look as if they are from a storybook (in the case of Yoshi's Story, it IS a storybook) and have storks delivering babies. So with this in mind, after the events of the movie, Mario and Luigi follow Daisy into the alternate dimension (it could be assumed that the kingdom ruled by Bowser in the Super Mario Bros. movie is Daisy's kingdom of Sarasaland since she is its ruler). The trouble alluded to in the conclusion of the film is probably Bowser's initial kidnapping of Princess Peach, which he did to effectively take over Mushroom Kingdom in the events of Super Mario Bros. on the NES. Of course, this means that Mario left Paulina, who Mario saved in the real world from a burly construction worker symbolized by Donkey Kong in the original Donkey Kong, behind in the real world. Managing to save Princess Peach, Mario and Luigi decide to live in Mushroom Kingdom permanently.
What happened after that?
After that, I'm assuming things settled down for a while. Mario Party-ing ensued, along with golfing, karting, etc. However, even though Bowser participated, he harbored a grudge for being ousted out of Sarasaland and that his attempt to kidnap Peach was thwarted, denying him dominion over the neighboring Mushroom Kingdom. When Sarasaland came under attack by the alien creature Tatanga in Super Mario Land for the Game Boy, Bowser made his move. In the events of Super Mario Galaxy, A fleet of airships attacked Princess Peach's Castle during the centennial Star Festival. The entire castle was shot up into space by a flying saucer, possibly built from the wreckage of Tatanga's spacecraft. Mario, who was delayed in returning to Mushroom Kingdom by the intervention of Wario in Super Mario Land 2, arrived just in time to try and stop these events, failed, and then followed Bowser into space. While Mario chased Bowser, he collected 120 Power Stars that helped him rescue the Princess once more. Not to be deterred by failure, Bowser makes a very similar attempt to kidnap the Princess in the events of Super Mario Galaxy 2 and is once again foiled. More time passed, more parties, more karting, some painting, etc. and finally, the Mario Brothers with Peach decided to take a vacation. This decision brought them to Dinosaur Island, part of which is Yoshi's Island - eerily similar to the island Mario made up as a child - However, the gang chose to rest for a time on the beach. While everyone was napping, Luigi dreamed up a world called Subcon that needed to be saved from the evil Wart - the events of Super Mario Bros. 2. Luigi's dream episode also set up the upcoming Mario and Luigi: Dream Team for 3DS. When the nap wrapped up, it turned out that Bowser had designs on Dinosaur Island and they just so happened to coincide with the gang's vacation. Soooo, he decided to make up for lost time and kidnap Princess Peach again while everyone was asleep. Over the course of Super Mario World, the two plumbers saved the day again, this time aided by the fearless and remarkable Yoshis of Dinosaur Island. The dynamic duo kicked Bowser's scaly behind off of the island and returned Peach safely home.
More time passed during which Mario took up tennis, street fighting, and earned a PhD in medicine. Luigi won a mansion in a contest he never entered and Mario gets abducted by ghosts, leaving Luigi to face his fears and save his older brother. Luigi successfully accomplished that task and finally began having an ounce of self-respect, but Mario emerged from the experience at Luigi's Mansion traumatized. Peach, in an effort to heal her now-boyfriend's fractured psyche, took him on another vacation, this time to Delfino Island, precipitating the events of Super Mario Sunshine. While there, Mario mental state appeared to heal, although what affect Baby Bowser calling his girlfriend "mom" had on his mind is hard to say. Regardless, Mario came out of the experience stronger than ever.
While Mario had been out gallivanting around getting kidnapped and vacationing, Bowser had not been idle. He spurred Koopa Land into an industrial revolution, focusing on the mass production of tanks, cannons and Bullet-Bill ammunition, airships, and troop recruitment. With all of his stockpiled resources, he launched an all-out war against the peaceful Mushroom Kingdom and succeeded in capturing most of it, transforming the kings, who function as governors for the various regions of the Mushroom Kingdom, into animals. While Mario attempted to save the first king, Princess Peach was kidnapped (surprise). Mario fought his way through all the different kingdoms, single-handedly beating back Bowser's army and finally dethroning Bowser.
Mario and company decide to put on a huge theatrical production that vilifies Bowser.
Either way, the events of Super Mario Bros. 3 infuriated Bowser and he planned one last ditch attempt to destroy his most hated rival and finally kidnap Peach for good - a goal that had become more about the principle rather than practicality. Relying on magic instead of brute force, he imprisoned the denizens of Peach's Castle and Peach herself by using the 120 Power Stars found in Super Mario Galaxy 1 & 2 and baited Mario into coming to the castle using a forged letter from the Princess. Realizing his danger, Mario avoided all the traps and pitfalls planned for him and beat the tar out of Bowser with his bare hands. Mario tried to end things once and for all by throwing the Koopa King into magical lava, but sadly only the enchantment on the castle broke. This released everyone affected by the spell on the castle including Bowser, who escapes, and concluded the events of Super Mario 64.
Most of the Mario games I didn't mention by name could happen at anytime between Super Mario Galaxy and Super Mario 64, or by saying they happened in another dimension which is heavily implied by Super Smash Bros. Brawl.
Intro pic credit goes to Spartan650
Originally appeared 2/25/13 on www.gameinformer.com