There are all kinds of video game collectors out there: Some may focus on a specific platform, a specific publisher or developer, a specific series, or even just a certain character.
Of course, when it comes to Nintendo’s Mario, he’s not “just” a character — he’s the face of their franchise, the company mascot, and originally, an everyman who was designed to fit into a variety of roles as needed, a la a Mickey Mouse or a Bugs Bunny. As such, he’s featured in a lot of video games over the years with appearances both big and small.
The easiest ones to find are, of course, those that have his name in them: Super Mario Bros., Mario Kart, Dr. Mario, and so on. Those a little better versed in their video game history know that he first appeared in the games featuring another of Nintendo’s marquee stars in the title, Donkey Kong. But you dig even deeper, and there are still more games that Mario has put the time into that some people may not be aware of, and that’s what this series is dedicated to digging up.
One of the earliest such instances is Nintendo’s Golf for the Nintendo Entertainment System. Though his stature is different from the plucky pint-sized plumbing protagonist we’ve become accustomed to, Nintendo confirmed in the Mario Mania Player’s Guide that it is indeed their beloved mascot hitting the links.
Curiously enough, the Japan-exclusive Wii title Captain Rainbow would identify him as “Ossan,” a Japanese term for “middle-aged guy” that was one of the pseudonyms Mario was known as in development before his name was finalized. Perhaps the different appearance led Nintendo to flesh the Golf star out into a third (and all but forgotten) Mario brother?