According to Shigeru Miyamoto, Mario's games are timeless. This allows him to release Mario's adventures in whatever order he may wish, without worrying about when the adventure really happened. However, Mario's adventures did occur in a certain order, and determining this order will help shed light on many things in the lives of Mario and the many characters he meets.
Therefore, I have created a list of many of Mario's games, placing them in order and explaining my reasons for their placement. It is my hope that by so doing I will make some sense out of the Mario Universe. If I have left out a game you are interested in, let me know and I will try to slot it into the timeline.
Yoshi's Island: Of all the games on the list, the placement of this game is probably debated the least. Mario, Luigi, and Bowser are all babies in this game, so it would take a lot of explaining before this game could be anywhere but first on the list. Kamek, foreseeing that twins born "today" would later defeat the Koopa Klan, kidnapped Baby Luigi as he and Baby Mario were being delivered by the stork. Kamek missed Baby Mario, who fell to the island below, right onto Yoshi's back! Baby Mario somehow knew the way to Baby Luigi, and the Yoshis took him, despite the dangers. Yoshi defeated Baby Bowser, forcing he and Kamek to flee, and rescued Baby Luigi and the stork, who took the twins to their parents.
Yoshi's Story: Although Mario is not in this game, it is still an important cause of Bowser's later actions. After being defeated by Yoshi in Yoshi's Island, Baby Bowser attempted to take revenge on the Yoshis by stealing their Super Happy Tree. The Yoshis that helped save Baby Mario were among those effected by Baby Bowser's curse, but their offspring were not. This game has to be after Yoshi's Island because Baby Bowser refers to Mario in this game, whereas in Yoshi's Island, Yoshi is just a "green donkey" to him and Mario doesn't matter at all. At the same time this game can't be long after Yoshi's Island since Baby Bowser is still, well, a baby.
Mario and Luigi: Partners in Time: Once upon a time, when Baby Mario and Baby Luigi were toddlers, the evil Shroob aliens attacked, led by the Peach-reminiscent Princess Shroob. Peach herself was captured by the Shroobs after going back in time in Professor E. Gadd's time machine. Then Mario and Luigi turned up, having come through a timehole, and teamed up with their younger selves. They also met Baby Peach and a more youthful but just as protective Toadsworth, Prince Bowser, and even a younger Gadd. The four Marios collected the shards of the Cobalt Star, the power source of Gadd's time machine and supposedly the Shroobs' bane, only to discover that Peach had already used it to capture Princess Shroob's even stronger older sister. The Marios managed to defeat both Princess Shroobs, then discovered that the Shroobs' real weakness was, in fact, babies' tears. After eradicating all traces of the Shroobs, the Marios sent their young incarnations back to the past to live their life as normally as a Mario possibly could.
The "present day" portion of the game was actually fairly insubstantial, and mostly consisted of going through Peach's Castle looking for timeholes. But, it happened in the latest days, among the Mario Parties...
Tetris Attack: This is another game starring Yoshi. By now Bowser is all grown up, but since he has yet to meet Mario as an adult he continues his attacks against the Yoshis. Apparently, he hypnotized all of Yoshi's friends and flooded Yoshi's Island. Yoshi defeated his friends to cure them, then went after Bowser's goons and finally Bowser himself. Some of Bowser's goons were still hanging around from Yoshi's Island, including Kamek. This is the last time you'll see Kamek in a major role in a game; later Kammy becomes the Head Magikoopa, as the elderly Kamek finally steps down.
Wrecking Crew: After Yoshi's Island, the Mushroomers sent Mario and Luigi to Earth to protect them from the Koopas. The Brothers grew up in Brooklyn, never knowing they were born in the Mushroom Kingdom or saved by Yoshis. Once Mario and Luigi finished high school they realized they needed a job, so they both went into the wrecking business. During this time they were involved in a little-known adventure involving tough work and an evil foreman. The adventure is so little-known that I can't say much about it, but after this fiasco Mario quit his job in search for a new one. This is why Luigi does not appear in the next few games, as he remained with the wrecking crew.
Donkey Kong, Donkey Kong Jr.: After a short job search, Mario decided to try out carpentry as it seemed like a nice change from destroying stuff. Things went smoothly, and Mario even got a steady girlfriend, Pauline. All of a sudden, a huge ape named Donkey Kong showed up from nowhere and kidnapped Pauline, and Mario had to go rescue her. Since Mario hadn't gained any of his super powers yet, he had a tough time catching DK, but he did manage to do it. After capturing the ape, however, he was chased down by DK's son, and defeated for the only known time to date. Mario got away (as did DK and his son), but he got in a lot of trouble for destroying the fourth building (that would have been part of his first job, not his second), and ended up losing his job. Pauline also left Mario for another man. Some say it was Stanley the Bugman, but this is unconfirmed.
Dr. Mario, Mario Picross, Mario Teaches Typing, Punchout, Tennis, Golf, and others: Once again in need of work, Mario went through a very tumultuous period during which he jumped from job to job. He went to medical school, but flunked out because his solution to all ailments was to load up his patients with a random combination of three pills made out of leftover chemicals from a long abandoned lab. Mario got a job as an archeologist, but ended up getting fired because he destroyed valuable artifacts by chiseling pictures into them. Mario also tried teaching stuff like letters, numbers, and typing, but for some reason his students kept getting distracted and rarely learned much, and Mario had to go job-searching once more. Mario also found temporary employment as a boxing referee, tennis line judge, and golfer, among other professions that we have yet to discover.
It has been brought to my attention by an attentive tourist that, according to the Dr. Mario manual, Mario was alerted to the Virus problem by "Nurse Toadstool", seemingly moving the game out of the Employment Era and into the Mushroom Kingdom Era. While the manual is less important than the game itself, the game doesn't have anything to contradict this claim, so I'll accept the evidence. Other good evidence is that the Viruses in Superstar Saga look an awful lot like the ones in Dr. Mario, suggesting that the ones in the game are a Plit strain that may or may not exist on Earth. The reason I have not moved Dr. Mario on the timeline is twofold. First, I still believe that Mario originally took up medicine while on Earth, even though this is not apparently what's shown in the Dr. Mario series. Second, the Dr. Mario games don't really offer any clues for where they might go in the timeline. There are very few characters, and given the nature of the game, it's hard to argue that any character was purposefully excluded. (For example, this could be after the Mario-Luigi reconciliation, even though Luigi isn't in it, because maybe Luigi never became a doctor because he wasn't job-hunting back on Earth.) In addition to that, Dr. Mario is less an adventure than, say, Mario 3, which surely took several days or longer for the real Mario to complete. The events of Dr. Mario aren't necessarily connected, and might have taken place in some string of afternoons or whatever that would be hard to trace.
It is, therefore, my opinion that Mario originally practiced medicine on Earth, but that the events pictured in Dr. Mario and its spinoffs happened in the Mushroom Kingdom. The jury is still out on when the games might actually have happened, and in this case, I'm not even sure the question makes sense except to offer a timespan that might coincide with other games. So I will leave Dr. Mario in with the Employment Era, since that's where the ball got started rolling, until such time as I have a better idea of where to put it.
Mario Brothers: Finally, Mario found his true calling: plumbing! By this time Luigi had finally become fed up with the evil foreman and joined Mario in his new profession. The Brothers saw a lot more than just clogged up pipes, however. In fact, they saw stuff like Fighter Flies and Shell Creepers! It's all part of a day's work for a plumber, though, so the two future heroes cleaned out many pipes of the vermin, thus bringing about this game.
Super Mario Bros. 1 and The Lost Levels: Mario and Luigi did such a nice job cleaning out the pipes in Mario Brothers that they actually got to keep their jobs! While on a routine plumbing job, as many Mario fans no doubt know, the Mario Brothers got sucked down the drain. The drain was actually a concealed warp pipe. Whether it was fate or just luck, Mario and Luigi ended up back in their country of origin, the Mushroom Kingdom! Those who have seen the Super Mario Brothers Super Show may remember seeing, in the credits, Mario show up just in time to defeat Bowser in his first attempted conquest of the Mushroom Kingdom. The credits are misleading since Mario did not actually defeat Bowser by barreling out of a pipe. However, almost immediately after emerging in Mushroom Kingdom, the Brothers were plunged into their first adventure against King Bowser Koopa. After being defeated, Bowser kidnapped Peach again, but this time he had stronger minions and forced Mario and Luigi to cross more difficult terrain. Despite the increased difficulty, Mario and Luigi were once again able to defeat Bowser and rescue Peach.
The Super Mario Brothers Super Show adventures closely follow The Lost Levels.
Super Mario 64 DS: Shortly after her second rescue, Princess Peach invited the Mario Brothers to her castle for a cake as a way to say thank you. They happily accepted, and were joined by Wario, a greedy acquaintance of Mario who wasn't going to turn down a party he thought he could sneak an invite to (especially since the castle might have something worth taking). The three men entered the castle... but then none came out. Bowser had trapped them, just as he had the princess earlier, and left them guarded by three of his toughest minions. That could have been the end of it, had Yoshi not turned up. Yoshi wasn't invited to this particular party, but as a hero in his own right, was no stranger to the castle, and happened to be sleeping on the roof when the Marios entered. Finding that the castle was strangely quiet, Yoshi headed on in to check things out, and ended up rescuing Mario. Mario then freed Luigi, Luigi released Wario, and Wario... did nothing much, since only Mario could break the spell on Bowser's Endless Stairs, defeat the tyrant, and rescue the princess once again. Celebration ensued, but Wario, who had done little apart from flash some muscle, became something of an outcast and was soon able to piggyback on another invitation.
Note: Super Mario 64 and Super Mario 64 DS are two different versions of the same adventure. Mario 64 is accurate inasfar as Mario went to the castle, collected Power Stars across the fifteen major worlds, and rescued Princess Peach... but left out stuff like Mario getting rescued by Yoshi, and so on.
Super Mario Sunshine: Peach decided that a cake was not enough to thank Mario for saving her three times, so she took him with her on an all-expense paid trip to tropical Isle Delfino to rest. Luigi ended up getting forgotten since it was Mario, once again, who rescued Peach in the end; Luigi was very bitter about the whole thing later on. When Mario and Peach arrived at the island, they were surprised to find it covered in graffiti, and even more surprised to find that Mario was accused of the literally dirty deed. It turned out that Bowser, for the first time, had decided to use a slightly more strategic plan for defeating Mario. By framing him, Bowser hoped that the islanders would emprison or even kill Mario. As it turned out, the islanders merely required Mario to clean the island, and he was able to do so by using a water pump known as FLUDD. Mario also met one of Bowser's kids. You may not know who Bowser Jr. is, but you may recognize him by another name. Introducing, Baby Ludwig! That's right, it's Bowser's first kid in baby form. Nintendo used a different name and appearance in this game so as not to offend fans of the other six Koopalings. Little did Mario know he would some day meet up with seven young brats, each stronger than Jr.
Super Mario Land 2: Six Golden Coins: For saving not only her but all of Isle Delfino, Peach bought Mario an island of his very own. This came to be known as Mario Land. Mario had a castle built, and ruled the land fairly. When Mario's evil cousin Wario got word of this (the castle, not the ruling), he became very jealous. One day when Mario was away, Wario snuck in, took over the castle, and scattered various nasties all across the land to keep Mario out. Of course this could not stand, so Mario searched the land for the six golden coins needed to unlock the door to the castle, then kicked Wario out. Afterwards Mario decided that ruling wasn't his thing and signed Mario Land over to Peach as a new territory of the Mushroom Kingdom.
Mario and Wario: After Mario Land 2, Mario discovered that his evil double had stolen some money he had stored in his castle. Mario didn't really need it, but pride was at stake! So Mario, Luigi, Yoshi, and Peach set off for Wario's castle, but along the way Wario hindered their progress by dropping stuff on their heads to cover their eyes. However, Mario and Co. seem to have a guardian angel of sorts, a fairy by the name of Wanda whose job it was to make sure her visually-challenged charges made it to Wario's place without running into too much trouble. The obstacles got more and more difficult the closer the Marios got, but with Wanda's help they made it to Wario's castle and made him pay, with interest! Defeated, Wario went on to become very successful as he stole a lot of money from the Sugar Pirates and eventually got a castle to call his very own. (See the Wario Land series in the "Left off the Timeline" section.
Super Princess Peach: Since having Mario thrown in Isle Delfino's prison didn't work, Bowser decided to toss him and "the green man" in his own. He did this by traveling to Vibe Island and stealing a wand capable of controlling the emotions of anyone nearby. In the non-existent hands of a loyal Goomba, the wand revved up an army of Hammer Brothers, muddled the castle guards, and led to the Mario Brothers' capture. With the heroes in need of heroics, it was up to Princess Peach, who had been out of the castle on a walk, to save the day. With the aid of Perry, a magical umbrella found on the side of the road by Toadsworth, Peach ventured across Vibe Island, using her own emotions, exaggerated by the power of that land, to get past the many obstacles and enemies. After releasing many of her castle's Toads, Peach finally rescued the green man from a giant Magikoopa, and Mario from a very emotional Bowser himself. Later the heroes would find a way to change Perry back to his original, non-umbrella self, but Peach would still be seen walking around with a brelly from time to time.
Paper Mario: Embittered by his many defeats, Bowser enlisted the aid of Kammy Koopa to help him steal the Star Rod so he could become invincible. Despite an early defeat, Mario was able to rescue the seven scattered Star Spirits and acquire the power needed to match the Star Rod. He defeated Bowser and rescued Peach once again. As for the Koopalings, Bowser was not yet willing to give Baby Ludwig another chance, despite his son's willingness, and the other Koopalings were still too young. They were hidden along with Bowser's wife in a secret room in his castle.
Mario vs Donkey Kong: By now, Mario was a national celebrity in the Mushroom Kingdom, enough so as to get a line of toys dedicated to him. When Donkey Kong saw the commerical for the new talking, walking, jumping Mario toys, rather than fall into a fit of rage at seeing his enemy, as I would have expected, he decided he wanted them - all of them. Finding the local toystore sold out, DK then stole all of the Mario Dolls from the local factory, thereby attracting Mario's attention. Why Mario took it upon himself to deal with what was essentially a petty theft, I don't know. Perhaps Mario felt slighted and disrespected by his old enemy. I would feel honored if someone were to steal dolls in my likeness. In any case, Mario chased DK around the Mushroom Kingdom, saving some Toads DK kidnapped in a last-ditch effort, and then chased DK around the kingdom a second time. In the end, Mario finally defeated DK and rescued all the Mario Dolls, but in an expression of good will, allowed DK to keep one of them. Everyone was happy, yada yada yada, and that's why after this, DK pals around with Mario and shows up in the sports and party games.
Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars: Bowser was so upset about being defeated despite his newfound invincibility that he kidnapped Peach once again in as simple a way as possible. In fact, he kidnapped her from right in front of Mario's house, even though Mario was then living nearby his castle (known as the Keep). As a result of his simple plan and nearby location, Mario was able to reach and defeat Bowser quickly. However, a short adventure suddenly became one of Mario's hardest ever as a new foe came into play. After Exor the sword destroyed Star Road and scattered the Seven Stars, Mario ended up having to go around the world, collecting the Stars and ultimately teaming up with Bowser for the very first time against a common evil. Mario, Bowser, Peach, and two new friends, Geno and Mallow ended up defeating Smithy, that common enemy. Though Mario and Bowser were on shakey ground throughout the adventure, after Smithy was vanquished it was unspokenly agreed that there should be a truce. Luigi did not join up with Mario to show his resentment at having being ignored so often in the past, particularly in Paper Mario, where Mario specifically asked him not to help.
New Super Mario Bros: After Mario RPG, Bowser took a break to rebuild and recover, but the ever-rambunctious Bowser Jr. did not. One day while Mario and Peach were taking a walk, Jr. had his minions create a distraction at the castle to attract Mario's attention. Then, with the princess standing all alone watching the scene, he snuck up from behind and snatched her away. Mario quickly gave chase, but could not run down the flighty Koopaling. The adventure pitted Mario against many of the same enemies as in his first adventures in the Mushroom Kingdom. This time, though, he found new Mushrooms that allowed him to become incredibly large or incredibly tiny. He also, on rare occassions, found a blue shell that allowed him to masquerade as a Koopa. Mario encountered Bowser early in this adventure. Uninformed of the goings-on until just before Mario reached him, and still trying to recuperate from his previous adventure, Bowser ended up getting turned into a skeleton, and then actually got killed. Jr. revived him for the final battle, but both were defeated and had to escape while Mario rescued Peach. After this fiasco, Bowser declared that he would plan the conquests from then on. He might not have been any more successful than Junior in the past, but at least he'd never got himself killed.
Mario's Time Machine: Bowser went to Earth and stole a whole bunch of items from history, like the apple that fell on Isaac Newton's head. His plan, as I understand it, was to stunt Earth's technological growth so that it would become easy for him to conquer Earth in the present. Of course Mario thwarted his plans, by returning the stolen items. This was one of the harder games to place on the timeline because most of the game takes place in the past, way before Yoshi's Island, so there's not a whole lot to go on for deciding when "the present" was for this game. There are a few clues, however. First, (the green) Yoshi makes an appearance in the NES version of this game, suggesting that this happened sometime after Mario became reacquainted with Yoshi in Mario RPG (or perhaps Paper Mario, if that is Yoshi the Yoshi there on Lavalava Island). The Koopalings do not make an appearance, suggesting that this happened before Mario 3. Luigi also does not appear, suggesting that this happened before he and Mario made up at the end of Luigi's Mansion. That places this game roughly between Mario RPG and Luigi's Mansion. Although Bowser is supposed to have called a truce after Mario RPG, he may have decided to go after Earth because he would not expect this to bother Mario (not being an expert on Mario's past, he wouldn't have known Mario lived there), plus his plan did not require much of an army.
Super Mario Land: With the Mushroom Kingdom temporarily safe from Bowser, Mario, who was by now used to nearly constant adventuring, started to become restless. When he heard there was trouble in the nearby kingdom of Sarasaland, Mario jumped at the opportunity to help out. He quickly boarded a plane and flew off to his next adventure, completely ditching Luigi once again. When he reached Sarasaland, he found that it was under seige from Tatanga, and that Princess Daisy had been kidnapped. Mario had fought against Tatanga before; he was the boss of Space Zone back in his first quest against Wario. However, this time Tatanga had a much larger, better trained army, and better guns to back it up. Despite these improvements, Mario was able to defeat Tatanga once again. It is unclear whether Tatanga is still alive, but he has yet to make an appearance since. Princess Daisy, who turned out to be Peach's sister, was thankful that her sister had allowed the Mushroom Kingdom's hero to help her and started to repair the long-damaged relationship with her sister. They had been fighting since the girls' father chose the young Peach over the older Daisy to rule Mushroom Kingdom, the larger of the two realms.
Luigi's Mansion: Mario became unwillingly caught up in this adventure as another of his old foes decided to extract revenge. This time it was King Boo, who Mario defeated back on Isle Delfino, causing the Boo to be kicked out of the Koopa Troop and to lose a lot of his power. Luigi came to the mansion as well because he was supposed to have won it in a contest, but quickly learned the hair-raising truth. Although Luigi was still mad at Mario for ditching him so many times in the past, in their hearts the Mario Brothers really love each other, I guess, and Luigi never questioned his obligation to save his slightly older brother. Though the quest was scary, Luigi succeeded in capturing King Boo and setting free his brother from his 2D prison. Following this adventure, another relationship was patched up, this one between Mario and Luigi. Mario also finally got some closure as to who invented FLUDD.
Super Mario Bros. 2: This is one of the hardest games to place on the timeline, particularily because many people believe that this adventure did not actually happen at all. However, Sub-con, which is short for subconscious, is a real place. The easiest way to get there is through sleeping or, on occassion, daydreaming, but it is possible, though difficult, to get there by warp as well. This is how Wart, Bowser's rejected brother, got there. His plan was to take over Sub-con and send subliminal messages to all dreamers, persuading them to do his bidding. Unluckily for him, the Mario Brothers showed up at just the wrong time. Shortly after Luigi's Mansion, Luigi went to sleep and had a nightmare so violent that he was pulled into Sub-con. Mario, Peach, and Toad, who all share a bond with Luigi, were dragged in as well when they went to sleep. In Sub-con they encountered enemies Luigi remembered from the past, such as Shy Guy and Porcupo (a slightly inaccurate memory of the childhood enemy Harry Hedgehog), enemies that already existed in Sub-con, such as the key-guarding Phanto, and enemies created by Wart and his Dream Machine, such as Panser. Luigi, Mario, Peach, and Toad managed to defeat Wart and make the land of dreams safe for all once again. Then they woke up.
Mario Kart, Mario Golf, Mario Tennis, and others: With Bowser still on hiatus and Mario's old enemies quiet, Mario and Luigi quickly ran out of things to do. Since they could get money by bashing blocks in the Mushroom Kingdom, they didn't even need to plumb anymore, although the Brothers considered returning to Earth and getting their old jobs back, just so they would be busy. Afraid of losing her heroes, Peach hastily organized some sporting events and encouraged the Mario Brothers to stay. Mario wasn't interested at first, but he soon warmed up to the idea. Many of Mario's friends showed up to compete; even Bowser dropped by. Wario, who had been on decent terms with Mario since finding his fortune, competed in many of the events too. It was a peaceful time for all in the Mushroom Kingdom.
Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door: Time dulls all memories, and apparently the period of peace made Peach a little careless. Ignoring the foreboding name, she took a vacation to Rogueport, a lawless haven for thieves on the edge of the Mushroom Kingdom, where she discovered a treasure map. She also discovered more trouble than she could handle on her own, and was kidnapped by Grodus and his X-Nauts. These villainous types sought the treasure map, which led to seven Crystal Stars that together could open the Thousand-Year Door and pave the way to the soul of a thousand-year-old demon, who Grodus believed would obey whoever resurrected her. Peach had previously sent the map to Mario to get him to join her on the hunt, however, and so the plumber began collecting the Crystal Stars himself. As Luigi went on his own adventure, collecting Compass Pieces to lead the way to Princess Eclair in the Mushroom Kingdom, Mario opened the Thousand-Year Door and tangled with Bowser (who had been enticed back into action by reports of the magical Crystal Stars and the unauthorized kidnapping of Peach), but could not beat Grodus to the demon known as the Shadow Queen. After the queen demolished Grodus, Mario, with the help of his friends and the Crystal Stars, bested her. The Mario Gang returned home, Peach promised to act more princess-like, and peace seemed to have returned...
Super Mario Bros. 3: All of a sudden, Bowser, infuriated and now fully prepared for evil, sacked the Mushroom Kingdom! Ever since the so-called truce at the end of Mario RPG, Bowser had been developing his army, gaining new technology, and training his children, who were ready to face Mario for the first time (as quoted by Wendy in the Mario 3 manual). The Mario Brothers were taken completely offguard by the attack, and were up against more enemies and obstacles than ever before. As a result, this may well have been their hardest adventure even though Mario and Luigi worked together again. Somehow (and I still don't know quite how), Mario and Luigi defeated all of the Koopalings and met up with Bowser in Dark Land. They couldn't overpower him, but they were able to trick him. Bowser ended up trapping himself in a pit, and Mario and Luigi saved Peach once again.
The Mario 3 cartoon episodes and some of the adventure books closely follow this quest.
Mario and Luigi: Superstar Saga: After falling in lava, being tossed into bombs, and being blown off the top of Peach's Castle, it was certain that a little drop into a pit wasn't going to keep Bowser down for long, so Mario decided to hang around the house and stay prepared. The only thing is, nothing could have prepared him for the sudden appearance of the evil witch Cackletta, who made off with Peach's voice, replacing it with deadly explosives. Bowser, who had picked just that time to make his next attempt, realized he couldn't kidnap Peach in this state because the explosives would ruin his castle, and agreed to help Mario stop Cackletta. They were joined by Luigi, who had hoped to remain home since the adventures of Mario 3 sort of tired him out, but ended up getting roped into it, so to speak. The adventure turned out to be a real fiasco for Bowser, who quickly got stuck in a cannon, and then landed himself with a case of amnesia. Worse for the Mario Bros, they should never have gone after Cackletta at all, since the voice she stole was a fake. When they thought they had defeated Cackletta, her spirit possessed Bowser's weakened body, forming Bowletta. Deciding that a simple voice wasn't good enough, she then stole the whole princess. Mario and Luigi managed to rescue the princess once more and seemingly defeat Cackletta for good, causing her to release Bowser.
Hotel Mario: This little-known adventure was featured on the Philips CDI. Basically a CD player, it also became the home of some video games best known for their cut scenes. Not quite ready to relinquish the Mushroom Kingdom, Bowser kidnapped the princess and had the Koopalings hide in hotels while guarding her. Mario had to get past lots of enemies to get to the top of each hotel, and also had to make sure that at least one door on the screen was closed at all times; some enemies were specifically trained to open doors. In the end, Bowser couldn't deal with his customer's complaints and had to split.
Super Mario World: Clearly the Mario Brothers' recent heroics were deserving of some rest and relaxation, so Peach took the Brothers to nearby Dinosaur Land. Unfortunately for Peach, she ended up running into Bowser once again. After losing the Mushroom Kingdom (not to mention his body for a time), he had taken his army and retreated to Dinosaur Land, which includes Yoshi's Island, home of more of his enemies. Bowser thought Dinosaur Land would be easier to conquer as it was smaller and seemed like it would be less valuable to the Marios, who weren't expected to show up at all. Tke Koopa King got off to a great start by imprisoning the Yoshis and getting his kids to guard them, but Mario and Luigi threw a wrench in his plans. Much of Bowser's technology had been destroyed in Mario 3 (one unsuccessfully fleeing doomship can be seen at the entrance to Valley of Bowser) and his army was depleted as well, forcing Bowser to use many new enemies. It didn't work out, and the Mario Brothers had an easy time in comparison to Mario 3. Bowser was defeated yet again, and Peach and the Yoshis were saved. Mario met up with all eight of his childhood friends for the first time, although this is not by a longshot the first time he'd been reintroduced to (the green) Yoshi, and he and Luigi learned the details of their earliest days.
The Mario World cartoons and some of the adventure books come soon after this epic.
Wario's Woods: While the plumbers were off saving Dinosaur Land, Wario, the opportunist that he is, decided to attack the Mushroom Kingdom. Good thing Toad was still around to keep him from getting there. The Mushroom Retainer headed Wario off in Forever Forest, and there the two fought. I'm not sure when Toad became a bomb expert, but I guess it's a good thing he did or Wario'd be running Peach's kingdom by now. That's a bad thing, of course, because Wario would be a lot harder to kidnap than Peach.
Yoshi's Safari: Determined to conquer some kingdom, Bowser resorted to Jewelry Land. Once again Bowser believed that Mario and Luigi would have no interest, but Prince Pine of Jewelry Land happened to be a close friend of Peach, who asked Mario to save the prince and his father, King Fret. It was quickly apparent that Mario was going to need a gun this time (gasp); since there was only one appropriate gun available, Mario and Luigi played Rock, Paper, Scissors to see who would go, and Mario won (or lost, depending on how you see it). Mario drafted Yoshi to help him travel through Jewelry Land and set about shooting down Koopas. The Koopalings should have had a chance in their robot armor suits, but designing them was a rushed job (so rushed that Wendy didn't even get one) so Mario's bullets were strong enough to defeat them. Finally Mario defeated Bowser yet again, saving Prince Pine and all of Jewelry Land. Peach was quite pleased.
Mario is Missing: Bowser retreated further, this time to Earth, where he planned to use hair dryers to melt the ice caps and flood the world. Yet again Bowser believed Mario would have no interest in this supposedly unimportant world, but was unaware that Mario and Luigi had spent most of their lives on Earth. Even though they now knew they weren't born on Earth, Mario and Luigi still felt obliged to protect it. The Mario Brothers and Yoshi stormed Bowser's castle in Antarctica, but Mario fell into a trap and was captured. Luigi went on without his older brother, using warps in the castle to recover priceless artifacts Koopa Troopas were in the process of stealing in order to pay the hefty hair dryer bill. After defeating Bowser's kids once again and reaching the top of the castle, Luigi tricked Bowser, who ended up submerged in the snow outside, and rescued Mario a second time.
Mario Party 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, and 7: After all his defeats, and especially the last few, Bowser began to question his own abilities. Although there was never a truce like after Mario RPG, the lack of attacks on the Mushroom Kingdom left Mario and his friends lots of time to party! Similar to the sports games during the truce but with more at stake, the Marios competed in high-intensity contests for glory, prizes, and most of all, glory. Bowser and his kids (in graphically ambigious form as in Mario Sunshine and all called Koopa Kid) showed up to do some petty thieving, but even at this reduced level of crime Bowser was defeated and the parties continued...
Left off the Timeline: A few games have not been placed on the timeline. I will briefly mention them below and explain why they have not been included.
Super Mario Land 3: Wario Land, Wario Land 2, 3, and 4, Wario Ware, and Wario World: Wario's series gets somewhat removed from Mario's adventures, although I do consider them Mario-related games, and so it is difficult to compare their timing with Mario's games. In this special case, I would say the Wario Land games actually happened in numerical order. 2 almost certainly followed 1, explaining why Wario already had a castle and why Captain Syrup targeted him for stealing from. 4 probably followed 1 as well since Wario already had enough money for an expensive car. However, the storylines are kind of vague, so I'm not sure whether 4 happened before or after 2, though I would guess that 1 and 2 took place in close succession. 3 is hard to place, but since Wario earned money in that game and apparently had very little come 1, I would guess this took place later in his career as well. That's why I'm guessing that the order was in fact 1-2-3-4, or perhaps 1-2-4-3. I will need to find out more before I commit this to the timeline.
Wario Ware actually came out at nearly the same time as the adventure, because Wario really did make a bunch of microgames with the help of his "friends", then sold them to Nintendo for lots of money. Most of the cutscenes are off, but the general story is true and nearly all the microgames are Wario's. At the moment this game would fit right at the end of the timeline, since all the other adventures are somewhat delayed between when they actually happened and when the game was made. However, since most of Wario's other games are off the timeline, I felt this should be too.
BS Mario: I do not know enough about this Japanese release to add it to the timeline. The same goes for any Japanese releases that I may not have heard of.
Super Mario Advance, 2, 3, and 4, Super Mario Bros. Deluxe, with Mario Bros.: Sometimes a tourist will ask, Why did you guys try to conquer Dinosaur Land twice, the exact same way? The answer is, we didn't. Tourists like these clearly believe that Mario World and SMA2 are unrelated games, whereas in reality they are simply remakes. In other words, Mario World and SMA2 are the same quest portrayed slightly differently. The same goes for Mario 2 and SMA, Yoshi's Island and SMA3, Mario 3 and SMA4, and Mario 1 and Mario Bros. Deluxe, not to mention all the remakes of the original Mario Bros. Since these are not new adventures, they do not get their own spot on the timeline.
Super Smash Bros. and Super Smash Bros. Melee: Several tourists have asked about these games, and the answer is always the same. Although several Mario characters, items, and stages appear, these are not true Mario games. First, the Smash storyline has nothing whatsoever to do with the Mario storyline. Second, Mario is no more important than any other character in this game. Third, if these games really happened, it would throw the whole Mario Universe into chaos. I mean, in Melee, Bowser can beat Mario just as easily as the opposite. Peach can beat Bowser! Mario can beat Peach! Yeah, Mario and Peach beat each other up all the time. Right. Short and simple, it is very unlikely that these two games actually happened. Mario 3 happened, Smash Bros. did not. Or if they did happen, it was in some kind of time rip that can't be tracked for purposes of this timeline. Therefore, even if these were true Mario games they would not be entitled to a spot on the timeline. The timeline is for stuff that happened, you see.
The Future: What will Mario's future include? Several games have been announced, and others are sure to come. Many are sure to fit in the middle of the timeline, some may fall after the Mario Parties, and who knows, there could even be a backstory of some kind before Yoshi's Island. With Miyamoto's timeless format, there is no end to the possibilities. Even so, you can now see the way in which Mario's adventures have progressed, and perhaps understand his character and that of others just that much better as a result.
Have I left out a game that has not been accounted for? Know something that completely disproves everything I've said? Want to pay homage to the best Koopaling, nay, organism, to ever breathe? Just Email me!