began publishing a series of Nintendo Player's Guides
in 1991, and Mario Mania
was the third in the series. This guide was sent free of charge to all Nintendo Power
subscribers and was also available in retail game stores and magazine racks for a limited time. The book weighs in at 168 pages and features character art of Nintendo
's famous Mario
on the cover.
As for the inside of the book, the bulk of the publication is a complete set of maps to Nintendo's then-new Super Mario World. Every level, secret, and technique is spelled out, giving players who owned the game a total walkthrough of the adventure and influencing those who did not a reason to pick up a Super NES, as the guide was released one month before the 16-bit console hit the USA. Part guidebook and part hype machine, Mario Mania was a stroke of genius from Nintendo's marketing department.
The first 32 pages of the book, however, contain a thorough look at the history of Mario, Luigi, the Koopa Troop, and the other denizens of the Mushroom Kingdom circa September 1991. A list of all of Mario's games (both starring roles and cameos) is included along with a look at some of the Mario gear that was for sale at the time, such as Mario trashcans, Mario plush toys, Mario cookies, Mario puzzles, Marios collectors items (such as the hardback Super Mario Brothers Comic Book and the McDonald's Happy Meal Mario toys), and much more. There's also a few pages devoted to a brief look at Mario's television appearances in The Super Mario Bros. Super Show and The Adventures of Super Mario Bros. 3 as well as a brief blurb announcing the 1992 release of Super Mario Bros.: The Movie. The pre-Super Mario World section wraps up with an interview with Mario's creator, Shigeru Miyamoto, as he talks about where Mario has been and where he's going. Of interest is a quote in which Miyamoto-san says that in the future Mario might wear metallic clothes (which, of course, he does in 1996's Super Mario 64).
As a little added bonus, at the end of each chapter of the Super Mario World coverage, some interesting Mario statistics and factoids are listed. For example, of the first four Mario games, the fastest iteration of Mario is the Mario from Super Mario Brothers 3. That Mario can run 50 blocks worth of space in 4.6 seconds. The slowest Mario is also from SMB3, and that would be the Frog Suit Mario. He takes 8.25 seconds to run 50 blocks. Other included factoids are:
Mario Mania used to be available from Nintendo Power as a back-issue, but today the guidebook is long out of print and has been replaced (for the most part) with the guide for Super Mario Advance 2 (which is a Game Boy Advance port of Super Mario World). Your best chance today of finding a copy of the guide is online auctions and, perhaps, garage sales.
I have the book right here.