Tomm Hulett’s unified Mario Timeline Theory

The mighty multi-Marioverse explained

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Game director Tomm Hulett has been working in the industry since he was a kid, starting with a job testing NES games. Since then he’s worked on everything from PersonaContraSilent Hill, and Adventure Time, but no matter what he does or where he goes, Mario will be in his heart.

Tomm asked me over a month ago if Destructoid would be interested in hosting one of his pet projects, a split-timeline that poses a theory on how every Mario game is connected that he’d been working on with artist Howard Milligan. I was excited about the idea, but was crestfallen a few weeks later when I saw that someone had apparently beaten Tomm to the punch. I shouldn’t have worried. When I told Tomm that someone else has tried their hat at a Mario timeline, he said something like “Oh that? That’s nothing. Wait until you see the size of the thing I’ve got for you.”

He wasn’t kidding. The image he was working on ended up being too large for Dtoid to host (you can grab it for yourself here), though we were able to shrink it down to a still-massive size for our gallery’s servers. I’m not the Mario expert that I should be, but I’m pretty sure each and every game Mario has ever appeared in has found a place on the map, including Hotel Mario and Mario’s Time Machine. He even got the the Super Mario Bros. movie in there somehow. The only thing I see missing is Mario Paint, but I suppose that could be construed as part of the “Mario Sports Series.” I did have a guy try to convince me that Football was an art once, so I guess it’s only fair to call Painting a sport. 

If you’re not in a position to look at this truly luxurious and expansive image at the moment, here are a few words from Tomm about the timeline:

“This chronology begins with the Magikoopa Kamek attacking a stork carrying the Mario Brothers, causing the events of Yoshi’s Island. It splits immediately, with one timeline depicting the events that follow Yoshi’s rescue of Baby Luigi, and the other charting his failure.

“Similar branches follow each Yoshi title to create three separate realities based on Mario’s parents: Blue Collar Hero, Action Hero, and Storied Hero — the latter of which creates two new sub-realities surrounding the babies in Partners in Time being left in the adult world: the Babies Era, where Wario and Waluigi replace the heroes, and the Adult Era, where the babies grow up to live lives of their own. Additionally, the timeline branches after Donkey Kong and any game that involves dreaming. Finally, the Action and Storied Hero timelines merge via the resolution of Mario Galaxy, leading directly to Super Mario 3D World.”

Brilliant stuff, Tomm. I wonder what Miyamoto and company would think of it?


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Jonathan Holmes
Destructoid Contributor - Jonathan Holmes has been a media star since the Road Rules days, and spends his time covering oddities and indies for Destructoid, with over a decade of industry experience "Where do dreams end and reality begin? Videogames, I suppose."- Gainax, FLCL Vol. 1 "The beach, the trees, even the clouds in the sky... everything is build from little tiny pieces of stuff. Just like in a Gameboy game... a nice tight little world... and all its inhabitants... made out of little building blocks... Why can't these little pixels be the building blocks for love..? For loss... for understanding"- James Kochalka, Reinventing Everything part 1 "I wonder if James Kolchalka has played Mother 3 yet?" Jonathan Holmes