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Flash Feature Part 2 – Mario Flashes

After yesterday, you may be craving some more yummy flash animations, so I’ll say right here–this is the main course, folks. Mario flashes contain much of the highest quality sprite flash around, not to mention my own top picks.

In our next segment, we’ll be checking out some Mario work. Most of it is pixilated goodness using sprite manipulation, but the stuff I’m showing you does a mighty fine job of it.

Rise of the Mushroom Kingdom

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4
Probably the first quality Mario “series” of flash animations that got attention, this batch has a pretty interesting story, some good sprite animation and sound, and some creative uses of sprites that were later incorporated into other sprite flashes. It may show signs of its age as a flash series, but it’ll touch you if you’ve got a heart for Mario.


Power Star

Part 2

Part 3
If raw, Matrix-like action combined with Mario Bros. is your cup of tea, then here’s a nice brew to suck down and enjoy. Power Star is a well-done flash series that uses sprites to great effect, creating some pretty cool action scenes that make Mario and Luigi into a pair of action movie brawlers. This one’s a treat for you who love fact-paced, off the wall fighting.

A Super Mario Bros. 3 Tale

Part 2
This one is yet another take on the classic Bros. vs. Bowser story, this time told from a Mario Bros. 3 perspective. It brings the awesome NES style to life with extremely fluid animation. The fight scenes may seem all too similar to stuff you’ve seen by now, but it has that nice Mario Bros. 3 touch, and looks and sounds great. This is how sprite flash is supposed to be done.

The People’s Mario
This unique flash was inspired by the rumor that Super Mario Bros. had subliminal communist messages being sent through it. What didn’t back in the day, after all? Despite such an odd inspiration, this flash is pretty well done, opting to use raw drawing rather than spritework, though it incorporates some environment sprites to give the dark world it presents an 8-Bit feel. This one is pretty creepy, actually, and blasts you with thunderous booms that follow in the wake of the death that Mario ensues. Mwaha. Well, it’s not as bad as other stuff out there, but if you don’t like blood, be forewarned. Everything from the style to the music resonates a very non-Mario atmosphere, but it somehow works to create a truly unique take on the Mario universe.

Super Mario Bros. Z

Episode 2

Episode 3

Episode 4

Episode 5
If I’m going to recommend any sprite flash overall, this one’s a very good choice. It’s sprite work starts off great and ramps up to become the best sprite flash work I have ever seen in the later episodes. It’s truly something amazing. It’s got some rambling dialogue, and some kick-butt fight scenes (just like DBZ) only take out the long period of, you know…grunting. The story is decent enough, (better than most flash) the mix of characters is cool (cameos of villains from Mario’s RPG outings? Check), the environments and sound effects are well-done, and the fight scenes are just mind blowing. They’re really well-choreographed. Trust me, this one’s worth taking the time to watch. By the time you get to Episodes 4 and 5, they actually take about as long as real episodes of a TV show, which is fairly impressive. This is my favorite sprite-based flash animation out there. Give it a whirl—even if you don’t like DBZ—because you won’t be disappointed.

Mario Bros. (An 8-Bit Tragedy)

Part II

Part III

Part IV

Part V
Another Mario series using sprites—and another very good one.
Unlike the others, this one kicks it retro style, using 8-bit material to tell a tragic and mystical tale of the Mushroom Kingdom. It’s very gloomy, so if pixilated drama is your thing, you’ll find it here. Regardless, it’s worth a watch if you love Super Mario Bros. You’ll see lots of subtle nods to the original classic, from the style of fighting (good ol’ boppin’ on the head) to the mystical reverence of the power-ups. This is some good stuff here. Check it out.
Seriously, folks, this one packs a real mystical punch. It’s amazing in its cinematic presentation and creative, mythological take on Super Mario Bros. As long as you can take the simple, 8-Bit style action scenes and appreciate the mastery of narrative, this one takes the prize as perhaps the highest quality sprite flash I’ve ever seen, certainly one of my personal favorites. If you can enjoy a good movie, you will enjoy this tragic, well-crafted tale of tragedy. Just be prepared to have your gut wrenched.
Hats off to this one, folks—if I could hand out a “Best Picture” award to all of the flashes I present in this entire feature, I’d probably have to go with this one. It’s a marvel in its atmosphere with good sound selection, subtle nods to its source material, a fresh mythological take on the Mario universe, and it’s raw emotion. It just goes to show that it’s not just the art but the artistry that makes a piece beautiful.Isn’t it impressive what work can be done with sprites when they’re in the hands of a creative and passionate artist? Flash animation is a relatively new media of art—who knows what it’ll be like in a few years time in the hands of a pro?

Like fan fiction or fan art, these amazing pieces are the product of the love an artist has for another’s work in combination with tons of time and effort to detail. Hopefully, in showing these flashes to you, the readers, that hard work and dedication will be appreciated by some more fans.

Interested in seeing some more Mario flash? Head on over to Newgrounds and check some out!

Our final portion will look at a wider variety of video game-themed works, ranging from Final Fantasy to Resident Evil. It’s almost time for dessert!


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