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Mario Is Missing! (reinvention idea)

Hello, fellow members! As you may guess, I'm a big fan of retro video gaming, and my favorite home video game consoles are the NES, Super NES, SMS (Sega Master System), Sega Genesis, and Nintendo 64 (somewhat). My favorite handhelds are Game Boy (classic), Game Gear, and Game Boy Advance (somewhat). I am also very, very new to ROM hacking.

Assuming this sub-forum is the right place to discuss video game ideas related to the Mario franchise, I thought I'd go ahead and discuss it here.

In my opinion, the original Mario Is Missing! had the potential, in concept, to be an amazing game. The concept of this game was to make a fun way to get kids to learn about, and older people to brush up on, world geography. But alas, Mario Is Missing! wasn't developed by Nintendo, but by no-name third-party developers using the Nintendo license, so it lacked the video game magic associated with Nintendo and Shigeru Miyamoto. Thus, a great deal of platforming qualities associated with games such as Super Mario Bros. 1 & 3 and Super Mario World were omitted, and we ended up with a very bland game as a result.

This is where I come in, pitching my idea for a reinvention of Mario Is Missing!, renewing the attempt at using video gaming with the Mario franchise to make learning world geography fun. And my story develops in the following paragraphs.

Bowser wants to seek revenge on Mario for foiling his plans to take over the Mushroom Kingdom, so he lures Mario into a trap and kidnaps him. To put the icing on the cake with his getting even, Bowser and his henchmen invade Earth (Mario's home planet) by way of Antarctica, and they plot to make Earth a dead planet with weather-altering technology that Bowser and his cronies don't have. So to fund this project, Bowser sets out to steal artifacts from hundreds of landmarks all over the world, which he plans to sell to the black market. Then, he plans on using the money to build a machine capable of producing catastrophes such as earthquakes, landslides, massive hurricanes, and tsunamis, with the intent on destroying every living thing on Earth.

It is now up to Luigi and the other good guys to restore the artifacts to their rightful landmarks, defeat the bad guys, and rescue Mario.

The game opens at Antarctica, where there are eight castles built, supervised by the 7 Koopalings and Bowser. Each castle has six doors, with the first five doors containing two warp pipes each, and the sixth containing a lair inhabited by either a Koopaling or Bowser. Each of the 80 warp pipes throughout all the castles serve as portals that transport Luigi to a major world city. Thus, there is a total of 80 world cities Luigi will explore, not counting hidden warp pipes found in some cities that transport to yet other world cities. When all cities per castle via warp pipes are completed, the sixth door of the castle will be accessible, and Luigi will battle the castle boss. The main bosses are in the same order as they are fought in Super Mario Bros. 3.

The gameplay in the Mario Is Missing! of my head I imagine to be very similar to that of SMB3, and sort of like Super Mario World when riding Yoshi. You start off with 5 lives. In each city, you battle the numerous minor enemies found in SMB3, and when you know what city you're in, you'll be able to bring Yoshi along, and he will help Luigi as he rides him; if you defeat enough baddies, you'll receive an artifact belonging to a particular landmark. But watch out for Wario! If he runs into Luigi, he will steal at least an artifact; he may also steal Luigi's extra lives and power-up items. If Wario steals these things, you can retrieve them by using an attack on him such as stomping on him or hitting him with a fireball.

You can ask locals and tourists for what city you are located in and information about an artifact. Toad will provide power-up items like he did in SMB3; Princess Toadstool provides advice and special power-up items and can save your progress; Mario is available to help Luigi with geography riddles, despite being in captivity.

The 80 main cities of the game have 5 artifacts each stolen, each artifact belonging to a landmark. In order to beat the game, Luigi will need to restore a minimum of 400 artifacts; as previously mentioned, there are bonus artifacts that will count towards a maximum of 100% completion (such as one belonging to the Taj Mahal in Agra, India, a city that is not among the big 80); restore all artifacts to all 400+ landmarks, and defeat all the enemies and bosses found in the game, and you rescue Mario, bring him home safe and sound to Brooklyn, and beat the game with 100% completion.

In order to return an artifact to a landmark, you face a mandatory multiple choice quiz pertaining to the artifact and the landmark. You must get all questions answered correctly, or 100% (or an A+), otherwise the artifact you have will be rejected and regarded as fake. If you get a 100% on the quiz, you'll receive a prize in the form of a power-up; an extra life will be rewarded to you if you restore the most iconic landmark in the city.

There are four levels of difficulty that will affect gameplay, geographical knowledge, and the length of the quizzes: Easy, Medium, Hard, and Very Hard. If you lose all of Luigi's lives, you get a Game Over, as well as infinite continues, of course. But when you continue, you lose half of what you've previously completed, and thus you need to go back to restoring half the artifacts (restored before you got the Game Over) all over again.

For hacking for the NES version, I'd suggest SMB3, the pirate NES port of Super Mario World, and the NES version of Mario Is Missing! currently available. For the Super NES version, I'd suggest Super Mario World, SMB3 in Super Mario All-Stars, and the Super NES version of Mario Is Missing! out now.

Well that's pretty much it for now. Coming soon: a list of power-ups and the big 80 cities you explore. In regards to power-ups, you may suggest any (particularly from SMB3) that I missed.
List of power-ups:
-1-Up Mushroom
-Boomerang Flower
-Fire Flower
-Frog Suit
-Goomba's Shoe
-Hammer Suit
-Ice Flower
-Super Leaf
-Super Mushroom
-Super (Invincibility) Star
-Tanooki Suit

The big 80 cities:
1. Alexandria, Egypt
2. Cairo, Egypt
3. Nairobi, Kenya
4. Tripoli, Libya
5. Casablanca, Morocco
6. Marrakesh, Morocco
7. Lagos, Nigeria
8. Johannesburg, South Africa
9. Beijing, China
10. Shanghai, China
11. Bombay, India
12. Calcutta, India
13. Jakarta, Indonesia
14. Baghdad, Iraq
15. Jerusalem, Israel
16. Tokyo, Japan
17. Kathmandu, Nepal
18. Manila, Philippines
19. Seoul, South Korea
20. Bangkok, Thailand
21. Lhasa, Tibet
22. Istanbul, Turkey
23. Vienna, Austria
24. Minsk, Belarus
25. Brussels, Belgium
26. Copenhagen, Denmark
27. London, England
28. Helsinki, Finland
29. Marseilles, France
30. Paris, France
31. Berlin, Germany
32. Athens, Greece
33. Budapest, Hungary
34. Dublin, Ireland
35. Florence, Italy
36. Milan, Italy
37. Naples, Italy
38. Rome, Italy
39. Venice, Italy
40. Amsterdam, Netherlands
41. Oslo, Norway
42. Warsaw, Poland
43. Lisbon, Portugal
44. Bucharest, Romania
45. Moscow, Russia
46. St. Petersburg, Russia
47. Glasgow, Scotland
48. Barcelona, Spain
49. Madrid, Spain
50. Stockholm, Sweden
51. Geneva, Switzerland
52. Zurich, Switzerland
53. Kiev, Ukraine
54. Buenos Aires, Argentina
55. Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
56. Sao Paulo, Brazil
57. Santiago, Chile
58. Havana, Cuba
59. Mexico City, Mexico
60. Lima, Peru
61. Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
62. Toronto, Ontario, Canada
63. Montreal, Quebec, Canada
64. Los Angeles, California, USA
65. San Francisco, California, USA
66. Washington, DC, USA
67. Chicago, Illinois, USA
68. New Orleans, Louisiana, USA
69. Boston, Massachusetts, USA
70. Detroit, Michigan, USA
71. St. Louis, Missouri, USA
72. Las Vegas, Nevada, USA
73. New York, New York, USA
74. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA
75. Dallas, Texas, USA
76. Houston, Texas, USA
77. San Antonio, Texas, USA
78. Seattle, Washington, USA
79. Sydney, Australia
80. Wellington, New Zealand

And that's it for now. If there's any power-ups I missed that you'd like to see added, or if there's any world city that you think should replace one of these 80 listed, please feel free to let me know, and I'll take these into consideration. And if I accept, I'll update these lists.
Originally posted by The Thunder Productions
This sounds highly ambitious to me.

Thank you for the compliment! I was talking about attempting to implement this with a friend the other day, and he says to start off small since ROMs, as well as the games themselves, are written in code. Maybe there are shortcuts to hacking, given all those utilities one can find online. Perhaps I'll experiment with them sometime.

The project associated with this may take a while to make into an actual game, since I consider game making and hacking a hobby for me, and I have a variety of other interests and a busy schedule. But for now, the ideas are now posted here, and I'll come back to this thread when I get suggestions and/or another boost of inspiration.