Mario Hits Bricks with His Fist, Not His Head

To the misinformed Internet lurkers and crawlers out there, I have something I need to get off my chest. Contrary to popular belief, Mario does not break bricks with his head; he uses his fist. The “breaking bricks with his head” misconception almost certainly comes from the visual infidelity of 8-bit graphics of the NES era, and it still survives to this day.

In early 2014, there was a survey on GiantBomb in which forum readers were asked, “In your heart of hearts, when you see Mario hit a ‘?’ block from below, you think he’s hitting the block with his…” Possible answers were Head, Fist, and Other. Here’s the breakdown:

Head – 62%

Fist – 34%

Other (please specify) – 4% (One of the users who chose “Other” specified “heart.”)

To illustrate why 66% of survey answer-ers were wrong, here’s an illustration of Super Mario Bros. for NES, in which Mario is blown up to show the sprite up close.

Mario Punches

And, if that’s not clear enough, here’s a similar image, though, using the magic of Photoshop, I’ve replaced 8-bit Mario with promotional art from New Super Mario Bros. U.

Mario Punches

Note that, in both images, Mario’s fist is extended as if to deliver a mighty punch to the brickiest of overhead adversaries. This shows that, for three decades, Mario has been hitting bricks with his fist, not his head.

In case your memory is not all that great, I’ve composed a rhyme to help you remember this factoid:

When Mario breaks some bricks,

He punches them with his fists.

Okay, so that’s a terrible rhyme, and I apologize for it. That doesn’t make me wrong, though.

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Matt
Matt
5 years ago

Yeah but in the old ones on the NES he’s not leaning back and it sort of looks like he’s using his head to hit them. Plus his head is the same size as the bricks

Bag of Magic Food
Bag of Magic Food
4 years ago

Okay, but do the fireballs come out of Mario’s hand or mouth?

Elizabeth Thompson
Elizabeth Thompson
4 years ago

Depends on the game. In the original game, he’s very obviously putting his hand over his mouth, to spit them out. In later games, they make it more obvious that he’s throwing the fireballs.

– The Reverend

Elizabeth Thompson
Elizabeth Thompson
4 years ago
Reply to  Josh Wirtanen

http://i.imgur.com/WeVx5.gif

It absolutely is not the same sprite. That said, I fully agree that in the Mario 3 sprite it looks like he’s throwing it, and certainly the official art currently (*and even the official Mario 3 art) shows him throwing them.

But the sprite from the original game? That’s awfully suspicious looking.

– The Reverend

Elizabeth Thompson
Elizabeth Thompson
4 years ago
Reply to  Josh Wirtanen

I do agree that most all the official artwork has him *throwing* the fireball, so whatever he might have been doing in the first game, by now he very clearly throws it. I’m even willing to go so far as to say that they always intended him to be throwing it.

But boy howdy, that sprite in the first game makes it confusing.

….Oh, holy crap. Look really closely at the mouth area of the second and fourth sprite (from SML2 and SMW). It does look like he has some mouth movement in those sprites. It could just be him smiling or something (Mario’s a psychopath, after all), but, well. Mouth movement.

Elizabeth Thompson
Elizabeth Thompson
4 years ago
Reply to  Josh Wirtanen

I’m not sure that’s true, but it’s hard to be certain when it’s in motion, so I won’t argue one way or another until I can find a stationary sprite.

Georgia
4 years ago

Mario hits bricks with his fist, not his head;
If you disagree then I’ll wish you were dead.

Georgia
4 years ago

Brother Mario is simply not a dragon or a rocket,
the fireballs he throws are prob’ly stored inside his pocket.
They’re never shooting out of his poor mouth, that’s just ridic;
he throws them with his hands in order to hear his foes ‘click’.

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