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The Polygon staff tries to draw their favorite Mario power-ups from memory

It’s March 10, also known as Mario Day (Mar10, get it?). And to celebrate, the Polygon crew decided to draw their favorite Mario power-up from memory.

Some of us — the usual suspects, if you’ve been following along in the Polygon Draws extended universe — really nailed their submissions this time. And others of us drew from our hearts, which is also something.

Using only their memory, Polygon staffers have braved drawing Sonic the Hedgehog, Animal Crossing’s Tom Nook, Final Fantasy 7’s Cloud Strife, Detective Pikachu, and everyone’s favorite Pokémon but with human teeth (???). Naturally, we had to get back together for Mario’s special day.

There was some internal debate about what counted as a power up in the Mario universe. The Mushroom, of course. But what about Kuribo’s Shoe? Is it a power up? A vehicle? What about all the helpless souls Mario possess in Mario Odyssey? Would the F.L.U.D.D. from Super Mario Sunshine count? These are the kinds of questions nobody wants to answer. So we didn’t!

Please enjoy our wide range of Mario power-ups. Please read the artists’ statement’s to really get in the minds of the creators, and then let us know your favorites (all of them, right?) in the comments.

Clayton Ashley

“I know a ? cube isn’t a “Mario Power Up” per se, but it has the potential to become one of any number of Mario Power Ups. So it’s kinda more of a power up than any single power up could be. Honestly, I just wanted an excuse to draw an inscrutable geometric object. It’s kinda my thing.”

Charlie Hall

“As Maddy so delicately mentioned, my style of late does have a very strong … let’s call it theme. Is it done in colored pencil? Yes. Yes it is. Does it look like it could have been executed in just a few minutes? Yes. Yes it does. But you see, this is because I can’t draw. In fact, the more time I spend on drawing a picture the worse that picture gets. This took the better part of four minutes, but that’s after I ruined two other sheets of paper with horrid, misshapen star-like wads and tossed them into the trash. Drawing is not my primary skill. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I need to get back to this single Space Marine that I’ve spent the last week building, airbrushing highlights onto with semi-opaque inks, and detailing with sable hair brushes and oils.”

Cass Marshall

“I applaud the ambition of the Super Crown. Reject the power-ups of the past and walk into the future. I will not elaborate on any further reasons for loving the Super Crown.”

Ana Diaz

“I chose the fire flower… or is it flame flower? Either way, it’s a solid, reliable Mario power up. It’s the same in every game and makes me feel safe. There’s nothing more satisfying than button smashing and releasing a steady stream of fire balls.”

Josh Rios

“When I was asked to draw something Mario-related I panicked because I spent a bunch of time drawing one of those item diamonds from Mario Kart. So this is what you get a fire flower made in a panic!”

Chelsea Stark

“I feel like Mario would not be excited to be in the Kuribo shoe. It’d probably wobble a lot and have low visibility, considering Mario is stuffed inside. Accidents will happen that way.”

Maddy Myers

“The cat power-up from Super Mario 3D World, delivered via the “Super Bell,” is one of the newest power-ups added into Mario lore. For that reason, I consider this piece to be ‘modern art.’ My only regret is that I forgot the Super Bell should have little eyes. Well, that, and I forgot cats have tails.”

Julia Lee

“The Cape Feather from Super Mario World is my favorite. It’s sweet, strong, yellow, and it makes really satisfying sounds as you swoop and float around the levels. You can also dive and crash back on to the ground, causing earthquakes and stuff with it, which is also really great.”

Petrana Radulovic

“The blue shell is the great equalizer. I wanted to capture the moment of tranquility before it wreaks havoc upon the world.”

Patrick Gill

“I love it when Mario gets in the shoe and runs around. Hell yeah!!!“

Nicole Carpenter

“I wanted to capture the fury and delicacy of the fire flower. I think I’ve done that.”

Ryan Gilliam

“This squished bell is something I really felt I nailed immediately — not in terms of quality, but I felt like it was the best effort I was capable of right off the bat. I had some trouble exporting the image, so I took my time to add some clouds and experiment with the question block, which looks particularly 2D in this image. I’m thankful for my technical issues, because I think the clouds and background make for a better piece. As my co-worker Pat famously coined in our Zoom chat ‘All art is built out of strife,’ and there’s nothing more vexing than Microsoft Paint.”

Russ Frushtick

“I always thought that maybe the reason Waluigi was grumpy was because he never got a chance to be in the shoe. I have seen fit to correct this.”

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