Games

Random: What Do You Mean Super Mario’s Donut Blocks Aren’t Based On Donuts?

Three Red Donuts
Image: Nintendo Life

Donut blocks. We all know them, and we all either love them or hate them as they collapse under the weight of our platforming plumber Mario. These platforms have been around since Super Mario Bros. 3, always waiting to lure us in with the safety of a flat surface, before falling and taking us Mario to his demise. Presumably, because they’re donuts, right? Wrong.

Leave it to Supper Mario Broth to uncover the truth behind these devious dough-shaped platforms. It turns out that, despite looking like donuts in the 2D Mario games, that’s not actually what they’re based on. We’ve all seen these platforms utilised in New Super Mario Bros., Super Mario 3D World, and a few other 3D games, and they’re not just little floating donuts, but rather a tube.

That’s because, in Japanese, they’re not called donut blocks — they’re called ‘Chikuwa Lifts’. A chikuwa is a type of Japanese fishcake that’s wrapped around a bamboo stick and boiled, hence the tubular shape.

Foresight is a wonderful thing, but Nintendo couldn’t have predicted the shift to 3D gaming as far back as the late ’80s, so, even though perspectives shifted and the flat tops of these platforms could be seen in 3D games, it decided not to rename them to confuse people.

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We didn’t exactly question Brock’s jelly-filled donuts back in the day, did we? But it’s a really interesting example of how things were localised. Does this affect the validity of Donut Plains in Super Mario World, we hear you ask? Fortunately not, as that location shares the same name in Japanese. Phew! Not everything is a doughy lie, then.

Did you know the truth about donut blocks? Try not to fall as you share your shock with us in the comments!

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