Sometimes I am embarrassed for my wife.
She was born only a few years later than I was, owned a Nintendo Entertainment System, grew up in the 80’s and 90’s and yet I discovered a few Friday nights ago that she did not know that there was such a thing as Raccoon Mario.
See what happened is that Erin and Greg (my brother in law) awesomely gave me a Nintendo wallet and a keychain featuring the new Tanooki Mario from Super Mario 3D Land. Amber was all like “What’s Tanooki Mario?” I just gestured to the keychain, she noted that she figured that that was Racoon Mario and I explained the whole in Super Mario Bros 3 there was a Raccoon Mario that had ears on his cap and a tail, and also Tanooki Mario who has the whole suit. To me, this should simply be common knowledge for anyone between 35 and 27. Super Mario Bros 3 came out in like 1990 I believe. After a quick Google check I am right (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Super_Mario_Bros._3)!
Over the years there have been so many power ups that it is hard to keep track of them all. Some of them are timeless that everyone does know, some are just awesome, and some I doubt we will ever see again.
The classic items of course show up in almost every Mario game. The super mushroom is in almost every game and was actually the first item Mario ever got in a Super Mario Bros. game. I later learned that that first hit the block then have the mushroom bounce off the pipe and back to you was specifically designed to have it be very very difficult to dodge the first mushroom letting the player know it was ok to touch them in a game were touching almost anything else resulted in death.
The fire flower is another that pretty much everyone should know about even if you don’t play video games, grab it and it gives Mario (or Luigi) the ability to send bounce balls of napalm as whatever is nearby.
The star, or more accurately, Starman. This item has been in every Mario game I can think of off the top of my head and also shown up in a variety of Mario spin off games (Mario Kart comes to mind right away) it makes you invincible, and faster and it changes the music and in Mario Galaxy you turn all rainbowy.
Those are the ones I think everyone is aware of, there are some that I have never played as like Rabbit Mario and some I hated in certain situations like Frog Mario if you are on land. But the one in question of course is Raccoon Mario from one of the best selling games of all time, Super Mario Bros. 3.
This –> is Raccoon Mario is you are about 30 years old and have not seen this picture you must have been covering your eyes to play hide and seek for about two years around 1990. Now only was the game a best seller but there were tie ins with McDonalds and promotional posters and a whole flipping movie, The Wizard, about playing Super Mario Bros. 3. you became Raccoon Mario within 20 seconds of playing the game and he could fly by running fast and wagging his tail. Pretty awesome!
There are of course many more power ups now, and new ones for each game it seems, here is an old chart of all the Mario Power ups that there was at whatever time the chart was made. Enjoy!