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Hotel Mario

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Hotel Mario
"It's been one of those days..."
— Mario
Genre(s): Puzzle
Platform(s): Philips CD-i
Release: April 5, 1994
Developer(s): Philips Fantasy Factory
Publisher(s): Philips Interactive Media
Country: United States
Series: Mario

Hotel Mario is a puzzle game developed by Philips Fantasy Factory and published by Philips Interactive Media for the Philips CD-i in 1994. The primary character of the game is Mario, who must find Princess Peach by going through seven Koopa Hotels in the Mushroom Kingdom.

It is the third Nintendo licensed game for the CD-i, being released after Link: The Faces of Evil and Zelda: The Wand of Gamelon, but before Zelda's Adventure (with Super Mario's Wacky Worlds being cancelled due to declining sales of the CD-i), in which Nintendo licensed the characters to Philips due to a failed partnership for a SNES CD-ROM add-on. It would later go on to be considered not only one of the worst Mario games, but also one of the worst video games of all time.

Every hotel is divided into multiple stages, and the objective is to close all doors on each stage. Defeating a Koopaling on the hotel's final stage takes the player to the following building.


Controlling Mario, or his brother Luigi in two-player mode, the player has to complete all stages of the seven hotels in the game. The first six hotels contain 10 stages, and the last contains 15 stages. Progressing from one stage to the next requires the player to shut every door without exceeding a time limit. The purpose of closing the doors to progress is not explained. Elevators, which operate differently depending on the hotel, enable the player to go between the five floors of the stage. The faster a stage is cleared, the more points will be given to the player. Every stage has its own title screen via which the game can be saved. The screens are also used to enter previously played hotel stages and the map of the Mushroom Kingdom, which allows the player to access any visited hotel.


The game takes place in the Mushroom Kingdom, which Bowser has turned into a hotel resort for the use of himself and the Koopalings, renaming the land the "Club Koopa Resort". Each hotel in the area is guarded by one of the Koopalings and their henchmen. The hotels represent different building types with various locations, including a tree, a mine, and a cloud.

Having been invited for a picnic by Princess Peach, Mario and Luigi enter the Mushroom Kingdom. At the entrance, however, they find a message from Bowser. He reveals that he has taken control over the kingdom and established seven hotels there, at one of which Princess Peach is being held as a "permanent guest". As they visit the first six hotels, Mario and Luigi find the Princess several times, but on every occasion she disappears out of their sight, ending up in another hotel. They eventually enter a palace where Bowser himself resides. With the hotel's owner defeated, the brothers flee the building with Princess Peach before it collapses. The Princess, now able to rule her kingdom in peace, thanks the Mario brothers, giving them both a kiss.

Why It Didn’t Make Lotsa Spaghetti

  1. There are multiple plot holes throughout the game, with two examples being the cutscene that the player sees after they defeat Roy. Luigi not only knows where the pipe that the princess went down leads to, but Mario and Luigi don't even bother going down the pipe either.
  2. Repetitive and primitive gameplay, similar to that of Elevator Action. The only goal in each level is to run around and close all the doors. That wouldn't be a problem... if the levels weren't filled with enemies! And that's all you do in the entire game, just close doors while avoiding/killing enemies before the timer runs out.
    • The gameplay itself is rather repetitive and frustrating, in which as mentioned above, the enemies respawn and reopen the doors you've already closed, making it more frustrating and time-consuming as the time will run out before you complete the level.
  3. You can get hit by enemies in the platform above you when trying to jump over enemies. This could be seen as an artificial difficulty, as this causes a lot of cheap deaths.
  4. Enemies respawn without warning, killing you if you don't watch out. They also reopen doors when they do respawn, making the levels drag on quite a bit, and if all the doors open, you lose.
  5. Poor controls, which can lead to cheap deaths. For example, to enter an elevator (regardless of whether it goes up or down), you press Up, but you stay in the elevator until you press Down. And due to how the controls are poor, it's like the developers of two of the CD-i Zelda games, Link: The Faces of Evil and Zelda: The Wand of Gamelon wanted to make the controls poor in Hotel Mario too just to make the players who also bought Hotel Mario after these Zelda games even madder after noticing how bad the controls are, thanks to the developers.
  6. The only way to avoid enemies you can't jump on is by hiding in the elevators, rather than trying to jump over them by trying to do a super jump, where you can move even faster. This can be pretty confusing, especially to people who played other Mario games where the enemies can be avoided by jumping over them.
  7. Some of the bosses are a pain to beat, with Ludwig being the most annoying boss in the game due to his hard-to-dodge lighting beam ability. This is pretty difficult for newbies, like if the developers wanted to make the game harder if they complete most of the levels
  8. Very poor and mediocre voice acting.
    • Mario speaks in a very thick and gruff Brooklyn accent (when he's meant to be Italian) which makes him sound like a mafia hitman.
    • Luigi speaks in a high pitched New Jersey accent which makes him sound like an ex-smoker.
    • Princess Toadstool has a very muffled voice that is hard to make out sometimes because of the microphone feedback.
  9. It has a French dub for the cutscenes, but it's done very poorly. For example, Bowser is called "Boswor" in the French dub.
  10. One of the most infamous parts of this game are the full-motion video cutscenes, in which they're very cheesy and terribly animated, with strange movements, as well as terrible voice acting with the distorted audio making it worse.
    • Speaking of the cutscenes, they are infamously and hilariously bad, and look like they were made in Microsoft Paint and thrown into a video editing program (like Sony Vegas, Windows Movie Maker, or Camtasia Studio), or even to a program where you can create presentations, like PowerPoint. They are not very fun to watch and have many problems:
      • They often have unnecessary long pauses (three to five seconds) between clips, like when Princess Toadstool thanks Mario and Luigi for saving her and also the one where she thanks the player for helping. This is also true when she just gives a creepy and long look at the screen until it finally transitions.
      • There are some animation errors present in the cutscenes. For example, during the opening scene where Mario and Luigi walk towards the "Mushroom Kingdom" sign, Luigi's hand disappears for one frame.
      • The audio quality is extremely low as mentioned above, since it can get extremely loud for many people's ears to the point it can damage your ears, especially during the line where Mario says "Hey you, get off of my cloud!", and also the one when Luigi says "Over there!".
      • Speaking of the voice acting, some lines are just stupid and laughable, including one infamous scene of when Mario enters a room with toasters and says: "You know what they say, all toasters, toast toast!", while others can get painfully loud due to the distorted audio, including the sound effects.

Redeeming Qualities

  1. Most of the time, the game has surprisingly a good framerate and non-glitchy gameplay for CD-i standards.
  2. Decent level design.
  3. Catchy soundtrack, especially in the cutscenes.
  4. There are some funny moments here and there. See trivia for more detail.
  5. Great in-game graphics, along with the well-drawn sprites.
  6. Luigi's quote "I hope she made lotsa spaghetti!" is a hilarious line, along with many other lines.
    • With this in mind, the cutscenes may be very cheesy, but it has a certain charm with how it plays like a sillier (or possibly cheaper) version of The Super Show. Which spawned tons of memes because of the voice clips (e.g Mario and Luigi themselves) and how the cutscenes play out in their entirety. Especially with minor occasions of decent writing aside from how absurd and ridiculous the whole story plays out.


AVGN Enraged.jpg "What were they thinking?"
The Shit Scale
Games that are debatably bad High level of shit contamination The very high category The severe zone Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde Major code red
This game/console belongs to the "High Level of Shit Contamination" category of the AVGN's Shit Scale.

While Hotel Mario received mixed reviews at launch, as time passed, it would later go on to receive negative reviews and it's considered to be not only one of the worst Mario games, but also one of the worst video games of all time. GamePro gave it a 2.5/5 star rating, while Video Games: The Ultimate Gaming Magazine gave it a 7/10 rating. However, on GameFAQs, it has an average rating score of 2.81 (Fair) from 90 users.[1]

Cancelled CD-i Mario game

In the early development stages of the CD-i, Philips and Nintendo were originally going to create a sequel to Super Mario World called Super Mario's Wacky Worlds, which was supposed to be developed by NovaLogic. It was cancelled due to declining sales of the CD-i and even though it wasn't released, with this being made instead (watch James Rolfe and Mike Matei play the unfinished demo here).


  • It spawned a lot of internet memes and YouTube Poops. One of the most infamous memes is "When there's smoke, they pinch back!", which are two Mario lines spliced together ("Remember, when there's smoke..." and "When you pinch Wendy's pennies, they pinch back!")
  • The warp sound from this game and Super Mario 64 originated from the Sound Ideas The General Series 6000 sound effects library.
  • The music that plays during the scene where Mario and Luigi go to the Mushroom Kingdom sounds quite similar to the theme song that originates from the 1933 adaptation of Little Women.



Gameplays (from various YouTubers)


Interview With Marc Graue



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