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Retro 1980s Super Mario Toy Revealed

Mario mazeVideo game merchandising is big business these days as game publishers stamp their licenses on all kinds of products: backpacks, figurines, t-shirts, and other semi-practical items.  Back in the 1980s, however, game merchandise was a little more spotty.  As gaming became popular among children companies tossed their characters on to any product they could find no matter how unusual the pairing of character and product such as ice cream sandwiches stamped with Luigi's face, Sonic the Hedgehog fruit soda, and The Legend of Zelda underwear.

In the 1980s Nintendo teamed with a producer of novelty toys to create this little maze game.  The object of the game is to tilt the toy around to move a small metal ball through the plastic maze to the lower right side of the card where Princess Toadstool is waiting.  It's hardly Nintendo-unique though.  The Super Mario Bros. backdrop is just a card printed on the back of the toy's packaging that slides into the back of the toy.  Nevertheless, for some reason I've held on to it all these years, as I found it buried in an old box recently.  Aside from the fact that it was made in China, I know nothing of its origin.  The artwork on the insert card is neat though, so I've scanned it and made it available here.  Make wallpaper, build your own maze toy, or just remember those halcyon days of 1987.