Mario's Picross is a puzzle game for the Game Boy developed by Jupiter and the first game in the Nintendo-published Picross series. It was released in 1995 and stars Mario who appears in the role of an archaeologist. Mario's Picross is based on paint by number puzzles known as nonograms. Several sequels have been released since then. Most of them are Japan-only games.
The objective of each logic puzzle is to reveal a hidden picture in a grid by scraping specific squares of it. Each puzzle starts with an empty grid and several numbers are given at the side of each horizontal row and vertical column of the grid. The numbers tell the player how many squares have to be scraped in each line. The revealed pictures show food, animals and other objects, but also make some Mario series references.
For example, a "5" means that the player has to scrape five consecutive squares in the respective line. If there is more than one number, then there has to be at least one blank square between the scraped areas. For instance, "4 6 2" means that four consecutive squares have to be scraped in the line, followed by at least one blank square. After the blank space(s), the player has to scrape an area of six squares. Again, there has to be at least one blank square between this area and the last two consecutive squares that have to be scraped. If the player is sure that a square doesn't have to be scraped, e.g. when a blank square is needed or all required squares in a line have been scraped, he or she can mark it with an "X". Finally, the player will be able to reveal the hidden picture by logic thinking.
The game features 256 puzzles in total. All puzzles are a size of 15x15 squares, except for the 5x5 and 10x10 square puzzles of Easy Picross that are aimed at beginners. The puzzles are split into different modes (64 puzzles each):
The first two modes, where the puzzles can be played in any order, follow the same rules. Before playing the game, the player can decide to get a hint, which means that the correct squares of a row and a column are already scraped when starting the puzzle. A roulette the player has to stop defines which lines are revealed to make the puzzle a bit easier accessible. Each puzzle is played against the time. The player has 30 minutes, but if a wrong square is scraped, the remaining time will be reduced. The first mistake will cost two minutes, the second one four minutes and all further mistakes will cost eight minutes each. When the time runs out before the player has revealed the picture, the game is over. For each puzzle, the best time will be saved.
The last mode known as Time Trial comes with different rules. The player does not get a hint at the beginning and there is no time limit. The game does not note wrongly scraped squares, so the player does not know whether a mistake has been made. The 64 puzzles appear randomly; the player is not able to select a specific puzzle.
The puzzles in the game's first three courses are stored in order in the game's memory; this pattern has been used to determine the "order" of the Time Trial puzzles.
 Easy Picross
 Kinoko Course
 Star Course
 Time Trial
Some of the pictures show characters, enemies and items from the Mario series. A picture of the Game Boy appears, too.
Mario's Picross was unable to sell notably well in both North America and Europe when it was released, leading both territories to no longer receive any more Picross games by Nintendo until Picross DS in 2007. The game, despite citations that the Game Boy's tiny screen makes it difficult to see the puzzles clearly, is considered a cult hit in the Western world.
The western release was unsuccessful, and so Mario's Picross was the only Picross title released in the West for a long time. However, several sequels have been released in Japan due to the success in this region. The first one was Mario's Super Picross for the Super Famicom in 1995, followed by the Game Boy title Picross 2 in 1996. In 1999 and 2000, eight Picross NP games for the Super Famicom were released and could be downloaded by the players onto Nintendo Power cartridges. Four of them feature puzzles related to the Mario series.
After a very long gap, the 2007 game Picross DS was the second title in the series that was internationally released. However, the only references to the Mario series in this game are cameos. Mario's Super Picross was finally released in Europe and Australia for the Virtual Console in September 2007 for the Wii and April 2013 for the Wii U. In Japan, it came out in December 2006 for the Wii and April 2013 for the Wii U.