“Mario, you witnessed this object at the Airstrip, correct? It is a Shine Sprite. Shine Sprites are the source of power on Isle Delfino. They used to gather in great numbers at the Shine Gate. But, the graffiti incident has polluted the island and most of the Shine Sprites have fled. There is no longer any power to support the peaceful lifestyle of the islanders. It is most pitiable. The only way to ensure the return of the Shine Sprites is to keep the island from becoming any dirtier.”
Shine Sprites are golden entities formed in the sun's image that debut in Super Mario Sunshine. They act as guardians of Isle Delfino and are the source of the island's sunshine. They are also Super Mario Sunshine's equivalent to Super Mario 64's Power Stars. Their presence is necessary to sustain the lifestyle of Isle Delfino's population, so they are thus held very dear to the island's inhabitants. Under normal circumstances, Shine Sprites gather in great numbers at the Shine Gate, a large structure in the center of Delfino Plaza. They can be scared away from their gathering spot though. When Shine Sprites scatter, their collective power weakens and the island gets covered in a haze that blocks out sunlight.
There are 120 Shine Sprites on Isle Delfino. Although they are mainly associated with the island, Shine Sprites can appear in other places as well.
Super Mario Sunshine
The Shine Sprites of Isle Delfino play a key role in Super Mario Sunshine. They are a factor in Bowser Jr.'s plot to get Mario sent to prison. At some point prior to the events of the game, Bowser Jr., posing as Mario, attacks the Shine Gate and defaces the monument with Graffiti. Having their gathering spot polluted caused the Shine Sprites to scatter throughout the entire island, leaving the population engulfed in darkness. When Mario then arrives on Isle Delfino at the start of the game, he is promptly tried for upsetting the Shine Sprites. Mario's objective from that point on is to collect the scattered Shine Sprites and restore the original conditions of Isle Delfino.
Gameplay-wise, Shine Sprites function in a similar way as Power Stars did in Super Mario 64, Super Mario Galaxy, and Super Mario Galaxy 2. The 120 Shine Sprites can be found all over Isle Delfino. Some are hidden in obscure or remote places, while others are held captive by bosses or, in some cases, the islanders themselves. Each world has eleven of them: eight regular ones, two secret ones, and one that appears if Mario collects a hundred coins. 43 Shine Sprites can be found in Delfino Plaza and Delfino Airstrip; 24 of them can be traded for Blue Coins (ten coins per Shine Sprite). Only the seventh regular Shine Sprite of each world is required to access the final boss in Corona Mountain; the rest are optional.
If the game is completed with all 120 Shine Sprites, the picture of Il Piantissimo shown after the credits will be replaced with a large group picture showing several characters from the game. The player will also be rewarded with a red sun sign next to their file block in the file select screen. The Shine Sprite also appears in the game's title screen.
Although the majority of the Shine Sprites have only been scattered relatively recently by Shadow Mario prior to the events of the game, the Noki Elder tells Mario of a hidden Shine Sprite in Noki Bay that has been there since ancient times.
Mario Kart series
One game, based somewhat on Capture the Flag, has characters attempting to hold onto a Shine Sprite until the timer is expired. Being struck with any of the game's weaponry, including Koopa Shells, Banana Peels, and the like causes the character to forfeit their hold on the Shine Sprite, allowing another character to pick it up. In the DS version, there are nine sprites, with a timer resetting every 30 seconds or so. Whoever has or is tied for the least sprites is then eliminated. In Double Dash!!, there is only one sprite, and whoever holds it when time runs out wins. Shine Sprites are also featured on a few billboards in the races in Mario Kart Wii and Mario Kart 7. In Mario Kart 8, Sunshine Airport's logo is a Shine Sprite itself.
Mario collects Shine Sprites also in the Super Mario-Kun adaption of Super Mario Sunshine. He receives his first one after defeating a Polluted Piranha Plant, as in the game. Shortly after, a Pianta explains to him about the Shine Sprite, also as in the game (this time, however, Mario does not get sent to jail; he went to jail prior to this).
Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door
In Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door, three Shine Sprites can be traded for a partner's level-up from Merlon. There are 42 in the game, with each of the 7 partners being able to upgrade twice. They are scattered throughout the world. 41 of them can be found in Shine Blocks all over the world, and 1 of them is owned by Bub. The fortune teller Merluvlee can tell where the Shine Sprites are. The Shine Sprite also makes a minor (but commonly-seen) other appearance as the icon for Mario's partners' "Attack" choice. If the player lines up three Shine Sprite icons in the Bingo! wheel during battle, the effect refills all of Mario's and his partner's HP, FP, and SP, and fills every seat in the audiences.
The in-game description is: "A mysterious, powerful object. Collecting these will help!"
Mario Golf: Advance Tour
Shine Sprites appear in Item Boxes on Star Courses. When received, the Shine Sprite will stop the rain.
Mario Power Tennis
Shine Sprites appear in Mario Power Tennis in the special game Tic Tac Glow. In that game, the player must hit the water balls at Goop puddles at the opposite side of the court. If the player manages to get rid of enough Goop, Shine Sprites will appear granting points. They also appear on the menu screen as outlines of the six modes.
Mario & Luigi series
Mario & Luigi: Partners in Time
Mario & Luigi: Bowser's Inside Story
Mario vs. Donkey Kong 2: March of the Minis
Super Mario Sunshine description
The revered symbols of Isle Delfino normally gather at the Shine Gate. Their collective power sustains the island.
Names in other languages