! Block

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Not to be confused with ? Block or Surprise Ball.
! Block
Artwork of a yellow block from Super Mario 64
Yellow block artwork from Super Mario 64
First appearance Super Mario World (1990)
Latest appearance Super Mario 3D All-Stars (2020)

! Blocks, also called Exclamation Mark Blocks[1] or ! Platforms,[2] are floating blocks that first appear in Super Mario World. Since their debut, ! Blocks have made recurring appearances in the Mario franchise, appearing in various colors and serving different functions. In most games, hitting a ! Block causes a certain event to occur; in others, ! Blocks instead release items, or do nothing at all and simply serve as platforms.

History[edit]

Super Mario series[edit]

Super Mario World[edit]

In Super Mario World and its remake, there are four types of ! Blocks: yellow, green, red, and blue. They all start out as an outline, more specifically Dotted-Line Blocks. Mario or Luigi can turn every ! Block of a certain color by activating its ! Switch in the corresponding Switch Palace. ! Blocks mainly serve as platforms, although the yellow and green ! Blocks always contain a specific power-up too: a Super Mushroom and Cape Feather, respectively. The red and blue ! Blocks do not contain any power-up and only serve as platforms and/or walls.

Super Mario 64 / Super Mario 64 DS[edit]

In Super Mario 64, all four color variations return, each with a distinct purpose. The red, green, and blue ones are collectively called Cap Blocks, and they start the game as transparent outlines. Mario can turn all of them solid if he activates each of their corresponding Cap Switches. Yellow blocks[3] (also spelled Yellow Blocks),[4] also named ! Boxes,[5] are the most common variant. They contain various items, such as coins, a Power Star, or a 1UP Mushroom. Some even contain a Koopa Shell.

In Super Mario 64 DS's Adventure mode, due to cap changes, the three Cap Blocks were reduced to a type of red ? Block. However, yellow blocks (simply called ! Blocks)[6] retain their role. In VS Mode, a large yellow block called a VS Item Block[7] appears in the courses Sunshine Isles and Battle Fort, and it provides Yoshi, Luigi, and Wario with Wings. In the Korean version, a yellow block appears on the roof of the Mushroom Castle, and it grants unlimited 1-UPs.[8]

New Super Mario Bros. series[edit]

Main article: Super Guide Block

A type of ! Block called a Super Guide Block appears in New Super Mario Bros. Wii and New Super Mario Bros. U, and it causes a CPU-controlled Luigi to clear the current level for the player.

Super Mario 3D Land[edit]

Both regular block-sized and large red ! Blocks appear in Super Mario 3D Land in multiple levels, including World 4-2, World 4-3, and Special 4-The Icon of a Airship from New Super Mario Bros. Wii.. Each time one is hit, it spawns a face block in a specific path, often leading to out-of-reach locations and collectibles, though the blocks disappear after a short time. The ! Block darkens after all of its face blocks have been spawned, and they can be hit again after all of the face blocks have disappeared.

Super Mario 3D World[edit]

Main article: Switch Block (Super Mario 3D World)

A large red ! Block known as a Switch Block appears in Super Mario 3D World, and it changes tracks when hit.

Super Mario Maker 2[edit]

A ! Block in Super Mario Maker 2

In Super Mario Maker 2, giant yellow ! Blocks appear as course elements in the Super Mario 3D World style. When hit multiple times, they produce giant Empty Blocks in an identical manner to the Mega ? Blocks in Super Block Land in Super Mario 3D World. When ground-pounded, the blocks appear all at once. After a period of time, the blocks disappear. In editing mode, the path in which the blocks form can be set by the player like Snake Blocks, Clear Pipes, and Piranha Creepers.

Wario Land: Super Mario Land 3[edit]

Both small and large ! Blocks (referred to as switches)[9] appear in Wario Land: Super Mario Land 3, triggering different events when hit. In Course No.05, Course No.15, and Course No.38, a ! Block can be found in a small room and causes certain unbreakable blocks in the previous room to disappear. The giant ! Blocks appear instead of goal doors at the end of Course No.12, Course No.38, and Course No.39. In Course No.12, activating the giant ! Block causes the lid to fall on top of Mt. Teapot, turning Course No.10 into Course No.13; in Course No.38 and Course No.39, the ! Blocks demolish the outer portions of Syrup Castle, revealing its core (later revealed to be a statue of Princess Toadstool).

Yoshi franchise[edit]

! Blocks in Yoshi's New Island

In Super Mario World 2: Yoshi's Island (and its GBA remake), Yoshi's Island DS, Yoshi's New Island, and Yoshi's Woolly World, Dotted-Line Blocks temporarily become solid ! Blocks after a nearby ! Switch is pressed, allowing a Yoshi to use them as platforms.

Super Mario-kun[edit]

Mario getting thrown against a ! Block in Super Mario-kun

Several ! Blocks appear in Super Mario-kun, where their role reflects whatever the volume is adapted from. In volume 16 of Super Mario-kun, which is based on Super Mario 64, they give Mario power-ups the same as in the game.

Mario Party[edit]

! Blocks can also be seen as part of the treasure hoard inside the safe in the Mario Party minigame Key-pa-Way. One of the ! Blocks is purple. Also, in the Mushroom Bank, the safe that keeps the items bought from the Mushroom Shop resembles a red ! Block.

Super Smash Bros. series[edit]

! Blocks appear on Princess Peach's Castle in Super Smash Bros. Melee and Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, where they, alongside two same-colored platforms, appear for a brief time after the player presses a switch of the same color (red, blue, or green). They release items when hit or touched, becoming empty upon doing so. In addition, the green block from Super Mario 64 appears as the Metal Box item in the Super Smash Bros. series starting with Super Smash Bros. Melee.

Mario & Luigi series[edit]

A few ! Blocks also appear in all installments of the Mario & Luigi series (called Switch Blocks in Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga[10] and Event Blocks in Mario & Luigi: Partners in Time[11]). They have various functions and can activate events. Purple-colored ! Blocks are introduced in these games, and they have varying effects. These blocks are colored orange in Mario & Luigi: Dream Team and Mario & Luigi: Paper Jam. Three special ! Blocks in Mario & Luigi: Partners in Time are used to create three giant ! Blocks on Yoshi's Island and destroy giant ! Blocks of the same color in Thwomp Caverns, allowing the Mario quartet to traverse farther down the volcano. The blue variety later appears in the Star Shrine, where it would change color depending on whether Baby Mario or Baby Luigi hit it.

Super Princess Peach[edit]

An orange ! Block in Super Princess Peach

! Blocks, coming in a pink version of their Super Mario 64 appearance, also appear in Super Princess Peach, where they each contain a trapped Toad that needs to be rescued. There are three in each level, and each Toad needs to rescued in order to complete the game. The Toad's cry for help can also be faintly heard when the player is near the block. Orange ! Blocks with an original design also appear, and they serve as switches to toggle certain platforms.

Minecraft[edit]

In the Super Mario Mash-up in Minecraft, a yellow block from Super Mario 64 appears as a painting, along with the red, green, and blue Cap Blocks. 3D pixel art of red and orange ! Blocks appears in the world premade for the pack.

Profiles[edit]

Super Mario Maker 2[edit]

  • North American website bio: "The ! Block extends when hit. Ground pound to expand it faster."

Gallery[edit]

Names in other languages[edit]

Language Name Meaning
Japanese ビックリブロック
Bikkuri Burokku
きいろいブロック[12]
Kiiroi Burokku
オレンジブロック[13]
Orenji Burokku
Surprise Block

Yellow Block (Super Mario 64)

Orange Block (Super Mario 64 DS)
Chinese (Simplified) !砖块
! Zhuānkuài
! Block
Chinese (Traditional) !磚塊[14]
! Zhuānkuài
! Block
Dutch !-blok ! Block
French Bloc en point d'exclamation
Bloc ! (Super Mario Maker 2)
Exclamation mark block
! Block
German !-Block -
Italian Blocco !
Pulsante ! (Wario Land 4)
! block
! Switch
Portuguese (NOA) Bloco de Exclamação Exclamation Block
Portuguese (NOE) Bloco ![15] ! block
Russian Блок «!»
Blok «!»
Block "!"
Spanish Bloque ! ! block

Trivia[edit]

The blue ! Block in an early version of New Super Mario Bros.
  • In some pre-release versions of New Super Mario Bros., a blue ! Block from Super Mario 64 can be seen (as shown in the image to the right). Its 3D geometry is more apparent than any other block in the game. Moreover, the yellow ! Block from the same game can also be viewed, this one being automatically switched to a green ! Block if hit.[16]
  • In New Super Mario Bros. Wii, there is a red ! Switch, which activates Red Blocks, that acts similarly to the ones in Super Mario World, but there are no "!" symbols on them.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Super Mario World instruction booklet, page 21.
  2. ^ Williams, Drew. Yoshi's Island: Super Mario Advance 3 Player's Guide. Page 126. "The ! Platforms will flash on and off after you stomp a Switch, giving you time to jump through them to another Switch."
  3. ^ Super Mario 64 English instruction booklet, page 18.
  4. ^ M. Arakawa. Super Mario 64 Player's Guide. Pages 21, 69, 80, 92, 96, 108, and 127.
  5. ^ M. Arakawa. Super Mario 64 Player's Guide. Page 8.
  6. ^ Super Mario 64 DS instruction booklet, page 29.
  7. ^ Super Mario 64 DS internal object name (VS_ITEM_BLOCK)
  8. ^ Video showing the ! Block in the Korean version of Super Mario 64 DS. Naver. Retrieved October 15, 2020.
  9. ^ Nintendo Power Volume 58, pages 80, 83, 88.
  10. ^ Thomason, Steve. Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga Player's Guide. Page 11.
  11. ^ Hoffman, Chris. Mario & Luigi: Partners in Time Player's Guide. Page 10.
  12. ^ Super Mario 64 Japanese instruction booklet, page 18.
  13. ^ Super Mario 64 DS Japanese instruction booklet, page 29.
  14. ^ Official traditional Chinese website for Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. Retrieved April 5, 2020.
  15. ^ Nintendo Portugal. (May 15, 2019). Super Mario Maker 2 Direct - 15/05/2019. YouTube. Retrieved August 7, 2021.
  16. ^ Video showing an early E3 prototype of New Super Mario Bros.