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! Blocks, also called Exclamation Mark Blocks are floating blocks first introduced in Super Mario World. At first all the player can see is Dotted Line Blocks, which is their outline, but after Mario or Luigi hits one of the ! Switches at the Switch Palaces, they become solid. Additionally, some ! Blocks contain various power-ups. Yellow blocks contain Super Mushrooms, and green blocks contain Cape Feathers. The red and blue blocks contain nothing and only serve as platforms or walls.
In Super Mario World 2: Yoshi's Island and its GBA remake, Yoshi's Island DS, and Yoshi's New Island, Dotted Line Blocks temporarily become solid ! Blocks after a nearby ! Switch is pressed, allowing Yoshi and the baby riding him to use them as platforms.
In Super Mario 64, ! Blocks come in four different colors. Yellow ones (called ! Boxes) contain Coins, Power Stars, 1-Up Mushrooms, or Koopa Shells. Red Blocks contain the Wing Cap, Blue Blocks contain the Vanish Cap, and Green Blocks contain the Metal Cap. All ! Blocks (except the yellow variety) must be activated by hitting the corresponding ! Switch. If the switch isn't hit yet, the red, blue and green ! Blocks will be transparent and therefore cannot be hit. In Super Mario 64 DS, all ! Blocks, except for the yellow variety, were replaced by red ? Blocks. The yellow variety retains its contents from the original game.
A few ! Blocks also appear in Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga (called Switch Blocks) and Mario & Luigi: Partners in Time (called Event Blocks). They have various functions and can activate events. Purple-colored ! Blocks are introduced in these games, which have varying effects. 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 Volcano, allowing the Mario quartet to traverse further 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.
! 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.
! 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 near the block. Other ! Blocks serve as switches to toggle certain platforms.
Several ! Blocks appear in the Super Mario-Kun, where their role reflects whatever the volume is adapted from. In volume 16 of the Super Mario-Kun, which is based on Super Mario 64, they give him power-ups the same as in the game.
The Metal Box, the green ! Block that grants Mario the Metal Cap, appears as an item in the Super Smash Bros. series. ! Blocks also 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 pressing a switch of the same color (red, blue, or green). They release items when hit or touched, becoming empty upon doing so.
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