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! Blocks, also called Exclamation Mark Blocks, are floating blocks first introduced 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.
Super Mario series
Super Mario World
In Super Mario World, ! Blocks first appear as Dotted-Line Blocks (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.
Super Mario 64 / Super Mario 64 DS
In Super Mario 64, ! Blocks come in four different colors. Yellow ones (called ! Boxes) contain coins, Power Stars, 1-Up Mushrooms, or Koopa Shells. Among the three other colors (called Cap Blocks), 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 is not hit yet, the red, blue, and green ! Blocks will be transparent and therefore cannot be hit.
New Super Mario Bros. series
Super Mario 3D Land
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-. Each time it is hit, it spawns a face block in a specific path, often leading to out-of-reach locations and collectibles, though they appear on a timer and disappear after a period of time. The ! Block darkens after all of its face blocks have been spawned, and can be hit again after all of the face blocks have disappeared.
Super Mario 3D World
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 similar to Snake Blocks and Piranha Creepers.
Wario Land: Super Mario Land 3
Both small and large ! Blocks appear in Wario Land: Super Mario Land 3, triggering different events when hit. In Courses No. 5, 15, and 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 Courses No. 12, 38, and 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 Courses No. 38 and 39, the ! Blocks demolish the outer portions of Syrup Castle, revealing its core (later revealed to be a statue of Princess Toadstool).
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 Yoshi to use them as 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.
! 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
The Metal Box, the green ! Block that grants Mario the Metal Cap, appears as an item in the Super Smash Bros. series starting with Super Smash Bros. Melee. ! 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.
Mario & Luigi series
A few ! Blocks also appear in Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga (called Switch Blocks), Mario & Luigi: Partners in Time (called Event Blocks) and Mario & Luigi: Bowser's Inside Story. 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.
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 near the block. Orange ! Blocks with an original design also appear, which serve as switches to toggle certain platforms.
In the Super Mario Mash-Up Pack in Minecraft, four paintings are Super Mario 64-style red, orange, blue, and green ! Blocks. 3D pixel art of red and orange ! Blocks appears in the world premade for the pack.
Names in other languages