Mario's face is a floating, disembodied head of Mario. The gameplay element of an interactive floating head of Mario along with other disembodied character heads have appeared in many games.
Mario's floating head (animated with VActor technology) first appeared in Mario Teaches Typing and its sequel Mario Teaches Typing 2. He narrated players' lessons and actions as they learned to type, while also making random small talk, sometimes invoking jokes and comments about his lack of body. Later, the head appeared on the title screen of Super Mario 64, where players could tug and stretch his facial features; his nose, ears, cheeks, chin, and hat, to humorous positions. As Super Mario 64 was Nintendo's first title for the Nintendo 64, an interactive Mario face served to familiarize the player to the Nintendo 64 controller without worrying about actual gameplay. Additionally, on the Game Over screen, Mario's head will appear dazed and worn out.
Mario's face later appeared in the Mario Party 2 version of Face Lift (also in Mario Party and Mario Party: The Top 100, but with Bowser's face and no other faces), where the player has to alter the face of Mario or other characters in the game. The more accurately the face is changed to match a picture, the more points the player receives. The player who earns the most points wins, although two players can win if they earn the same amount of points. Mario's head, along with a Luigi head, Peach head, Yoshi head, Wario head, and Donkey Kong head, appear in the 1-vs-3 minigame Look Away where each head has to dance along to the music, and the team of three heads must avoid looking in the same direction as the single player head. Soon in the next game Mario Party 3, Mario's face is one of the faces (alongside Wiggler and Toad) to appear in the minigame Picture Imperfect. The player must get his M on his hat right, nose right, mustache right, mouth right and eyes right.
In the remake Super Mario 64 DS, the Mario head appears along with a Yoshi head. In this game, Mario's face is able to turn into an ink outline version of itself, which can be distorted with the stylus or various buttons. The player can also erase the face and draw his or her own creations.
Mario's face is also a feature in some of the minigames in Super Mario 64 DS. When the player opens a chest in Boom Box, the chest makes a sound, astonishing Mario's face on the top screen. If the player makes a mistake, Mario's face frowns, while if the player succeeds, Mario's face beams joyously at the player. If the player gets a Game Over in any minigame, Mario's face will yell and look dazed. When a player clears any minigame round or beats a high score, Mario's face is astonished, then bursts out laughing. In Tox Box Shuffle, if the player finds Yoshi in the right Tox Box, the Mario head will burst into laughter like how the player succeeds in Boom Box, and will yell if all three chances are lost.
The heads of Mario, Luigi, Peach, Yoshi, and Toad, along with Mii heads, have appeared in both Super Mario Galaxy and its sequel as file icons. In the sequel, a Rosalina head can be unlocked as a file icon when the player collects 120 stars and unlock the Green Star Prankster Comets. Also, the Peach head has her neck removed unlike in the predecessor, allowing more of a disembodied feature.
Mario's face is also spoofed in a beginning chapter of volume 16 of Super Mario-Kun. This volume also follows Super Mario 64's story. Later in the volume, there is a 4-koma that involves Yoshi playing the game and not only moving Mario's face to bizarre positions, but also drawing on it as well.
Nintendo DS tech demo
The following quotes are from the Mario Teaches Typing series.