MarioWiki: Chronology is a guideline to help contributors organize the information surrounding the events of the video games, cartoons, comics, etc. should be placed in articles, specifically in "History". All articles must be written according to these guidelines in order to maintain consistency throughout the Super Mario Wiki.
Articles must list information about a subject according to the release date of the sources. Different sources may have different release dates in different regions, in which case, whichever region it was released in first provides the release date. Although information from one source may be listed after another source, that does not mean the events depicted literally occurred after, and writers should not make such an assertion (unless Nintendo has established a connection between the two sources). While information may be divided into different sections based on the series they are from, this does not reflect that certain media products are more or less canonical than any other source. For example, "core" Super Mario titles are no more important than the "spin-offs" like the Mario Kart games or alternative media, such as the Super Mario World cartoon series; they are merely organized into their respective sections to avoid speculating on how titles from various series relate to one another in an attempt to write a continuous timeline.
While most people view the Super Mario franchise from an "in-universe perspective", the articles must adhere to the release date order. "Background" sections can be made to cover events that are known to occur before the actual first appearance (i.e. Mario's infancy, as depicted in Super Mario World 2: Yoshi's Island, and his life before Donkey Kong, which is referenced many times throughout the Super Mario franchise). Links between games can also be mentioned in the sections, but the section order itself cannot be changed to reflect the so-called chronology.
Here are the specific guidelines to be followed when organizing historical or biographical information in an article.
Information in articles should be ordered according to the release date of the video game, cartoon, comic, etc. If the article is divided into various sub-sections, such as "Mario Kart series", all information from sources that fall under that sub-section should be organized according to the release date. This type of organization does not mean that events listed earlier necessarily occurred earlier in the Super Mario franchise timeline; only if a source specifically establishes a chronological relationship with other titles should writers indicate as such. If no official material indicates when a title occurs in relation to other sources, then the information is simply placed in order of release date and no speculative comments should be added. For example, there is no specific indication that New Super Mario Bros. (released May 15, 2006) occurred after Super Princess Peach (released October 5, 2005), although New Super Mario Bros. was released after Super Princess Peach. Thus writers should place information about New Super Mario Bros. after information about Super Princess Peach for organizational purposes, but should not state New Super Mario Bros. occurs after Super Princess Peach. However, if a title does reference earlier Mario media, this should be mentioned in that later title's section. For example, the manual for Wario Land: Super Mario Land 3 (released January 21, 1994) states that the events of the game take place some unknown amount of time after Super Mario Land 2: 6 Golden Coins (released November 1992), and so the earlier Mario Land game can be mentioned in the Wario Land: Super Mario Land 3 section.
Age of characters
The relative age of characters can also be used to place events within a timeline. Super Mario World 2: Yoshi's Island established itself as the first chronological game in the Super Mario franchise, as it depicts the morning of the Mario bros.' birth. A few games, such as Mario & Luigi: Partners in Time and Yoshi's Island DS feature characters traveling back in time and meeting their younger selves. As such, sources can be referenced in an initial "Background" section of the History, though the sections themselves must still go in their appropriate release-date order, wherein the bulk of their information will be contained. Past the adult stage this guideline no longer applies, as no definitive signs of aging between titles is apparent (Mario doesn't look older since assuming an adult form in Donkey Kong to Super Mario Galaxy). An example: in Mario's "Background", we mention that Super Mario World 2: Yoshi's Island affected Baby Mario, but save the full plots of the game for their later sections. Besides the exception of the baby forms of central Super Mario characters, this concept usually goes hand-in-hand with the release date concept. For example, Mario Golf for the Game Boy Color released on September 10, 1999, features Kid as a boy. Mario Golf: Advance Tour released on the later date of April 22, 2004, features Kid as a young man. The same character has aged from an earlier title to a newer title, establishing that the newer game occurs after the older game. In games featuring time travel, events depicted in the past are mentioned in the "Background" with the games that occurred in the past, and like those games, the full coverage of the time-travel title is placed in the actual section, located farther down the "History". For example, this would be a short version of Mario's biography with respect to Mario & Luigi: Partners in Time:
...At one point in Mario's early childhood, the Mushroom Kingdom was invaded by an alien race known as the Shroobs. Fortunately, a time-travel incident also occurred during the invasion, and Babies Mario and Luigi were able to team up with their adult counterparts to defeat the aliens. The adult Mario and Luigi then returned to their time and the children returned to their normal lives as well.
Mario & Luigi series
Mario & Luigi: Partners in Time
Mario and Luigi next teamed up to rescue Princess Peach when she disappeared into the past, having used a time machine created by Professor E. Gadd. When the time machine returned, Peach was nowhere to be found. Instead, an alien creature appeared in the malfunctioning contraption. The Mario bros. had to use the random time holes the time machine created to travel to the past themselves in pursuit of the wayward princess. They then discover that the Mushroom Kingdom had been invaded by aliens known as the Shroobs, and that they had to save the past as well as the princess. They soon cross paths with their infant selves, Baby Mario and Baby Luigi, and the foursome band together for their adventure...
On a related note, information that is indicated to occur long before the events of the game can also go in the "Background", or possibly in the Introduction if the information is limited to a one-liner piece of information. For example, the Shadow Queen attempted to take over the world a thousand years before the events of Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door, so information surrounding those events a millennium in the past can likewise be placed under a "Background" header placed before the actual "Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door" section. Another example: according to the Star Spirits, they have watched over the Star Rod since the "beginning of time", which is a statement perfectly suited for the Introductory paragraphs of the Star Spirits' article.
The Super Mario Wiki chronology guideline also accounts for direct sequels in that they are usually released sequentially within their series, meaning their information is almost always placed back-to-back without further efforts being taken. For example, Super Mario Land and Super Mario Land 2: 6 Golden Coins were released years apart, during which time many other games, such as Dr. Mario and Super Mario Bros. 3, came out, but since they are not part of the Super Mario Land series, they are not placed between the titles in the History, allowing for their linked storyline to be presented without interruption. If another game had come between the titles it would not be too much of a problem, however: the opening exposition in Super Mario Land 2: Six Golden Coins's section would merely state that it is a direct sequel to Super Mario Land.
Not all sequels are meant to be sequential. Although called "Super Mario World 2: Yoshi's Island", this game actually takes place long before the events of Super Mario World, in which case the Yoshi's Island text need not mention the original Super Mario World at all. Conversely, while Wario Land: Super Mario Land 3 is not set immediately after Super Mario Land 2: 6 Golden Coins, it is explicitly said to occur sometime after the game, which can be mentioned within the title's section, unlike sequentially released games in a series that do not reference each other at all, like Mario Kart 64 and Mario Kart: Double Dash!!, in which such a statement would be speculation.
As there is no central canon organizing the Super Mario franchise, there are bound to be inconsistencies between sources. While many sources work well together and establish a (mostly) coherent narrative, other sources appear to take greater liberties with the content established by previous sources, including completely re-working character biographies and changing other pre-established conventions. Sources that greatly diverge from their predecessors include the Super Mario Bros. film, the Super Mario anime series, and the Super Smash Bros. series, among others (to various degrees). However, despite their differences, they are as official as any other source and should be treated as such.
Again, returning to the New Super Mario Bros./Super Princess Peach example. There is no explicit connection between the two games, so we cannot speculate when each event occurs. Similarly, there is no explicit explanation for how the Super Mario franchise is connected to the Super Smash Bros. series, so we cannot speculate on their relationship. Like remakes, diverging sources may simply represent different versions of the same events, or represent completely different events in the same timeline (or even something else entirely). We simply don't have any official evidence to establish the relationship between many sources.
As such, contradictory information surrounding the same basic event should still be presented to the reader equally, and preferably, simultaneously - fortunately, these issues usually arise within the backstories of characters, and so the mixed-series "Background" section is the perfect place to deal with them. For example, Super Mario World 2: Yoshi's Island depicts the newborn Mario being delivered to his parents by a Stork, whereas Super Mario Momotarō has Mario emerging from a giant peach that fell from the sky. Although these sources contradict each other, they can both be included in a common "Background" section, where the fact that they are each valid versions of Mario's birth can be adequately explained. If there is a contradiction that does not fit into the History's "Background" section, the information pertaining to the different sources should be kept within the separate sections. The existence of contradictory information should then be mentioned, with a link to the sections containing the information (using the coding: "[[#Section Name]]"). For example, if Mario's birth was not included in the "Background", the "Super Mario World 2: Yoshi's Island" section would include the statement: "Another version of Mario's birth has been depicted in .", and "Super Mario Momotaro" would reference and link to "Super Mario World 2: Yoshi's Island".
However, none of this means that writers should include speculation in an attempt to rectify the discontinuity between various sources. Editors should draw attention to any discontinuities or plot holes, and then simply continue with the article, leaving the readers to draw their own conclusions about the facts we have provided them.
Information regarding remakes of original games should be included within the original releases' sections; if there is a lot of information pertaining to the remake, a sub-section can be created. If the subject of the article appeared in the remake but not the original game, the information will be organized using the mindset that the remake is the original as far as that individual page is concerned: the section will possess the remake's title and be placed in the History according to the remake's release date. Remakes often include differences in plot and gameplay, but it is not up to us to say whether the original or the remake depicts what "actually" happened, nor can we decide if they are actually separate events. Some remakes are officially said to be retellings of past events (such as Super Mario 64 DS), in which case both the original and remake are true and happen at the same time; they are simply alternative versions of the same occurrence, as with other forms of discontinuity.