First appearing as a reward for exterminating turtles, bees and crabs that clogged up the pipes in the original <em>Mario Bros.</em>, yellow coins have afforded Mario points, extra lives and health throughout his career. Over time they seem to have grown less valuable, but they also serve as level guides and occasional hint indicators. Even at a net worth of 1/100 of a 1-up, Mario completionists like us still treat them like PokÃ©mon: Gotta catch 'em all.
With <em>Super Mario 64</em> came not only the acclaimed three-dimensional perspective, but also ingenious mission-based objectives. What better reason to explore each stage than to find the (sometimes frustratingly) well-hidden eight red coins? If these don't kindle your adventurer's spirit, you should probably go back to playing <em>Madden</em> or whatever.
Although most silver coins yield little in terms of game value, they are undeniably fun to collect. These rare beauties appear almost exclusively by the activation of certain switches, and even then only temporarily. They are sort of like those <a href="http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/6/6d/1935_Indian_Head_Buffalo_Nickel.jpg">buffalo nickels</a>; no one really cares, but having one definitely makes you feel like you're better than other people in some fundamental way. The elitist Mario player collects <em>ONLY</em> the silver coins, as they are clearly more chic.
Essential in earning every last Star or Shine, the blue coin is the completionist's currency. Finding this type of coin became especially challenging with <em>Super Mario Sunshine</em>, Gamecube's underrated adventure in which blue coins are Easter eggs tucked away in the most obscure nooks and crannies. Searching for one sometimes meant crying and irritated fits of rage, but what a redeeming sense of accomplishment you felt when it was finally over. So what if you used GameFAQs.
These two types of coins present a sort of mini-challenge for the diligent player. Five of the dragon/Yoshi coins can be found in each stage of <em>Super Mario World</em>, and three of the star-emblazoned sort are in each stage of <em>New SMB</em>. Comparable to what RPG players call side-quests, the hunt for level coins adds substantial lasting appeal with a few extra hours of gameplay. Plus, you know, they are bigger than normal coins, which makes them automatically better.
The legendary Six Golden Coins are more important than any others in this gallery, and possibly in the whole world. With their powers combined, Captain Planet is gonna take pollution down to zero! Actually, no. But there is a door that opens up to Wario's castle, and he's pretty much the coin king, so you know they are valuable.
Here is another reason to <em>keep replaying the same freaking level</em>. Character coins in <em>Yoshi's Island DS</em> can only be collected by the baby shown on the face of the coin. If you fail to find them, or if for some reason you don't care to, you will not unlock a more difficult mini-game mode. That, and you'll probably have to tolerate the babies' shrill cries until you finally snap, lock them up in separate eggs and launch them sailing sky-high back to that stupid stork who should have never dropped them off in the first place.
Like blue and red coins, the purple variety offer an additional challenge to players of <em>Super Mario Galaxy</em>, only these coins aren't simply thrown in difficult-to-see locations of a stage. Well, not as often, anyway. In some cases the dev team went as far as to redesign a particular section of a level to accommodate 100 cleverly-placed purple coins for more advanced players to collect. Managing to find them all in one run without dying sometimes proves to be a trying endeavor. Not that we're complaining; the process of collecting purple coins could have been diluted by a poorly-implemented waggle mechanic designed to prevent terrible casual players from feeling defeated. Because God forbid they might have to go back to playing <em>Yahoo! Checkers</em> punctuated by short bursts of <em>Bejeweled</em>.*<BR><BR>*The editors of WiiFanboy here wish to express their affinity for <em>Bejeweled</em> and its variants, particularly <em>Puzzle Quest</em> which is endlessly amazing. The editors would also like to extend apologies to readers who may have taken offense to statements concerning <em>Yahoo! Checkers</em>. Seriously, they are sorry you are terrible at games.
It might look like a byproduct of the camaraderie between Batman's nemeses, The Riddler and Two-Face, but this coin is actually a rare find in the Mario universe. Instead of increasing some bit of Mario's status, though, the question-marked coin triggers a scripted event in the game. Unfortunately, it's not as interesting as you might think. Had we designed this pick-up, we would have made a swarm of flying tanookis swoop in and demolish all traces of bad-guy with statues of solid granite, and maybe throw in a few 1-ups for good measure. Instead, it usually just leaves a trail of junk for Mario to pick up.<BR><BR>* * * * *<BR><BR>We hope you have enjoyed this week's gallery. Don't forget to <a href="http://nintendo.joystiq.com/2008/12/06/its-a-mario-world-coin-heaven/">go back to the main page</a> and check out the Mario links of the week at the bottom of our post! Give us a holler in the comments while you're there.