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Retro Mario box art reveals his true fate

Think you know everything about Mario? You might have missed this one.

"It's-a me, Mario...burnt to a crisp!" Reddit/Deluxo

Nearly 26 years ago, Super Mario Bros. hit retail shelves and put millions of gamers in control of a wacky plumber determined to defeat Bowser and save Princess Toadstool. The NES classic is a cherished first experience in video games for many people, but there's something you may have missed on the original box art: Mario is about to die.

In one of those "How did I not see that?" moments, Reddit poster Deluxo pointed out last week that the iconic character appears to be near death on the cover of one of his most famous games. He's clearly hovering right over a lava pit in Bowser's castle, having just missed a critical jump and soon destined to be crispy. Just looking at the image makes me cringe and is a reminder of how many times I had to restart a level because I couldn't time a jump right.

In an amusing philosophical response to the post, Reddit user Scoldering has a unique theory as to why Mario is just so super: "Notice how his foot extends over the brick wall on the cover? I think he's transcending his impending death, the overall idea being that through multiple incarnations (lives), he will overcome all challenges and become worthy of the name Super Mario."

Did you ever notice Mario's impending doom on the classic cover?