Mario's Picross is a puzzle video game for the Game Boy and the 3DS Virtual Console as a part of the Mario series. It consists of 192 nonograms, separated into three groups of 64.


The objective of each logic puzzle is to reveal a hidden picture in a grid by scraping specific squares of it. Each puzzle starts with an empty grid and several numbers are given at the side of each horizontal row and vertical column of the grid. The numbers tell the player how many squares have to be scraped in each line. The revealed pictures show food, animals and other objects, but also make some Mario series references. For example, a "5" means that the player has to scrape five consecutive squares in the respective line. If there is more than one number, then there has to be at least one blank square between the scraped areas. For instance, "4 6 2" means that four consecutive squares have to be scraped in the line, followed by at least one blank square. After the blank space(s), the player has to scrape an area of six squares. Again, there has to be at least one blank square between this area and the last two consecutive squares that have to be scraped. If the player is sure that a square doesn't have to be scraped, e.g. when a blank square is needed or all required squares in a line have been scraped, they can mark it with an "X".

Differences in the Japanese version

In the overseas release of the game, a handful of puzzles were changed to remove references to alcohol and other elements. The puzzles included in the Japanese release are listed below.

Easy Picross

  • 6C - Cocktail
  • 7B - Wine Glass

Kinoko Course

  • 2A - Shogi Piece
  • 2F - Shrine Bell
  • 2H - Rice Pot
  • 4D - Tsukimi Dango
  • 6H - Beer Mug
  • 7F - Folding Fan

Star Course

  • 6H - Niō's Face

Time Trial

  • 1H - Pellet Drum
  • 3D - Shuriken
  • 3F - Tobacco
  • 4D - Kasa-obake


Mario's Picross was unable to sell notably well in either North America or Europe when it was released, leading both territories to no longer receive any more Picross games by Nintendo until Picross DS in 2007. The game, despite citations that the Game Boy's tiny screen makes it difficult to see the puzzles clearly, is considered a cult hit in the Western world.


Due to the game's success in the region, Japan received a number of sequels. The first one was Mario's Super Picross for the Super Famicom in 1995, followed by the Game Boy title Picross 2 in 1996. In 1999 and 2000, eight Picross NP games for the Super Famicom were released and could be downloaded by the players onto Nintendo Power cartridges. Four of them feature puzzles related to the Mario series. Of these, Mario's Super Picross is the only one available outside of Japan, appearing on the European and Australian Virtual Consoles in September 2007 for the Wii and April 2013 for the Wii U. Japan received a Virtual Console release in December 2006 for the Wii and April 2013 for the Wii U. In 2012, a Japan-only Club Nintendo exclusive title called Club Nintendo Picross was released; that title received a sequel called Club Nintendo Picross Plus in 2014.

References in later games

  • Mario Party 2 - Mario's outfit for the Mystery Land board resembles the outfit Mario is depicted as wearing in Mario's Picross.
  • Super Mario Odyssey - A costume Mario can wear in the game is nearly identical to the explorer outfit Mario is depicted wearing in Mario's Picross, and later sequels.

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