Breaking the Fourth Wall is a term used when a video game character acknowledges that they are in a video game. Many of the Mario games, especially the Paper Mario games, are known for breaking the fourth wall.
Types of Fourth Wall breaks
Real World Interaction
Some Mario game characters will explain how to use the controls. Game Interaction could also happen when a character directly hits the screen causing it to either break or tilt. Some characters will even directly talk to the player.
The most common type of fourth wall break in a Mario game. Usually, after the player has beaten the game, a message that says "Thank you for playing" or other types of that statement will appear on the screen.
Other Game References
Some characters will reference other characters or elements from other games outside their games. This usually happens in the Paper Mario games.
In this video game series, usually the message "Thank you so much for playing the game" will appear at the end of the screen. Also, during the epilogue of Super Mario 3D World's Story Mode, the Green Sprixie Princess waves goodbye. Rosalina also breaks the fourth wall when wishing the player good luck with her catchphrase, "May the stars shine down on you."
In Paper Mario, few characters break the fourth wall:
- When Mario is fighting the Koopa Bros. while in the fake Bowser suit, they will say that there should be a sequel called "Paper Bowser".
- Also, whenever Mario wins a battle, he sometimes poses a thumbs up at the player.
- Jr. Troopa breaks the fourth wall after noticing his HP bar dropped to half after he attempted to chase down Mario by swimming after him.
- Professor Frankly addresses the player directly to listen up to his explanation and Mario's partner will comply that who is Frankly talking to.
- Lord Crump even breaks the fourth wall. While disguised as Four-Eyes, he talks to the player knowning he/she knows who he is and threatens him/her not to tell Mario. This also leaves the partner confused to who he was talking to.
- Goombella breaks the fourth wall when Mario has her tattle certain characters (such as the Cheep Cheep from Glitzville).
- Rawk Hawk breaks the fourth wall when he points at the screen telling if the player hasn't forgotten about him.
- After Gus has been defeated by Mario, he blurts out "You dumb video game heroes always do this!" before running away.
- Bestovius, teaches Mario how to use the Flip ability, tells Mario to press the 1 button. Mario doesn't know about the button but the character says that the "being that watches over us" knows meaning the player.
- Thoreau does something similar when he mentions the buttons.
- Peach breaks the fourth wall when she realizes the player is picking her responses to Francis on the Swoon.exe.
- Mario breaks the fourth wall by once again posing a thumbs up at the player whenever he wins in a battle.
- Mario also breaks the fourth wall by noticing his HP bar increase whenever he finds a HP-Up Heart.
- Gooper Blooper breaks the fourth wall by clapping to his own theme.
- The host of Snifit or Whiffit joked to Mario and Huey if they're a mistake, the player's file will be removed and deleted forever.
- After Bowser had crashed down into the water with his castle at the end of the game, Bowser was thrown right into the screen cracking it.
- Starlow breaks the fourth wall twice by mentioning the Year of Luigi and that they are in a RPG.
In Mario Party 4:
- If the player uses Boo to steal something at Goomba's Greedy Gala, the Goomba will say "And remember kids: stealing is a bad thing". He is directly referring to the player(s).
In Mario Party 5:
- In the mini-game Head Waiter, when the Bowser head explodes on the player, that player will fly directly at the screen and tilt it on contact.
- After the player completes the game, one of the Piantas will say "Could this be the end of the game? I hope something else happens!"
- The character Dodo actually breaks the fourth wall twice in the game. Once during the Dodo dodge game, near the end, Dodo will actually run outside of the border of the screen. And the other time is when Dodo looks directly at the player when something confuses or surprises him.