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Mario with a Bowser key in Super Mario 64.

Keys are items that appear in the Mario series, and usually are used to unlock doors and gates. They have appeared in many of the platform and RPG games in the series.

Super Mario Bros. 2

Key SMB2
Keys first appeared in Super Mario Bros. 2. Mario used them to unlock various locked doors. They can be picked up and must be carried to the door they unlock. They can be thrown at enemies to defeat them. If Mario picks up a key, a Phanto will appear and try to attack him. Throwing the key or using the key on a locked door makes the Phanto disappear.

Super Mario World

Keys are sometimes found in Super Mario World. They are hidden in often hard to reach locations, out of the way from the usual path that Mario has to take. If Mario is able to a find a key, he can bring it to its corresponding keyhole, and exit the level early and find an alternate route on the map. The key can also be kicked at enemies. Mario can carry the key, or have Yoshi hold it in his mouth.If there is one, the level will have a red dot rather than a yellow one.

Super Mario 64/Super Mario 64 DS

Keys reoccur in the popular game with different uses. The first key is used to open the castle door. Others found in certain levels help you access Bowser battles. The rest are used for unlocking Mini-Games.

Super Mario World 2: Yoshi's Island/Yoshi's Island DS

Keys are used in Super Mario World 2: Yoshi's Island and Yoshi's Island DS to unlock various doors. Yoshi can only carry five eggs while holding a key. They are often found in crates, held by balloons, and hidden in potted plants. They are required to unlock minigame doors.

Luigi's Mansion

In Luigi's Mansion, keys are used to unlock the various doors of the mansion. Usually, they are found in treasure chests after clearing the room of ghosts, but that is not always the case. For example, the first key obtained in the Wardrobe Room is found on top of a clothes rack. After beating boss ghosts and Vincent Van Gore, Luigi gets special keys that allow him to access the next area in the mansion. Keys are similarly found in Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon. Often hidden around rooms or in enemies, Luigi must use the Keys to open many doors in all five mansions.

Super Mario Galaxy/Super Mario Galaxy 2

Keys unlock various doors and force fields in Super Mario Galaxy and Super Mario Galaxy 2. They sometimes are obtained by defeating enemies.

In the Paper Mario series and other RPGs

Keys are also used in the Mario series RPGs as items that can be used to open doors and sometimes chests throughout the games. They keys themselves are often found in chests or are obtained through other people. While most chests don't require keys to open, some doors in dungeons may be locked, normally those leading to special rooms or boss battles.

Super Mario Maker

Keys which you get by shaking a "P switch" are used to unlock "Key doors" which you get by shaking a door twice. Some keys you can get by defeating an enemy or by collecting enough "Pink coins". Mario can hold up to 8 coins at a time.
Mario Maker key

Mario holding a key as seen in Super Mario Maker


  • The Key found in Pikmin 2 has the design of the key in Super Mario World.
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