New Super Mario Bros. Wii Sour Candies

While out rummaging through the bargain bins at a local gaming store, I happened upon something that immediately won my heart. Near the check-out counter they had these adorable little replicas of the iconic Super Mario Mushrooms. The only way this could get better, I thought, is if they were full of candy! Which they are.

You see, what these really are, are collectable tins released to promote the game New Super Mario Bros. Wii for, well, the Wii. The tins also contain sour candies. There are more varieties than just the mushrooms, though, as these tins come in three varieties - count 'em:

The store I was visting were only carrying the mushrooms, but I had seen the stars at another store. I haven't seen the blocks in person, although they do intrigue me. The stars, really, seem like the weakest of the lot. Not because they aren't cute and iconic, but simply because they are the most conspicous. It's a bit difficult to explain, but the star is very obviously a tin, while the mushroom looks like a mushroom, and the block is very much block-like. Well, let's put it this way: looking at the mushrooms or the blocks, you might just think they are figurines or small toys, but the star is very obviously a container. It just bothers me, but I'll be getting to why I like the mushroom so much in just a bit.

The mushrooms come in three colors. Each color also represents a different flavor. The green are green apple, the red are cherry, and the blue are... blue raspberry? Blueberry? Something blue, in any case. At the store where I purchased this thing, there were no blue ones, and only one green one left. That's the one I ended up getting. The three colors actually match up to the three types of mushrooms seen in the game. Red = Super Mushroom. Blue = Mini Mushroom. And green, of course, is the legendary 1up! This alone was as much a deciding factor in which of the available ones I bought as much as the fact that there was only one of them left. Really, if you had to choose, wouldn't you pick another chance at life after you die? Who would want a mushroom that makes you bigger? On second thought, please don't answer that.

Looking at the tin head on from a distance, one might not even expect that this thing is any sort of container. It's really a rather clever design. Looking closer, it's not hard to guess that the cap pops off, exposing the candies inside.

The candies inside are also mushroom-shaped, which is a nice little touch. They're a rather sickly green color, and their scent is a little odd, though. One could even call it a stench. Tasting one, though, I was surprised that, hey, the candy isn't too bad! The sourness is potent, but not overwhelming, and they're sweet, but not too sweet. They have a nice mouth-watering flavor, but it doesn't really taste all that much like green apples. All around decent, but not great. Considering that flavor isn't usually the first priority with novelty, promotional products like these, it could have been a lot worse. Just don't eat too many in one sitting.

The real star of this show is the tin itself. I'll be honest, I'm a big Mario nut. One thing about the series that has always attracted me, besides the quality gameplay, are the simple, yet iconic and endearing graphics. Everything is so colorful and memorable, from the characters, to the enemies, to the items, to the blocks you break open to get coins.

It stands to a testiment of the utter timelessness of those graphics that, even in this age of high-def warriors in pimpin' robot armour and bad-ass laser cannons that shoot missles that in turn shoot out even more missiles, this simple mushroom is still one of the most immediately recognizable symbols of gaming culture. It's recreated beautifully in this little tin. The colors are great, with a very attractive green. And, although there's not a lot of detail to be replicated here, the details that do exist are absolutely perfect. Just look at those adorable little eyes, piercing into your very soul.

If there is one downside, it's that the pattern of dots on the caps of some of the mushrooms seem to be off-center, and several pictures I have found of these online confirm that this a common error. Let's just pretend like the little guys are wearing their caps askew in a jaunty, playful fashion on purpose. It's a sign of their individuality!

There are no blemmishes or anything to destroy the illusion that this is, in fact, a real-life extra-life. It's a near-perfect replica of its in-game counterpart. A serial number is printed on the back, but most of the manufacturing information is relegated to the bottom of the tin where it doesn't distract from the 'shroom's overall appearance. It's even emblazened with the Official Nintendo Seal of Quality! Not that it ever really meant much, but it's still a nifty detail!

Even after you've finished off all the candies, the tin is useful for keeping loose knic-knacs or spare change. However, it's good enough to display on its own. It comes highly recommended - the candy's not bad either! I won't say it's some must-have collectable that everyone should absolutely get, though. It's cute, but they can be expensive for something so simple. As a promotional item, they'll probably be gone eventually, although if I was still able to get them 4 months after the release of the game in question, it shouldn't be too difficult to get your hands on one. Although, it has to be harder than getting the things in the actual game.