20 Nintendo References in Cartoons - The Comprehensive Minds

20 Nintendo References in Cartoons

One thing we've learned from cartoons is that they love referencing Nintendo games! From the Powerpuff girls to Steven Universe and the Simpsons - you may have missed out on your favorite cartoons dropping subtle hints towards the Nintendo gaming universe! With that in mind, let’s take a look at 20 Nintendo references in cartoons


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Gravity Falls: Mabel’s grappling hook. 

Based on his tweets and social media posts, it’s quite obvious that ‘Gravity Falls’ creator Alex Hirsch is a die-hard Nintendo fan, which is why we can spot a reference right in the first episode of the animated series. 

21 Nintendo References in CartoonsGravity Falls: Mabel’s grappling hook






In the episode named “Tourist Trapped” Mabel chooses the previously hidden grappling hook as her gift from the Mystery Shack gift shop. If you notice the pose in which she shows off the hook, you’d see how similar it is to the one seen in ‘TheLegend of Zelda: The Wind Waker.’ 


Doug: the ‘Super Pretendo’ video game. 

Nickelodeon's Doug is another animated TV series that included an NES game reference which isn't too subtle for Nintendo fans. In season two’s thirteenth episode titled“Doug’s Lost Weekend”, Doug wins a video game due to the fact that he was the ten-thousandth customer at computer Junkie

Doug: the ‘Super Pretendo’ video game.

But once he starts playing it, video game addiction begins to kick in, so much so that he can’t even think about his homework. Doug’s video game was named ‘SuperPretendo’ which closely rhymes with ‘Nintendo’. 


The Powerpuff Girls: the Mayor’s video game. 

The Powerpuff Girls also makes a Nintendo reference in season three’s second episode titled“Child Fearing.” When the Professor is extremely late for the meeting of the Minds, he finds himself in quite a hurry, which is why he puts deodorant in his hair and hairspray under his arms by mistake. 

He even forgets to hire a babysitter for the girls, so he calls the Mayor for help among other people. But the Mayor is busy playing a video game in which he loses five lives. 

The Powerpuff Girls
The Powerpuff Girls: the Mayor’s video game.

In case you didn’t notice, this game was a parody of ‘The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time.’ 


Foster’s Home for Imaginary Friends: kid resembling Lucas. 

Similar to The Powerpuff Girls, other shows created by animator Craig McCracken have made references to the NES universe, especially the cartoon Foster’s Home for Imaginary Friends. 

Foster’s Home for Imaginary Friends
Foster’s Home for Imaginary Friends: kid resembling Lucas.


In its season four episode “Neighbor Pains”, a blonde kid wearing a striped shirt and blue shorts looks exactly like Lucas, the main protagonist from ‘Mother 3.’ 


Steven Universe: games in Steven’s library. 

Steven Universe: games in Steven’s library.

Perhaps no other animated show expresses its love for Nintendo the way ‘Steven Universe’ does. Throughout the series, viewers can easily spot several Nintendo games in Steven’s library, such as the popular social simulation game series ‘Animal Crossing’ and ‘The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker,’ to name a few. The show also features the popular home videogame console from 1996, Nintendo 64


Regular Show: the ‘Broken Bones’ arcade machine. 

Cartoon Network’s Regular Show also successfully made a subtle hint towards the Nintendo gaming system. 

Regular Show: the ‘Broken Bones’ arcade machine.

In the season two episode titled “High Score”, Mordecai and Rigby decide to earn respect by beating the world record on an arcade game called ‘Broken Bonez’, which is a clever satire of the classic NES game ‘Excite Bike’. 


My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic: PonyLink. 

My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic’successfully makes a quick ‘The Legend of Zelda reference in one of its episodes by including the blonde ‘Pony Link’. It’s pretty quick and easy to miss, but you really can’t deny the resemblance… I mean, look at the hat

My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic: PonyLink.


Teen Titans Go!: the Lilap system. 

In the ‘Teen Titans Go!’ episode “Legendary sandwich”, Starfire talks about the Lilap system, one of the three locations to house ingredients needed to recreate the Legendary Sandwich. The intergalactic system is also visited by Starfire on her quest to retrieve the Stellar Tomato. 

For many Nintendo fans, it may be obvious that the Lilap system could be a reference to the ‘Lylat’ system from the action-adventure video game ‘Star Fox’. 

Teen Titans Go!: the Lilap system.


Uncle Grandpa: old Mario games maps. 

The writers of Cartoon Network’s animated series ‘Uncle Grandpa’, which aired from 2013 to2017, were clever enough to slip some references from Super Mario in an incredibly subtle manner. 

Uncle Grandpa


In the series’ eleventh episode, the mustachioed magical uncle and grandpa open up a few maps, which, on closer inspection, look exactly like the maps from old Mario games.

Uncle Grandpa: old Mario games maps.


Futurama: Donkey Kong as a planetary villain. 

Emmy Award-winning sitcom Futurama hasn’t shied away from including small but evident aspects from NES video games. In one of the show’s episodes featuringFry’s adventures in the 31st century, the pizza deliverer questions how different the world would be if it shared more similarities with a video game. 

Seconds later, the professor’s ‘What-if machine sets a scene where a space invader called Ambassador Kongfights Mario after attacking Richard Nixon’s head using his trademark barrel throwing move. 

Futurama: Donkey Kong as a planetary villain.

The planetary villain is based on the Nintendo character, Donkey Kong, and there are many instances in Futurama where he’s shown in his more standard Nintendo form. 


Adventure Time: Ricardio or Majora? 

Ricardio the Heart Guy is a recurrent antagonist on ‘Adventure Time’ and as a villain, he escapes from Ice King’s body and uses its internal parts to build a larger body for himself. If you look closely, Ricardio’s final appearance resembles Majora from the Nintendo console game ‘The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask.’ 

Adventure Time: Ricardio or Majora?

Adventure Time: Ricardio or Majora?


Muppet Babies: Super Mario weirdo. 

CBS’s Muppet Babies may be an old sitcom from the ‘80s and ‘90s, but it’s definitely worth mentioning when it comes to NES references. In one of the show’s earlier episodes, The Great Gonzo calls himself ‘Super Mario weirdo and even looks like Mario from the ever-famous platform game series, ‘Super Mario’. 

Muppet Babies: Super Mario weirdo.


Muppet Babies: the crew’s NES games. 

Another instance where Muppet Babies made an evident Nintendo reference by showing the majority of the Muppet crew playing a variety of games from the NES universe. 


The Loud House: Lori’s car chase. 

The Loud House is one of Nickelodeon’s many cartoons that have made obscure yet noteworthy Nintendo references. The episode “Pulp Friction” from season two showcases Lori’s car chase that’s undeniably similar to what we see in the go-kart racing video game series, Mario Kart. 

The Loud House: Lori’s car chase.

Not to mention the boomerang and banana used by Lynn in the same episode, both of which are objects popularly associated with Mario Kart


Dexter’s Lab: students playing Mario Kart.

Cartoon Network’s animated series “Dexter’s Laboratory” is a popular classic, but did you know that the show included a Mario Kart reference in one of its episodes? The season five episode titled “Copping an Attitude'' features Dexter excitedly going to college, only to find that the students there prefer to “party now, study later.” Their ‘party’ obviously included a ton of video games, particularly Nintendo’s widely renowned Mario Kart. 


The Fairly Odd Parents: Fairy Fairy Quite Contrary. 

The Fairly OddParents season two episode seventeen titled “Fairy Fairy Quite Contrary” involves a Magic Duel consisting of three different challenges. 

While challenges 2 and 3 were also crucial in the episode, our main focus in challenge 1 in which the godparent had to rescue their godchild from a giant ape which was an obvious parody of Donkey Kong. 

The Fairly Odd Parents


Rick and Morty: Rick’s purchase from Walmart. 

Rick and Morty

In Rick and Morty's season two episode four titled “Total Rickall”, Rick can be seen excitedly telling everyone about his Walmart purchase, which was none other than a pile of Nintendo3d games that he got on an amazing sale. 

He also blabbers about a $50 gift card, and the entire calculation is based on Nintendo games that are widely sold online. 


The Simpsons: Bart watches Digibots. 

It was during the golden age of NES, SNES, and N64 that a certain four-fingered family with what seemed like a severe case of jaundice became insanely popular. ‘The Simpsons’ and Nintendo; a match made in ‘90s kids heaven. 

The sitcom has made numerous Nintendo references which are quite commonly pointed out by fans. In season 21’s episode “Postcards from the Wedge”, Bart gets distracted while doing homework and ends up watching a show called ‘Digibots’, which sounds like ‘Digimon’ but looks similar to Pokemon.

The Simpsons

We then see both Pikachu and Ash Ketchum on-screen, while Bart ponders to himself, “Wow, how does this show stay so fresh?” 


The Simpsons: Funtendo Zii Zu

The Simpsons: Funtendo Zii Zu

The Simpsons definitely deserve credit for following up its Nintendo Wii parody with the Funtendo Zii Zu. Sadly, viewers could only get a glimpse of this fun reference at the E4 expo in season 23’s episode titled “The Food Wife.” 


The Simpsons: Nintendo Conscience

In another early episode of the Simpsons, Bart gets caught stealing a videogame from the store. It’s called Bonestorm… But before the police officer tries to call his parents, his conscience is represented with some Nintendo characters… Including Mario, Luigi, and Donkey Kong… Sonic also makes an appearance as well.

The Simpsons: Nintendo Conscience

 

South Park: Cartman and the Nintendo Wii. 

South Park comes quite close to The Simpsons mocking video game culture and nailing it almost every single time. For instance, in season ten episode twelve titled “Go God Go”, Cartman finds it undeniably hard to wait for Nintendo's infamous Wii console.

South Park: Cartman and the Nintendo Wii.
 

In fact, he’s so impatient that he makes an attempt to freeze himself just to avoid waiting for the Wii for three more weeks. 


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And that’s a wrap for today! What other Nintendo easter eggs did we miss in your favorite cartoons? Let us know in the comment section below. 

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