There are at least two timelines on the Internet that put the major Super Mario games in chronological order, as if they happened to one guy named Mario who has been living an extraordinary life.
These timeline don't present Mario as a real man. The people who make these timelines aren't that free-thinking. But the makers of Mario timelines have asked questions that most people have lived their lives without asking, questions like: Does Super Mario Bros. 3 really take place after Super Mario Bros. 2?
A hunch led me to discover the art of Mario-game-timeline-making. For years, extremely hardcore fans of another massive Nintendo series, Zelda, have been trying desperately to put all of the fantasy adventures of Link and Zelda in one, comprehensible order. This was not a necessary act, but a fun one for Nintendo fans awaiting the next game to play. They searched the Zelda games for clues that would indicate which era each game occurred in, which game vaguely referenced another and which seemed like a strange offshoot. For these people, last December was thrilling, because, during that month, it appeared that Nintendo themselves had finally revealed the true timeline that connects everything from The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword to Spirit Tracks in one proper, albeit branching (!) order. (Or not.)