April 21, 1989
The pilot of the Paddle/spaceship is shown in the game's intro to be Mario, as he jumps inside it. The player lives are also represented by Mario's head. Oddly, the cover of the Japanese version only showed an unidentified character in a spacesuit, but this was changed in the international versions of the game, where Mario is shown on the cover. Still, his name is not present in the instruction manual, nor on the back of the box.
Additionally, at the end of every three stages bonus formations appear in the shape of various Super Mario Bros. sprites:
Also, stages 16, 17 and 18 are shaped like Mario's face, while the game's ending screen features a Mario Bros.-style face of Mario:
Copyrights for both series are held by Nintendo.