It can be difficult to determine the real-life sizes of video game characters, or cartoon characters for that matter, especially when there aren’t very many points of comparison. Sprite size isn’t even always that useful, especially in earlier games. The sprite comic Captain SNES plays on this when Palom and Porom mistake Marle for Rosa despite her being much bigger.
Since they’re both human, they really shouldn’t be all THAT different in size. According to this and this, Rosa is about two inches taller and four pounds heavier than Marle. There’s a height chart for Nintendo characters that’s been making the rounds on the Internet and generating a fair amount of discussion:
This thread appears to have been the basis for the chart. So is Mario 5’1″ in his small or super form? I’m going to assume the latter, since we usually only see the former when Super Mushrooms appear in the game. Then again, it’s sometimes indicated to be his normal size. Either way, he’s a pretty small guy. I remember an interview with Shigeru Miyamoto where he specifically said he wanted Mario to be smaller than his enemies. Also, most if not all of these characters were created by the Japanese, who tend to be smaller on average than Americans. While Luigi was a palette swipe of Mario in the earlier games, his standing in for the tall mother character from Doki Doki Panic in Super Mario Bros. 2 established that he was officially taller, and the chart makes him eight inches taller. It seems that the women in the Mario universe are generally taller than the men, with Peach and Daisy both being about 6’1″.
The Video Games Forum thread figures that Toad is about 3’5″. One of the Nintendo Adventures Books says that he’s two feet tall, but I think we can safely disregard that. Samus Aran is supposedly 6’3″ and 198 pounds without her suit, although she appears a little smaller in scale figures.
Rosalina is even bigger than she is, being 6’7″ and a heavyweight in the Mario Kart series.
She’s presumably one of the lighter ones in this category, since Donkey Kong is also in this category and is said to weigh 800 pounds in Donkey Kong 64, but apparently her larger size is due to her being made of “star stuff.” Wait, isn’t all matter made of that? Outer space must be good for growth. Well, maybe not for Captain Olimar, who’s three-quarters of an inch tall, apparently normal for residents of the planet Hocotate. Obviously he’s not to scale when he appears in the Smash Bros. games. Neither are the Kirby characters. King Dedede, at 1’3″, is pretty short even compared to actual penguins. Apparently the smallest penguin species is about that size.
As indicated in this article, Bowser’s size relative to Mario varies considerably from one game to another.
According to the chart, he’s three and a half feet taller than his enemy, presumably when not under the influence of growing magic. That doesn’t seem to affect Mario’s ability to lift him by the tail, though, and that’s when he’s in one of his bigger forms. I can only assume physics work differently in the Mushroom World, seeing as how Mario looks a little chubby to be doing all those acrobatics. I don’t think there’s an official weight for Mario, although I’ve seen several estimates. The cartoons often seemed to over-exaggerate his weight, with a probably-rigged scale in one episode showing him weighing in at 500 pounds, but that’s cartoons for you.
That said, it seems rare for mostly-human characters in video games and related media to have any fat on them at all unless it’s being played for laughs.
And even for skinny characters, the estimates sometimes seem low. Is Lara Croft really only 115 pounds with that chest? Mind you, I’m terrible at approximating such things.
For what it’s worth, the WWE profile for Captain Lou Albano, who played Mario in the live-action segments of the Super Mario Bros. Super Show, say he was 5’10” and weighed 350 pounds, probably quite a bit bigger than the character he was portraying. Wario weighs 308 pounds, according to the Wario World instruction manual. DK’s size is bigger than that of any known gorilla; the largest gorilla in captivity weighed 638 pounds, much more than any wild gorilla. He’s even bigger in the Captain N cartoon, but that’s not canonical.
Apparently King Kong, obviously the inspiration for DK, varies from eighteen to sixty feet tall throughout the original film. Speaking of Captain N, their version of Pit (consistently called Kid Icarus) looks to be much less than 5’3″ tall.
While Link looks tiny in the original Legend of Zelda, all of the humans (and Hylians) in that game are short. The other people in Zelda II are either the same height as or shorter than Link, and it’s supposed to be the same Link as in the first game. That said, Hyrule Historia indicates that six years pass in between the two games.
He and Zelda were both shown as pretty tall and thin in the DiC cartoon series, and he appears to be slightly taller than the teenage Captain N.
The versions of the characters in Captain N look and act more mature than in their own cartoon, suggesting some time has passed. There are multiple Links of various ages and sizes, and the creator of the chart estimates the adult Link in Ocarina of Time to be 5’11” based on his size relative to the 7’6″ Ganondorf, although an in-game measuring tool marks him at 5’7″. Link in The Wind Waker is supposed to be twelve, and hence probably not as short when compared to the OoT Link than he’s generally portrayed, but again that’s a case of differing art styles.