Goombas are mentioned occasionally in earlier installments the series, most of the time with Mario and Luigi telling each other about how someone back home in the Mushroom Kingdom ate one before. Referring to someone as a Goomba is a derogatory insult occasionally used by characters.
A Goomba makes its first appearance in the You're a Plumber music video, in which Mario sings the line "Some Goomba once told me King Koopa's gonna own me" and holds up a Goomba with a small version of Mario's cap on, and points at it.
In an Easter Egg found in The Interactive Adventure, a Goomba is angered about how he is always stepped on. Julian Petruzzelli replies that he should simply avoid this, though the Goomba comments how small and unnoticeable he really is. Petruzzelli has no advice to offer and the Goomba reveals his desire to step on Petruzzelli, who declines and steps on the Goomba.
- Mario and Luigi once discussed about Bowser eating a goomba and then questioned how it would feel like in Bowser's digestive system. 2 years later, Mario and Luigi: Bower's Inside Story, was released for the Nintendo DS console, where most of the game (and title) has Mario and Luigi in Bowser's body and Goombas appear as normal enemies in the game.