Mario is the superhero of the video gaming industry. Ever since teens began their initial love affair with arcade games, Mario’s character has been adored. Other games transformed, disappeared, and were altogether forgotten, but there was something about the character of Mario that simply would not let the fans let go.
nevertheless today, some 200 game appearances and 27 years later, Mario is the good luck charm for his video game creators. As such, the character has made cameo appearances in unrelated games, engaged in cart racing, sports, puzzles, fighting, and of course the continuous rescue of a beautiful princess.
already as it would be impossible to mention each game that features the unsinkable plumber, highlighting the amazing transformation of Mario is a list of firsts and combines a cast of characters that have found a large fan base amongst the ranks of dedicated gamers and young weekend warriors alike.
Mario Character Highlights a World of Firsts
- Mario started out as a humble carpenter in the arcade typical “Donkey Kong.” His name was JumpMan and with his telltale overall, cap, red boots, large nose and mustache, this is pretty much all he did. He debuted in 1981 and traversed the dangers of unfinished construction sites to rescue the lovely Pauline from dangerous Donkey Kong.
- In 1982, Mario is seen again in the only Nintendo game in which he was considered a villan: Donkey Kong Jr, the sequel to the extraordinarily popular Donkey Kong. In this game, Donkey Kong Jr. is tasked with rescuing his father from Mario, who has imprisoned Donkey Kong.
- In 1983, Mario is promoted to plumber. This job has stuck with him ever since. In this year he also became a big brother to Luigi. It is not until 1985 and “Super Mario Bros.” that he becomes a hero in his own right and is given dominion over the Mushroom Kingdom where he is considered a superhero. His enemy is Bowser, a cross between a trutle and a dragon and a villain who has kidnapped Princess Toadstool. Mario is charged to return her safe and sound, though she always somehow ends up being in another castle.
- This is the first time that Mario moved from simply arcade style games to the Nintendo platform. The Guinness Book of World Records reports that the 1989 edition of “Super Mario Bros.” is the best selling video game ever, recording a staggering 40 million copies sold worldwide; an amazing feat for the unassuming plumber from the Mushroom Kingdom.
This exceptional success inspired the makers of Mario to have the popular character appear in a large number of unrelated games either as an icon, a non-playable character, or an Easter egg character, in addition as nearly every printable and electronic surface that was marketed to children including lunchboxes, television shows, action figures, and more.
In 1989 Mario made his debut on Game Boy. The game is “Super Mario Land” and instead of the Mushroom Kingdom, Mario now lives in Sarasaland; the villain is Tatanga, and the princess is named Daisy, not Toadstool. Incidentally, “Super Mario Land” catapulted to the number three identify of best selling games with a total of 18 million copies crossing store counters and into the hands of eager fans.
With the improvement of Super Nintendo, Mario made the move to this platform in addition. The 1993 “Super Mario World” game once again pits Mario against Bowser in an effort to save Princess Toadstool. For the first time Mario now adds the spin jump to his repertoire. One of the most delightful characters of the series, the adorable dinosaur Yoshi, is introduced. This widely popular game showcased the strength of the 16-bit SNES platform over its predecessor, the Nintendo Entertainment System.
Mario reappears in 1996 on the Nintendo 64 platform. The game is aptly named “Super Mario 64.” It is the very first 3D turn up that Mario will make, and fans were awed. Once again Princess Toadstool – this time renamed Princess Peach — is in need of rescue, and the evil Bowser is the villain. Although not as commercially successful as other Mario games, this 3D game is known today as the best selling game on the Nintendo 64 platform with an astonishing 12 million copies sold. Used copies of Super Mario 64 nevertheless sell well on the open internet market.
The World of Mario and His Friends
Mario relies on a cast of characters that have additional to the immense popularity of this game. As his first and foremost occupation is the rescue of perennial damsel in distress, Princess Toadstool (later known as Princess Peach), she is worth mentioning first. Her usual role simply requires her to be kidnapped by the evil Bowser and then allow Mario to chase after the both of them. Like Mario, she is one of the most recognizable characters of the game and already has made cameo appearances in other games, much like Mario and later on also Yoshi.
She received her very own spin off game, “Super Princess Peach,” in which the tables are turned and she must rescue Mario from Bowser. Designed for Nintendo DS, it is not a widely popular game, although its “E” rating makes it a favorite for parents looking for a safe, fun game for youngsters.
Already touched upon, Yoshi is the dinosaur which initially provides transportation to Mario. As both Mario and Yoshi’s character’s develop, they work as a team to vanquish their foes and find the one-ups that offer them advantages in the game. First seen in NES titles like ‘Yoshi’ and ‘Yoshis Cookie’ and later on in the ever-popular “Super Mario World” designed fro the Super Nintendo Entertainment System, this character amassed such a huge fan base.
In the 1995 release of “Super Mario World 2: Yoshi’s Island” for Super Nintendo Entertainment System and also Game Boy improvement, players control Yoshi himself and also a large number of other Yoshi characters. Mario himself appears as a baby in this game and factors only tangentially into the game play.
Luigi is the sidekick and brother to Mario. Although his roles are decidedly smaller than those of Mario, he has his own 2001 spin off game in “Luigi’s Mansion,” in which he must unlock a series of worlds in order to save Mario from King Boo. Released for the Nintendo Gamecube platform, it ranks as fifth in the list of bestselling games for the Gamecube.
A helper to both Mario and Luigi is Toad. At home in the Mushroom Kingdom he became a playable character in “Super Mario Bros. 2;” generally he is simply an assistant who provides the place where Mario or Luigi can save the game course of action. Not surprisingly, he too received a spin off game called “Wario’s Woods” which is a mix between Tetris and an action game. This game falls into the question genre and is obtainable on the Super Nintendo Entertainment System, regular Nintendo Entertainment System, Virtual Console, and Satellaview platforms.
Bowser is the enemy of Mario and the Mushroom Kingdom. He looks like a cross between turtle and dinosaur. Ruler of the Koopas, he tirelessly sends his minions against Mario and his friends and kidnaps Princess Toadstool or Peach. This action generally initiates the game play.
Donkey Kong is the original apelike enemy of Mario. The latter is arguably a spin off game character from the widely successful arcade game, and once Mario’s popularity surpassed that of Donkey Kong, the ape was relegated to playing second fiddle, making occasional guest appearances in other Mario games. He has since reemerged and been given his own series.
Wario is another Mario adversary but did not appear until 1992 when he was introduced in “Super Mario 2: 6 Golden Coins” to Game Boy aficionados. Wario is the polar opposite to Mario and truly has a remarkable visual resemblance to the character. On a side observe, Luigi has his own doppelganger in the form of Waluigi who is brother to Wario. Also afforded a series of spin off games, Wario becomes a playable character in the 1994 Nintendo Game Boy favorite “Super Mario Land 3: Wario Land.” From there the games that are designed with this character in a starring role are copious.
A play on this imagery is found in the 2002 Nintendo Game Cube release of “Super Mario Sunshine” in which a graffiti spreading anti hero named Shadow Mario leaves his telltale identifying characteristics all over Isle Delfino. Because of the outward likeness to Mario, the latter is charged with undoing the graffiti that now mars the buildings.
Mario Now and In The Future
There is little doubt that Mario is one of the most popular and easily recognizable video game characters ever. Spawning an amazing number of spin off games and spanning a variety of platforms, this is one of the most versatile offerings the video game industry has offered consequently far. The year 2008 has already shown the release of five titles: “Mario Kart,” “Super Smash Bros. Brawl,” “Dr. Mario Online Rx,” “Mario Super Sluggers,” and “Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars.” All of these games are obtainable on the Super Nintendo Entertainment System and also Wii Virtual Console.
An enigma among games, Mario and his cohorts are characters that transcend age and gender barriers, and players from all ages enjoy the various platforms and game releases. At this point in time there is not end in sight to the popularity of Mario, and gamers are heartily glad for the character’s projected future longevity.