Mario has a rich history of stomping Goombas and saving the Mushroom Kingdom for more than 30 years. He is herald as one of the most iconic video game characters of all time, and helped usher in an era of console gaming that touched the lives of millions of people around the world. Mario has done it all. He’s saved kingdoms from all kinds of evil, made his way to the tennis court and hosted beach parties with his friends, and even battled against Nintendo’s biggest names in epic brawls and melees. To celebrate the endeavors of their favorite Mushroom Kingdom plumber, Nintendo fans around the world celebrate MAR 10 each year as Mario Appreciation Day.
To celebrate here at The Koalition, I’ve compiled a collection of games from Mario’s 30 year history that highlight some of his greatest adventures and endeavors. Each of these moments have in some way impacted the lives of many gamers, changed the way we viewed video games, or provided us with endless hours of fun at home. There is no list that’s long enough for every great point in Mario’s history, but these are a few reasons why we love Nintendo’s flagship hero and why Mario is, and forever will be, and icon in the video game industry.
Super Mario Bros (NES)
The original Super Mario Bros. on the Nintendo Entertainment System was one of the big reasons that Nintendo became a household name in the 1980s. The game had a wide range of appeal and helped popularized the side-scrolling genre for the NES library. To this day, there is hardly a person on Earth that doesn’t recognize the main theme from Super Mario Bros. or any of the sound clips used in the game.
With the combined development prowess of Shigeru Miyamoto and musical composer Koji Kondo, Super Mario Bros. has become a timeless game that people of all ages can enjoy at multiple stages of their lives. Many gamers and developers today credit their time with Super Mario Bros. on the NES as the launching point for their interest in video games.
Super Mario All-Stars (SNES)
What makes Super Mario All-Stars so important is how it brought together all of the best Mario games on the NES and SNES libraries into one package. Super Mario World took the basic formula from the NES games and perfected it, combining elements from Super Mario Bros. 1 and Super Mario Bros. 3 and implementing a new presentation and new abilities.
This package also marked the first North American release of Japan’s Super Mario Bros. 2, known in the United States as Super Mario Bros: The Lost Levels. For some gamers that owned an NES/SNES, this was the best compilation of games that anyone could buy for their home consoles.
Super Mario Kart (SNES)
Super Mario Kart is a series that took Mario into uncharted territory and began the trend of mascot kart racers from that point onward. Bringing together Mario and his friends from various games gave a new kind of appeal to racing games on home consoles. This was also one of the main Mario titles that was at the forefront of the Nintendo & SEGA console war that was raging at the time.
While SEGA poked fun at Super Mario Kart for being inferior to Sonic’s “blast processing”, gamers that played Super Mario Kart on their SNES were treated to a solid racing experience that was very different from other titles in the genre. This would continue into the Nintendo 64, GameCube, and Nintendo Wii years later with various sequels that brought together more Mario characters and other unique ideas to the racing gameplay. This would be the same appeal found in games like Mario Tennis, Mario Sports Mix, and other spin-off titles from the main series years later.
Super Mario 64 (N64)
Super Mario 64 is praised as the game that mark the 3D era of console gaming. While certainly not the first game to make the leap to 3D, this was the game that showed many people what was possible for games in the third dimension. Mario’s adventure in Super Mario 64 laid the groundwork for many popular franchises that took the leap from 2D to 3D platforming, and jump started a new genre of gaming that remains to this day.
Mario made a very smooth transition to the third dimension by focusing on simple gameplay in 3D, encouraging players to explore and collect key items to progress further. Super Mario 64 set the bar for many 3D Mario games that would later appear as flagship titles for the Nintendo GameCube, the Wii, and the Wii U.
Super Smash Bros. (N64)
Outside of his own games, Mario made a huge impact alongside other Nintendo characters in the Super Smash Bros. series. Bringing together many of Nintendo’s popular characters from games like Donkey Kong, Kirby, Metroid, and Star Fox; Super Smash Bros. was the first of its kind to make party fighting games a popular trend.
Though more of a party game than a traditional fighting game, Super Smash Bros. became wildly popular and jumpstarted the notoriety for previously unknown Nintendo franchises in the west. Mario has a very strong presence in the Super Smash Bros. series with characters like Luigi, Princess Peach, Bowser, and more making appearances. The series has gotten a new game with each new Nintendo home console release after the Nintendo 64, with the latest entry being very popular on the Nintendo 3DS and Wii U.
Super Mario Maker (Wii U)
While Nintendo were the masterminds behind the Mario games for years, Mario’s 30th anniversary marked a big time for Nintendo’s mascot with the release of Super Mario Maker. Fans around the world could create their own Mario levels and share them with others over the internet.
Gamers could switch between visuals from various Mario games that highlight different eras ranging from the NES to the Wii U. As a benchmark of how far Mario has come since his inception at the hands of Shigeru Miyamoto back in 1983, Mario Maker would provide endless possibilities for fans to enjoy and provide a near infinite amount of hours of fun gameplay.
Are you celebrating MAR 10 with your fellow Mario fans? What are some of your favorite Super Mario titles? Leave us a comment down below and let your voice be heard!