Seeing how huge the Super Mario franchise is, most of us would’ve heard of the protagonist at least.
However, the Mario that we fell in love with didn’t debut on the NES although it played a significant role in the character’s growing popularity.
Mario first appeared in arcade machines. He was part of the game called Donkey Kong on July 9, 1981.
Another thing that may surprise you is that Mario was at some point became an antagonist, but it didn’t last long.
By the time he got ported onto the NES, he had become a protagonist.
In Donkey Kong, Mario was depicted as a carpenter who treated his pet ape Donkey Kong wrong.
The pet then took revenge by kidnapping Mario’s girlfriend.
To save the lady from the animal, he got to avoid rolling barrels thrown by Kong.
Ladders were provided for him to reach higher platforms.
For the record, Mario was also widely known as Jumpman in this game, while the girlfriend who went by the name of Pauline was simply called the lady.
His character was officially renamed to Mario in 1982 for another game Donkey Kong Junior where he became the bad guy.
History of Mario Bros.
Mario debuted in Donkey Kong arcade in 1981, so his development started before this. It’s Shigeru Miyamoto, the person behind the brilliant design of Mario.
Mario wasn’t exactly the main star when it first came out.
Sure, we knew him as Jumpman, but the game he was featured in put Donkey Kong as the titular character.
There’s an interesting story behind the creation of Mario. Miyamoto who had joined the company 4 years earlier was given a task to develop a new arcade game to fill the void left by Radar Scope.
The game was originally intended to be modeled after the cartoon Sailor Popeye, but due to licensing issues, the plan hadn’t come to fruition.
Therefore, he had to go back to the drawing board and come up something new. And that’s how Mario was born.
He was inspired by blue collar workers, wore a pair of blue overalls and a redcap.
At first, this character was named Jumpman, but the execs felt the need to change it to something more memorable and Mario popped up as a result (named after Mario segale, a real-estate developer and landlord of the company’s Washington warehouse).
The release of the Nintendo Entertainment System OR NES marked a turning point for Mario.
Although he was already known through Donkey Kong, the NES catapulted him to new heights in terms of popularity after being featured as the protagonist in Super Mario Bros.
The NES itself took the world by storm because it’s touted as the savior of the gaming industry which was on the verge of collapse.
SMB was a huge success with record-breaking sales of over 40 million units.
To this day, it remains the best-selling game in the franchise although some follow-ups managed to get close to that figure.
Mario has appeared in more than 200 games. What started out as a platform game has later tapped into various genres.
Now we can find this character in fighting, sports, racing games, etc.
Furthermore, Mario has also been keeping up with technology.
If you’ve been a fan since the 8-bit era, you must realize how dramatic he’s changed throughout the years.
We can now see him in 3D form. And that’s not just Mario, other characters in the franchise have also had improvements graphics-wise.
Mario Bros. – Gameplay
When it comes to the Super Mario series, there’s no fixed gameplay because it changes with every game.
While the stories tend to be intertwined, how the game plays and the mechanics are unique to the title.
There are new elements to look forward to in every game.
Super Mario Bros.
This is the original Super Mario Bros., released in 1985 for the NES.
The objective of this game is Mario must rescue princess toadstool from Bowser.
You can move the character in two directions, left and right.
Simply move Mario to the right because the final stage is at the very end.
The camera angle points at him the whole time.
To beat the game, you must venture through the 8 worlds with each containing 4 levels, but that’s not easy as there’s an array of obstacles along the way.
You have to either avoid or kill them to progress.
Stomping on the enemies is a way to get rid of them. And then, you’ll also come across power-ups hidden inside blocks.
Try to find them to eliminate the enemies faster because each one is assigned to a unique ability.
Another type of obstacles is gaps between platforms. Falling off a gap puts you at risk of losing a life.
However, enemies still pose the biggest threat because they move and some have weapons to deal damage to you.
Super Mario Bros. 2
SMB2 is a big departure from the original in terms of gameplay. Here Mario no longer kills enemies by jumping on them.
What you do instead is pick up an enemy and toss it at another to kill it.
You can also pick up a blade of grass, wait until it turns into an item, and use it to kill an enemy.
The change in gameplay was expected since the game took a leaf out of Doki Doki Panic’s book, a game Nintendo developed at that time.
The prototype for SMB2 was deemed too hard for the North American fans, so the company came up with something to replace it, and a reskin of the Japanese game was the answer.
Another thing that sets the game apart from others is the selection of characters.
In addition to Mario and Luigi, the player is also offered 2 playable characters, Princess Toadstool and Toad.
They differ not only in looks, but also in abilities.
Super Mario Bros. 3
Super Mario Bros. 3 introduced new elements and carried over some old ones.
The overworld map brought a new wave of excitement. The game also allows players to experience a number of different suits.
If you want to know how Mario got his ability to fly, this game started it all.
Moreover, a new group of enemies was added to the game, making it more challenging.
Throughout the journey, you’ll encounter Flying Goombas, Dry Bones, and more.
As with the enemies, Mario’s power-ups have also seen a steady growth.
While the original had some that became the series’ staples like fire weapon and size-boosting ability, new installments brought new ones.
And in this game specifically, there are the Tanooki Suit, Frog Suit, P-Wing, and Super Leaf.
Each one has a different power, so it should be chosen wisely as it may benefit you in one way or another.
For example, some levels are better played with the Tanooki Suit as it helps you glide through the air.
Super Mario Land
This game at its core is still the typical 2D Super Mario platformer.
However, the story didn’t take place in the Mushroom Kingdom, but in Sarasaland.
And if the series was synonymous with Princess Toadstool, this game had Princess Daisy, instead.
There are other changes in gameplay. For example, jumping on a Koopa shell will lead to it exploding.
Usually, the shell will bounce away when Mario jumps on it. Also, Mario throws bouncing balls this time around.
We know that fireballs are his special skill, but that’s an exception for this game. The world appears to be smaller, too.
The original title has a total of 8 worlds, while in this, there are just 4 with each having 3 levels.
Having said that, the game doesn’t totally feel foreign albeit all the changes.
It still plays like a regular Mario game. For example, blocks hanging in the air are still present.
Moving platforms from the previous games are also included along with the warp pipes that take you to different areas.
Super Mario World
Super Mario World is another milestone for the series because this game was released for the SNES which had more-compelling graphics than the predecessor.
In terms of mechanics, it’s a mix of old and new ones.
The player can float in the air by means of a special item.
You can also do some acrobatics like the spin jump.
As for the elements retained from the forebear, the overworld map is one of the examples.
It displays the different locations that the player can explore.
Each world is protected by a boss, but you can opt to not get into fight with them through shortcuts.
Another highlight in this game is Yoshi, a dinosaur-like character that accompanies Mario in his journey to save Princess Toadstool from the Koopa King.
Yoshi might not be on Mario’s level fame-wise, but he’s exciting enough that some spin-offs are dedicated to him, like Super Mario World 2: Yoshi’s Island for the NES and Yoshi’s Story for the Nintendo N64.
Super Mario 64
This is the first 3D game in the Mario series.
It also introduced new moves which recurred in other Mario games.
Early Mario games allowed you to move him left and right, but this a proper 3D title, so movements in all directions are possible.
The objective of this game is you have to collect Power Stars by doing various tasks.
You’d be asked to take down a specific enemy.
There’s also a task to gather some items. Cumulatively, the game has 120 Power Stars spread in various locations.
The good news it takes only 70 for you to beat the game, so it won’t be too frustrating in the end.
New Super Mario Bros. Series
The word ‘New’ prefixed to the title gives a glimpse of what the series is all about.
As we know, the Super Mario Bros. series is known for its side-scrolling games.
Well, this group of ‘New’ games brings back that element, only this time it also incorporates 3D technology.
Basically, these are Mario games that play like the original but with a modern flair.
The gameplay is laid out like a regular 2D-platform game where the protagonist moves sideways.
Meanwhile, the modern twist comes from the 3D graphics used to portray the characters.
The new series spawns some of the most successful Mario games.
New Super Mario Bros. and New Super Mario Bros. Wii, for instance, have sold over 30 million copies.
All these games were released for various platforms, such as the Nintendo Wii, DS, 3DS, and Wii U.
Current Development of Super Mario Bros.
There have been reports about Mario games making comebacks to the Switch as a commemoration for the franchise’s 35th anniversary.
New and old Mario games are likely to make their way to the system.
Super Mario 3D All Stars are reportedly ready to join the lineup.
Besides, a new battle royale centers around the series is also under development.
That sounds like a lot of fun because in this game, you’re pitted against 35 players.
By the way, are you a fan of Mario Kart?
If so, you’d be thrilled to hear that a new Mario Kart game is coming your way.
Titled Mario Kart Live: Home Circuit, a new official trailer for the game is up now on Nintendo’s Youtube channel. Go check it out!
In the world of video games, nobody can deny the enduring appeal of Mario.
It has cemented its status in history as one of the most-widely celebrated characters ever.
And the franchise that features him has also become a huge success, grossing over $12 billion in sales.
Mario’s claim to fame started when he took part in the arcade game Donkey Kong.
He played the role of the protagonist in the game who tried to save his girl from Kong.
It went on to become a hit and thus, people demanded more Mario.
He eventually broke into the mainstream with Super Mario Bros.
As of today, the game has sold more than 40 million copies, making it the biggest-selling title in the franchise.
Not only has Mario become a major money maker for Nintendo, but it has also become the company’s mascot.
People even call him the face of video games thanks to the everlasting impact he has had on the industry.