Mario Mario is one of the most recognizable characters in video game history. Of course, after 25 years of working the pipes, it would be terribly disappointing for him if he wasn’t at the top of the game. Though he started off closer to 30 years ago by the name of “Jumpman” in the Donkey Kong arcade game, his real claim to fame started in 1985 when Super Mario Bros. was released for the Nintendo Entertainment System.
I still remember the first time I played Super Mario Bros. I couldn’t have been more than five or six years old at the time. My friend across the street had received a Nintendo for his birthday, and with it, Super Mario Bros. He almost always got the coolest toys before I did, but he was always a good friend and gave me a fair turn instead of hogging it to himself. We were in his room, surrounded by G.I. Joes, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Transformers, and every other wonderful action figure you can remember from your childhood. We played for hours. We played until his parents said it was time to go to sleep. Then when we heard them go to bed, we got up, turned down the volume, and played some more. Neither of us beat it that first night, due to us taking turns playing and enjoying the game, but victory came soon enough.
I still remember the first times for Super Mario 2 (as if I could forget something so weird and iconic), Super Mario 3, Super Mario World, Super Mario 64, Mario Tennis on the Virtual Boy, Dr. Mario on the GameBoy, and everything in between and after. I played Super Mario 2 on Lindsey’s NES (mine is in our storage room at the moment) just last week, and it was just the way I remembered it (including the he/she/it freak of nature Birdo). There are so many things to love about the Mario series, and I can only hope that they continue bringing me hour after hour of Goomba-stomping entertainment for years to come.
Celebrating 25 years of Mario, from his breakout performance in Super Mario Bros. to his stellar Super Mario Galaxy 2:
Not bad for a character based on Popeye and named after Nintendo of America’s warehouse landlord.
-[insert IT'S-A ME, MARIO! here]