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Why We Love Mario

Oct 27, 2017

By: Max Cannon

Mario is a character synonymous with video games, think gaming and you'll think Mario. Even if you're not someone that really knows the world of video gaming, Mario is a recognizable and familiar face. Just in time for Super Mario Odyssey, what made Mario such an icon?

Way Back When

The earliest games didn't focus on characters, you'd control a nameless spaceship, a line to play tennis, or if you were lucky you would see Indiana Jones represented as a line with a hat. In fact, characters based on existing properties would be one of your only chances to see quality designs in games -- unless, of course, you're talking about the infamous E.T. for Atari. But when Mario first showed up as Jumpman in Donkey Kong, a game that was originally intended to be a Popeye game, it was an instantly recognizable face. 

Super Mario Odyssey's New Worlds - Kidzworld Weekly News


Though Mario ditched the name Jumpman he obviously carried on the name's meaning. To this day, the importance of platforming in Super Mario Bros for the original Nintendo Entertainment System can be felt in today's modern games. The foundation set in the original sidescrolling Mario game has impacted every 2D platformer to come with it. While that original game has a definitive look, Mario took time to find his footing in terms of style. Super Mario Bros 2 changed the gameplay and art style but the formula was fully refined in Super Mario Bros 3, a game that is as good to look and listen to as it is to play.

The Jump to 3D

Mario's personality began to take shape through commercials, tv shows, and media outside of video games but most people first heard Mario's voice and personality through Super Mario 64, though he first spoke in a disappointing PC game titled Mario's Game Gallery. Really playing into the Italian aspect of the character, Super Mario 64 put a noticeable exclamation point at the end of his "mamma-mia!" Hearing Mario speak in 64 made him feel like more of a real character than ever before but watching him move, celebrate, scratch himself, and sleep gave him a unique personality defined by pure joy.

The first game where Mario spoke, not exactly a winner in terms of gameplay.The first game where Mario spoke, not exactly a winner in terms of gameplay.

Mario's vibe and style exemplify Nintendo so well that he branched out beyond his traditional platformer games. Sports used Mario's diverse cast of characters, handing out pills as the titular Dr. Mario, and even getting together out of the larger Nintendo universe with  Super Smash Bros. We're roped into these various games because of the Nintendo universe and it all centers around the lovable plumber.

Mario's first game on the Switch looks to shake a lot of the series traditions.Mario's first game on the Switch looks to shake a lot of the series traditions.

Super Mario Odyssey is here and everything seems to indicate that the game is a love letter to the history of Mario. Of course, you can enjoy the game with just a passing appreciation of Mario but a deep love and knowledge of his history will give certain players more to enjoy about the game. Though you can't please everyone, you'll be challenged to find someone that isn't on board the Mario train.

Have Your Say!

Are you a Mario fan? Which games of his meant the most to you? Share your comments below!