Since his conception, Super Mario has been on the same mission. He is always trying to save the Princess. Ever since he made an appearance in the 1981 Donkey Kong, the Italian plumber was trying to save Princess Peach from the huge monkey.
The start of Super Mario
The game was different from other major games at the time. All Mario could do at the time was basic movements like move left or right, climb ladders, and jump. He started off having very basic functions but slowly transformed into a character that gathered millions of fans and a game that anyone could pick up and get the hang of.
As you can see, the origins over Mario were very basic. There were tilted platforms so that barrels could roll down at you forcing you to jump. Also, ladders there were placed throughout for you to climb higher to try and complete the rescue mission. The background story is that Donkey Kong was Mario’s pet and it ended up becoming a love triangle between the three.
Back then, she wasn’t a princess it was just his girlfriend. and Mario wasn’t always Mario. His first name was Jump Man because that was really all he could do. It didn’t get more complex for him until the following years.
Enter Mario Bros.
A couple years later after some sequels to Donkey Kong and some other lowly type games, Mario Bros came into our lives. It was a bit similar to the first Donkey Kong but their setup was not the same. In this one, you had to go through pipes underneath New York City while avoiding pesky little creatures.
Mario Bros. was also the first game we got to see taller brother, Luigi. It would also be the last game that Mario was in sewers. A few years later, Super Mario Bros was released and the landscape changed once again for the Italian.
Super Mario Bros.
If the regular Mario Bros. isn’t the most recognizable of the Mario games then surely Super Mario Bros is. Just look at the menu screen, it screams nostalgia. This is when the “Mushroom Kingdom” was introduced. With 24 levels, an individual level is bigger than all of the levels from Donkey Kong combined.
This game defined platformers for over a decade with its standard left-to-right side scrolling screen (you know what we mean). Mario was also introduced to power-ups like getting bigger after consuming a mushroom and shooting fireballs with a flower. This is the best-selling video game of all time. Two sequels would follow.
Super Mario Bros. 2
As mentioned, because Super Mario Bros. sold so well it only makes sense to make sequels for it. Super Mario Bros. 2 was released in Japan first in 1986 and it was way harder than the first one. A bunch of intricacies was added and it made Nintendo think Americans would not like it.
This made the American version that ended up coming out be totally different. It was based on a different game, in fact, that was supposed to be Super Mario Bros. 2 before they got rid of it. Overall, it was different from the first Super Mario Bros.
Super Mario Bros. 3
We all are aware that most times sequels do not compare to the original in the slightest. Something is always done wrong that makes the fans dislike it. That happened with Super Mario Bros. 2 but three would prove to be different. It added back some familiarity that people grew to love.
What was mainly brought back were the similar controls from part one. They also went and added a few more powerups. In this one, the game was non-linear so players could skip certain levels if they chose too. This may not be the highest selling but many consider it one of the greatest games of all time.
Mario Gets a Dinosaur
In 1990, Mario took his talents to another gaming system, the Super Nintendo. Mario also was introduced to his trusty companion, Yoshi. In this game, levels had multiple solutions so it was not just one way ends all. You were able to decide which way you wanted to beat the level.
Super Mario World was also a way to showcase what the Super Nintendo was capable of. It also showcased how great the game was too and set up the scene for many other great Mario games to come along. The world was in for a shock on what was to come.
Meet, Dr. Mario
Platform systems were not the only way to enjoy Mario. In 1990, a new version of Mario was introduced and his name was Dr. Mario. He sported a white lab coat and a stethoscope around his neck. The game was an action puzzle genre and focused on Mario trying to get rid of deadly viruses.
It was a falling block puzzle game and the main goal was to destroy the viruses by using colored capsules that dropped in the field. You line of the color of the capsule with the color of the virus and like that, they are removed.
Super Mario 64
This was the next generation of gaming and it opened up a lot of doors for Mario and future friends. He was no longer 2D and made the switch to 3D in a flawless effort. This Mario allowed for many different aspects of a level and even the whole game itself to be explored like never before.
Similar to past Mario games, this one would set the pace for future 3D games. The way the camera could be adjusted and how everything was explorable just brought new life to the world of Mario as you are about to witness next.
Mario Kart 64
With Super Mario 64 coming out in 1996, Mario would take his skills to the track in ’97 with Mario Kart 64. It was the second release in the Mario Kart series but it was still the most impactful one. The 3D graphics were, of course, an upgrade but the ability to race up to four other friends was amazing.
Clearly, the object was to win the race but there were stipulations that came with it. Cubes would appear on the course and running over one allowed for one power-up that you would use to help you win. It could of either hurt your opponent (like throwing a shell) or helped you by giving you a boost.
Here Comes the Party
Racing with the characters from the Mario universe is fun, but competing against them in various mini-games is an instant classic. Mario Party was the perfect game for when friends were over and you wanted to see who had the best video game skills. It was released in 1999 and since then there have been more than six sequels!
There are 53 mini-games involved and it takes place on a board game. When a player rolls the dice he or she walks that many steps and lands on a space where anything can happen like receiving a star. The main point of the game is to receive the most stars by the time its over and you get stars by winning the mini-games.
Super Smash Bros.
1999 is when Mario decided to throw down with his buddies on Nintendo. Other big names such as Pikachu and Star Fox were all selectable characters in this battle royale action game. Each character had a unique skill set customized to their abilities so you can guess what Mario was able to do: throw flames, jump high, and pound your head.
The gameplay for this fighting game was different then other traditional ones where you have to fight until the health bar goes down. In this, you had to knock them out of the screen after you dealt enough damage.
The year 1999 also saw Mario take on the sports world in 3D with Mario Golf. It was an interesting sport to try out first but not to worry because the game was not made to be difficult to play, like how golf is in real life. Here again, you are able to choose from Mario and friends from his universe as you try and get a birdie!
The controls were simple and made this game qualify as a pick-up-and-play type of game meaning anyone could just give it a go when they first try. It was the first of many sporting games for Mario in the 3D world.
Mario Gets the Paper Treatment
Still sticking to the Nintendo 64 and the ability to be a 3D game, Nintendo decided to strip that ability and turn Mario into a paper form on the screen which is essentially how he was in his Super Mario days. It came to North America in 2001 and you guessed it, he is on a mission to rescue the princess.
This is an RPG game that has you controlling Mario as his companions follow along with their own unique set of skills. To further get through the game, one must talk to characters who are bystanders and you will receive quests that get to a further point.
The Gamecube Era
On Nov. 18, 2001, a new way to game for Nintendo was released and it went by the name of the GameCube. It was the successor of the Nintendo 64 which meant the graphics were ten times better making it more fun to be in the virtual world as Super Mario.
The first game that Mario was the main character in on this system was Super Mario Sunshine. The premise of that game was similar to the rest; you just had to clean the city up while you attempted to rescue Peach. New Mario characters were introduced in this game and it paved the way for future Mario games.
From 2001 through 2006, the GameCube would release a ton of Mario games (like a sequel to Super Smash Bros, arguably the most popular of the fighting series) and it seemed like Mario had plateaued with his success. There was also a rise of sporting games that Mario had for the GameCube which was more than there has been in past combined.
In between this period, Nintendo came out with another handheld gaming system that boasted better graphics than the Super Nintendo and Nintendo 64. It made playing games on the go fun. It was called the Nintendo DS and it gave Mario a whole new life.
Mario on the Nintendo DS
We discussed Super Mario 64 on the Nintendo 64 earlier, but in 2004 the game got a reboot on a dual screen handheld gaming device that would change the way you play it forever. The Nintendo DS had wireless compatibility so if you were in range with a friend who had the game then you two would be able to play with each other.
Also, since the device was a dual screen with a touch screen on the bottom, the way you navigated was made even more convenient. Luigi, Wario, and Yoshi were all playable characters with Mario on this version of the game.
Nintendo just kept figuring out ways to change the way fans enjoyed the plumber that is Mario. Clearly, creating a touchscreen handheld was not enough because they took it to the next level when they created the Nintendo Wii. In 2006, the Wii was introduced as a system with a controller that was used to detect movement in three dimensions.
It came with a sensor bar so when you aimed at the screen, whatever motion you did, it would be duplicated by the character in the game. It made gaming totally interactive which is probably why Mario Kart Wii is the second best-selling game on the console as of 2016 because it is like you are actually driving!
Mario and Sonic
In 2007, two worlds collided and an in an epic manner when Mario and Sonic took their respective characters to the Olympic Games. Sega and Nintendo teamed up to make one of the most iconic Wii games to date. The premise was simple: choose between characters from Mario’s universe or Sonic’s and compete in Olympic sports to see who is the better.
The game also came out on the Nintendo DS but the Wii version received “Best Wii game of 2007.” The only critiques people had of the game was that the controls were not that simple but once you got the hang of it, you were fine.
Mario on the Wii U
Moving past the regular Wii. in 2012 Nintendo released the Wii U. This system combined a home gaming platform and handheld device all into one. That made for a happy camper if you were a Mario fan. The controller had a screen on it which doubled as the handheld device so when you had to leave the house, you press a button and the game transfers to your controller and now you are shooting fireballs on the go.
Once again, Nintendo continued to outdo itself with this creation, forever keeping making ways to keep that princess-saving plumber easily accessible in your life.