Super Mario Bros. gameplay
Genres Platform Developers Nintendo Publishers Nintendo Creators Shigeru Miyamoto Original release (Donkey Kong - 1981) Spin-offs See below
The Mario (マリオ) video game series is a series of highly popular and critically acclaimed video games by Nintendo, featuring Nintendo's mascot Mario and, in many games, his brother Luigi. Gameplay in the series often centers around jumping on and defeating enemies. The games usually feature simple plots; the most common theme is that of Bowser, the primary antagonist, kidnapping Princess Peach, whom Mario saves. Despite the plots usually being very simple, the Mario role-playing games tend to have deeper plots, often involving enemies other than Bowser (many of which involve Bowser actually teaming up with Mario), with aspirations for world domination. Mario has been featured in 200 games, and the series has sold over 250 million copies total, making it the best-selling video game series of all time.
- 1 Gameplay
- 2 Mushroom Kingdom
- 3 Main series
- 4 Other genres and spin-offs
- 5 Mario in other media
- 6 Reception
- 7 References
- 8 External links
In the 2D games of the Mario series, gameplay primarily involves jumping on enemies and avoiding enemy attacks. In later 3D games, close quarters fights were incorporated. Intense emphasis on reaching various goals permeates the series; such goals include defeating enemies, reaching specific points, or solving puzzles. Throughout the series, collecting power-ups has been an integral part of the gameplay.
In 2D games, the levels are linear, and are usually divided into different worlds, each with a certain number of hidden items and secret warp pipes. Early 2D games used levels with only one exit, then forcing the player to advance to the next sequential level. Super Mario Bros. 3 was the first game to use an overworld. In the game, levels are shown on a map, and the player can take different paths through the game. The order in which all these elements are arranged is not necessarily linear, which often allows the player to skip them or play them in different order. Super Mario World introduced levels with multiple exits. Unlike in Super Mario Bros. 3, where once a level is cleared, the player can choose the next level in the overworld, in Super Mario World, the way the player exits the level dictates which path opens to player in the overworld. Also, Super Mario World allows players to play completed levels more than once, while Super Mario Bros. 3 forces you to continue and the level will not be playable until a new game is begun.
3D games of the series have a non-linear, free-roaming layout. In Super Mario 64, Super Mario Sunshine and Super Mario Galaxy, an overworld connects levels in the game; more areas of the overworld and thus more levels become accessible as the game progresses. Super Mario Galaxy 2 uses a map like the one found in Super Mario World. Each course is an enclosed world in which the player is free to wander in all directions and discover the environment without time limits. The player gathers Power Stars or Shine Sprites in each course; some only appear after completing certain tasks, often hinted at by the name of the course. As more Power Stars or Shine Sprites are collected, more areas of the overworld become accessible and thus more stages are available.
Recurring gameplay elements
Item blocks originated from the game Super Mario Bros. In that game and many of its sequels, such blocks contain either coins or power-ups, which aid the player's progress.
The Super Mushroom is a power-up in the series. Usually, it's about the size of Mario, and has an ivory stalk below a red and white (originally red and orange) spotted cap. Collecting one of these increases Mario's size, allowing him to break certain blocks and take an extra hit of damage (upon which he reverts to his small size.) Whilst in Super form, most blocks that would contain a Super Mushroom will instead offer a more powerful power-up, such as the Fire Flower. Originally, it was shaped after a common mushroom, but since Super Mario Bros. 2 it gained a more cartoonish shape, becoming round and stubby, with a smiling face on the stalk. Shigeru Miyamoto stated in an interview that the Super Mushroom was created by chance. The first sketches of Mario turned out to be too big, and they were forced to shrink them. Then the development team thought it would be interesting to have Mario grow and shrink by eating a magic mushroom. In the RPGs, these mushrooms replenish health, whilst in the Mario Kart series, they provide a turbo boost. In Super Mario Bros.: The Lost Levels, a similar looking mushroom called the Poison Mushroom was featured; when touched, it caused damage equivalent to that from an enemy.
1-Up Mushrooms are common items that appear in the games and were introduced in Super Mario Bros. These mushrooms have green caps with white spots (originally orange caps with green spots). When Mario picks up one of these mushrooms, he is given an extra life. In Super Mario Bros., 1-Up Mushrooms are sometimes hidden in invisible item blocks. 3D games feature mushrooms that only appear if Mario walks over a certain spot, along with stationary 1-Up Mushrooms. In the Paper Mario games, there are similar-looking mushrooms called "Ultra Shrooms", which replenish large amounts of health.
A Fire Flower, introduced in Super Mario Bros., transforms Mario into Fire Mario. Fire Mario can throw bouncing fireballs at enemies, using them as weapons. Super Mario Galaxy is the first 3D platform game to have this power-up. Its design has changed little since the beginning, aside from a smiling face that was eventually part of the design. An opposite of the Fire Flower was introduced in Super Mario Galaxy that would turn Mario into ice and let him go so far as to walk on lava or water for a time by freezing its surface. Similarly, an Ice Flower was introduced into New Super Mario Bros. Wii, allowing players to freeze enemies and use them as platforms, or throw them at other enemies as weapons.
The Starman (or Super Star) is a smiling, flashing star in 2D Mario games and was introduced in Super Mario Bros. When Mario touches it, it temporarily grants him invincibility from enemies and, in some titles, increased speed. Super Mario Bros. 3 was the first game in which Mario did a somersault while jumping if he had touched a Starman. A similar item, the Rainbow Star, appears in Super Mario Galaxy and more or less gives the same ability, but gives Mario a rainbow-colored texture.
The Super Leaf is an item that made its debut in Super Mario Bros. 3. When collected, Mario has the unique ability to fly when running at full power and can also swat enemies and blocks with his raccoon tail. This power-up has a counterpart called the Tanooki Suit. In Super Mario 3D Land the Super Leaf makes a reappearance, allowing Mario to still swat enemies and blocks with his tail, but instead of flying Mario this time uses it to slow his descent as he falls.
The Tanooki Suit is an item that also debuted in Super Mario Bros. 3. It has the same powers as the Super Leaf, but Mario has the ability to change into an invincible statue for about 5 seconds. In Super Mario Land 3D this item makes a reappearance.
The Hammer Suit is another item which made its debut in Super Mario Bros. 3. With this power-up, Mario has the ability to throw hammers similar to what a Hammer Bro. does. When he ducks, he hides in his fireproof shell similar to a Buzzy Beetle.
The Frog Suit is another item to debut in Super Mario Bros. 3. When collected, Mario has the ability to swim much better in water. However, this power-up is mostly useless on land.
Coins first appeared in Mario Bros. as flashing coins that rolled across platforms. Super Mario Bros. added the effect that when Mario collects 100 coins he is awarded an extra life. This feature is continued in many other games. In Super Mario 64, Super Mario Sunshine, Super Mario Galaxy, and Super Mario Galaxy 2 coins replenish health (and air, when Mario is underwater). In Super Mario 64, Mario is awarded an extra life for every 50 coins and, once per level, a Power Star for collecting 100 coins. In Super Mario Sunshine, when Mario collects 50 coins he is awarded an extra life, and at 100 coins is awarded a Shine Sprite. In Super Mario Galaxy, Mario is awarded an extra life at 50 coins, but no star for 100 coins; however, after beating the game once, stages are unlocked in which Mario can collect a certain amount of purple coins to earn a Power Star. In Super Mario Galaxy 2 bringing 100 coins to Starship Mario will give Mario an extra life, and they can also be used to feed some hungry Lumas. In various other games, such as the RPGs and the Mario Party series, coins can be used as currency.
The Warp Pipe is a common method of transportation used in many of the games in the Mario series. Warp Pipes are most often green but also appear in other colors, and have many uses in the series. Along with providing transport to different areas within games, Warp Pipes can also contain enemies, usually Piranha Plants, and launch the player into the air. They are also featured as items in some of the Mario Party games, allowing players to swap places or be moved around the board.The Warp Pipe first appeared in Mario Bros.
The Mushroom Kingdom (キノコ王国 Kinoko Ōkoku ) is the setting in the Mario series where most of the games take place. It is a monarchy and its heir is Princess Peach. The chancellor of the kingdom is its head of government in Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars; however, he has not appeared since. Its capital, first appearing in Paper Mario, is Toad Town. Surrounding Toad Town are several territories, such as Dry Dry Desert. Though Princess Peach and the Mario brothers are human, the citizens of this area are the mushroom-like Toads. Super Mario Bros. 3 is set in the Mushroom World, a collection of eight kingdoms. Seven of these are "Mushroom Kingdoms", and are ruled by independent Mushroom World kings. The eighth world is referred to as "Dark Land", and is ruled by Bowser, King of the Koopas. The instruction manual for the game states Bowser had taken over the Mushroom Kingdom, and the Mushroom Kingdom is a gateway to the Mushroom World, but this is never elaborated upon in Super Mario Bros. 3 or any other game.
After the commercial failure of Radar Scope, Nintendo's company president referred to Shigeru Miyamoto to create an arcade game to save the company. Miyamoto came up with the idea of a game in which the playable character has to make his way through an obstacle course consisting of sloped platforms, ladders and rolling barrels. Miyamoto named the game Donkey Kong, and its main protagonist "Jumpman". Donkey Kong is an early example of the platform genre. In addition to presenting the goal of saving the Lady, the game also gives the player a score. Points are awarded for finishing screens; leaping over obstacles; destroying objects with a hammer power-up; collecting items such as hats, parasols, and purses (presumably belonging to the Lady/Pauline); and completing other tasks. The game was surprisingly successful. "Jumpman" was called "Mario" in certain promotional materials for the game's release overseas; his namesake was Mario Segale, the landlord of Nintendo of America's office/warehouse, who barged in on a meeting to demand an overdue rent payment. Eventually Jumpman's name was internationally and permanently changed to Mario. The success of the game spawned a sequel, Donkey Kong Jr., which is Mario's only appearance as an antagonist.
A later arcade game, Mario Bros., introduced Mario's brother, Luigi. The objective of Mario Bros. is to defeat all of the enemies in each phase. The mechanics of Mario Bros. involve only running and jumping. Unlike future Mario titles, players cannot jump on enemies while they are invulnerable to attack. Each phase is a series of platforms with four pipes at each corner of the screen, and an object called a "POW" block in the center. Both sides of every phase feature a mechanism that allows the player to go off-screen to the left and appear on the right, and vice versa.
Super Mario Bros., for the NES, is the first traditional Mario linear 2D platform game, where gameplay consists of a sidescrolling level. In this game, it is established that Mario and Luigi live in the Mushroom Kingdom, where they must rescue Princess Toadstool (later called Princess Peach) from Bowser. The game consists of eight worlds with four sub-levels in each world. Though each world is different, the fourth sub-world is always a fortress or castle. At the end of each castle level, Mario or Luigi fights Bowser (though if one of the brothers throws five fireballs at Bowser during the first seven battles, it is revealed that he is actually a different enemy in disguise). The game was immensely successful, and is the second best-selling video game to date.
The brothers returned in the Japanese Super Mario Bros. 2 (known as Super Mario Bros.: The Lost Levels outside Japan) reuses gameplay elements from Super Mario Bros.; however, the game is much more difficult than its predecessor. For these reasons, Nintendo did not release it outside Japan in this time period. The main game follows the same style of level progression as Super Mario Bros., with eight initial worlds containing four levels each. The player enters a lava-filled castle at the end of each World, culminating in a battle against Bowser. The game later debuted outside of Japan in the SNES compilation, Super Mario All-Stars, whilst the original NES version was not released until September 2007, when it was released for the Virtual Console service for the Wii. Also, a remake of Super Mario All-Stars was released for the Wii titled Super Mario All-Stars 25th Anniversary Edition. It features the exact gameplay on the SNES, but with the controlling ability of the Wii.
In the non-Japanese Super Mario Bros. 2, Mario and his companions are out to stop the evil frog Wart in the dream land of SubCon. In Japan, Super Mario Bros. 2 was originally made as Yume Kōjō: Doki Doki Panic, and later converted into a Mario game for the rest of the world. (The game was later released as a Mario game under the name Super Mario USA in Japan.) For this reason, the game is significantly different than other games in the series. One of the game's most defining aspects is the ability to pluck vegetables from the ground to throw at enemies. This is also the first Mario game to use a life meter, which allows Mario and the other playable characters to be hit up to four times before dying.
Super Mario Land, for the Game Boy, uses gameplay similar to that of Super Mario Bros. and its successors for the Nintendo Entertainment System. Like in the previous games, the player takes over the role of Mario. The ultimate objective is to defeat Tatanga the "Mysterious Spaceman" and save Princess Daisy. The game consists of twelve levels split across four worlds.
In Super Mario Bros. 3, the game is divided into eight playable worlds, and each world contains between 8–10 levels and several bonus stages. The worlds are themed, with each level containing characteristics of that theme. All of the levels are shown on a map, which allows the player to take different paths through the game. The order in which all these elements are arranged are not necessarily linear, and the player is thus permitted at times to skip a level or play it out of order. Once a level is cleared, it cannot be replayed. Super Mario Bros. 3 has multiple levels in every world featuring a boss at the end. At the end of all but the last world is an airship called a Doom Ship, featuring a scrolling level and one of Bowsers's Koopalings at the end. The game introduced a diverse array of new power ups, allowing Mario to take flight for the first time by becoming Raccoon Mario. The final boss is again Bowser.
Super Mario World, for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System and later the Game Boy Advance, consists of seven main worlds and two secret worlds. Super Mario World contains an overworld, which provides a passive overview of all the game's levels. Each of the game's 72 levels is accessed individually from the world map. Most levels have one exit, though some have a second exit which is usually hidden. In total the game has 96 exits. Mario is capable of a variety of new moves, including a "spin jump". He can pick up and throw items, but is now also able to throw them upwards or set them down gently. He is also able to ride Yoshi, who is able to eat enemies and either swallow or spit them back out. In addition to the classic size-growing Super Mushroom, Fire Flower ability to project fireballs and Starman, game introduces the Cape Feather, based on Super Mario Bros. 3’s Super Leaf, which allows Mario and Luigi to fly with a cape.
Super Mario Land 2: 6 Golden Coins, introduced Mario's rival, Wario, who takes over Mario's castle during the events of Super Mario Land and forces Mario to collect the six golden coins to reclaim his castle. While its predecessor was similar to the original Super Mario Bros., Super Mario Land 2 has more in common with later games. The player is no longer restricted to moving right in a level. At the end of a level is a bell, which if touched, activates a mini-game at the end, where the player can try to get extra lives. There are 32 levels in total, based in several different themed worlds. Each world has its own boss. Super Mario Land 2 features three returning power-ups—the Super Mushroom, Fire Flower and Starman. The game introduces one new power-up called the Carrot, which gives Mario large rabbit ears, allowing him to glide for a limited time and descend at a slower rate.
Super Mario 64 was a launch game for Nintendo's next home console, the Nintendo 64, and is the first 3D game in the series. The game was not as linear as the previous installments. Each course is an enclosed world in which the player is free to wander in all directions and discover the environment without time limits. The player gathers stars in each course; some stars only appear after completing certain tasks, often hinted at by the name of the course. As more stars are collected, more areas of the castle become accessible. The analog stick made an extensive repertoire of precise movements in all directions possible. The game introduced new moves such as punching, performing a triple jump, using a Wing Cap, and more. It is also the first game in the main Mario series to feature the voice acting of Charles Martinet for Mario. Mario must once again save Princess Peach from Bowser, and collect up to 120 Power Stars from the paintings and return them to her castle (there are a total of 105 Power Stars in the paintings, with 15 hidden in the castle). Each level's stars can be obtained in different ways. The game also uses the power-up element from the original games. However, instead of power-ups from previous games, three different Caps with different effects are used as power-ups: the Wing Cap, Metal Cap, and Vanish Cap, which temporarily allow Mario to fly, become metal, and walk through obstacles, respectively.
In Super Mario Sunshine on the Nintendo GameCube, Mario and Peach travel to Isle Delfino for a vacation. However, a Mario doppelgänger appears and vandalizes the entire island. Mario is sentenced to clean up the island. Super Mario Sunshine shares many similar gameplay elements with its predecessor, Super Mario 64, but it also introduces new features, like the ability to spin while jumping. FLUDD, a water-squirting accessory, is a new element in Super Mario Sunshine, which Mario uses to complete his mission. The game contains a number of independent levels, which can be reached from the hub, Delfino Plaza. Gameplay is based on collecting "Shine Sprites" by completing various tasks in the levels. Once the player has collected enough Shine Sprites, a new level is available at Delfino Plaza, either by the acquisition of a new ability or a plot-related event. This game also introduces Bowser's eighth child, Bowser Jr.
In New Super Mario Bros. on the Nintendo DS, Mario and Luigi have to save Peach from Bowser Jr. While the gameplay is 2D, most of the characters and objects are 3D polygonal renderings on 2-dimensional backgrounds, resulting in a 2.5D effect. The game uses an overworld map similar to the ones from Super Mario Bros. 3 and Super Mario World. Levels can have multiple exits. All the classic power-ups (Super Mushroom, Fire Flower and Starman) return, with the addition of three new ones - the Mega Mushroom, Shell and Mini Mushroom. The Mega Mushroom briefly turns Mario (or Luigi) into an invincible giant who can destroy everything in the way, the Shell protects Mario from harm and allows him to slide (depending on speed), and the Mini Mushroom shrinks Mario to very small size—which allows him to fit through tight spaces.
Super Mario Galaxy is set in outer space, where Mario travels between "galaxies" to collect Power Stars, which are earned by completing quests or defeating enemies. Each galaxy contains a number of planets and other space matter for the player to explore. The game uses a new physics system that allows for a unique feature: each celestial object has its own gravitational force, allowing the player to completely circumnavigate rounded or irregular planetoids, walking sideways or upside down. The player is usually able to jump from one independent object and then fall towards another one close by. Though the main gameplay and physics are in 3D, there are several points in the game in which the player's movements are restricted to a 2D axis.
New Super Mario Bros Wii is the sequel to New Super Mario Bros. At Peach's birthday party in her castle, she is captured by Bowser's children (Bowser Jr. and the Koopalings), and Mario, Luigi, and two Toads (blue and yellow) spring into action to save her. The game features 4-player co-op and new power-ups - the Propellor Mushroom, the Ice Flower, and the Penguin Suit. The Propellor Mushroom allows players to soar high above the ground when shaking the Wii Remote. The Ice Flower is similar to the Fire Flower, in that it allows the player to shoot out projectiles at enemies, in this case being balls of ice. The Penguin Suit gives the player enhanced sliding and swimming abilities, as well as the power to shoot ice balls. Yoshi returns to the Mario platformer, and players can ride either a green, yellow, pink, or light blue Yoshi in certain levels. There are three star coins on each level, and they can also be used to unlock helpful tip movies back at Peach's castle on World One's map screen. It was released on November 15, 2009 in North America and November 20, 2009 in Europe.
Super Mario Galaxy 2 is the sequel to Super Mario Galaxy and was released on May 23, 2010. It retains the basic premise of its predecessor, but includes new items and power-ups; also, Mario has the ability to ride Yoshi. It was released to universal critical acclaim.
Remakes and rereleases
The Mario series includes many remakes. All four NES games of the series were remade in a 4-in-1 package named Super Mario All-Stars; later, a Super Mario All-Stars + Super Mario World package was released, which included a mildly altered version of Super Mario World. Super Mario Bros. was re-released with added features as Super Mario Bros. Deluxe for the Game Boy Color, while Super Mario Bros. 2, Super Mario Bros. 3 and Super Mario World have all been ported separately on the Game Boy Advance, all four also include a remade version of Mario Bros. Super Mario 64 has also been remade for the DS with added features such as additional stars (objectives) and minigames.
Other genres and spin-offs
Apart from platform games, the Mario series includes games from other genres. After the Game & Watch game Mario Bombs Away, the first Mario non-platform game, Dr. Mario, was released in 1990. Dr. Mario is a Tetris-like game, featuring a grid that starts out partially filled with viruses of three colors (red, yellow, and blue) that Dr. Mario must destroy with falling pills. Dr. Mario has been re-released/remade for nearly all Nintendo game consoles.
The Mario Kart franchise began in 1992 with Super Mario Kart for the SNES, and is currently the most successful and longest-running kart-racing franchise, having sold over 50 million copies worldwide.
Mario, along with many of the Mario series characters, has been featured in several sports games, as well as a special Dance Dance Revolution version.
There are several RPGs starring Mario, the first of which, Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars, was released in 1996 for the SNES. The Paper Mario series began when Paper Mario was released for the Nintendo 64 in 2000. The handheld Mario & Luigi series began with the release of Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga for the Game Boy Advance in 2003.
In 1999, the Hudson game Mario Party was released for the Nintendo 64. Seven numbered sequels have since been released, along with Mario Party Advance and Mario Party DS. Mario Party is a (multiplayer) party game featuring Mario series characters in which four human- or computer-controlled characters compete in a board game interspersed with minigames.
Mario and Luigi appear in Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 64 as playable characters, as well as in its sequels. Additional Mario characters also appear in later games of the series. Players can play as and against characters from Nintendo's video game franchises such as Mario, Pokémon, and The Legend of Zelda.
Luigi had the lead role in Luigi's Mansion, an action-adventure game in which Luigi searches for Mario in a haunted mansion.
In 2006, Princess Peach starred in her first solo game in which Peach must save Mario, Luigi, and several Toads. Super Princess Peach was released for the Nintendo DS and introduced the new character Perry featured later in Nintendo's Super Smash Bros. series.
In 2008, Mario and his friends appeared alongside characters from the Sonic the Hedgehog series in the sports game, Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games, developed by Sega. A follow-up, Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Winter Games was released in 2009, and Mario & Sonic at the London 2012 Olympic Games was released between November 2011 and February 2012.
Other characters in the series, such as Yoshi and Wario have also had their own spin-off series, including games such as Wario Land and Yoshi's Island; some of these series also have their own spin-offs (for example, the WarioWare series). Donkey Kong however, has established his own unique franchise outside the Mario universe, starting with Donkey Kong Country and has spawned many sequels and spin-offs (such as Diddy Kong Racing).
Nintendo has released several Mario and Donkey Kong LCD video games for the Game & Watch console. Eleven were released between 1982 and 1994. Nintendo also licensed the release of six LCD games for Nelsonic's Game Watch line between 1989 and 1994.
Games developed by other companies
This is a section of games developed by other companies without Nintendo involvement. These games are not officially recognized by Nintendo despite being officially licensed.
Mario Bros. Special is a video game released in 1984 for the Japanese computers NEC PC-6001mkII, NEC PC-6601, NEC PC-8801, FM-7 and Sharp X1. It is a remake of the original Mario Bros., with new stages, mechanics and gameplay.
Punch Ball Mario Bros. is a video game released in 1984 for the Japanese computers NEC PC-6001mkII, NEC PC-6601, NEC PC-8801, FM-7 and Sharp X1. It is similar to the original Mario Bros., but featured a new gameplay mechanic of "punch balls", small balls which Mario and Luigi can kick into enemies to stun them, instead of hitting them from below, as in the original.
Super Mario Bros. Special is a video game released by Hudson Soft in spring 1986 for the Japanese NEC PC-8801.
Currently, Hudson has been responsible for developing the Mario Party series.
Two were planned for development by Philips Interactive Media for use on its CD-i machine: Super Mario's Wacky Worlds and Hotel Mario. Only Hotel Mario was released; Super Mario's Wacky Worlds was eventually cancelled. Philips was given permission to use Nintendo characters in CD-i games due to their taking part in developing an unreleased add-on for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System (SNES). Hotel Mario did not gain much success, with Nintendo rarely acknowledging it as part of the Mario series.
Super Mario's Wacky Worlds is a cancelled video game planned for the CD-i, developed by NovaLogic, which attempted to duplicate the gameplay of Super Mario World. Though the game sprites are based on those in Super Mario World, the level design is based on Earth locations rather than Dinosaur Land. Due to the limitations of the CD-i, several features could not be included in the game, such as large numbers of sprites on the screen, Mode 7 and many visual effects. The nature of the pointing device controller also provides difficult controls for Mario, as the game has the default controls of running and jumping.
Hotel Mario is a puzzle game developed by Fantasy Factory and published by Philips Interactive Media for the CD-i in 1994. The primary characters of the game are Mario and Luigi, who must find Princess Peach by going through seven Koopa Hotels in the Mushroom Kingdom. Every hotel is divided into multiple stages, and the objective is to close all doors on each stage. The game has been criticised as one the worst Mario-centred games, mainly because of its cut scenes and simple gameplay.
In the early 1990s, many educational games were released in the Mario series. Few of these games were platformers; most sought to teach skills such as typing, mathematics or history. They are not officially recognized by Nintendo, despite being officially licensed. The games were developed independently by Software Toolworks, Interplay and Brainstorm. Nine educational games were released from 1991 to 1996.
Mario in other media
The Mario franchise includes many comics, manga and TV series based on the games. Most were released in the late 1980s to early 1990s, and have since become obscure. Mario, Luigi and Peach have made cameo appearances in two sports games, one being NBA Street Vol. 3. The series also launched two films, the anime Super Mario Bros.: Peach-Hime Kyushutsu Dai Sakusen released in 1986 and the live-action film Super Mario Bros. in 1993. The latter was widely considered to be a flop; it lost a large amount of money at the box office.
Saturday Supercade was an animated television series produced for Saturday mornings by Ruby-Spears Productions. It ran for two seasons on CBS, beginning in 1983. Each episode comprised several shorter segments featuring video game characters from the Golden Age of Arcade Games. Donkey Kong, Mario and Pauline (from the Donkey Kong arcade game) were featured in the show.
The Super Mario Bros. Super Show! is the first American TV series based on the Mario NES and SNES games. It was broadcast in syndication from September 4 to December 1, 1989. The show was produced by DiC Entertainment and was distributed for syndicated television by Viacom Enterprises (full rights have since reverted to DiC through Nintendo).
King Koopa's Kool Kartoons was a live action children's television show broadcast in Southern California during the holiday season of 1989/1990. The show starred King Koopa (also known as Bowser), the main antagonist of the Mario series. The 30-minute program was originally broadcast during the after-school afternoon time-slots on Los Angeles-based KTTV Fox 11.
The Adventures of Super Mario Bros. 3 is the second TV series based on the Mario NES and SNES games. It aired on NBC from September 8 to December 1, 1990. Based on the Super Mario Bros. 3 video game, the cartoon shows Mario, Luigi, Princess Toadstool and Toad fighting against Bowser Koopa and his Koopalings, who went by different names on the show. Like the previous Mario cartoon series, the animation was done by Sei Young Animation Co. Ltd, however this show was co-produced by Reteitalia S.P.A., hence the slight differences in character design.
Super Mario Challenge was a show which aired on The Children's Channel. It ran from 1990 to 1991 and aired at 4:30 p.m. every weekday. The presenter, John Lenahan, was a lookalike of Mario, and dressed in his clothes. Two guest players had to do tasks, all of which involved playing the Mario video games Super Mario Bros., Super Mario Bros. 2 and, after its release in 1991, Super Mario Bros. 3. Rounds included challenges to see which player could complete a level in the fastest time and who could collect the most gold coins on a certain level.
Super Mario World is an animated television series loosely based on the SNES video game of the same name. It is the third and currently last Saturday morning cartoon based on the Mario series. The show was originally aired on Saturday mornings on NBC in the 1991–92 season. It was featured in a half-hour time slot with a shortened version of Captain N: The Game Master. Episodes of Super Mario World were later shown as part of the syndication package Captain N and the Video Game Masters. Afterwards, the series was split from Captain N altogether and shown in time-compressed reruns on Mario All-Stars.
Super Mario Bros.: Peach-Hime Kyushutsu Dai Sakusen! (スーパーマリオブラザーズ ピーチ姫救出大作戦! Sūpā Mario Burazāzu.: Pīchi-Hime Kyushutsu Dai Sakusen! , literally, "Super Mario Bros.: Great Mission to Rescue Princess Peach!") is a Japanese anime film released on July 20, 1986. Directed by Masami Hata and produced by Masakatsu Suzuki and Tsunemasa Hatano, it stars Mario and Luigi, who get stuck in a Famicom video game, in which they must save Princess Peach from Koopa. A manga adaptation of the film was published in Japan around the same time as the film's release.
Three OVAs, based on Momotaro, Issun-bōshi and Snow White, were released in 1989. These generally featured Mario as the hero, Peach as the damsel and Bowser as the villain, with other Mario characters playing supporting roles.
Super Mario Bros. is an American and Canadian 1993 adventure family comedy incredibly loosely based on the video game of the same name. The film follows the exploits of Mario (Bob Hoskins) and Luigi (John Leguizamo) in a dystopia ruled by King Koopa (Dennis Hopper). It was the first live-action major motion picture to be based on a video game. The film's plot features Mario and Luigi as the main protagonists, Mario leading the team with Luigi developing a romance with Princess Daisy.
The film is widely considered to be a flop, losing a lot of money. The film received negative reviews from critics and fans alike and was denounced by critics as "cheesy" and lacking any sort of coherent plot. On the television show Siskel & Ebert, the film received two thumbs down. This is the second least successful Nintendo video game film adaptation, behind Pokémon Heroes.
Comics and manga
The Mario franchise has spawned several comic books and manga since its creation.
Super Mario-kun (スーパーマリオくん Sūpā Mario-kun ) is a manga series written by Yukio Sawada (沢田ユキオ) and published by Shogakukan. It is serialized in CoroCoro Comic. It contains many characters and scenarios from Mario games, such as Super Mario World and Paper Mario. Having just hit its 41st volume, Super Mario-kun is the longest-running Mario-series manga to date. It continues to release new volumes to date. Another consistent manga series based on various Mario games is a work written and drawn by Hiroshi Takase (嵩瀬ひろし) that is, somewhat confusedly, also called Super Mario-kun (スーパーマリオくん Sūpā Mario-kun ). It is currently at five volumes and still running.
The Nintendo Comics System was a series of comic books published by Valiant Comics in 1990 and 1991. It was part of a licensing deal with Nintendo, featuring characters from their video games and the cartoons based on them. Valiant's Super Mario Bros. comic books were based on the three main Mario games on the Nintendo Entertainment System, as well as The Super Mario Bros. Super Show. The Mario line was renewed for 1991 with two different books—Super Mario Bros. and Adventures of the Super Mario Bros.
Super Mario Adventures (SUPER MARIO ADVENTURES マリオの大冒険 Mario no daibōken) is an anthology of comics, drawn in a Japanese manga style, that ran in Nintendo Power magazine throughout 1992, featuring the characters from Nintendo's Mario series and based loosely on Super Mario World.
Immediately following the end of Super Mario Adventures, Nintendo Power concluded the epic with a ten-page story based on Super Mario Land 2: 6 Golden Coins titled Mario VS Wario, which ran in their January 1993 issue and was later reprinted in the graphic novel.
Aggregate review scores
As of March 24, 2011.
Game GameRankings Metacritic Super Mario Bros. (GBC) 92.11%
(GBA) 84 Super Mario Bros. 2 (GBA) 82.15%
(GBA) 84 Super Mario Bros. 3 (GBA) 92.25% (GBA) 94 Super Mario Land (GB) 75.42% - Super Mario World (SNES) 96.50%
(GBA) 92 Super Mario Land 2: 6 Golden Coins (GB) 77.42% - Super Mario 64 (N64) 95.95%
Super Mario Sunshine (GC) 91.40% (GC) 92 New Super Mario Bros. (NDS) 89.17% (NDS) 89 Super Mario Galaxy (Wii) 97.46% (Wii) 97 New Super Mario Bros. Wii (Wii) 88.12% (Wii) 87 Super Mario Galaxy 2 (Wii) 97.12% (Wii) 97 Super Mario 3D Land (3DS) 89.29% (3DS) 89
The Mario series is one of the most popular and enduring series of all time. The series is ranked as the best game franchise by IGN. The original Super Mario Bros. was awarded the top spot on Electronic Gaming Monthly's greatest 200 games of their time list and IGN's top 100 games of all time list twice (2005, 2007). Super Mario Bros. popularized the side scrolling genre of video games and led to the many sequels in the series that built upon the same basic premise. Super Mario Bros. sold 40.24 million copies, making it the best selling video game of the series.
Super Mario Bros. 3 is often regarded as one of the Nintendo Entertainment System's greatest games; Nintendo Power rated the game #6 on their 200 Greatest Nintendo Games list. and the game was #14 on Electronic Gaming Monthly's list. Super Mario World also received very positive scores, with a 96.50% average from GameRankings and rated the 8th best game made on a Nintendo System in Nintendo Power's Top 200 Games list.
Super Mario 64, as the first 3D platform game in the Mario series, established a new archetype for the genre, much as Super Mario Bros. did for 2D sidescrolling platformers. It is acclaimed by many critics and fans as one of the greatest and most revolutionary video games of all time. Guinness World Records reported sales of 11.8 million copies for Super Mario 64 at the end of 2007.
Super Mario Sunshine also received critical acclaim by game reviewers. IGN praised the addition of the water backpack for improving the gameplay, and GameSpy commented on the "wide variety of moves and the beautifully constructed environments".
Of all the Mario games released, Super Mario Galaxy may very well be the most highly acclaimed Mario video game among both professional critics and ordinary gamers. Extolled for its creativity, special effects, graphics, and amazing soundtrack, Super Mario Galaxy has not only been rated one of the best Mario games created but also one of the greatest platforming games ever made in video game history, according to sites such as IGN and TopTenReviews. GameRankings, a website that collects game scores and rankings from well-established video game critics, estimates that Super Mario Galaxy has an "average score rating of 97.46%", making it the second best game on the site.
Mario's legacy is recognized by Guinness World Records, who awarded the Nintendo Mascot, and the series of platform games he has appeared in, 7 world records in the Guinness World Records: Gamer's Edition 2008. These records include, "Best Selling Video Game Series of All Time", "First Movie Based on an Existing Video Game", and "Most Prolific Video Game Character", with Mario appearing in 116 distinct titles (not including remakes or re-releases). This year, Mario is turning 30, including his previous adventures from 1981-1983.
Games in the Mario series have had consistently strong sales, actually, it's the best selling videogame series of all time. Super Mario Bros. is the second best-selling game ever, second to Wii Sports, with 40.23 million units sold. It is also the best-selling game on the Nintendo Entertainment System, with its two sequels, Super Mario Bros. 3 (18 million copies) and Super Mario Bros. 2 (10 million copies), taking second and third place respectively for the NES. For the Super Nintendo Entertainment System, Super Mario World is the best-selling game for the console, selling 20 million copies. Super Mario World is the seventh best-selling game of all time. Super Mario 64 has sold the most copies for the Nintendo 64 (11 million), whereas Super Mario Sunshine is the second best-selling game, to Super Smash Bros. Melee, on the Nintendo GameCube with 5.5 million units sold. Super Mario Galaxy has sold 8.02 million units as of March 2009, and is the sixth best-selling game for the Wii.
The Mario series has also sold well on handheld consoles. Super Mario Land has sold 14 million copies for the Game Boy, and is the fourth best-selling game for that console. Its sequel, Super Mario Land 2: 6 Golden Coins, sold 2.7 million copies, placing twelfth. New Super Mario Bros., for the Nintendo DS, sold 18.45 million units, making it the second best-selling game for the console. Super Mario 64 DS sold 7.5 million copies, making it the eighth best selling game for the Nintendo DS.
For all console and handheld games that have not been bundled with a console, Super Mario Bros. 3 is the fourth best-selling game, whereas New Super Mario Bros. is fifth, Super Mario Land is eleventh, and Super Mario 64 is eighteenth.
As of May 2011, the series has sold over 262 million units worldwide.
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- Official website
- Super Mario Wiki
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- Mario licensees at MobyGames
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