Tuesday, 15 April 2014
M is for Mario
Notable Releases: Super Mario Bros., Super Mario Bros. 3, Super Mario World, Super Mario Kart, Super Mario 64, Mario Kart 64, Paper Mario, Super Mario Galaxy
Surely you must have seen this one coming a mile away? I mean, how can we have any kind of discussion about video game franchises without acknowledging the Italian-American plumber's dominance over the entire industry!? With more than 856 million copies sold collectively, Mario is the best-selling video game franchise of all time.
Mario made his first appearance in the arcade classic, Donkey Kong, where he was simply known as jumpman. This was followed by an appearance in another arcade game, Mario Bros., where his brother, Luigi, was introduced. But his most well-known appearance from those early days was in the 1985 side-scrolling platform game, Super Mario Bros., which was bundled with the Nintendo Entertainment System game console.
Both the game and console found a new level of success previously unheard of in the video games industry, and that success was responsible for paving the way for future games and consoles. Several Mario games have been released over the years, spanning an entire gamut of genres, and the franchise has been featured prominently on each and every Nintendo game console.
On the Super Nintendo, Super Mario World was released in 1990, and it brought the franchise into the 16-bit era. This was followed by Super Mario Kart in 1992, a kart racing game that featured characters from the Mario universe; the game proved so successful that it has launched another franchise of its own, with more than 50 million copies sold since then.
Super Mario 64 was one of the Nintendo 64's launch titles in 1996, and it served as a showcase for the new console's 3D rendering capabilities. The N64 was also home to Paper Mario, developed by Intelligent Systems and released in 2000. It was a turn-based RPG, set in the Mario universe, that blended 2D sprites with a 3D backdrop, an effect that gave the in-game characters the paper-thin look alluded to in the title.
One of the most critically-acclaimed games in the franchise, Super Mario Galaxy, was released in 2007 for the Nintendo Wii. It won multiple Game of the Year awards from various outlets, and it eventually became the highest-rated game of all time on review aggregator website, GameRankings. A direct sequel, Super Mario Galaxy 2, was also released for the Wii, in 2010, and was considered an improvement over the original.
The latest game in the franchise, Super Mario 3D World, was released in 2013 for the Nintendo Wii U, and also met with universal acclaim.