DAR Gaming Roundtable: The Super Mario Legacy

Now, you know... it's DAR Gaming Week. There was no way in hell we could go on this week without talking the most popular character in gaming history, Super Mario. For decades now, Super Mario has remained the driving force behind the Nintendo brand and still remains viable for them today. We gathered the team to talk the impact and the true power of Mario. Let's get into it.

Nintendo has many classic franchises/characters throughout their history, but none more important, more iconic than the most versatile plumber on Earth, Mario. When you talk about gaming history, you have to mention Mario and the Mario Bros series. These classic games are what made the console gaming world explode with the first Super Mario Bros. Game and led to what we see now with the Wii U, PS4, and Xbox One. The Mario series is easily one of the most influential series in gaming and it has spawned many sequels and spinoffs, including what many consider one of if not the greatest platformer ever in Super Mario 3. (some would argue Super Mario World and you can't really go wrong with that either.) Nintendo has a habit of leaning on their top tier franchises and for some it is an issue, but when they consistently churn out quality like they do, how can you argue? Here's hoping to many more years of greatness from Mario and Nintendo. Our childhoods wouldn't be the same without them.

When I was younger, I vividly remember the greatest gift I could ever receive - the Super Nintendo game system. I'd race home with my sister just to get on Super Mario World. This game was a staple in my childhood. Jumping down tubes and across flying platforms trying to beat Bowser never got old.

The plumber brothers Mario and Luigi had to go through plenty of levels with the help of Yoshi, the dinosaur. Super Mario World had just enough suspense but was still innocent enough for kids of all ages to play. There wasn't much as much violence as there is in current games. That's what makes it a classic to me. If I ever get that game console and cartridge today, I may not leave the house.

I don’t think there is a single human being who has not heard of, seen, played or knows about Nintendo and Super Mario Bros. Since its release in 1985, Nintendo created a very devout following, so much so that I remember we had an Atari and Coleco system before an NES and the only reason my siblings and I even wanted a Nintendo was solely for Donkey Kong and Super Mario Bros.

I don’t know how many people remember the graphics on Atari and Coleco, but they were incredibly basic. The characters had limited movement, limited color, the processor was slow as hell...just very basic all around, so when Donkey Kong came out, that was a big deal. This was the introduction to Mario and the Princess. Donkey Kong was the very best video game at the time and that's all we had to play with until '85 when Super Mario Bros came out. That was jaw dropping. The intricacy of the game, level after level, the character detail and the number of characters that were integrated in the game left us shocked. The game was a hit, every kid had it and everyone loved it. The best part about it was not only did you have Mario, but we were introduced to his brother Luigi. This was amazing because this allowed 2 people to play which we didn't have on other consoles (or at least I don't remember) Mario and Luigi never got to play against each other but it still allowed 2 people to play the game with alternating turns.

I never realized at the time, but this one game would have a ripple effect throughout the video game industry forever. Super Mario Bros. did so well by selling 222 million copies that it led to a sequel and even a 3rd one and it didn't stop there, we had Mario World's, Super Smash Bros, etc...the entire Mario world just kept evolving and as consumers, we kept getting drawn in. Of the entire franchise I would have to say my favorites are: Super Mario Bros, Super Mario Bros 3 and Super Mario World, which we know all added a new element and brought on new characters that we loved of course. I think the success of this game is what led to games such as Sonic the Hedgehog, the re-vamping of the Donkey Kong game and Crash Bandicoot to name a few. Nintendo definitely did their homework when creating this. They made a game that truly appealed to audiences of every possible age group and were able to keep it successful throughout the evolution of gaming consoles.

When I first saw Mario, I thought to myself, this game was amazing. The character Mario was nothing special essentially, but a young True found this random agile plumber to be the most fascinating character ever. While the first Mario and the 2nd were released before I was even alive, I got a chance to play them at a very young age and instantly took to them. The first Mario on Nintendo was fun admittedly, but I took to the third edition of Super Mario Bros. as my go-to game. I would play that one for hours and be completely enthralled in the experience.

However, my love for the series reached the highest height when Super Mario World was released. The introduction of Yoshi was amazing, the world you got to play in was fantastic, and it really is one of the greatest games of all time. Even as the Nintendo and Super Nintendo era moved out, the N64 era of Mario kept it relevant as well. However, it was around the GameCube era that Mario and Nintendo took a bit of a hit and while still relevant, the impact was no longer the same.

The rebirth of sorts came with the release of the Wii, as games like the New Super Mario Bros, Super Smash Bros, and the Super Mario Galaxy franchise kept Nintendo going and also kept Super Mario in the limelight again. The Wii U just released the epic Super Mario Maker, letting fans create their own Mario levels and game, a truly riveting experience for all gamers and Mario fans. Nintendo still has ways to obviously reinvent Mario and the brand, and hopefully they will continue to do so. Regardless, we reflect on the legacy of Mario and the greatness.

Have any thoughts about the Super Mario legacy or franchise? Join in the conversation in the comments below.



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