Iconic Video Game Character, Mario, Turns 35


Nintendo Co. LTD

Super Mario 3D All-Stars Box art and revealed games.

For the past three and a half decades, one name has dominated the video game industry, and let’s just say it’s not a blue hedgehog. Mario, who is the face of Nintendo, and the title character of one of the most popular franchises of all time, recently turned 35, and he is having one heck of a mid-life crisis. As of Sept. 18, three previously released Mario games will be re-released on the Nintendo Switch. Although it’s not just games that are coming out. Many more items are being released such as shoes, a new Mario Kart toy that drives around your house, and more. My personal favorites are the remakes, as well as a more niche reference to Nintendo’s history in the “Super Mario Game & Watch” handheld.

Video games were around before Nintendo entered the scene. They started out in arcades, but with the release of the Atari 2600 in 1977, home consoles began to steal the spotlight away. Six years later, in 1983, Nintendo released their first home console in Japan only, The Family Computer (Famicom for short). Two years after that, the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) was released in the US, and alongside it came the launch of “Super Mario Bros.” However, before this came two games that history cannot forget, “Donkey Kong”, and “Mario Bros”. In Donkey Kong, we followed ‘Jumpman’, who was later renamed Mario, as he attempted to save Pauline from his pet gorilla, Donkey Kong. Pauline was the original “princess” for Mario, and recently made a return in 2016’s “Super Mario Odyssey”. Mario Bros also taught us that Mario had his trusty, and maybe a little skittish brother, Luigi. Little details may seem obscure and unimportant, but some of these reappear in later games, like his occupation as a plumber. Following the launch of “Super Mario Bros” in 1991, the Super Nintendo Entertainment System (SNES) was released in North America, with Super Mario World, the new benchmark game in the Mario franchise.

Fast forward 5 years to the release of Mario 64, the first ever 3D Mario game, where you are rescuing Princess Toadstool-Peach, in a new 3D environment. This game revolutionized the entire franchise as one of the first 3D games to ever be a critical success. It utilized true 3D instead of the models that games like “Donkey Kong Country 3D” used. Then, six years later in 2002, “Super Mario Sunshine” released on the Nintendo Gamecube, which alongside the Wii U, N64, and Virtual Boy, are the lowest selling Nintendo consoles ever. Oddly enough, after the sales of the Gamecube, Nintendo drastically increased sales with the help of their next console, the release of the Nintendo Wii. In 2007, Mario Galaxy, the final game included with the bundle, was released, and soon became one of the most critically acclaimed games in the series, and sold over 620 million copies! People who got to play these games as kids or younger teens will likely also be really excited about the rerelease, since they were great games for all ages.

True 3D Mario games went silent for almost 10 years until the release of Super Mario Odyssey on the Nintendo switch in 2017. Normally games being republished is not a big deal, but when you get into games as legendary as these, which have not been on any recent console for years, and had such low install bases, republishing makes them breaking news. This collection gives younger gamers, who never got a chance to play these games on the Gamecube or N64, and who got to play Mario Odyssey on the Switch, a chance to try the predecessors to Galaxy.

Growing up, I got to play Mario Galaxy on the Nintendo Wii, and I loved it. A few years later, a sequel to Galaxy was released, and people loved that game even more. I never had a chance to play Mario 64 or Sunshine, so I was really excited to get a chance to try these games, and I hoped that they were everything I was looking for. I wanted a game that in my mind could stack up to the greatness that was Mario Galaxy, and what I had in store for me met all expectations.

These games changed the way I saw Mario. Before, I respected him for his connection to Nintendo history, but I really didn’t enjoy his games, but now I understand why people enjoy them.

Once I got to try the games, my opinion was set in stone, this collection was needed. These games changed the way I saw Mario. Before, I respected him for his connection to Nintendo history, but I really didn’t enjoy his games, but now I understand why people enjoy them. They have an atmosphere to them that is like no other, whether it be the strange control of underwater levels, or the linear yet unique design of Mario Galaxy. There are some minor annoyances like the speedrunning technique in Mario 64, a backwards long jump, having been removed, or camera controls not being as tight as possible. Some mysteries have been left unsolved, like in Mario 64, the largest rumor in the game is in the back courtyard on a plaque that was unreadable due to the resolution of the original game. With the remake, we got a chance to see what it said, however for an unknown reason, the plaque stayed the same as before, likely in an attempt to keep the note a mystery. However, the game’s look and for the most part, feel, better than ever, and I will definitely continue to play them. On a more sour note, the remake of Mario 64, though great, is not the version of the game with the most content. It lacks 2 playable characters that we had in previous versions, Luigi, and Wario from Mario 64 DS. The controls of the game have been improved greatly, and with the new update, the visuals of the game have gotten better.

These games are definitely not perfect and still have some problems, but with the amount of improvements that have been made, and the value of having all three games for one price, makes this a good purchase for anyone interested in Mario’s history, but they are enjoyable to other crowds too. Anyone who didn’t get a chance to play these games on their own respective console should definitely pick up this collection, and even if you did, grab it for a chance to replay some of the greatest platformers ever made!