How Super Mario Bros. Revolutionized the World of Gaming

Written by: Aaron Tam

Features | Jan 10, 2017

Donkey Kong Nintendo Super Mario Super Mario Bros

It seems far-fetched that an average Italian plumber could turn out as one of gaming's most popular icons. But then again, people will know immediately that it is Mario we are talking about. This short, mustachioed plumber has become the face of Nintendo as it dominated the gaming industry over the past years. Aside from being a darling of the gaming world, it is simply incredible to see how Super Mario Bros. revolutionized the world of gaming. 

A Humble Plumber Makes His Mark

Thanks to legendary video game designer Shigeru Miyamoto, Mario became a huge success. Running and jumping over obstacles, Mario raced to rescue his beloved Princess Peach from the evil Bowser.

It all began when a little-known card-and-toy company called Nintendo attempted to enter the game industry (which was then considered a "gold mine"). Despite several efforts, the results were not that encouraging.

Desperate for something truly game-changing, then Nintendo president Hiroshi Yamauchi commissioned artist Shigeru Miyamoto to design a game (which was pretty weird considering Shigeru was the guy that designed the art for Nintendo games). Going against conventional wisdom, Shigeru planned a story before working on the gameplay since he was not a programmer by profession. Video game experts believed that such a workflow was unprecedented because this was the first time that it ever happened in video game history.

Nevertheless, Shigeru came up with Donkey Kong, which told the story of a man (conveniently named Jump Man) who jumped over barrels so that he could ascend a construction site and rescue his girlfriend from the gorilla who kidnapped her.

Needless to say, Donkey Kong's gameplay was remarkably different compared to contemporary video game titles. The game was a hit and rather humorously, Jump Man eventually got his iconic name, Mario, when the landlord with the same name demanded Nintendo of America to pay their rent.

The Hero the Gaming World Deserves but Not the One It Needs

Despite a golden age of video games in the early 1980s, the video game industry actually crashed in 1983. The crash (which lasted from 1983 to 1985) was so massive that the revenues of video game companies at that time went from a few billion dollars to well below a hundred million.

It was primarily due to consumers' loss of faith in the quality of video games. Not just that, video games were regarded as a short-lived fad. It was the time when video games were considered to be on the brink of extinction. But despite this, the arrival of Super Mario Bros. seemed to save the day.

The release of Super Mario Bros. single-handedly injected much-needed life into the dying industry. Characterized by its simple gameplay, the game was both immersive and addictive, the popularity of which made it soar sky-high as more people bought the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) just to play it.

Not only that, the game also gave people the reason to get back into the industry again.

2D Platformers Have Never Been This Fun

The debut of Super Mario Bros. certainly changed the face of 2D platform games forever, making it a popular genre. Following the lead of Mario, other legendary games such as Sonic the Hedgehog and Mega Man further revitalized the 2D platforming market.

Just as Super Mario Bros. revived the video game industry, so too did New Super Mario Bros. do the same on the Nintendo DS in the present day. Due to the franchise being relevant for so long, you can still find a lot of new 2D platform games which are being designed and developed.

Heralding the New Era of 3D Gaming

It has been said that a lot of golden 2D era games never made the transition successfully to 3D. Despite Sonic 3D Blast being released on the same year, many still regard it as inferior to Super Mario 64.

Super Mario 64 was the plumber's first foray into 3D platforming and introduced players to a totally new gaming atmosphere. Offering a wide variety of 3D levels that were fully explorable, Nintendo showed that they understood the key to a gamer's heart. 

Mario, Moment, Magic

Apart from his wacky look, Mario is a fun character that who is synonymous with video games. When he isn't racing to rescue Peach, Mario actually spends his time on go-karts, playing sports, and making cameos in other Nintendo games.

Not just that, but you can also join him in cleaning up an island. A game about cleaning would be awkward or bizarre, but Mario made the process so much fun. It's unexplainable, but having an iconic face that does other stuff certainly works.

And as Mario has enters the mobile gaming scene with the release of Super Mario Run, it isn't hard for him to conquer the region by carving a niche for himself. While Nintendo has been rather hesitant in bringing its famous face to mobile games, the lucrative market just seems to entice Mario to make his mark. 

This article is written by Aaron Tam. A firm believer in "Tomorrow never dies", Aaron is an enthusiastic wordsmith that has been watching the future with great interest. He is currently a content writer for iPrice Group.
About the author: Aaron Tam

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