35 years of Mario, a lifetime of fun for me

By Derek Mesa

The cult classic Super Mario Bros. turned 35 years old on Sunday. Released in 1985 for the Nintendo Entertainment System, this was the start of Nintendo’s biggest franchise and the debut of their mascot, Mario, on home consoles.

Created by Japanese game designer Shigeru Miyamoto, Mario, first appeared in the arcade game Donkey Kong. Mario was a pioneer of the platforming genre of video games, and became a worldwide phenomenon with the release of Super Mario Bros.

Since then Mario has appeared in over 200 unique titles, and the success of the Super Mario series has made it the best-selling video game franchise of all time. 

It is safe to say many people have touched a Mario game at some point. The character is versatile; apart from the main series of platformers, there are several spin-off titles for fans to enjoy. 

To me, I compare the Mario series to comfort food. I grew up with the series and have fond memories of each installment. I experienced each of the games at a different age in my life, so hearing the main theme of some of the titles instantly fills me with nostalgia and brings me back to simpler times. 

With that being said, Nintendo recently held one of their video press releases, dubbed “Nintendo Directs,” announcing their plans to celebrate the 35th anniversary of Super Mario Bros. As always they saved the best announcement for last, coming Friday is Super Mario 3D All-Stars, a collection of three of their highest-rated 3D Mario Platformers. 

The collection starts with Super Mario 64. Released on the Nintendo 64 in 1996, this game is known for setting the bar for the 3D platformer. In the mid 90s, 3D games were only starting to be released and Nintendo made one that still holds up amazingly well today. 

People still live stream this game often to speedrun it, and try to complete it in the fastest time possible. I love this title for its simplicity. The genre, Nintendo, and video games, in general, have come so far since 64’s release, and this game has aged like fine wine. 

Mario 64 was even remastered in 2004 and released alongside the launch of the iconic Nintendo DS. I personally can’t decide which version of this game is better, and grew up loving both. 

Super Mario Sunshine is the middle child of the collection. This game was released on the Nintendo Gamecube in 2002, and has more mixed opinions than the other two games on this collection. Personally I loved this game as a kid, even though it was kind of challenging. 

As a child it was really cool to me because I was still very distanced from the internet. Playing video games back before everything could be discussed online at any moment was a very interesting experience because some things like tips, cheats, or secrets had to be spread by word of mouth. I hope I wasn’t the only naive child that was often fooled from rumors told to me by friends or older relatives trying to trick me. 

The final and most recent game is Super Mario Galaxy (2008). This game is considered a masterpiece, and might be my favorite Mario game. Nintendo shot Mario into space for this game, and the platforming broke new ground in the series. The graphics are beautiful, and the soundtrack even more so. This was the first game Nintendo had used a live orchestra for, so the music in the background while you play helps set the mood of this epic adventure. 

I have a lot of fond memories playing the Mario games with my friends and family. I actually remember the day my mom bought Mario Galaxy for me. It was a Valentine’s day gift, but I remember being super bummed because she gave it to me right before I had to go to school. I probably didn’t do much learning that day in 1st grade, I couldn’t wait all day to get home and try it out.

The Mario franchise is one I hold very dear to me. I absolutely can’t wait for the new release Friday, and the chance to experience some of my childhood favorites all over again. 

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