This is what Nintendo thought of Mario in 1991.
Nintendo’s unwillingness to give their beloved leader Mario a break isn’t surprising; in a bitter mood Mario might say, “Nintendo say the ‘stache print-sa money, waaa-hoooo!” What is amazing is the consistency of Mario games. The main series of games – Super Mario Bros 1, 2, and 3, Super Mario World, 64, Sunshine, Galaxy – are among some of the finest ever created. They burst with challenge and creativity and warmth. They invite the player into their carefully crafted worlds while also encouraging them to improve through unparalleled intuitive game design.
I’ve been playing the aforementioned games for years, memorizing stage layouts, finding every hidden secret and star. I know them backwards and forwards and could discuss their intricacies at length. But what about the other Mario games? The strange Lands, the hedonistic Parties, the modern-day bouts with Donkey Kong? These games aren’t exactly forgotten – many of them have sold in the millions – but they’re not given the same attention as the New Super Mario Bros or the 3D Land/World series. I personally have dabbled in Mario’s side-quests (particularly in the Paper Mario realm) but I haven’t indulged the man’s extracurricular activities. Mario in his thirty-plus years of existence has had far too many games for me to keep up with.
Thanks to Adam Newsted for this intimidating table of Mario games.
That’s why, starting today, I’ll be venturing into the Mushroom Kingdom in search of the man who single-handedly resurrected the video game industry in America. My journey will be called “Mario Mario” and will encompass all of Mario’s games: from his first appearance in Donkey Kong to his main adventures beginning with Super Mario Bros. to his cameos in Nintendo’s early sports titles to the Paper Mario series to the esoteric entries like Mario Picross and Dance Dance Revolution Mario Mix. Every single game will get coverage. These won’t be your standard reviews, however. Each piece will briefly discuss the ins and outs of the game before digging into who Mario is in the context of the game, and then highlighting the growth – if any – that his character achieves throughout the course of the game.
Yes, this endeavor is silly. Yes, it’s little more than a pretentious excuse to play through every Mario game. Yes, I may scrap the whole “who is Mario?” idea along the way in favor of more thoughtful and/or ridiculous commentary. Rest assured, I aim to make my exploration of all things Mario entertaining not just for myself, but for those who choose to “wah!”, “woh!” and “ya-hoooo” along with me.
COMING UP NEXT TIME: When Mario was tentatively known as Jumpman