The Kyoto-based company which created the Super Mario series celebrated the protagonist’s 30th anniversary today. The beloved character’s birthday was marked by a party at a live-music venue, where a crowd of around 700 people gathered. A human-sized Mario mascot was brought on stage, and as the last chords of the happy birthday song were played, he blew out the candles on his cake.
The event was attended by Shigeru Miyamoto, the inventor of the series, and also by video game music composer Koji Kondo, who played a set of tunes from the soundtrack of the new Mario software. There were other musicians also, such as violin and accordion-players, who delighted the audience with famous Mario soundtracks.
Ever since its release on September 13, 1985, Nintendo’s Super Mario has sold more than 310 million copies. Initially, the character was known as “Jumpman” and was featured in the Nintendo arcade game “Donkey Kong” back in 1981.
Afterwards, in the actual Mario series, the plumber became the protagonist, and was shown on his mission to rescue Princess Peach from his antagonist Bowser, who had kidnapped her. Throughout the game, the little man would jump on platforms and battle Goombas and Koopa Troopas, as he collected mushrooms and coins.
The popularity of this series made the hyperactive character easily recognizable, with his luxurious mustache, blue overalls and red cap. Initially his plain appearance was motivated by graphic limitations at the time, such as a reduced number of pixels and colors.
However, his image granted him longevity, as the character was incorporated into sports video games, such as Mario Golf, Super Mario Strikers and and Super Mario Kart.
Throughout the years, the game has received several tweaks and improvements, as technological progress was made. For instance, in 1996, “Super Mario 64” became one of the earliest three-dimensional platform games, and left a lasting impression on video game design.
To celebrate this 3-decade anniversary, “Super Mario Maker” was released by Nintendo in Japan, on the Wii U video game console. Players can develop their own Mario worlds, or play the game within one of the environments created by other users. Four styles of graphics are on offer, with elements from the early beginnings to the more recent “New Super Mario Bros. U”.
The lasting popularity of the protagonist has led Florent Gorges, who wrote a book on Nintendo’s history, to declare, “Mario now has a status in popular culture equal to Mickey Mouse”.
Indeed, with games featuring Mario continuing to rake in millions of dollars, it is expected that his fame will continue to grow. This holds true especially when considering that nostalgic parents usually introduce this character to their children, as a friendly and warm alternative to other video games which are more violent and adult-oriented.
Meanwhile, the Japanese multinational is also planning to create a series of games available on smartphones and tablets. This new line of software will be based on Nintendo’s most iconic characters and it is meant to counter dwindling demand for the company’s 3DS handheld systems.
Image Source: DeviantArt