||This article is in a list format that may be better presented using prose. (February 2012)|
Emblem on the titular character's hat as commonly portrayed in the franchise.
|Genres||Platformer, sports game, RPG, Action-adventure, racing, puzzle, party|
|Developers||Nintendo EAD, Nintendo R&D1, Intelligent Systems, Square, Square Enix, TOSE, AlphaDream, Next Level Games|
|Platform of origin||Arcade|
|Original release||July 9, 1981|
|First release||Donkey Kong|
|Latest release||Mario Kart 8|
The Mario franchise is a media franchise consisting of video games published and produced by Nintendo starring the fictional character Mario. The franchise also includes other forms of media including several television series and a feature film. It was originally created by game designer Shigeru Miyamoto with the arcade Donkey Kong, released on July 9, 1981. The games have been developed by a variety of developers including Nintendo, Hudson Soft, and AlphaDream. Most Mario games have either been released for the arcade or Nintendo video game consoles and handhelds dating from the Nintendo Entertainment System to the current generation of video game consoles.
The main series in the franchise is the Super Mario platform series, which mostly follows Mario's adventures in the fictional world of the Mushroom Kingdom. These games typically rely on Mario's jumping ability to allow him to progress through levels. Analysts suggest that by 2012, the Mario franchise will be valued at over $10 billion. The franchise has spawned over 200 games of various genre. The entire franchise, including series such as Super Mario, Mario Kart, Mario Party, Mario Tennis, and Mario Golf, have sold over 856 million copies making it the best-selling video game franchise of all time.
- 1 Arcade origins
- 2 Super Mario
- 3 Mario Kart
- 4 Mario Party
- 5 Puzzle games
- 6 Mario vs. Donkey Kong
- 7 Sports games
- 8 Role-playing games
- 9 Game & Watch
- 10 Educational games
- 11 Games not developed by Nintendo
- 12 Recurring characters
- 13 In other media
- 14 Impact
- 15 References
After the commercial failure of Radar Scope, Nintendo's company president referred to Shigeru Miyamoto to create an arcade game to save the company. Miyamoto came up with the idea of a game in which the playable character has to make his way through an obstacle course consisting of sloped platforms, ladders and rolling barrels. Miyamoto named the game Donkey Kong, and its main protagonist "Jumpman". Donkey Kong is an early example of the platform genre. In addition to presenting the goal of saving Pauline, the game also gives the player a score. Points are awarded for finishing screens; leaping over obstacles; destroying objects with a hammer power-up; collecting items such as hats, parasols, and purses (presumably belonging to the Lady/Pauline); and completing other tasks. The game was surprisingly successful. "Jumpman" was called "Mario" in certain promotional materials for the game's release overseas; his namesake was Mario Segale, the landlord of Nintendo of America's office/warehouse, who barged in on a meeting to demand an overdue rent payment. Eventually Jumpman's name was internationally and permanently changed to Mario. The success of the game spawned several ports, and a sequel, Donkey Kong Jr., which is Mario's only appearance as an antagonist. Donkey Kong 3 did not feature Mario. Donkey Kong has established his own unique franchise outside the Mario universe, starting with Donkey Kong Country and has spawned many sequels and spin-offs (such as Diddy Kong Racing).
The Mario branding was used for the first time in a later arcade game, Mario Bros., which introduced Mario's brother, Luigi. The objective of Mario Bros. is to defeat all of the enemies in each phase. Each phase is a series of platforms with four pipes at each corner of the screen, and an object called a "POW" block in the center. The mechanics of Mario Bros. involve only running and jumping. Unlike future Mario titles, players cannot jump on enemies until they are flipped over; this can be accomplished by jumping under the platform they are on or by using the "POW" block. Both sides of every phase feature a mechanism that allows the player to go off-screen to the left and appear on the right, and vice versa. The game has since reappeared in various forms, including as a minigame in Super Mario Bros. 3 and the Super Mario Advance series, and reimagined as Mario Clash.
Mario then became the star of his own side scrolling platform game in 1985, titled Super Mario Bros., which was the pack-in game included with the Nintendo Entertainment System console. In Japan, a game titled Super Mario Bros. 2 was released in 1986, but a different game with the same name was released internationally in 1988, followed by Super Mario Bros. 3 later that same year. The Japanese version would subsequently be released in the United States in 1993 under the title Super Mario Bros.: The Lost Levels as part of the Super Mario All-Stars title for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System, a console that also featured iterations of the game known as Super Mario World. While Super Mario Land and two sequels were the Game Boy installments in the series, the Game Boy Advance did not receive any original entries, only remakes. Super Mario 64 debuted as the launch title for the Nintendo 64 console in 1996. Super Mario Sunshine was the series' entry for the Nintendo GameCube, and Super Mario Galaxy and its sequel continued the franchise for the Wii.
In 2006 a retro throwback sub-series called New Super Mario Bros. was inaugurated on the Nintendo DS and has continued on the Wii as New Super Mario Bros. Wii, on the 3DS as New Super Mario Bros. 2, on the Wii U as New Super Mario Bros. U and New Super Luigi U.
Possibly the most popular spin-off series in the franchise, the Mario Kart series began in 1992 with Super Mario Kart for the SNES, and is currently the most successful and longest-running kart racing series, having sold over 100 million copies worldwide.
In 1999, the Hudson game Mario Party was released for the Nintendo 64. Following this, eight numbered sequels have since been released, along with Mario Party Advance, Mario Party DS and Mario Party: Island Tour. Mario Party is a multiplayer party game featuring Mario series characters in which four human- or computer-controlled characters compete in a board game interspersed with minigames.
After the Game & Watch game Mario Bombs Away, the first Mario non-platform game, Dr. Mario, was released in 1990. Dr. Mario is a Tetris-like game, featuring a grid that starts out partially filled with viruses of three colors that Dr. Mario must destroy with falling pills. Dr. Mario has been re-released/remade for nearly all Nintendo game consoles.
This series is a collection of nonogram logic puzzles involving a grid with numbers for every row and column, which refer to the amount of marked squares within the grid. The games features Mario as an archaeologist who chisels away to form images on the grid.
Mario vs. Donkey Kong
There have been numerous sports games in the Mario franchise.
The first use of Mario's likeness in a golf game was that the golfer in Golf for NES and Game Boy featured a mustached man resembling Mario. Later, NES Open Tournament Golf was released. It featured Mario and Luigi as the golfers, with Princess Toadstool and Princess Daisy as their caddies. Mario Golf was released for the N64 in 1999. It was followed by Mario Golf: Toadstool Tour for the GameCube, Mario Golf: Advance Tour for the Game Boy Advance and Mario Golf: World Tour for the Nintendo 3DS.
The first appearances of Mario in tennis games were as a referee in Tennis for the NES and Game Boy. These games did not use the Mario branding and only featured Mario in the capacity of a cameo. He then appeared in Mario's Tennis for the Virtual Boy. After this, Camelot Software released Mario Tennis for the Nintendo 64. They would subsequently develop other games in this series: Mario Power Tennis for the GameCube and Wii, Mario Tennis: Power Tour for the Game Boy Advance and Mario Tennis Open for the Nintendo 3DS.
The game of soccer was introduced in one of the minigames in Mario Party 4. The Mario Strikers series (Mario Football in Europe) made its debut for the GameCube with Next Level Games as the developer for the series.
Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games
In 2008, Mario and his friends appeared alongside characters from the Sonic the Hedgehog series in the sports game, Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games, developed by Sega. A follow-up, Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Winter Games, was released in 2009, and Mario & Sonic at the London 2012 Olympic Games was released between November 2011 (Wii) and February 2012 (Nintendo 3DS). On November 15, 2013, a third sequel called Mario & Sonic at the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games was released exclusively on the Wii U.
Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars
The Paper Mario series began when Paper Mario was released for the Nintendo 64 in 2000.
Mario and Luigi
The Mario & Luigi series began with the release of Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga for the Game Boy Advance in 2003.
- Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga
- Mario & Luigi: Partners in Time
- Mario & Luigi: Bowser's Inside Story
- Mario & Luigi: Dream Team
Game & Watch
Nintendo has released several Mario and Donkey Kong LCD video games for the Game & Watch console. Eleven were released between 1982 and 1994. Nintendo also licensed the release of six LCD games for Nelsonic's Game Watch line between 1989 and 1994.
In the early 1990s, many educational games were released in the Mario series. Few of these games were platformers; most sought to teach skills such as typing, mathematics or history. They are not officially recognized by Nintendo, despite being officially licensed. The games were developed independently by Software Toolworks, Interplay and Brainstorm. Nine educational games were released from 1991 to 1996.
Games not developed by Nintendo
This section covers games developed by other companies without Nintendo involvement. These games are not officially recognized by Nintendo despite being officially licensed.
Mario Bros. Special is a video game released in 1984 for the Japanese computers NEC PC-6001mkII, NEC PC-6601, NEC PC-8801, FM-7 and Sharp X1. It is a remake of the original Mario Bros., with new stages, mechanics and gameplay.
Punch Ball Mario Bros. is a video game released in 1984 for the Japanese computers NEC PC-6001mkII, NEC PC-6601, NEC PC-8801, FM-7 and Sharp X1. It is similar to the original Mario Bros., but featured a new gameplay mechanic of "punch balls", small balls which Mario and Luigi can kick into enemies to stun them, instead of hitting them from below, as in the original.
Super Mario Bros. Special is a video game released by Hudson Soft in spring 1986 for the Japanese NEC PC-8801.
Hudson Soft was originally responsible for the Mario Party series, but as of March 2012 this has been taken over by Nd Cube since Hudson has become a part of Konami. Many of Hudson's employees now work for Nd Cube.
Two games were planned for development by Philips Interactive Media for use on its CD-i machine: Super Mario's Wacky Worlds and Hotel Mario. Only Hotel Mario was released; Super Mario's Wacky Worlds was eventually cancelled. Philips was given permission to use Nintendo characters in CD-i games due to their taking part in developing an unreleased add-on for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System (SNES). Hotel Mario did not gain much success, with Nintendo rarely acknowledging it as part of the Mario series.
Super Mario's Wacky Worlds is a cancelled video game planned for the CD-i, developed by NovaLogic, which attempted to duplicate the gameplay of Super Mario World. Though the game sprites are based on those in Super Mario World, the level design is based on Earth locations rather than Dinosaur Land. Due to the limitations of the CD-i, several features could not be included in the game, such as large numbers of sprites on the screen, Mode 7 and many visual effects. The nature of the pointing device controller also provides difficult controls for Mario, as the game has the default controls of running and jumping.
Hotel Mario is a puzzle game developed by Fantasy Factory and published by Philips Interactive Media for the CD-i in 1994. The primary characters of the game are Mario and Luigi, who must find Princess Peach by going through seven Koopa Hotels in the Mushroom Kingdom. Every hotel is divided into multiple stages, and the objective is to close all doors on each stage. The game has been criticised as one the worst Mario-centred games, mainly because of its cutscenes and simple gameplay.
In other media
The Mario franchise includes many comics, manga and TV series based on the games. Most were released in the late 1980s to early 1990s, and have since become obscure. Mario, Luigi and Peach have made cameo appearances in two sports games, one being NBA Street Vol. 3. The series also launched two films, the anime Super Mario Bros.: Peach-Hime Kyushutsu Dai Sakusen released in 1986 and the live action film Super Mario Bros. in 1993. The latter was widely considered to be a flop; it lost a large amount of money at the box office.
Saturday Supercade was an animated television series produced for Saturday mornings by Ruby-Spears Productions. It ran for two seasons on CBS, beginning in 1983. Each episode comprised several shorter segments featuring video game characters from the Golden Age of Arcade Games. Donkey Kong, Mario and Pauline (from the Donkey Kong arcade game) were featured in the show.
The Super Mario Bros. Super Show! is the first American TV series based on the Mario NES and SNES games. It was broadcast in syndication from September 4 to December 1, 1989. The show was produced by DIC Entertainment and was distributed for syndicated television by Viacom Enterprises (full rights have since reverted to DiC through Nintendo).
King Koopa's Kool Kartoons was a live action children's television show broadcast in Southern California during the holiday season of 1989/1990. The show starred King Koopa (also known as Bowser), the main antagonist of the Mario series. The 30-minute program was originally broadcast during the after-school afternoon time-slots on Los Angeles-based KTTV Fox 11.
The Adventures of Super Mario Bros. 3 is the second TV series based on the Mario NES and SNES games. It aired on NBC from September 8 to December 1, 1990. Based on the Super Mario Bros. 3 video game, the cartoon shows Mario, Luigi, Princess Toadstool and Toad fighting against Bowser and his Koopalings, who went by different names on the show. Like the previous Mario cartoon series, the animation was done by Sei Young Animation Co. Ltd, however this show was co-produced by Reteitalia S.P.A., hence the slight differences in character design.
Super Mario Challenge was a show which aired on The Children's Channel. It ran from 1990 to 1991 and aired at 4:30 p.m. every weekday. The presenter, John Lenahan, was a lookalike of Mario, and dressed in his clothes. Two guest players had to do tasks, all of which involved playing the Mario video games Super Mario Bros., Super Mario Bros. 2 and, after its release in 1991, Super Mario Bros. 3. Rounds included challenges to see which player could complete a level in the fastest time and who could collect the most gold coins on a certain level.
Super Mario World is an animated television series loosely based on the SNES video game of the same name. It is the third and currently last Saturday morning cartoon based on the Mario series. The show was originally aired on Saturday mornings on NBC in the 1991–92 season. It was featured in a half-hour time slot with a shortened version of Captain N: The Game Master. Episodes of Super Mario World were later shown as part of the syndication package Captain N and the Video Game Masters. Afterwards, the series was split from Captain N altogether and shown in time-compressed reruns on Mario All-Stars.
Super Mario Bros.: Peach-Hime Kyushutsu Dai Sakusen! (スーパーマリオブラザーズ ピーチ姫救出大作戦! Sūpā Mario Burazāzu.: Pīchi-Hime Kyushutsu Dai Sakusen!?, literally, "Super Mario Bros.: Great Mission to Rescue Princess Peach!") is a Japanese anime film released on July 20, 1986. Directed by Masami Hata and produced by Masakatsu Suzuki and Tsunemasa Hatano, it stars Mario and Luigi, who get stuck in a Famicom video game, in which they must save Princess Peach from Koopa. A manga adaptation of the film was published in Japan around the same time as the film's release.
A series of three OVAs titled Super Mario Amada anime series (アマダアニメシリーズ スーパーマリオブラザーズ Amada Anime Shirīzu Sūpā Mario Burazāzu?), based on Momotaro, Issun-bōshi and Snow White, were released in 1989. These generally featured Mario as the hero, Peach as the damsel and Bowser as the villain, with other Mario characters playing supporting roles.
Super Mario Bros. is an American and Canadian 1993 adventure family comedy loosely based on the video game of the same name. The film follows the exploits of Mario (Bob Hoskins) and Luigi (John Leguizamo) in a dystopia ruled by King Koopa (Dennis Hopper). It was the first live-action major motion picture to be based on a video game. The film's plot features Mario and Luigi as the main protagonists, Mario leading the team with Luigi developing a romance with Princess Daisy.
The film is widely considered to be a flop, losing a lot of money. The film received negative reviews from critics and fans alike and was denounced by critics as "cheesy" and lacking any sort of coherent plot. On the television show Siskel & Ebert, the film received two thumbs down.
Bowser and the super mushroom also had a cameo in the 2012 Disney film Wreck-It Ralph. Mario was mentioned but not seen in the film.
Comics and manga
The Mario franchise has spawned several comic books and manga since its creation.
Super Mario-kun (スーパーマリオくん Sūpā Mario-kun?) is a manga series written by Yukio Sawada (沢田ユキオ) and published by Shogakukan. It is serialized in CoroCoro Comic. It contains many characters and scenarios from Mario games, such as Super Mario World and Paper Mario. Having just hit its 41st volume, Super Mario-kun is the longest-running Mario-series manga to date. It continues to release new volumes to date. Another consistent manga series based on various Mario games is a work written and drawn by Hiroshi Takase (嵩瀬ひろし) and published by PikkaPika Comics that is, somewhat confusedly, also called Super Mario-kun (スーパーマリオくん Sūpā Mario-kun?). It is currently at five volumes and stopped due to the author's death in 2006.
The Nintendo Comics System was a series of comic books published by Valiant Comics in 1990 and 1991. It was part of a licensing deal with Nintendo, featuring characters from their video games and the cartoons based on them. Valiant's Super Mario Bros. comic books were based on the three main Mario games on the Nintendo Entertainment System, as well as The Super Mario Bros. Super Show. The Mario line was renewed for 1991 with two different books—Super Mario Bros. and Adventures of the Super Mario Bros.
The Nintendo Adventure Book series was published from 1991 to 1992 by Archway books, and Mammoth books in the United Kingdom. There are twelve in all. They are formatted like the popular Choose Your Own Adventure books, where the reader makes decisions that change the outcome of the story. Ten of the books are about the Mario Bros.' adventures in the Mushroom Kingdom and are based primarily on the Valiant comics published for the Nintendo Comics System imprint.
Super Mario Adventures (SUPER MARIO ADVENTURES マリオの大冒険 Mario no daibōken?) is an anthology of comics, drawn in a Japanese manga style, that ran in Nintendo Power magazine throughout 1992, featuring the characters from Nintendo's Mario series and based loosely on Super Mario World.
Immediately following the end of Super Mario Adventures, Nintendo Power concluded the epic with a ten-page story based on Super Mario Land 2: 6 Golden Coins titled Mario VS Wario, which ran in their January 1993 issue and was later reprinted in the graphic novel.
Concerts and performances
The Super Mario Bros. theme has been featured in many concerts, including "PLAY! Chicago", the Columbus Symphony, the Mario & Zelda Big Band Live, Play! A Video Game Symphony, and others.
Mario has been featured in 200 games of various genres, and the Mario franchise is the best-selling video game franchise of all time. At least 31 different Mario games have sold more than a million copies each since 1995. This includes the core Super Mario series, which alone has sold over 262 million units worldwide, as well as the Mario Kart series which sold 78 million units, the Mario Party series which sold over 32 million units, Donkey Kong which sold over 125,000 arcade machines and six million Coleco cartridges, and Mario Bros. which sold 1.72 million Famicom cartridges.
Mario's legacy is recognized by Guinness World Records, who awarded the Nintendo Mascot, and the series of platform games he has appeared in, 7 world records in the Guinness World Records: Gamer's Edition 2008. These records include, "Best Selling Video Game Series of All Time", "First Movie Based on an Existing Video Game", and "Most Prolific Video Game Character", with Mario appearing in 116 distinct titles (not including remakes or re-releases).
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- United States: 60,000 (Steven L. Kent (2001). The Ultimate History of Video Games: The Story behind the Craze that Touched Our Lives and Changed the World. Prima. p. 352. ISBN 9780761536437. Retrieved 2011-04-09. "With more than 60,000 units sold in the United States, Donkey Kong was Nintendo's biggest arcade hit. ... Nintendo released Donkey Kong Junior in 1982 and sold only 30,000 machines, 20,000 Popeye machines (also 1982), and a mere 5000 copies of Donkey J (1983).")
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