The logo for the Mario series
|First Installment||Donkey Kong (1981)|
|Latest Installment||Mario Sports Mix (2011)|
|Number of Installments||232|
Super Mario Bros.
Super Mario Land
Mario & Luigi
Mario vs. Donkey Kong
Mario or Super Mario is a long-running Nintendo video game series of platformer titles that has spanned about thirty years over a variety of arcade, console, and handheld platforms in addition to personal and Macintosh computers. Though the series is technically a spin-off of the Donkey Kong series, Super Mario now stands independent of its parent series and is one of the most well-known series in the world. The series inspired many spin-offs, several of which developed into independent video game series such as the Yoshi, Wario Land, and Mario Kart series.
Mario has had games spanning six platforms, five handhelds, and the PC.
Pre-NES Era (June 2, 1981- September 13, 1985)
The Mario series began in 1981 with Donkey Kong. Created by Shigeru Miyamoto, Donkey Kong was Nintendo's first big success. Originally, Mario was known as "Jumpman," but it was later changed to the former when Nintendo of America nick-named the character "Mario" after their landlord, Mario Segale.
However, in 1983, Mario got his own game Mario Bros. This was the also the first game to feature Luigi.
Mario and Donkey Kong also appeared in several Game & Watch games.
NES Era (September 13, 1985-1990)
Mario's first outing on the NES was Super Mario Bros. It sold around forty million copies worldwide, making it the bestselling game of all time. The game introduced many of the hallmarks of the series including Bowser, Princess Peach, Toads, Mushrooms, Fire Flowers, Starmen, Koopa Troopas, and Goombas.
In the wake of the success of Super Mario Bros., a sequel, Super Mario Bros. 2 was released in 1987. In Japan, the game was similar to Super Mario Bros. It was later released in America as Super Mario Bros.: The Lost Levels on the Wii's Virtual Console and the compilation Super Mario All-Stars. In America, Super Mario Bros. 2 was the same as the Japanese game Doki Doki Panic, but with Mario characters. The American version allowed players to play as Princess Peach and Toad for the first time,and was re-released in Japan as Super Mario USA.
In 1989, Mario made his debut on the Game Boy with Super Mario Land. It sold 18.06 million copies, making it the bestselling game not bundled with a console in history. This game introduced the good friend of Mario's, Princess Daisy.
Mario returned to the NES in 1990 with Super Mario Bros. 3. The game returned to the formula of Super Mario Bros. It introduced many new powers such as the Raccoon Leaf, Tanooki Suit, and Frog Suit. It also was the first appearance of the Koopalings. It sold 17.8 million copies.
In the same year, Mario set the standard for cart racing games with Super Mario Kart. It was at the time (and some say, still is) the best racing game available.
In 1995, Mario returned to the Super Nintendo as a baby in Yoshi's Island: Super Mario World 2. Instead of controlling Mario, the player controlled Yoshi.
Mario's last game on the Super Nintendo had him delve into the RPG genre. Super Mario RPG is fondly remembered by fans and is often listed as one of the top games for the Super Nintendo. Interestingly, this is the first game that let players play as Bowser.
Nintendo 64 Era(1996-September 14, 2001)
1996 was a landmark year for the Mario series. It was the year that Super Mario 64 was released. The game made the transition from 2D to 3D very well, and set an example for how 3D platformers should feel. The game sold 11.62 million worldwide, making it the bestselling game for the Nintendo 64.
The next game in the Mario Kart series released in 1997, Mario Kart 64. This game has been criticized for not feeling as speedy as Super Mario Kart.
In 1999, Mario was once again pushed in a new direction. Mario Party was an odd concept: a combination of board game and video game. However, it was very well done and an excellent game to play with friends.
Another new idea developed in 1999 was Mario and sports. That year, Mario Golf was released and well received.
Perhaps the strangest departure that year was a fighting game. While Super Smash Bros. isn't technically a Mario game, it's still noteworthy. The game featured characters from some of Nintendo's most popular franchises. It went on to become the fifth bestselling game for the Nintendo 64.
In the year 2000, Mario tried out another sport. Mario Tennis was as successful as Mario Golf was before it.
In the year 2001, Mario returned to the RPG genre, but with a new twist. Paper Mario featured the hero as a paper cut out.
Nintendo GameCube Era (September 14, 2001 - November 19, 2006) and Game Boy Advance (March 21, 2001 - 2007) Era
The GBA was released in mid-2001. In its launch was Super Mario Advance, which was a remake of the American Super Mario Bros. 2, adding new graphics and a few new additions, such as a remake of Mario Bros. that could be played with 4 players.
Also in 2001, the sequel to Mario Kart 64, Mario Kart: Super Circuit, released. This game was very similar to Super Mario Kart, except 32-bit, not 16-bit. Super Mario Advance 2 came out early in 2002. A remake of Super Mario World, it had new graphics, but unlike the original Advance, it had many new features.
Also in 2002 was Super Mario Advance 3. It was a port of Yoshi's Island. It had almost nothing new, not even graphics.
In mid-2003, Mario Golf had a huge update on the GCN with Mario Golf: Toadstool Tour. It did not have any of the humans from the original, but it added tons of new features to add to its wackiness, plus a new, easier mechanic for swings.
Mario had his first RPG on a portable system in 2003. For the Game Boy Advance, Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga featured both of the brothers fighting simultaneously.
2004's Super Mario Advance 4 was more or less a port of Super Mario All-Stars's remake of Super Mario Bros. 3, but it had a few tiny changes, such as yet another Mario Bros. remake addition.
In 2004, Mario Golf: Advance Tour was released. It was a lot like the GBC version of Mario Golf, but now it has new characters, courses, and 3D graphics. There were RPG elements to the game, too, which meant one's character stats could be totally different from another's of the same character. It was possible to link to Mario Golf: Toadstool Tour and transfer characters to it.
Mario went back to his roots and went up against his old antagonist Donkey Kong for the first time in 10 years in 2004. Mario vs. Donkey Kong's gameplay was similar to Donkey Kong '94's gameplay, but with entirely new levels.
In 2004, the sequel to Paper Mario came out: Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door played similarly to its predecessor, but in a new setting with an unrelated story.
2005 stretched Mario's boundaries a bit further by adding rhythm games his resume. Dance Dance Revolution: Mario Mix featured remixed games as well as characters from the Mario series.
Mario also tried a couple of new sports in 2005. Mario Superstar Baseball mixed the great American pastime with Mario. Super Mario Strikers, on the other hand, mixed the Mario with the excitement of soccer/football.
The GBA version of Mario Power Tennis came out in 2005, called Mario Tennis: Power Tour. It was much like the GBC Mario Tennis, with RPG elements and Humans. Unfortunately, the GCN version could not link up to it.
Late in that same year, two DS titles came out featuring Mario. They were Mario & Luigi: Partners in Time, which was the sequel to Superstar Saga, throwing time travel and Baby Mario and Luigi into the RPG fray, and Mario Kart DS, which was the very first Nintendo online game. It included, along with 16 new courses, 16 old favorites, 4 from each of the past Mario Karts.
Princess Peach got her own game in 2006. Super Princess Peach is an easier platformer than the previous Mario platformers, but it has its own unique characteristics.
2006 was the year of the Nintendo DS for Mario. The Mario Bros. series has been continued in a unique way with the New Super Mario Bros. With new abilities and the old platforming action, the game is truly a worthy successor.
Mario tested his skills on the courts with Mario Hoops 3 on 3. Along with his usual friends, he also went up against some opponents from the RPG Series Final Fantasy.
The SNES'sYoshi's Island was sequeled with Yoshi's Island DS. This time, the game featured the younger versions of several favorite characters.
Wii Era (November 19, 2006-Present)
2007 brought on new sequels to classical Mario games, such as Super Paper Mario (Paper Mario series), Mario Party 8 (Mario Party series) , Mario Strikers Charged (Mario Strikers series), Super Mario Galaxy (sequel to Super Mario Sunshine). Later in 2008, Super Smash Bros. Brawl (Super Smash Bros. Series) and Mario Kart Wii (Mario Kart Series) were released. Mario Super Sluggers (Mario Baseball series) was also released.
Nintendo 3DS Era
The Mario series adds a new game to the Super Mario Land series for the Nintendo 3DS with Super Mario 3D Land. Two spin-off games, Paper Mario: Sticker Star and Mario Kart 7, have also been announced.