Way Back When
There are few mascots in the world more recognizable than Mario, but like any beloved character, there was a time before he was the notable Nintendo figure he is today. Though he technically first appeared as “Jumpman” in the original Donkey Kong game in 1981, Mario didn’t get his first official outing until the 1983 arcade game Mario Bros., wherein he joined up with his brother, Luigi, as they fought off creatures from the New York City sewers. But it wasn’t until famed video game creator Shigeru Miyamoto gave the plumber a full-length platforming game on the NES that the character’s eponymous franchise started on the path to becoming the best-selling of all time.
1985’s Super Mario Bros. played a significant part in reviving the video game industry after its early-80s crash, and it’s widely considered the game most responsible for bringing video games into the mainstream in general. The character has become so adored and his cultural impact so indelible that even those who have never played a video game are likely to know about Mario. So whether you’re aware of him as “that game character with blue overalls” or you’ve grown up alongside him for decades, there’s no denying that his very first game played a huge part in revolutionizing how the world of video games was seen by people all over the world.
Much of Super Mario Bros.‘ success can be attributed to its creators’ fundamental understanding of what made a video game fun. Though we all know platforming games typically always use the basic concepts of running, jumping, collecting powerups, and defeating enemies, Shigeru Miyamoto and his team found an almost miraculous method of combing each element into a near-perfect package with Super Mario Bros., managing to set a bar so high that most games four decades later are still struggling to replicate it. Once they added in a soundtrack so memorable that even non-gamers still hum it today and memorable enemies that have become almost as iconic as Mario himself, Super Mario Bros. had already sealed the deal as one of the most important video games of all time.
Of course, Mario and his expanding cast of supporting characters have continued to show up in over 200 games since that fateful release in 1985, and Nintendo has almost always done right by the character, too, continuing to make exceptional games in the franchise while keeping most of its older titles accessible on newer hardware. You’ll have no trouble rounding up plenty of Mario games, but if you need to know where to start, look no further than Super Mario Bros.
Where You Can Play It Now
Unlike many retro games, Nintendo has done a fantastic job of keeping its mascot’s first outing playable on every one of their contemporary platforms, so you should have no problem rounding up a way to check it out.
Here’s the modern platforms on which you can access Super Mario Bros.:
- Wii U (Virtual Console)
- 3DS (Virtual Console)
- Nintendo Switch (via Nintendo Switch Online membership)
- NES Classic Edition Console (pre-installed)
It goes without saying that there are a bevy of other Mario titles available across all of those same pieces of hardware, too. With so many games to tackle, you should stay busy for months as you work your way through the Mushroom Kingdom and beyond.