On the surface, the concept of an Italian plumber journeying to the Mushroom Kingdom to save a princess from a savage turtle-like beast does not form into a coherent picture. And yet here we are, over 20 years later, and the Super Mario series is still one of the best-selling video game franchises around.
In the 1980s, the Japanese video game company Nintendo released Super Mario Bros., a side-scrolling platformer featuring Mario as the lead character. Players control Mario as he ventures into the Mushroom Kingdom to save Princess Peach from the hands of Bowser. The Mushroom Kingdom is full of strange, and wonderful sights, from mushroom-like sentries the Koopa Troopas, and powerup mushrooms that increase Mario’s size. Other characters in the series include Luigi, Mario’s brother, and Yoshi, a dinosaur-like creature.
The Super Mario franchise has over 200 different games to its name, with total sales of over 200 million units. The success of the franchise can be partly attributed to the variety of games available: traditional platform adventures, roleplaying games, racing games, sports games, and fighting games. Some examples of successful spin-offs for the franchise include Super Mario Kart, a racing game, and Super Smash Bros., a fighting game featuring other Nintendo characters.
Aside from the video games, Super Mario has also been featured in an animated television series, an adventure movie, and comic books from Valiant Comics. The catchy Super Mario theme is also recognizable worldwide, being a fixture throughout the various Super Mario titles.
The Super Mario video games maintains a legacy of fun, dynamic gameplay. The controls of the game remain relatively simple, but the degree of precision and coordination required creates a complex, yet rewarding experience for gamers. The graphics have remained consistent throughout the different titles, improving with each generation of video game consoles introduced into the market.
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