Saturday, February 20, 2010

History Mario Bros

History Mario Bros

The Mario Brothers are a household name. Everyone from young to old has heard of this dynamic duo whether it be from playing the games themselves or from the publicity the games of the Mario series receive.

However, it wasn’t always like this. Mario had to start somewhere, and this was in the arcade version of Donkey Kong in 1981. Known only as a carpenter named “Jumpman,” his job was to hob over various obstacles (usually wooden barrels) to get to rescue the captured damsel-in-distress. He reappeared in Donkey Kong Junior in 1982, only this time playing the part of the villain.

Donkey Kong and Donkey Kong Junior became hits among arcade-goers. Nintendo started development on a spin-off for “Jumpman” in 1983, while also giving him a new name and occupation. Mario Bros. was released later that year in arcades. A side-view platform game like Donkey Kong, the new game introduced players to his brother, Luigi, and was known for allowing two players to play simultaneously. Mario and Luigi became plumbers, whose jobs are to exterminate the various pests that come out of pipes.

With the release on the Nintendo Entertainment System, Mario became the star of a new, longer game. Super Mario Bros. released in 1985 and is considered a classic today. Selling over 40 million copies, it became one of the key reasons for the success of the NES. A scrolling platform game, Mario’s main objective was based off of the original Donkey Kong. The plumber had to rescue the captured Princess Toadstool from his new nemesis Bowser in Mushroom Kingdom. Super Mario Bros. went on to become one of the best-selling games in history.Super Mario Bros. 2 was first released in Japan in 1986. It features game play and levels similar to the original, with the addition of new elements such as poison mushrooms. It also featured a much higher difficulty level, and is still said to be arguably the most difficult game in the Mario series. This reason led Nintendo to not release the game outside of Japan. It would later be included in Super Mario All-Stars in North America.

Nintendo chose to instead release a modified version of the Japanese game Doki Doki Panic. Mario characters were added in place of the original, along with various other changes. It was released in 1988 as Super Mario Bros. 2 in North America, and in 1989 in Europe. It features seven new “worlds,” and allowed the player to choose to play as one of four different characters: Mario, Luigi, Toad (the mushroom character,) or Princess Toadstool. Commonly known as the black sheep of the Mario series, SMB2 did not sell well compared to it’s predecessor. However, it still left an impact on the Mario series. The game introduced characters that have become regular characters, such as Bob-ombs, Shy Guys, and others.Development on Super Mario Bros. 3 was quickly started. It hit shelves in February of 1990 in North America, and in mid-1991 in Europe. It quickly received great praise among NES gamers. SMB3 sold over 18 million copies, and is regarded by some as the best game in the Mario series. It introduced a new map screen, mini games, and a slew of new enemies for Mario and company to conquer. Gone was the Choose-A-Character screen from Super Mario Bros. 2.

SMB3 would be the last major Mario title to be released for the NES, as the Super Nintendo Entertainment System was introduced to the American public in August of 1991. The SNES featured an updated and more advanced graphics engine, among other upgrades. One of its launch titles was Nintendo’s Super Mario World. SMW featured updated graphics, new levels and worlds, and introduced Mario’s dinosaur companion Yoshi. Unlike Super Mario Bros. 3, SMW was not an immediate success. Many young gamers found Sega’s Sonic the Hedgehog more appealing. However. SMW still sold well over a million copies, and became a Players’ Choice title in 1998. Super Mario World would be the only typical platform game based around Mario for the SNES, as Nintendo explored other genres for Mario and company.

Nintendo’s decision led to the go-kart racing game, Super Mario Kart, in 1992. An acclaimed success, Super Mario Kart featured numerous tracks based on levels from the previous Super Mario games. It went on to sell over a million copies. Nintendo continued to throw Mario into other styles of games, releasing titles such as Mario Paint, Mario’s Time Machine, various endearment games featuring Mario, and even a Mario RPG. In Japan, Mario starred in various puzzle games. In 1994, Nintendo released a compilation of Mario games called Super Mario All-Stars. All-Stars included updated versions of the first three Super Mario Bros. games, and even included the Japanese version of Super Mario Bros. 2 titled Super Mario Bros.: The Lost Levels. The collection sold over 10 million copies, and became very popular. In 1995, Super Mario World 2: Yoshi’s Island was released. While being hailed the game of the year by critics, it was less popular than hopes. Low sales figures were likely caused by Nintendo’s focus on their upcoming 64-bit console.The next year, Nintendo released the new Nintendo 64 to the public. As usual, a Mario game was included in the launch. This game, Super Mario 64, introduced Mario in full 3D. The game had many major differences compared to the 2D games of the past. Instead of feeling like a typical plat former, the game felt more like an adventure game. However, it still kept the feel of the typical Mario games by including familiar characters and enemies, but introduced whole new worlds. Super Mario 64 is said to have set the standard for 3D platform games, and was one of the key reasons for the success of the Nintendo 64 console.

Mario continued to have growing success on the N64, having a main role in such games as Mario Kart 64, Dr. Mario 64, and Mario Party 1, 2 and 3. During this time, Nintendo explored other gaming platforms for Mario. This resulted in various games for the GameBoy, GameBoy Color, the new Game Boy Advance, and even licensed a typing instruction game for PC. Nintendo also started creating a series of sports games featuring Mario and his friends, the first being Mario Golf, and then the arcade fighting game, Super Smash Brothers, and Mario Tennis.

In 2001, Nintendo published Paper Mario, developed by Intelligent Systems. Paper Mario was an RPG game for the N64, featuring cardboard-cut-out-style characters in a full 3D environment. While not nearly as successful as Super Mario 64, it was critically acclaimed as one of the better Mario games available.The same year, in November of 2001, Nintendo released the Gamecube in North America. The Gamecube would be the first console to launch without a Mario title in it’s launch line-up, opting instead for a game starring the hero’s younger brother. Luigi’s Mansion featured the tall one in green using a vacuum cleaner to capture ghosts in a haunted mansion. This is the first game to feature Luigi as the hero, rather than Mario.

The Gamecube went on to feature games such as Super Smash Brothers Melee and Animal Crossing before releasing it’s next-generation Mario plat former: Super Mario Sunshine. It featured Mario going on missions to clean up an island that has been vandalized with sludge and graffiti. It was a critical and commercial success, and touted as the best Gamecube game released.Sunshine was quickly followed by Mario Party 4, 5 and 6, follow-ups to the Mario Party series from the Nintendo 64, along with various titles for the GameBoy Advance, including the successful Mario vs. Donkey Kong, which brought back the rivalry from the old arcade games.
The Gamecube also saw a sequel to Paper Mario called The Thousand Year door, and even a new Mario Tennis title and Mario Baseball game.

Mario also saw hits with the touch-screen handheld the Nintendo DS. Mario 64 DS, an enhanced port of the N64 game, saw great success. Also released were Mario & Luigi: Partners in Time, New Super Mario Brothers, and even a Mario Hoops 3-on-3 game.

The Nintendo Wii, released in 2006, will see many new Mario games in the future, including Super Mario Galaxy, and a sequel to Super Smash Brothers Melee. Mario and friends have seen great success in the past, and it’s showing no signs of stopping.

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