Super Mario – The Best Game Ever

This was posted on MSN today and i thought it was worth sharing with you all…

In the young but rapidly maturing medium of gaming, there are only a few titles that can lay claim to already being genuinely iconic: Space Invaders, Pac Man, Asteroids, perhaps Doom, definitely Donkey Kong and Tetris and, right at the top of the list, the best selling game of all time, Super Mario Bros.
Of course, the likes of Space Invaders are always going to be considered the most influential games because they were trailblazers for gaming. If you were to compare the medium of games to that of films, then these are the equivalents of Metropolis or Charlie Chaplin movies.
The greatest gaming icons
But where would Super Mario Bros fit into this comparison? I would suggest, with full awareness of Mario’s Donkey Kong roots, that this game is the King Kong of the gaming world.
Donkey Kong © Nintendo

Let us for one second look at how Mario came to be linked with the silver screen’s most famous beast in the first place. Back when video games were still a novelty, designer Shigeru Miyamoto came up with a game that involved a simple yet devastatingly effective concept.

A diminutive blocky hero tentatively labelled ‘Jumpman’ had to rescue a princess from Donkey Kong, a giant ape that stood posturing at the top of the screen hurling objects down the ladder-laden platforms that needed to be negotiated to reach the goal.
Nintendo knew the game had the potential to break the US market, but having a giant ferocious gorilla named Kong somewhat inevitably attracted the ire of Universal Studios, who felt that it infringed on their own intellectual property, King Kong.
Super Mario Bros © Nintendo
As the battle raged in court, Jumpman was evolving into an Italian American plumber named Mario, and, in a stroke of luck for gamers everywhere, as Universal lost their case against Nintendo, a star was born.
After acquiring a brother in Mario Bros, Mario was firmly rooted as one of gaming’s most memorable protagonists. So it made sense that when Nintendo sought to design a game that would make their Nintendo Entertainment System home console a success, they turned to their main man.
A brief history of… Nintendo
Super Mario Bros – again designed by the genius Miyamoto – arrived as computer games were going through a rough patch, and not only re-launched Nintendo as a worldwide brand but also sparked a renaissance throughout the whole industry.
Miyamoto with his creation © ATSUSHI TSUKADA/AP/PA Photos
The game concept slotted perfectly into the Nintendo ethos: the gameplay was simple, the characters striking and, certainly not least of all, the sounds and music were perfect. Most avid gamers could still identify the main tunes in seconds, and the noises that accompanied each jump and every power-up have become as iconic as the hero himself.
From a technological standpoint, Super Mario Bros and its smooth side scrolling was enough to inspire some of gaming’s other great innovators. John Carmack and John Romero – the men behind such classics as Wolfenstein 3D and the seminal Doom – have often talked of their own joyous reaction to the game.
From the first jump onto a Koopa Troopa, to the first time you hit a block to knock out a coin; from the first mushroom you collected, to the opening bars of the music; from the first time you venture down a pipe, to the first secret area you discovered – this was a game that screamed classic, that shouted seminal, that deafened you with its claims to be iconic.
Mario's supporting cast © Nintendo

Packed with wonderful moments, Super Mario Bros was an experience, a joy and enough to elicit a gasp from wide-eyed fans everywhere. Just like a film that had left audiences screaming with delight more than half a century before in 1933.

If you were to compile a list of the most influential games of all time and then compare it to 100 others, you would be almost guaranteed to find Super Mario Bros on each of them. It is a game that was ahead of its time and defined its time – a time when vision and gameplay were more important than graphics and Dolby stereo.
Likewise, if you picked out the most striking moments in the history of cinema, you may well find that a giant gorilla climbing the Empire State building makes many lists – that or the beast being exhibited to a New York audience, or grasping a blonde damsel in distress in a giant fist.
Flying Mario © Nintendo
Assemble a list of the most famous film icons and King Kong might well be among them. Likewise, top of the computer gaming list comes Mario – a character with the history and pedigree to sell games over quarter of a century since he made his debut.
Super Mario Bros was one of the first blockbuster games. So good that people bought the Nintendo console in order to play it, the game sold millions of copies and left very few disappointed despite the growing hype. In short, Super Mario Bros has to be considered the King Kong of gaming – a title so powerful that it shook up the entire world and set a whole generation of creators thinking about that would come next.

One Response

  1. The original mario brothers for NES and SNES were the greatest games of all time. Will they ever be surpassed ? who knows…

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