When it comes to video game characters, Mario is without question the biggest. Nintendo’s popular mascot has enjoyed a 30 year career that includes over 100 video games across a variety of different systems and genres, along with a strong merchandising campaign.
That said, plenty of companies have tried to knock the hero from his perch with a small army of clones.
Despite the tough competition, Mario has weathered the proverbial storm and emerged victorious, even in the face of million selling (and more mature) franchises like Call of Duty and Mass Effect.
On that note, here are 10 reasons why gamers love Mario.
He’s an everyman
Coming to repair a clogged toilet near you.
In a video game industry dominated by space marines, vigilantes and meatheads, Mario has always been a refreshing change of pace, largely because he’s a pudgy Italian plumber who enjoys eating pasta. What’s more, Nintendo always stacks the deck against him in each new adventure. Not only do we appreciate his normalcy, but we also love an underdog.
He’s the perfect role model
Seriously, we’d make fun of Luigi every day.
Mario’s a much better role model than most professional athletes and celebrities. He never abuses drugs and alcohol, name calls, turns on his brother Luigi, lies or steals. The guy’s happy and good-natured. After several hours of dealing with annoying people every day, he’s a welcome change of pace.
He got off to a phenomenal start
Not even Michael Jordan had this much early success.
Gamers first met Mario in the arcade classic, Donkey Kong, when Nintendo called him Jumpman. Then he appeared in the Mario Bros. arcade game before starring in the NES title that put him on the digital map, Super Mario Bros., with Super Mario Bros. 2 and the universally beloved Super Mario Bros. 3 to follow. Now that’s how you start a career.
We totally need one of these.
Mario never goes on hiatus while Nintendo retools the franchise. The publisher always has some sort of Mario game on the way, be it Mario Kart, Mario Party, a Mario sports game or new entry in the Super Mario series.
What’s more, you’ll see him in magazines, toy stores and the local super market, where you can buy Mario themed fruit snacks and candy.
Thankfully, the non-invasive marketing doesn’t shove him down the public’s throat. It’s more subtle than most gamers realise.
Quality over quantity
Much better than Sonic the Hedgehog’s pockmarked resume.
Nintendo doesn’t toss Mario into games just for the sake of abusing its biggest meal ticket. The publisher takes great pride, time and effort into making each Mario title unique. Most importantly, these games are fun to play and stay true to the character’s appearance, personality and abilities. The company introduces new features, such as the water pack in Super Mario Sunshine (GameCube) and soaring through the cosmos in Super Mario Galaxy (Wii), but at the end of the day, it’s still about collecting gold coins, stomping goombas and saving the princess.
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