Celebrating 39 Years With Mario


Jennifer Anaya-Serrano

New Super Mario Bros is a game many people can remember playing, whether as a child or even to this day Mario Bros stays ageless.

The birth of Nintendo’s mascot and the world’s best-selling game franchise is owed to a tough sailor. In the very first Donkey Kong game, which was an arcade game that came out in 1981, there were three main characters: Donkey Kong, Pauline, and Mario. The hero of the game wasn’t supposed to be Mario. It was meant to be Popeye the Sailor. But since Nintendo couldn’t get the proper usage rights for Popeye, they threw together a character to take his place.

The Mario franchise is a series that even non-gamers can enjoy. Both young children and mature adults like teachers have had some sort of experience with Mario. English teacher Nathan Hedrick is one of the many people that Mario has reached.

“My grandmother had an old Nintendo Entertainment System (NES),” Hedrick said. “She had a bunch of games and Super Mario Bros was one of them.”

Hedrick was around five when he was first introduced to Mario. The NES was one of the first consoles that Nintendo ever released and paved the way for more consoles such as the Nintendo 64, Nintendo Wii, and the Nintendo DS/3DS. It only ran 2D games at the time, which made the Nintendo 64 all the more popular when it was released with 3D graphics.  

“We had a 64 when it first came out,” journalism advisor and English teacher Chris Pearcy said. “It was a completely new style of Mario game, so my brother and I played that for hours.”

Being the first 3D Mario game that was released, “Mario 64” gave players full control over exploration and movement. It created a world that had hundreds of things to do or explore, but it was never suffocating with its goals. That same motto has been kept by Nintendo to this day, which is why the Wii was such a big success. While Xbox 360 and the PS3 were arguing over keeping “hardcore” gamers’ attention, the Wii dropped and let anyone come to it. 

“It’s a fun game. It’s easy to play,” grad student Ali Anaya said. “I don’t even like video games, and I like playing Mario.”

Anaya spoke of two games in particular: New Super Mario Bros Wii and Mario Kart. She has a sister eight years younger than her and credits Mario for growing their bond. They had finished the entirety of New Super Mario Bros when she was 13, and they replayed it together again when she was 21 during quarantine. 

“Mario is iconic. It’s fun,” Anaya said. “It’s everything.” 

Mario has been well-liked and well-known ever since he got his own game. At 39, he is still going strong and still has people wanting more. His games aren’t only fun, but easy to learn and get the hang of. Creating memories left and right while consistently being rated E for everyone.

“I just hope they keep making Mario games,” Pearcy said.