What a year 1983 was! Technology was everywhere. Microsoft Word was released and Return of the Jedi made it to theaters. But the most important event of that year was the debut of the Nintendo Entertainment System in Japan, bundled with the original Mario Bros. Some 25 years later, Mario’s mustachioed mug reigns supreme as the mascot of video games with a library in the dozens, spanning from adventure and sports games to puzzlers and educational titles. That impressive resume secures Mario’s place in the hearts of gamers everywhere, and thanks are due to him for leading the evolution of video games from a nerdy, sub-social pastime into a cultural phenomenon enjoyed by millions.
What a year 1983 was! Technology was everywhere. Microsoft Word was released and Return of the Jedi made it to theaters. But the most important event of that year was the debut of the Nintendo Entertainment System in Japan, bundled with the original Mario Bros.
Some 25 years later, Mario’s mustachioed mug reigns supreme as the mascot of video games with a library in the dozens, spanning from adventure and sports games to puzzlers and educational titles. That impressive resume secures Mario’s place in the hearts of gamers everywhere, and thanks are due to him for leading the evolution of video games from a nerdy, sub-social pastime into a cultural phenomenon enjoyed by millions.
To commemorate Nintendo’s efforts and honor their red-jumpsuit-sporting hero, the Vanguard took to the Park Blocks and asked Portland State students how they best love their Mario. A wide swath of favorites were highlighted by these highly quotable Mario fans on campus:
Elise Jacks, sophomore“It’s a tossup between a few titles, and Mario Kart 64 is pretty up there. But I think my favorite is Super Mario Bros. 3, because you get to jump around in a sock and change into a raccoon. And you get to become a frog–hell yeah! There really is nothing better than that.”
Paul Perales, junior“Man, the selection is so vast. But overall, I’m gonna go with Mario Kart 64, because there are limitless hours of fun to be had with that title. Dr. Mario is pretty awesome too, because tossing pills at viruses is a downright blast.”
Isnardo Gandarilla, senior“One of my favorite games Mario or otherwise is Super Mario Kart. It’s just so much fun to play and goes great at parties or just killing time. I especially love it because anyone can play, be it guys or girls and totally regardless of age. I dig that it’s so universal.”
Evan Hurlocker, sophomore“I’m gonna have to say Mario Tennis is my favorite because there’s nothing better than hitting a really powerful serve. It’s the best feeling to hit it hard and ace your opponent, and acing Bowser is what it’s all about!”
Selecting a favorite Mario title is no easy task. This took a lot of deliberation and replaying various games to be absolutely sure, but the research couldn’t have been more enjoyable.
The Winner:Super Mario Bros. 3
There is no denying that this game was a turning point for video gaming. The sound, graphics and controls were pristine for their day and hold up on the 2,024th play-through (I’m estimating here). And the fact that so many people know and love each of the eight worlds certifies this game as a classic!
Seriously, ask five of your friends to name the location of at least one Warp Whistle and my bet is that at least three of them can. The original Mario Bros. was a great foundation for all adventure games, but this was the first title to really knock it out of the park.
Honorable Mention:Super Mario Galaxy
This enormous, sprawling adventure has occupied many hours of my life in the short few months it has been available. The look, feel and sound of Mario’s foray into space couldn’t be better, and this most recent title in the franchise reminds me why I love gaming in the first place.
The Mario family black sheep
The good:Super Mario Bros. 2
This one took the Mario series into a cartoonish dimension and is the only title in the main canon of the franchise to take place outside of Mushroom Kingdom. I hated it as a 5-year-old, but it’s grown on me over the years as a fun time-filler–the seconds just melt away when you’re floating around as Peach, tossing Shy Guys this way and that.
The bad:Luigi’s Mansion
Mario’s thin, green brother rarely gets the same love as his pudgier counterpart, and the first (and only) title bearing his namesake was a mistake. There was no challenge to be found, the story was feeble and the presentation was horrible. But Nintendo took their licking and hasn’t strayed far from the beaten path since–Luigi is a great support character, not a hero.
The ugly:Super Mario Bros. movie
What the hell went wrong? This was the first film to be based on a video game and it had elements lifted from an awesome title, Queen was on the soundtrack and Dennis Hopper played the bad guy! That surefire recipe for success was ill prepared and horribly produced, setting the precedent for video-game-based movies to suck (Street Fighter … ugh). Despite the good parts, it failed to follow the game’s conventions, and it had Marky Mark on the soundtrack and John Leguizamo as a good guy … eww. It was worth a try though, and Nintendo has since learned to stay off the silver screen.