Super Mario is the name given to a series of games developed by Nintendo. The series is sometimes referred to as Super Mario Bros. which in turn is short for Super Mario Brothers. The Super Mario series started out in 1985 with the first release of the game. Super Mario Bros. was a huge success. But the game itself was already standing on the shoulders of its predecessor – Mario Bros.
The Main Character: Mario
The games feature a common character called Mario who has become a mascot for the Super Mario series and has also featured in a large collection of spin-off games over the years. Mario was created by the video game designer Shigeru Miyamoto. The original purpose of Mario was to feature in Donkey Kong and Mario made his debut in the 1981 release of that game. Mario went on to feature in Mario Bros. when he was given the star role. From there, Mario went on to be the primary character in the Super Mario Series. Since then, Mario has appeared in lots of different Nintendo games – some centred around the Mario character and some centred around other Mario characters.
Mario was Originally Created for Doney Kong
Despite being created for Donkey Kong, Mario has become well known all over the world and is most commonly associated with the Super Mario series.
These old Mario games were extremely popular back then and in fact they are still popular now. Lots of gamers today are still looking for Mario games online because the characters are so appealing and the game play so addictive. You can play most of these older Mario brothers games free online if you know where to look. If you haven’t tried this already then you should – its simply amazing how addictive these older Mario games are, even with the basic graphics compared to similar games released in more recent times.
In this article we will look at how the Super Mario series came about and how it was developed over time. We will look in detail at everything from the Mario Bros original game to the latest creations including New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe and Super Mario Maker 2 both of which were released in 2019.
First of all lets take a minute to consider this fact: Super Mario Bros. was first released back in 1985. The latest remake was released this year in 2019. That means the Super Mario series has been going strong for 34 years. Have you ever heard of another console game that has been popular for over 30 years? We haven’t and to be honest, we found that simply amazing.
It goes to show just how much of a brand, and an icon, Mario has become and how appealing the World of Super Mario is, even for today’s generation of kids (and adults).
Mario Bros. was the original version of the Nintendo game and was released back in 1983. Back then the game itself was very basic, the graphics were nothing to shout about. The back-story was fairly basic as well – Mario was an Italian-American plumber who would travel around the sewers with his brother, Luigi, defeating bad guys. The game was released in arcade format as well as on console version for Nintendo’s popular console of the time – the Nintendo Entertainment System – or NES for short.
Super Mario Bros.
This was the first release of what would become the most popular series produced by Nintendo. This was the original Super Mario Bros game, the one that created all of the hype and the one that people look back to today as being the Mario Bros original game. Super Mario Bros. was released in Japan in 1985 and also in North America, at the same time, for the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES). It was released slightly later in Europe – in 1987 to be precise.
Super Mario was set in a very simple 2D world that was made up of mostly flat ground and blue sky. The world was complicated by the presence of pipes, boxes and lots of bad guys. The idea was very simple – you, as the player, would control Mario and move him through the world killing the bad guys and collecting various treasures from the boxes. Typically these boxes would be suspended in mid air and Mario would jump up beneath them and essentially head-butt them. This action would cause whatever treaure was hidden inside to pop out. Sometimes it would be a coin that would then be added to your collection and sometimes it would be a special power such as a mushroom which would give you an extra life.
There were always lots of pipes in the game. Some of these pipes would be hiding bad guys who would suddenly pop out and try to kill Mario, or Luigi, depending on which character you were playing. Sometimes though, the pipes would turn out to be warp pipes and would transport your character to a hidden zone in the game where there would be special prizes. For example, sometimes you would be taken into a hidden chamber full of gold coins for you to collect.
At the end of each level you could save your progress be passing through, and collecting, a flag after which you would move on to the next part of the game.
Super Mario Bros.: The Lost Levels
1986 saw the release of Super Mario Bros. The Lost Levels. This was a very similar game to the original. The concept was the same – Mario and Luigi had to rescue the princess from Bowser – the evil character in both games. The big difference with this game was the difficulty – it was much harder to play than the original. It had 32 challenging levels and in each level there were many more problems to deal with. For example, in The Lost Levels you would come across bad “prizes” in some of the prize squares as well as warp pipes that would actually take you backwards, rather than forwards, in the game. So as a result you had to chose carefully when deciding whether or not to collect prizes and also treading carefully when deciding whether or not to enter warp pipes.
Super Mario Bros. 2
Super Mario Bros. 2 was released in 1988 for North America and 1999 for Europe. Although Super Mario 2 was still in 2D, it did have a very different feel to it when compared to the original Super Mario game. There were lots of new enemies to contend with and lots of new prizes and other items to collect. There were also lots of new features such as the ability to pick up and throw various items.
The game featured 20 different levels spread out over 7 worlds. To advance through the game you had to successfully complete the levels, one after the other. When you play the game, you start with 3 lives, which you will lose, one by one, if you get killed by an enemy, or if you fall off the edge of the world. There are various ways to pick up additional lives such as by collecting hidden 1-up mushrooms. If you lose all of your lives then the game will end, forcing you to start again.
Super Mario Bros. 3
Super Mario Bros. 3 was also released around the same time – 1998 for Japan and 1990 for North America. The concept of Super Mario 3 was very much the same as the previous games, although there was some new characters as well as additional game-play features.
One of the defining features of Super Mario 3 was the fact that Mario could now fly – at least with the addition of some power-ups. This really added a new element to the game, and made it more exciting than ever before.
The game itself was divided up into 8 worlds, each of them containing multiple levels that you had to complete, one at a time.
Super Mario Land
In 1989 Nintendo released Super Mario Land. Super Mario Land was released for the Nintendo Game Boy – a hand-held gaming device. The Game Boy had a screen and a controller built in to one unit and was a portable gaming device which was very popular at the time Super Mario Land was released.
The concept of Super Mario Land was very similar to the previous games in the Super Mario series, but it had been developed specifically for mobile play and specifically for a smaller screen. Although the graphics were not amazing for this game, the story behind the game was fantastic, as were the characters. Super Mario Land was extremely addictive and although it was very hard to complete, you felt like you just had to keep on playing it until you reached the end of the game.
Super Mario World
Super Mario World was released in 1990 for the SNES – the Super Nintendo Entertainment System. The game featured 72 levels that were all laid out on a single world map. This in itself was a new concept, with previous Mario games having separate levels set in different worlds.
Having a single map to move through made it easier to track your progress through the game and also made it more addictive than ever. It was so good in fact that often you would find yourself moving backwards through previously completed levels just to complete them again, and perhaps pick up some hidden treasures that you had previously missed. Or even to go back and distinguish some of the bad guys that you missed the first time around.
Super Mario Land 2: 6 Golden Coins
In 1992 Nintendo released Super Mario Land 2: 6 Golden Coins. This release saw the first appearance of a new enemy to Mario – Wario. The setting for this game saw Wario taking over Mario’s castle and then demanding that Mario collect six gold tokens in order to claim back his castle from Wario.
The game consists of 32 levels contained within multiple different worlds. Each level has its own mini-game at the end, and each world has its own boss. In order to progress to the next world you have to defeat the boss at the end of the previous world.
Super Mario All-Stars
Nintendo released Super Mario All-Stars in 1993 as a compilation of several other platform games. This compilation was released specifically for the SNES and contained remakes of Super Mario Bros., Super Mario Bros. The Lost Levels, Super Mario Bros. 2 and Super Mario Bros. 3.
Super Mario World 2: Yoshi’s Island
This game was released in 1995 for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System. The game is sometimes referred to simply as Yoshi’s Island and it stars Yoshi – a fictional green dinosaur. Yoshi has some great skills that enable him to easily defeat bad guys – mainly he is very fast at moving, can jump very well and also is able to eat prizes as well as enemies, picking them up and tossing them into his mouth with his exceptionally long tongue.
Super Mario 64
The 1996 release of Super Mario 64 was a pivotal moment for Nintendo. Super Mario 64 was the first game in the Super Mario series that was built in 3D. Hooray, no more 2D game-play for Mario. This 3D version of the popular game was released for the Nintendo 64 – a 3D console that was far more powerful than previous consoles, and promised some new and amazing graphics from the outset.
In Super Mario 64 the aim is for the player to collect power stars that appear after completing tasks. When you collect power stars, you can unlock courses and new areas of the game. Seeing as the game was in 3D and also thanks to the new analogue stick controllers, it was possible to move Mario in all different directions and with a far more precise accuracy than was possible with the previous 2D versions of Super Mario.
There are a total of 105 Power Stars in the paintings, with 15 hidden in the castle. The game’s power-ups differ from previous games, now being three different hats with temporary powers: the Wing Cap, allowing Mario to fly; the Metal Cap, turning him into metal; and the Vanish Cap, allowing him to walk through obstacles.
Super Mario Bros. Deluxe
This version of Super Mario was released in 1999 and was brought out specifically for the Game Boy Color. Although the Deluxe remake was based on the original Super Mario Bros. game, it did feature some additional elements. In particular, the Deluxe version of the game had simultaneous multiplayer facilities, challenge mode where you have to find hidden objects and achieve a certain score to progress through the levels as well as featuring 8 additional worlds.
Super Mario Advance
Super Mario Advance was released by Nintendo in 2001 and was an variation of the Super Mario Bros. 2 game. As well as being based on Super Mario 2, Super Mario Advance was also considered to be a remake of Super Mario All-Stars.
Super Mario Advance 2: Super Mario World
Released in 2001, Super Mario Advance 2 was a remake of the original Super Mario World. This remake of the original game was released specifically for the Game Boy Advance handheld console. The game-play, story-line and features were very similar to the original game.
Super Mario Sunshine
Mario Sunshine was released for the GameCube in 2002. Super Mario Sunshine was a 3D game in which Mario and Peach travel to Isle Delfino for a vacation. After a Mario impersonator destroys and vandalises the entire island Mario is forced to save the day.
The game contains a number of levels, which can be reached from the hub, Delfino Plaza. Mario travels through each level collecting Shine Sprites along the way by completing various tasks. In Super Mario Sunshine the last of Bowser’s eight children is introduced. Bowser Jr. becomes the main enemy of Mario in this game and tries to stop you from completing each level.
Super Mario Advance 3: Yoshi’s Island
Yoshi’s Island: Super Mario Advance 3 (or Super Mario Advance 3: Yoshi’s Island) is a re-release of Super Mario World 2: Yoshis Island. The release mainly came about as a game produced specifically for the Game Boy Advance. It was also the only reissue in the Yoshi’s Island series.
The game follows the same story as its predecessor in which Yoshi and Baby Mario must save Baby Luigi after he is kidnapped by Kamek.
New Mario Games
From 2003 right through to 2017 Nintendo kept on releasing many new versions of the Super Mario Series. There were many new Mario games released during this period, including:
- Super Mario Advance 4: Super Mario Bros 3, 2003
- Super Mario 64 DS, 2004
- New Super Mario Bros, 2006
- Super Mario Galaxy, 2007
- New Super Mario Bros. Wii, 2009
- Super Mario Galaxy 2, 2010
- Super Mario 3D Land, 2011
- New Super Mario Bros. 2, 2012
- New Super Mario Bros. U, 2012
- New Super Luigi U, 2013
- Super Mario 3D World, 2013
- Super Mario Maker, 2015
- Super Mario Run, 2016
- Super Mario Odyssey, 2017
2019: Super Mario is Still Going Strong
This year (2019) there have been several new games released by Nintendo to add to the Super Mario Series.
New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe
Super Mario U Deluxe was released for the Nintendo Switch in January 2019. This game is a multiplayer version of the popular series that features Mario, Luigi and his other pals. Once again this is a side-scrolling game with a fantastic story-line. You can play with up to 3 friends and the aim of the game is to save the Mushroom Kingdom from a range of nasty enemies and bad guys.
Super Mario Maker 2
Super Mario Maker 2 is due for release in Jun 28, 2019. The game is multiplayer compatible, allowing you to play with up to 4 players. It has been developed specifically for the Nintendo Switch and the concept of the game is that you can create and share your own unique side-scrolling worlds. That means you can really come up with anything that you like from your imagination and bring it to life in Super Mario Maker 2.
Want coin-shooting cannons? Bowser riding on a giant Goomba? Cat Mario sliding down slopes to take out an army of baddies? Go for it! You call the shots.
You can also play the game in Story Mode, which contains over 100 built-in courses. And in Course Maker, a wide range of parts, tools, and more are available so you can construct your own courses.
You can have even more fun with this game by signing up for a Nintendo Switch Online Membership. With this membership you can get access to the course world which comes with a huge amount of online content and additional functionality.
Among other things you can track your rankings, share your creations, and leave comments after you’ve played courses.
What does the future hold for Super Mario Bros?
As you can see, there have been so many games released as part of the Super Mario series and these releases have spanned well over 30 years. Even now, in 2019, Nintendo are still releasing new and exciting versions of the popular console game series. There is certainly no sign of them stopping any time soon, and I think you would all agree that the games are as entertaining and challenging as ever.
What will be next on the horizon for Super Mario? Only Nintendo know the answer to this. We think perhaps there might be some virtual reality games coming along in 2020 – So watch this space.