The History of the Super Mario Franchise.
November 9, 2007 3:44 AM   Subscribe

With the release of Super Mario Galaxy on Wii, now is a perfect time to look back at the History of the Super Mario Brothers.
posted by Effigy2000 (28 comments total) 12 users marked this as a favorite
They're all doing it! Eurogamer's four part history of Mario.
posted by Huw at 3:56 AM on November 9, 2007

Goddamn I cannot wait to get my copy of Super Mario Galaxy. I will say that I enjoyed Super Paper Mario very much, as well.
posted by sugarfish at 6:05 AM on November 9, 2007

It looks a lot like super Mario 64, man I remember waiting for that game. I came this close to getting an N64 on release day, I think I ended up getting on in January of the next year (after the Christmas rush).

What's kind of sad though is that I just don't play video games much anymore. I bought a PS2 and only really played three games on it. I bought an X-Box just to play Jet Set Radio Future and then never played it again (and I have one of the first-run, Made in Mexico X-boxes with the giant controllers). And then I never got another game for it, or modded it, or anything.
posted by delmoi at 7:17 AM on November 9, 2007

it's missing the 'U R MR GAY' tag on the side :)
posted by mrballistic at 7:23 AM on November 9, 2007 [1 favorite]

The preview movies of Super Mario Galaxy make it look like a ridiculous amount of fun. Preordered it via Amazon and I'm counting down the days.

At age 36, I thought I'd be finished with Mario decades ago, but it's more fun than ever. I purchased New Super Mario Brothers for DS on release day and my Wii is full of the NES/SNES classics. What a franchise!
posted by porn in the woods at 7:28 AM on November 9, 2007

Does anyone know where I can find a ROM of "Doki Doki Panic" that will play on Nestopia for OSX? Everything I'm finding is for some Windows emulator.
posted by interrobang at 7:53 AM on November 9, 2007

Talk of Super Mario Bros. always brings a smile to my face. If it weren’t for those games, my childhood would have been a lot less exciting. I grew up as a carney. My parents were carneys and my grandparents and great-grandparents were carneys. My father was a concessionaire who sold food at fairs all over the U.S. and Canada. He sold popcorn, cotton candy, snow cones, candied apples, funnel cakes, and fiddlesticks to name a few. We lived a very nomadic sort of life, traveling around the country in an Airstream for six months out of the year. We actually lived on the fairgrounds in Winnepeg, Calgary, Edmonton, and Regina during the summer.

While on the road, I had not much else to do aside from the opportunity to read. Eventually, this habit was accompanied by playing video games in my trailer. We didn’t have any television channels but did have a t.v. So I played and played and played my NES for hours. I became very skilled at a number of different games. One in particular brought me a little more fame however.

The article references The Wizard, the story of a Nintendo prodigy who makes his way to the national championship where they reveal the brand new Super Mario 3. I had a similar opportunity. On the road in Canada one summer, there was a touring station called The Super Nintendo Power Play Tour that happened to be parked right next to our trailer and which followed each of the four fairs we played during the summer. The SNPPT was designed to test out upcoming games like Super Mario Kart and others before their official release. These games were set up on 20 consoles inside of a semi-trailer. Ten of the consoles contained the yet to be released games and the other ten contained Super Mario World. Hundreds of people would stand in line to get in. 20 were let in at a time and had 7 minutes to play the game of their choosing. Before letting a group in, the workers would let the crowd know that whoever got the highest score on SMW during the 7 minutes would receive a free t-shirt. If you got the highest score of the day, you received an SNES sweatshirt. These seemed like nice prizes. But the real prize was a chance to go to the National Nintendo Championship in Vancouver. To get there you had to get the highest score in the province.

Being the longtime player that I was, I spent most of my days there, testing out new games, and trying my hand at the high score. I quickly learned some ways to exponentially multiply my score during the 7-minute intervals that I was given. And so I played, and I scored, and I won t-shirts. I won sweatshirts. I was interviewed by newspapers and even appeared on the local news a few times. But I had my eye on a different prize. I desperately wanted to go to Vancouver to compete at the Championships. I should also mention that I was 10 at the time. I’m also a girl, and this put me at a bit of a disadvantage. I fell into this strange rivalry in Calgary with a boy much older than me and we faced off against one another often. He was good, and I tried to learn from him. I beat him on some days but not on others. I recall him being quite mean and intimidating. But I had enough t-shirts and sweatshirts to last me a while and I wasn’t able to beat his high score in Alberta. He may have gone on to Vancouver, though I’m not sure.

I continued to play and play. I made friends with the college students who were in charge of the whole operation, eating lunch with them, talking and listening to music with them. I actually became quite close to a few of them. They were really rooting for me to get a provincial high score. Our last stop in Canada was in Regina, Saskatchewan. It was smaller fair than most of the others and so I had a better chance of getting the sort of score that I wanted. Eventually, I did get the highest score in the province and thought my dream had come true. Alas, not too many days later, I received a call from some important person saying that I didn’t qualify to go to Vancouver because I was from the United States. This saddened me a great deal and made me a little bitter. I had worked very hard to get that score and I felt I was denied what I deserved. The people I had become friends with made me feel better about things. They took me out to lunch and, to my surprise, showered me with presents that they had bought as a farewell. They bought me pearl earrings from Tiffany’s, songbooks of plays that I loved, and other things that I can’t clearly remember. I was very touched. I stayed in touch with a few of them in the coming months and exchanged letters and postcards. They were true friends, even to a small, ten year old girl. My time as a carney on the road and at the fair afforded me some very interesting experiences, but perhaps none quite so treasured and memorable as this one.
posted by inconsequentialist at 7:54 AM on November 9, 2007 [166 favorites]

+1 to the purchase first-day list. Of course, now to decide whether to keep it for the family to open on Christmas Morning... geez...

(for those who don't know what mrballistic is talking about, check out the positions of the sparkles on the letters on the box art.)
posted by BaxterG4 at 7:56 AM on November 9, 2007

inconsequentialist, I live for stories like that. Thanks.

As for Super Mario Galaxy...let's just say my "I don't need to get a Wii" resolve is not what it once was. I fear for my checking account.
posted by danb at 8:05 AM on November 9, 2007

I don't have much time for playing video games lately, but I'll probably pick this up; there's just something about Mario games. I really enjoyed Super Paper Mario, although the cut-scenes were a bit long and texty for my liking. Supposedly, Toys-R-Us is offering a $25 gift card with purchase, which is an amazingly hot deal, if it's legit.
posted by uncleozzy at 8:44 AM on November 9, 2007

We actually lived on the fairgrounds in Winnepeg, Calgary, Edmonton, and Regina during the summer.

Pistols at dawn, my good carney.
posted by WinnipegDragon at 8:47 AM on November 9, 2007

New Super Mario Bros. for the DS is really fun, and I originally just got it to play the mini-games with my wife.

One of the interesting aspects of Mario Bros. to me is how there's a "language" to the game series.

My wife didn't grow up with the games like I did, so when she sees a shyguy, she doesn't immediately realize that you can't kill them by jumping on them, but that they'll freeze if you look at them. There's so much ingrained knowledge that longtime players really on to help them, though the game is designed well enough that it's still easy for a first time player to figure it out.
posted by drezdn at 8:48 AM on November 9, 2007

Pistols at dawn, my good carney.

Oops! Sorry about the spelling.

How about joysticks at about 8?
posted by inconsequentialist at 8:52 AM on November 9, 2007 [6 favorites]

How about joysticks at about 8?

Deal! It was a great story.
posted by WinnipegDragon at 8:56 AM on November 9, 2007

I think I am possibly the only Wii owner in existence who really doesn't care that there's a Mario game out. Perhaps this means my Wii privileges should be revoked.
posted by chrominance at 10:25 AM on November 9, 2007

drezdn, correct me if I'm wrong, but aren't you talking about a Boo and not a Shyguy? Though of course, the Boos are pretty shy.
posted by Shecky at 10:25 AM on November 9, 2007

Shecky, you're right.
posted by drezdn at 10:28 AM on November 9, 2007

drezdn: Shyguys are the dudes in Mario 2 with masks on their face. The ghosts are called "Boo."
posted by hellphish at 10:45 AM on November 9, 2007

beat'd so hard!
posted by hellphish at 10:45 AM on November 9, 2007

As for Super Mario Galaxy...let's just say my "I don't need to get a Wii" resolve is not what it once was.

Similarly, I'm glad I got one when opportunity knocked--I'm only seen a Wii for sale "in the wild" once in the past year. The game itself will be easy to find--the console to play it on, nearly impossible.

For those looking to buy a Wii before the holiday season: I ended up not needing to use this, but Wii Tracker might be helpful here. (On eBay the aftermarket mark-up is about $100, due in part to the $40-$50 shipping costs that merchants are charging--I refused to pay more than cost for the Wii on general principle, which is why it took me so long to get my hands on one.)
posted by Prospero at 10:48 AM on November 9, 2007

I think I am possibly the only Wii owner in existence who really doesn't care that there's a Mario game out.

You are not alone.

I appreciate proper Mario titles particularly because Nintendo tends to showcase some kind of refined experimental gameplay element in each one, but I've rarely coaxed out the patience required to see one through to completion.

It's incredible that Nintendo can manage to change so radically how a game works and make it feel the same as playing the franchise origin for the first time (in a good way). That visual language that drezdn points out is legendary.

In the end, though, it's Mario. It's difficult to become emotionally involved in besides an appreciation for the gameplay anymore (if ever). And it's almost become predictable in just how much a particular title will advance, as if there is a measuring stick for innovation. Even though I don't necessarily know what I'll get, I do know exactly how much of it.
posted by pokermonk at 11:06 AM on November 9, 2007

I wish Mario didn't sound like Elmo now. He shouldn't talk at all.
posted by stavrogin at 12:43 PM on November 9, 2007

In the end, though, it's-a Mario.

Fixed that for-a you.
posted by cortex at 3:10 PM on November 9, 2007 [3 favorites]

We were ridiculously lucky because our local Best Buy accidentally put it out on the shelf already this week, so we have our copy. It's incredibly fun!
posted by mabelcolby at 3:28 PM on November 9, 2007

My aunt had a lot of money in the late eighties and lived next door to a wealthy Japanese family who had recently moved to the US. I remember when we visited them, my cousins telling us excitedly that the kids down the street had Mario 3 and Mario 4. What they were referring to was the original Mario 2 (aka the Lost Levels) and Mario 3. I remember there being talk of the father of the household having worked for Nintendo in Japan, but this may have just been speculation created to explain the vast wonders of gaming that they had in their den.

This was right around the time my sister was born so 1988. The Wizard hadn't come out yet, I don't think - we certainly hadn't seen it, but it's possible it was in theaters already. Anyway, the cousins went on and on about how amazing it was and how the kids had HUNDREDS of other games. We were amazed, because my brother and I had just gotten our NES a few months before and were only beginning to get good at Super Mario Bros 1 - my rich cousins were the only kids we knew who had Mario 2 yet. Since we lived in Canada, I remember we had to wait until we were in the US to get one because we could find games at home but the NES itself was scarce and marked up through the roof - my dad said he could get a new VCR (!!!) and a garage door opener for the same price and told us to wait.

So we're visiting our cousins in the US and hear about the Nintendo family down the street and insist on introducing ourselves. We get hyped up to play all the hundreds of games - seriously, my brother and I, my three cousins and some other random neighborhood kids - we're like a parade marching to play the miraculous Japanese Nintendo! With its thousands of games! We march up their driveway (this was a fancy neighborhood, the driveway felt about a mile long), we're chanting and skipping and yelling. We knock on the door. No one's home! The garage is closed, all the doors are locked, the windows are dark. NO ONE IS HOME. We go back to my aunt's house for freezies and debate with our respective mothers how soon is too soon to try again. We are told we can visit in the morning. In the morning we go back again. Knock, knock. No one's there.

The nice lady walking her dog sees us winding our way back up the long driveway, again in a dirgeful line like a mini funeral procession. She waits for us and tells us that the family - the amazing family from Japan with all the games - is on vacation. And they won't be back for a while, she knows because she's in charge of picking up the mail. My brother accuses my cousins of making up the whole thing since there's no way to prove it. After a brief scuffle, the boys make up and run off to tie firecrackers to GI Joes. It's possible that I start to cry (I was only five or six, so don't call me a baby, ok?). We head home to Canada the next day, and by the time we visit our cousins again, my aunt has decided to pick up and move hundreds of miles away. Eventually we watch the Wizard and groan and moan about what could have been. We could have played that game before EVERYONE. We were robbed!

For a long time after, it was my brother's "one got away" story that impressed all of his buddies at school (oddly, I think the fact that he didn't get to play impressed them more because they would listen without the stain of jealousy). Eventually the Sega Genesis came out and the story lost its potency, so he stopped telling it. Sometimes when I visit my brother, and we're having a beer, he'll remind me of this story, and we can't help but laugh about how worked up we got - it was seriously Elvis-level hysteria. This is what I think about when people tell me that they're going to say, camp out in line all night to buy a Wii (or say, an iPhone). I think people aren't paying for the game or gadget, they just want that kind of excitement again.
posted by SassHat at 5:34 PM on November 9, 2007 [4 favorites]

The game is very, very good. Highly recommended.
posted by purephase at 5:43 AM on November 10, 2007

inconsequentialist, What a beautifully told, moving and wonderful story about that part of your life.
posted by nickyskye at 8:52 PM on November 14, 2007

THere was a show on the other day about Mario and the video games. Dang ill have to fin it an post it. Was very interesting where he came from.
posted by emilbus20 at 11:45 AM on December 4, 2007

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