Happy Valentine’s Day by david_a_lea

The other day I found myself bored out of mind, resorting to a few rounds of bingo over at www.partybingo.com; definitely much easier than duking it out with bingo-savvy grandmas at our local bingo hall. Anyhow, as I was playing it dawned on me that the gaming culture, at least as our generation knows it, has completely changed over the past few decades. Luckily for us, it has changed for the better rather than changing for the worse.

I started thinking of my childhood (I was an early-eighties child), with afternoons filled with the classic games—Donkey Kong, Super Mario, etc.—that we hall all grown to love. In fact, Super Mario has been around ever since; and it doesn’t appear that he is going anywhere any time soon.

For those of you that don’t know who Super Mario is, I have one thing to say to you—“Where have you been?” Ever since his debut in 1981 as a costar to the legendary Donkey Kong, fans have demanded more Mario, and game makers responded ten-fold, releasing a plethora of videogames staring (or at least co-staring) that lovable yet quirky plumber.

As mentioned above, the first ever appearance of Mario occurred in the early eighties in which he co-starred in the classic arcade game, Donkey Kong, in true platform-gaming fashion. The mastermind behind this symbolic representative in the gaming world is none other than the famous Nintendo game developer, Shigeru Miyamoto. Upon his creation, Super Mario was simply known as “Mario.” In fact, his first name was the same as his last name, which basically meant that Mario, if called by his entire name, would be Mario Mario.

After the first initial appearance of Mario in the Donkey Kong arcade game, gaming advocates spawned a demand for more Mario; a demand so strong that Mario was able to star in his own game just two years later. This game, quite simply titled Mario Bros, quite literally swept across the globe, appearing in the living rooms of households worldwide, sparking what quickly became a societal phenomenon. Everybody wanted Mario, and then everybody wanted more Mario. It is almost as if there was a mystical, siren-like allure associated with the overall-clad plumber. Folks from all ages and all walks of life found themselves drawn to classic Mario gaming.

While it should be common knowledge for most any gaming advocate, the gaming giant Nintendo plays host to the Mario Saga. After his career start on one of those clunky arcade games, Mario quickly moved on to smaller, sleeker consoles. For instance, the classic Nintendo (NES) console is home to the Mario Bros series. In fact, Super Mario 64, which was made for the Nintendo 64 gaming console, took off like wildfire across the world, arguably becoming one of the most popular Mario games ever made. However, contemporary gaming is also producing some legendary Mario games, such as the GameCube hit, Super Smash Bros. Melee. It is the most recent consoles though—such as the Wii U and Nintendo 3DS—that is taking Mario’s popularity to an entirely higher level.

For those of us who simply can’t get enough Mario, I think we all owe Shigeru Miyamoto a huge thank you for bringing us one of the most iconic game characters of all time. Sure, in the age of Call of Duty, and other graphic-heavy, special-effect-laden games are in command of the gaming industry, classic games are struggling to stay afloat. In the end though, Mario and other revolutionary game characters are a staple in gaming, and will always have a strong support group backing it.

 

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