Happy Birthday, you crazy Italian plumber!

25 years. 25 years of stomping Goombas. 25 years of saving the Princess. 25 years of kicking the Koopa King’s ass.

That’s right, everyone’s favourite mustachioed plumber, Mario, turns 25.

But let’s take a look at his history a little bit.

Before he was known as Mario, he was Jumpman. But before that, he was known as Mr. Video. His creator, Shigeru Miyamoto had hopes to create a best-selling franchise for Nintendo. Having a multitude of failed attempts he finally made Jumpman along with Donkey Kong and Pauline in 1981. What’s interesting here is that Jumpman was originally unable to jump, all he could do was walk and climb ladders. This stuck until Miyamoto came up with the concept of avoiding oncoming barrels.¬†On top of all that, he wasn’t originally a plumber either. He was a carpenter. This was to make him more¬†identifiable with the players in that he was an average Joe hard worker.

The name Mario came from one of the least likely places. Instead of just picking a random name out of the hat, the name Mario actually came from a landlord that owned a warehouse that Nintendo was renting at the time. Mario Segale had approached then Nintendo president; Minoru Arakawa about rent they owed. After Nintendo assure that he would be paid, they decided to name their soon-to-be flagship character after him.

Jump ahead a few years to 1985. Super Mario Bros. is released on the Nintendo Entertainment System or NES for short. The narrative of this game was simple; The Koopa King had kidnapped Princess Toadstool and you as Mario have to save her. You would traverse through eight worlds, each with a castle in hopes that you would rescue her but, alas, the Princess was in another castle.

A few more sequels spawned from that, including a reskinned Doki Doki Panic. But the one that stood out the most was Super Mario World. Bundled with the Super Nintendo Entertainment System, it quickly became a best seller and topped the software sales charts well into the new millennium. It also featured a very familiar narrative. Koopa King, now named Bowser, has kidnapped Princess Toadstool, now named Princess Peach, and you have to save her.

With the transition into 3D gaming, Super Mario 64 was the expected entry into this groundbreaking revolution in gaming. In a change-up of style, there was also a different story but still a loose one. Princess Peach has invited you to her castle. However, Bowser beat you there and has taken over the place. You have to collect 120 power stars in order to unlock the final level to defeat Bowser and save Peach.

As you can see, the core Mario games follow a similar trend and that trend carried on into later games on later consoles. By no means do the games stick to this trend though. There have been countless games that stray so far from the path, including Luigi’s Mansion and Mario is Missing.

But that’s enough about that. Mario has been around for a quarter of a century. Not many franchises make it that long. But in my opinion, I think it’s time they gave him at least a bit of a break. I understand that Mario games are usually guaranteed to be a hit but Nintendo needs to look into something new. You can ride the same horse but eventually it’s gonna get tired. I’m not saying kill him off but do what Toho did with Godzilla and retire him temporarily.

Oh, and while you’re doing that, bring EarthBound back, dammit!

About Ian Long

Ian Long is the resident Canadian. Likes new games but prefers old ones. He is also usually the one that has an opinion that the rest don't agree with.