For the countless millions worldwide that recognize Nintendo’s heroic Super Mario character, the protagonist of hundreds of video games throughout a decades-long steak of gaming prominence, some may wonder exactly why the Super Mario franchise is popular.
After all, on certain levels the fascination seems odd: Why is it that an overweight Italian plumber from Brooklyn who eats mushrooms is constantly battling the forces of a tyrannical reptile who insists on repeatedly kidnapping the princess of Mushroom Kingdom? The full answer may demand a lengthy explanation, but there are definitely some legitimate reasons why the Super Mario franchise is so popular.
First of all, Super Mario is not offensive. Unlike some of the ultra-violent video games throughout the years such as Mortal Kombat or Grand Theft Auto, Super Mario represents the family-friendly alternative that is innocent enough for kids to play yet still maintains a high-quality gameplay enough for the hardcore gamers to become involved with. Rather than dark and broody, the action takes place in a bright, colorful world, and the distinctions between good and evil are made fairly clearer than in many other, competing titles.
To put it simply: One of the reasons why the Super Mario franchise is popular is because the video games are so good. Whether taking place in the two-dimensional platform action of the blockbuster original Super Mario Bros. cartridge or the New Super Mario Bros. Wii update, the role-playing realm of the classic Super Mario Bros. RPG on the SNES or subsequent Paper Mario adventures, or the many sports-related offshoots like Mario Tennis and broadly including the Mario Kart series, the Super Mario franchise has provided gamers with some of the best video games of all time.
But perhaps the biggest, best, most crucial and significant reason why the Super Mario franchise is popular is provided by a contextual understanding of the importance of the original Super Mario Bros. video game on the 8-bit Nintendo Entertainment System. To summarize the story in one sentence: Video games were brought to home consoles from the arcades in the early 1980’s until the market crashed due to saturation of poor cartridges, but when Nintendo released Super Mario Bros. on the NES system to outstanding success, it marked the resurrection of the home video game console industry, which would remain among the world’s most popular, entertaining, and profitable hobbies for decades to come.
Anyone still wondering why the Super Mario franchise is popular needs only to point at the video games they play and realize that if the bold choice to use a quirky overalls-wearing mustache-sporting hero as a flagship character had not been richly rewarded with millions of cartridges and consoles sold, we may not be playing video games today at all.