He may have gotten his start as Jumpman in Donkey Kong, but it was really the release of Super Mario Bros that made Nintendo’s mascot the icon that he is today. The Mario Bros. game were out in 1983, but it wasn’t until Super Mario Bros. came out that Princess Peach’s boyfriend got, well, super. The 8-bit classic came out 25 years ago and served an anchor for Nintendo’s video game ambitions.
Since then, Mario achieved a prominence comparable to Mickey Mouse and Superman. He’s probably the most recognizable video game character ever and has generated billions of dollars in both game sales and merchandising. But, more importantly, the cultural impact of the games in the Super Mario Bros. series has given an entire generation a set of shared touchstones like no other franchise. You can hum the theme song by heart, tried many times to jump over those flagpoles at the end of the levels and thrilled to the costume changes and power-ups in every game.
With the excellent gameplay ideas shown off in Super Mario Galaxy 2, the intrepid plumber shows no signs of slowing down either. So, happy birthday, Super Mario Bothers! Save some cake for us, would you?