Did you catch the big day? Nintendo officially dubbed March 10 as Mar10 Day. Get it? Mar. 10 is close to Mario? It was a big deal, designed to spread love for our favorite plumber. Twitter contests were held. People shared their favorite Mario moments. A good time was had by all. But really, do we need only one day a year to savor and celebrate Mario? He should get kudos every day, because he’s one of the most versatile characters in gaming.
Think about all of the video game heroes and heroines you know. They’re all locked within their own franchises, for the most part. There may be cameos here and there. Kratos may step out of the God of War series for a moment, and Halo’s heroes and villains could be honored in other titles. But none of them carry multiple games. Ever since his first appearance as Jumpman in Donkey Kong, Mario has been branching out and finding new ways into our heart - and that’s extraordinary.
It all began with the standard action game that was Donkey Kong way back in 1981. From there, he ended up getting to star in handheld Game & Watch titles like Mario’s Bombs Away and Mario’s Cement Factory. With Super Mario Bros., he established himself as a platforming star. And people loved him for it, because all of the NES, SNES, Game Boy, Game Boy Color, Game Boy Advance, and ensuing games had a level of quality and consistency you didn’t often see. You could always trust Mario then, and games like New Super Mario Bros. and Super Mario 3D World proved you can trust him now.
Which extended to all of his other outings. Dr. Mario is one of the finest puzzle games you can get, whether you’re playing alone or against friends. Mario Kart is one of the best racers, never getting old and always entertaining people regardless of skill level. The Super Mario RPG, Paper Mario, and Mario & Luigi series showed he could even be a successful star of a more time-consuming JRPG. Whatever he did, he did it right. Nintendo made sure of it.
It’s almost like Mario’s presence is the new Nintendo Seal of Quality. Back in the day, seeing that official seal on a game meant something. It showed various standards had been met. People who saw it knew a game wasn’t some sort of shovelware. That seal means nothing now, but people picking up a game with Mario in it know it’ll be entertaining on some level. Sure, it may not be the best game ever, Paper Mario: Sticker Star is an example of that, but what you’re playing will certainly be above average.
Mario is an icon, and rightfully so. No other character can boast his track record. There’s a sense of confidence that comes from this virtual man who’s been around since we were kids. He’s there for us, ready to go on adventures, race, or play games, and we know he’s never going to show up in a game that isn’t worth our time.