‘Super Mario Bros.’: A Brief History Of The Series

Super Mario Bros has been around a long time. Here’s a brief history.

After the crash of the video game industry, Nintendo brought it back with the NES, or Nintendo Entertainment System. Those were the days that most of Nintendo’s best games were born. Among them were Super Mario Bros., The Legend Of Zelda, Donkey Kong, and Metroid.

Mario actually got his start in Donkey Kong, wielding a hammer against flaming barrels as they rolled down various levels of a construction site that Donkey Kong (originally meant to be called Monkey Kong, as he has always been an ape) stomped almost into oblivion. Mario also had various cameos in other games, but it wasn’t until Super Mario Bros. that he finally had a starring role.

Super Mario Bros. gave the plucky plumber a set of power-ups that made everything more fun. Oddly, the Hammer Bros. were the only characters in the game to keep the original weapon, but instead Mario gained the ability to chuck fireballs and grow larger, making him able to smash bricks with his fists.

Super Mario Bros. 2 actually never saw release in the US, as instead we got Japan’s Doki Doki Panic with Mario and friends thrown in. The Japanese original was released later on this side of the pond and renamed The Lost Levels.

Super Mario Bros. 3 was the last big Mario game to hit the NES, and brought the series back to its “super roots,” also giving us a new set of power-ups that helped us swim faster and fly, and even hijack a cloud from an enemy that always threw down his spiky brethren. SMB3 even gave us an overworld map for the first time, so we had a choice of where to go, skipping some levels entirely if we so chose.

With the Super Nintendo, or SNES, came Super Mario World, which pushed the still 2D graphics to the limit in an effort to show us just what the Sega Genesis couldn’t do. For the first time, the overhead world gave us the ability to return to previous stages and try again to collect Yoshi coins we may have missed for extra lives. Also it gave us Yoshi, a mountable dinosaur who could eat just about any enemy he came across, gaining powers from some of them. Yoshi also gave us the ability to double-jump for the first time by launching off his back.

Yoshi eventually got his own set of games where he was charged with keeping Baby Mario safe as he saved the world.

We also finally saw Mario take on the RPG genre, and even that was successful.

By the time the Nintendo 64 was launched, we had seen a barrage of Super Mario Bros. titles on the GameBoy, Nintendo’s attempt at making console gaming portable. The plucky plumber spent some time in black and green, and then in color, eventually making way for Wario, the yellow anti-Mario.

Then Mario went 3D in one of the first successful attempts to bring a franchise to the third dimension, Super Mario 64. It gave the Super Mario Bros. franchise a new feel as you had to be aware of what was going on all around you, and yet Nintendo kept it fun, unlike other developers.

Super Mario Galaxy gave us the next step up as Mario hopped between worlds in space in another effort to save the Princess on the Wii.

There have been several other games in the franchise, including the latest effort being planned to take the Super Mario Bros. into the 3D effects realm of the 3DS.

What are your favorite memories of Super Mario Bros.?