The Mario series is a long-running video game series published by the popular gaming company, Nintendo. The Mario series has been running for more than a quarter of a century, and in its lifespan has released more than two hundred video games. The series also holds the title of best-selling video game franchise in history, with over 262 million combined units sold.
The series started out in 1981 with the arcade video game, Donkey Kong, and has since then taken off into its own franchise. Originally created by Shigeru Miyamoto, Mario, going under the name Jumpman when Donkey Kong was first released, is the main protagonist throughout most of the series; the main antagonist of the series is Bowser, the King of all Koopas. The Mario series has contained many different genres of games, from platformers to role-playing games, and from puzzle games to party games. The most popular games in the series are a part of what is known as the main series, or the Super Mario series, which consists of 2D and 3D platformers; at least one is released per home console and one per handheld (bar the Game Boy Advance). Even though several games are released, not all of them are available in all countries or on all platforms. Some are only available on certain platforms in certain countries as well.
The Mario series has been released on a large array of systems, including home consoles, handheld game systems, and even personal and Macintosh computers. Originally starting out with an 8-bit game, the Mario series has gone through many graphical changes throughout the years. The series has spawned numerous sub-series, ranging from the racing games of the Mario Kart, to the board game-like Mario Party series, and even the sports-themed Mario Golf, Mario Tennis, and Mario Baseball series, as well as many more. It also plays a large part in the storyline of its partner series, the Yoshi, Donkey Kong, and Wario series, two of which spawning from the Mario series.
In total, there are more than 171 Mario games.
Cancelled games and tech demos
Main features of the Mario series
The Mario series is the largest video game franchise in existence, and has had a lifespan of over thirty years. It is often considered to be the greatest video game series of all time, receiving many high-scoring reviews on their various games. In the series, many games have been considered to be the best of their time by players. However, the series has been considered to have some games of lower quality. An example is the Mario Party sub-series; after the release of Mario Party 3, the series is considered to have lost its flair, as the games often contain the same mechanics. Super Mario Bros. was declared to be the greatest video game of all time twice: once by GamesRadar in 2000, and another time by IGN in 2003.
The Mario cartoons also were shown to have received favorable reviews. Though each of the series were short-lived, they were considered to be highly popular, attracting an audience of children to each episode.
Even with the success of the games and cartoons in the series, there was still a large production that attracted a lot of negative reviews. The Super Mario Bros. film is often considered to be a great failure. The film took over a $20 million gross loss in profits. Bob Hoskins, who played the role of Mario in the film, was recorded saying that the movie was a "nightmare". In the May 2006 issue of Nintendo Power, an interviewer from the magazine had said, "Yes, it happened. Let us speak no more of it." The video game Hotel Mario has often been cited as one of the worst games ever.
The Mario series has been referenced many ways throughout the years. From animation to music, and from the internet to other video games, the Mario series has culturally impacted many people.
The Mario series is highly popular on the internet. Many websites have dedicated themselves to the series in some way, while others poke fun at the series. On YouTube, there are thousands of videos poking fun at one of the greatest blunders of the Mario series, Hotel Mario. The popular website, Newgrounds, has many fan-made games and videos, like the popular Super Mario Bros. Z, Super Smash Bros. ST and The 1-up Pursuit, that are Mario-themed in some way.
Many comics and books have also referenced the Mario series, or are completely centered around them.
The Mario series has been referenced more times in video games than in any other form of publication. Many games created by Nintendo, such as Animal Crossing make very notable references to the Mario series. Even games on non-Nintendo consoles, such as Banjo-Kazooie: Nuts & Bolts, have referenced the Mario series in some way.