Super Mario Bros. (1985)
Our favorite cartoon duo turns 25 this week, and when we realized this hallmark anniversary was upon us, we got to thinking: What was the game's appeal? Sure, the fact that two plumbers can light up the lives of children all over the world by battling dinosaur-like monsters, saving and winning the hearts of princesses, and still having time to cameo in a few games of tennis seems a little far-fetched, but it made us want to -- as cliche as it might sound -- think that if they could do all of that, maybe we could do just about anything.
The Mario Brothers (or Bros. as they've been more commonly addressed) was one of the first platform games ever created. I remember playing Mario Bros. in practically all of its incarnations, from NES to SNES, Gameboy, GameCube, and, more recently, the Wii of the more than a dozen platforms, and appearances in more than 200 games. Let me preface this by saying I was by no means a gaming nerd. But the Mario Bros. legacy just held that much pull with all kinds of kids, and that was what made them so "super." In honor of the big two five, we've rounded out our five favorite Mario Bros. games after the jump, along with some familiar sounds, and links to play them online.
The first time "super" was added to the Mario series, their trademark theme song was practically ingrained in our memory, as well as their inherently tech-like in nature. We raced through the mushroom kingdom, beat Bowser, and saved Princess Peach (originally dubbed Princess Toadstool). But somehow we needed more. You can play it for for free online here.
Super Mario Bros. 3 (1990)
Sure, the second installation of the series was decent. But it wasn't until Super Mario Bros. 3 where we got to turn into raccoons and fly around with our tails. That and the upbeat theme song kept us wanting more, and the thought of going under water without dying, and the thought of landing on castles and airships? A definite perk. You can play it online for free here.
Super Mario Kart (1992)
In this Super Nintendo incarnation,
Super Mario Bros. and friends were all against each other as they went
from super heroes to race car drivers. You had the option of picking
between plains, a beach, a circuit, or a rainbow road as your race
courses, and drove alongside Luigi, the Princess, and even Bowser
himself with the hopes of winning the gold cup. Play it for free here.
This game made the list for an obvious reason: It was the first time the Super Mario Bros. looked high-tech. The backdrops were cleaned up and modernized, the colors were made brighter, and a new sidekick was introduced: Yoshi. You watched him crack out of a dinosaur egg from the very beginning, and the bubbly theme music brought insta-smiles to our faces. Check it out here.
Mario Party (1999)
One of the newest Mario incarnations, this was possibly one of the first virtual online board games. It incorporated the series characters for a "party," at first allowing up to four players (now eight in its latest adaptations). You try to collect as many stars as possible, and at each turn you roll a die and move forward along the board, encountering coins, prizes, mini games, and battles. On top of that, there's an option for playing just the mini games, along with games of hockey and volleyball. A number of boards can be chosen, too.
Happy birthday Mario and Luigi!