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First game: Donkey Kong (1981)
Powered up forms: Fire Mario
Super Mario
Hammer Mario
Franchises: Donkey Kong, Mario

Mario is one of the most recognizable video game characters in the world, serving as the mascot of the video game company Nintendo. Mario is the titular character of his own franchise, which he received shortly after debuting as the main protagonist of Donkey Kong within its namesake franchise.

Mario is a plumber who often goes on adventures to save Princess Peach. He has a younger brother named Luigi. Mario was created by Shigeru Miyamoto, and was originally a carpenter nicknamed Jumpman. Mario has appeared in over 100 games since 1981's Donkey Kong. Mario is an extremely recognizable character, and at one point was more recognizable than Mickey Mouse. A majority of games that Mario appears in are family-friendly, and have been given an E rating from the ESRB.

Character information

Physical appearance

Mario wears a distinct red cap bearing his trademark red "M," blue overalls, and white gloves. He has a mustache and a rather large nose. Shigeru Miyamoto designed Mario that way in order to create a recognizable character for the 1981 arcade game, Donkey Kong.[1] In an interview, Miyamoto said that he thought that Mario was around 25 years old.[2]


In most games Mario can jump particularly high, can grow to become Super Mario by eating (touching) mushrooms, obtain the ability to throw fireballs by grabbing flowers or become temporarily invincible by grabbing stars. In various games, including Super Mario Bros. 3, he can also fly with assistance from the Tanooki Leaf by obtaining special items that vary from game to game.

Real-world history

Mario was created by Shigeru Miyamoto as one of his attempts to create a best-selling video game for Nintendo. Mario first appeared in Donkey Kong in 1981. Contrary to popular belief, Jumpman was only a nickname for Mario at the time, not his only name. He then appeared in Donkey Kong Jr., as the villain, and Mario Bros. in 1983, which began Mario and Luigi's portrayal as Italian-American plumbers. Since then, Mario has then appeared in many other games for Nintendo consoles and handhelds. The first Mario console game was Mario Bros for the Atari and other consoles, followed by Super Mario Bros. for the Nintendo Entertainment System.

Donkey Kong game appearances

Donkey Kong series

Donkey Kong

Donkey Kong is an arcade game released by Nintendo that the protagonist, Mario must save Pauline from the primate antagonist Donkey Kong. Mario has to make his way through four stages—25m, 50m, 75m, and 100m. There is a temporary power-up item known as the Hammer that Mario can use to destroy certain obstacles along the path, such as the barrels thrown by Donkey Kong in 25m. Mario can also jump over various obstacles to earn points.

After 100m is completed, Mario and Pauline are reunited. After the game is completed, the four stages repeat and get more challenging each time they are played and more points are earned.

Donkey Kong Jr.

In Donkey Kong Jr., Mario is instead the antagonist, and Donkey Kong is instead the character having to be rescued, from the cage Mario imprisoned him in. The game stars Donkey Kong's son, Donkey Kong Jr., as the playable character, and he has to rescue Donkey Kong. Mario sends enemies like Snapjaws and Nitpickers at Donkey Kong Jr. along the way to try and stop him.

Donkey Kong Circus

In Donkey Kong Circus, Mario is the de-facto antagonist, as Donkey Kong is used by him as a circus pet, who has to juggle various items. During gameplay, Mario only appears in the background.

Donkey Kong Hockey

Donkey Kong Hockey pits Mario and Donkey Kong against one another in a game of ice hockey.

Donkey Kong (Game Boy)

Mario makes a returning appearance in Donkey Kong for the Game Boy. The game basically starts as a remake of the original Donkey Kong arcade game, but after Pauline had been initially rescued, Donkey Kong gets up, and Mario has to make his way through an additional nine worlds before ultimately rescuing her.

Mario has a wider variety of moves that he can use than in the original Donkey Kong. One move is the Handstand, and when using it, Mario can protect himself from taking damage from certain falling objects like debris, as he does a literal handstand for falling objects to bounce off of his shoes. Another move is Mario's ability to pick up certain enemies and objects to lift above him before throwing them, a move he first had the ability to do in Super Mario Bros. 2. There are wires that Mario can hold onto, and he can use a move known as the wire-spin, in which he rapidly spins around before performing a high jump into the air. Mario can also move around while using a Handstand and even perform a high jump known as the Handstand Jump. While not a move of his, Mario sometimes has to construct a temporary path, known as a road, or ladder to further progress into a stage.

Most stages within the added nine worlds feature an objective for Mario to pick up a key to take to a locked door, so that by unlocking it, he can continue on to the next stage. While Mario is carrying a key around, he can withstand an extra hit from an enemy or obstacle, but if this occurs, Mario drops the key.

Like the arcade game Donkey Kong, if Mario falls down too far, he loses a life, and a halo appears above his head.

Donkey Kong Country series

Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy's Kong Quest

In Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy's Kong Quest, Mario makes a cameo as one of Cranky's Video Game Heroes, the other two being Yoshi and Link. Their rankings are based on how many of Cranky's Video Game Hero Coins they are collected. Mario is ranked first on the podium. Mario has 39 of Cranky's Video Game Hero Coins, but since he is only one Video Game Hero Coin short than the total number that Diddy can find in his journey, specifically 40, it is possible for Diddy to claim Mario's rank of first place, relegating Mario to second place.

Donkey Kong Country 2 (Game Boy Advance)

In Donkey Kong Country 2's Game Boy Advance version, just like in the originalgame, Mario is first place in Cranky's Video Game Heroes. More of Cranky's Video Game Hero Coins were added in general. Mario has collected 67 of Cranky's Video Game Hero Coins, one short of the total of 68, and Diddy can once again relegate Mario to second place by collecting all of Cranky's Video Game Hero Coins during his journey.

Donkey Kong Land 2

In Donkey Kong Land 2, Mario is again in first place of the Video Game Heroes contest. However, the contest is no longer hosted by Cranky Kong.

Mario game appearances

Mario Bros. series

Mario Bros. (Game & Watch)

In the Game & Watch game Mario Bros., Mario and Luigi, the latter debuting in the game, work at a bottling plant factory.

Mario Bros. (arcade)

Mario is a playable character in Mario Bros., introducing both him and Luigi with the role of being plumbers. The game takes place in the sewers, where Mario has to fight off various creatures. To stun an enemy, Mario has to jump underneath the floor it is on to flip the enemy over. He can then walk into the enemy to kick it off-screen and eliminate it from the game.

Mario Bros. is the first game to feature Luigi as the second player's character and as a palette swap of Mario, as Luigi looks the same as Mario, only with green clothing.

The game received home console releases, such as for the Atari 2600 and Nintendo Entertainment System. One ad for the Atari 2600 version features Luigi shouting "Mario, where are you?" a few times, as he needs help to deal with the creatures. This line is a play on the 1960s television series Car 54, Where Are You?.

Super Mario series

Super Mario Bros.

Super Mario Bros. stars the intrepid Mario in his adventures through Mushroom Kingdom to save Princess Peach (then known as Princess Toadstool) from Bowser's hands.

The player controls Mario (or Luigi if they are the second player in two-player mode) and must reach the goal in each side-scrolling level which is populated by numerous obstacles such as enemies, pitfalls and other hazards. The player may obtain a red Magic Mushroom (increasing Mario's side and allowing him to be hit twice before losing a life), a fire flower (allowing Mario to throw bouncing fire balls to eliminate some enemies), a bouncing star called Starman (making Mario invisible and eliminating enemies he comes in contact with), a 1-Up Mushroom (a green mushroom giving Mario an extra life) or coins (collecting 100 of these will grant Mario an extra life). Most enemies are defeated by jumping on them directly and by throwing fire balls or shells (obtained by jumping on Koopa Troopas, turtle-like enemies and Buzzy Beetles, a beetle-like equivalent) at them.

The player travels through eight worlds, each consisting of four levels, the last one being a castle where an impersonation of Bowser dwells and must be defeated by reaching an axe and destroying the bridge he is standing on or by throwing enough fire balls at him, when he does, the player encounters a humanoid mushroom who tells him that the princess is in another castle (with the exception being the last one, where he finds the princess). The player may encounter Warp Pipes that allow him to skip levels or even whole worlds.

Super Mario Bros. 2 (Japan)

Super Mario Bros. 2 (later titled Super Mario Bros.: The Lost Levels in the West) is a sequel to Super Mario Bros., originally released exclusively for the Famicom Disk System peripheral for the Family Computer. Unlike before, the player can decide to play as either Mario or Luigi before starting the game. There is no two-player mode.

Super Mario Bros. 2 (America)

America had its own Super Mario Bros. 2, starring Mario, Luigi, Princess Peach (named Princess Toadstool at the time), and Toad, who all go on a journey to liberate Subcon from a frog king named Wart. Mario's strength and jumping abilities are both at average.

Super Mario Bros. 3

Super Mario Bros. 3 resumes the plot of Mario and Luigi going on a journey to rescue Princess Toadstool from Bowser. Luigi can only be played by second-player, unlike before. Mario and Luigi have help from the same power-up items as in Super Mario Bros., but a few additional power-up items have now been added, including the Tanooki Leaf, Hammer Suit, and Frog Suit, which grant either Mario brother tanooki-like features, the ability to throw hammers, and don a frog suit that allows for faster underwater swimming, respectively.

Super Mario Land

Super Mario Land features Mario as the main and sole playable character. This is Mario's first platforming adventure on a handheld system, specifically the Game Boy, as well as the first where he is not accompanied by Luigi.

Super Mario Land 2: 6 Golden Coins

Just like its predecessor, Super Mario Land 2: 6 Golden Coins includes Mario as the only playable character.

Super Mario World

In Super Mario World, while on a trip to Dinosaur Land, Princess Peach gets kidnapped once again, so Mario and Luigi traverse the island on a journey to rescue her.

Super Mario 64

Super Mario 64 is the first Mario game where Mario stars in his own 3D platforming adventure. He has to recover the Power Stars missing from Princess Peach's Castle and rescue the princess from Bowser himself, like he has done many times before.

Super Mario Sunshine

Super Mario Sunshine features Mario as the sole playable character, just as in Super Mario 64. He, Toadsworth, Princess Peach, and Toads go to Isle Delfino for a vacation. However, the entire location is vandalized with paint-like substance known as goop by a Mario lookalike named Shadow Mario. In a court ruling, Mario is framed for the crime and forced to clean up the entire island, which forbid Mario from leaving until he has done so.

Super Mario 64 DS

Super Mario 64 DS includes Mario as one of four playable characters, alongside Yoshi, Luigi, and Wario. There is a slight change in the plot where Mario, Luigi, and Wario are each kidnapped some time after entering Princess Peach's Castle. A Lakitu Bro informs Yoshi that Mario has not returned yet, so Yoshi sets out to go find him and the other two. As such, Yoshi is the first playable character, but Mario can be unlocked for play by defeating Goomboss for the Mario Key and using it on the door marked with an "M" just outside the Rec Room.

Mario Kart series

Super Mario Kart

In Super Mario Kart, Mario is one of the eight playable characters. Both he and Luigi are average in all of their stats. If Mario is a game-controlled opponent, he sometimes uses the Starman item to become temporarily invincible.

Mario Kart 64

In Mario Kart 64, Mario is again one of the eight playable characters. Both Mario and Luigi once again have average stats.

Mario Kart: Super Circuit

Mario Kart: Super Circuit continues the trend of featuring both Mario and Luigi as middleweight playable characters within a roster of eight playable characters.

Mario Kart: Double Dash!!

In Mario Kart: Double Dash!!, Mario is now among twenty playable characters, and he is one of the sixteen who are playable from the start. Mario has his own unique item named Fireball, which involves him throwing a few fireballs in a row in front of him. Mario is partnered with Luigi by default, as seen in artwork associated with the game, and his signature kart is named the Red Fire.

Luigi has a similar special item named Green Fireball and a similar kart named Green Fire, both of which are mostly color revisions of Mario's Fireball and Red Fire, respectively.

Mario Kart DS

Mario Kart DS includes Mario as one of the main playable characters. He appears on both title screens of the game. Like the other characters, Mario has his own standard vehicle, which in Mario's case is the Standard MR, and the two other vehicles associated with Mario are the B Dasher and Shooting Star.

Mario Kart Wii

In Mario Kart Wii, Mario is a playable character available from the start.

Mario & Wario

In Mario & Wario, Mario is one of the usable characters whom Wario can drop a bucket or other object onto before the start of each level. The other two playable characters are Yoshi and Princess Peach. A fairy named Wanda has to safely guide Mario, Princess Peach, or Yoshi over to Luigi, who removes the object from their head.

The three characters vary in movement speed, and Mario in particular has a medium walking speed.

Mario Tennis series

Mario's Tennis

In Mario's Tennis, Mario is one of seven playable characters. Neither him nor any of the characters have any statistical differences from one another.

Mario Tennis (Nintendo 64)

In Mario Tennis for Nintendo 64, Mario is one of twenty playable characters and one of fourteen who are playable from the start. He and Luigi share a common All-Around ability, similarly to the Mario Kart games. Mario's name is included within three tennis courts—Mario Bros. Court, Mario & Luigi Court, and Super Mario Court—all three of which have to be unlocked.

Mario Tennis (Game Boy Color)

In Mario Tennis for Game Boy Color, Mario is an unlockable playable character, despite a few recurring Mario characters like Luigi and Donkey Kong being playable from the start. Mario can be unlocked for play by winning a Singles match against him.

Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars

In Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars, Mario's first appearance, let alone starring role in a role-playing game, Mario is the main protagonist and leader of his own party.

Mario Party series

Mario Party

In Mario Party, Mario is one of six playable characters. Like many other later games in the Mario Party series, Mario and the other characters do not have any distinct attributes from one another.

Mario Party 2

Mario Party 2 once again features Mario as one of six playable characters.

Mario Party 3

Mario Party 3 now puts Mario among a roster of eight playable characters.

Mario Party 4

Just like in the previous title, Mario Party 4 features Mario as one of eight playable characters.

Mario Party DS

In Mario Party DS, Mario is one of eight playable characters. In Story mode, he and the other seven are shrunk by Minimizers, and they make their way through five game boards on a quest to not only retrieve the Star Crystals but also to return to normal size.

Mario Golf series

Mario Golf (Nintendo 64)

In Mario Golf for Nintendo 64, Mario is an unlockable playable character in single-player mode but is available from the start in multiplayer. However, his baby counterpart, Baby Mario, can be played from the start. Mario has a drive of 270 yards, and his shot type is High Draw. To unlock Mario, the player's character has to win against him in a character match.

Mario Golf (Game Boy Color)

In Mario Golf for Game Boy Color, Mario is one of eleven playable characters. Unlike the Nintendo 64 game of the same name, Mario is not unlockable; this is a reciprocal of Mario Tennis for Nintendo 64 and Game Boy Color, where the former game features him as playable by default whilst the latter includes him as an unlockable character. Mario is one of six characters whom the player can select to play as from the start.

Like the Nintendo 64 game, Mario drives about 270 yards, but his shot type is Draw.

Paper Mario series

Paper Mario

Paper Mario is the second role-playing game starring Mario, who is once again the leader of his own party.

Yoshi game appearances


Although this is the first Yoshi game, Mario is the playable character, with Yoshi having more of a mascot status. In this puzzle game, Mario has to swap around various panels, most depicting an enemy, to try and match at least two of the same kind.

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