The 5 most groundbreaking moments in Mario history

The Mario series is one of the most famous franchises in video games. We’ve seen 2D platformers, 3D platformers, and even semi-open world games where exploration is the focus. The series has changed drastically over the years, but these are the most important moments in the history of Mario.

Farewell to Donkey Kong

Donkey Kong
Image source: Nintendo

Most people know this by now, but Mario didn’t start with the release of Super Mario Bros. in 1985. Mario the character appeared in other games like the original Donkey Kong and the original Mario Bros. arcade game.

However, the series as we know it today began to take shape when Mario dropped Donkey Kong, gave up his life micromanaging pipes, and began exploring the greater Mushroom Kingdom.

Bowser also started his life of crime here, with Mario always rushing to thwart his attempts to kidnap Princess Peach and cause trouble.

Mario then cemented his position as the king of platformers with the release of Super Mario World for Super Nintendo in 1990. It’s a game that’s still holding its own incredibly well and is arguably the greatest 2D platformer of all time.

Transform into Super Mario Kart

Super Mario Kart
Image source: Nintendo

Once Mario was established as a platforming icon, he could easily jump back into other ventures. Sure, he experimented with golf and even taught kids how to type, but the 1992 release of Super Mario Kart for Super Nintendo was it the big spin-off hit that would encourage many more.

Additionally, Super Mario Kart launched a long-running franchise of racing games. There are many fans who avoid the platforming games but will absolutely dig hard with Mario Kart.

The massive success of Mario Kart was probably a green light to experiment even more with the character and the franchise. Other sports such as tennis, golf and soccer would continue to be quite successful. There’s the Super Mario RPG franchise, which has developed a cult following of its own, and even a number of Mario Maker games that allow talented players to create their own masterpieces.

All of these spin-off franchises are known for being accessible to all players who enjoy the genre in which they live. Ironically, even the most inaccessible Series of mario games for non-gamers could be the platform mario games themselves!

They can be pretty tough, especially the earlier ones, but Nintendo has made every effort over the years to help younger and inexperienced gamers with them.

The release of Super Mario 64

Super Mario 64
Image source: Nintendo

Not only did Super Mario 64 bring Mario to 3D for the first time, which absolutely blew the minds of every 90’s kid who played it when it came out, it also revolutionized gaming and established the 3D platformer genre for years to come.

While 2D platformers before and after Super Mario Bros. abounded (it was simply the cream of the crop), Super Mario 64 was something we’ve never seen before.

If you see any world just forget about the Mushroom Kingdom, as big and sprawling as what Super Mario 64 presented was just a hallmark of the game in every way.

Maybe there’s a VR or AR game that provides a similar “Wow!” Moment for modern gamers, but for now Super Mario 64 has certainly established itself as one of the most important and fundamental 3D games of all time.

New Super Mario Bros. splits Mario into 2D and 3D

new Super Mario Bros
Image source: Nintendo

After Super Mario 64, Mario spent a lot of time honing his craft in a 3D space. Super Mario Sunshine and the Super Mario Galaxy games pushed the genre even further, both visually and in terms of gameplay.

However, many wanted Mario to return to his 2D roots. Nintendo was rewarded for its faith in 2D platforms with the release of New Super Mario Bros. on the DS, destined to become one of the best-selling Mario games of all time.

What was perhaps even more impactful than just the popularity of New Super Mario Bros. was that it established Mario in both 2D and 3D spaces in the modern era of gaming.

After the release of New Super Mario Bros. to date, we have released new Mario games in 2D and 3D, much to the delight of fans of both genres. Nintendo has even experimented with games that merge aspects of 2D and 3D Mario games like Super Mario 3D Land and Super Mario 3D World.

The release of Super Mario Odyssey

Super Mario Odyssey
Image source: Nintendo

The latest original release, Super Mario Odyssey feels like a celebration of everything Mario has accomplished throughout the franchise’s existence, merging elements of everything that has made it so successful.

To date, Super Mario Odyssey is the largest world Mario has ever explored, and it channels the energy of Super Mario 64 that has begun to fade in recent times.

Like so many other great, groundbreaking Mario games, it innovates with the Cappy mechanic, which allows Mario to own various enemies and objects to solve puzzles and collect moons. It even injects elements of 2D gameplay into certain sections, celebrating its 2D roots as well.

The way Super Mario Odyssey has packed everything we love about Mario into one package allows Nintendo to really go anywhere from that point.

Whether it’s 2D, 3D, or something we’ve never seen before, there’s no doubt that Mario will continue to go strong and create more groundbreaking moments in its 36th anniversary year.

Be sure to search Twinfinite for more news and features related to the Mario franchise in general, including a list of the craziest Mario games, as well as our ranking of the best Super Mario Bros games. The 5 most groundbreaking moments in Mario history

Fry Electronics Team

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