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Submission + - Why We Love Mario

Hugh Pickens writes: "Bob Mackey writes on 1up that if one video game character has withstood the test of time, it's Mario, everyone's favorite Italian plumber, who saved the video game industry from itself — a much greater feat than rescuing some ditzy princess. Mario wasn't the first side-scrolling 2D platformer, but it was the first 2D side-scrolling platformer done right, and although it might be hard to imagine with our modern-day emphasis on realism and grit, 25 years ago, the carefree journey of a squat, mustachioed man in overalls brought video games away from their status as a passing fad, and turned Nintendo into a household name. "Without Mario, it's entirely plausible that we folks of the future would treat video games with the same patronizing terms we reserve for something like air hockey," writes Mackey. "That's a pretty big deal." Looking into the circumstances around his creation, Mario can be considered the quintessential video game protagonist, as his iconic design is entirely the result of the technical limitations of early arcade hardware including the number of pixels and number of colors the Famicom could display. "We gave him a mustache rather than a mouth because that showed up better. We gave him a hat rather than hair because that looked better, too. Mario wears overalls because that shows the movement of his arms, and he's wearing white gloves because the white contrasts better with the colored backgrounds," says Mario game designer Shigeru Miyamoto. But utimately, the reason why we play Mario games is the reason why we play video games themselves: to explore, to experiment, and to be entertained. "And while you can easily write volumes about the philosophy behind what makes Mario games so appealing, nothing speaks more words than that unmistakable feeling you get upon digging into Mario's latest adventure.""

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