Mario Bros. Turns 30 This Year: A Retrospective

The gaming world gets ready to blow out the candles on this milestone birthday for the world's favorite overall-wearing, mustachioed, pipe-adventuring brothers.

It's hard to believe that just 30 years ago the world was devoid of its most beloved plumbing pair, brothers Mario and Luigi.

On top of being two of gaming mogul Nintendo's posterboy characters, these two Italian adventurers have been the driving force behind such classic games as Super Mario 64, Luigi's Mansion, Super Mario Bros. 2, and most recently the Super Mario Galaxy series, and those are just the games they headline! In short, this duo has given the gaming world some fond, unforgettable memories.

This year marks the third decade that these mustachioed Koopa-bashers have been a part of our gaming world. So, in honor of their continued prowess and thirty years of dedicated defense against Bowser, let's take a brief look at their ascendancy...

They started at the bottom...

As many of you might already know, these siblings were first introduced to the world in Shigeru Miyamoto's 1983 classic, Mario Bros. Though the game is most commonly remembered as a mini-game in the later, arguably more popular Super Mario Brothers series for the NES, it was originally released as an arcade game both here in North America and in its Miyamoto's home country of Japan.

Set in the sewers of 1980's New York City (a scary place, indeed), Mario Bros follows Mario and his brother Luigi as they investigate the appearance of some strange creatures apparently spawning in the labyrinth of pipes beneath the city. As the brothers explore, they must defeat all of the enemies they come across in each phase of the game by ascending a series of platforms and jumping on the foes they come across. It's simple: the more enemies you kill, the faster you climb each phase's platforms, the higher your score. Just some straightforward arcade gaming at its best.

Interestingly, Mario Bros was only a moderate success in the arcade when it was first published. Some fans of the series chalk this up to the North American video game crash of 1983, but the lukewarm response the game got in the comparative Japanese market debunks this theory. Whatever the reason for the series' slow start, Mario and Luigi eventually broke out of their shells (and stepped on even more, too) when the game was released on the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES). In short, their rise to fame had begun...

But they're up REAL high now!

And it hasn't really stopped since. After some modest beginnings, Mario and Luigi have undoubtedly risen to the upper echelon of gaming royalty. More than that, the Brothers Plumber are cultural icons. These guys have been through every generation of console gaming, have been a part of a number of their own titles, have been an inspiration for Hollywood (let's not count it against them that the movie was an utter atrocity, guys), and most importantly they have been a model of gaming excellence and an inspiration to youthful gamers everywhere.

Its honestly amazing that after 30 years of exploring sewer pipes that these two don't absolutely stink. On the contrary, they've never been more fresh. We owe all of this to your original adventure, and more importantly to the inspiration and creativity of your creator, Miyamoto. Without any of you, who knows what state the gaming world would be in today.

Mario and Luigi, you've come from the sewers of NYC (Mario Bros), to an unforgettable 3D castle (Super Mario 64), to the farthest reaches of space (Super Mario Galaxy). You never cease to amaze us, and are just incredible characters. Here's to an amazing 30 years, and to an exciting, promising future! 


Published Jun. 19th 2013
  • Raven Hathcock
    Featured Contributor
    I was half expecting a Drake reference for some weird reason!

    Ahhh the nostalgia behind the Bros. The world will never be the same. Now I'm going to go home and kick some ass in Mario Party to celebrate!
  • Kazemusha
    Mario Party makes enemies of the greatest friends...I've seen it happen O.o

    In all seriousness, it just goes to show how deeply videogames have rooted themselves in our culture.
  • GabrielKross
    Featured Columnist
    I've never played Mario Party, however I do have a Super Nintendo about 2 feet away from me with Super Mario World in it. One of the greatest Mario games ever made.

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