Did you know that Mario, the porky plumber who decided to change careers to save princesses and maim small monsters, has an entire day dedicated to him? Mario Day, perhaps the most energetic and addictive occasion in the DOTY calendar, takes place on Tuesday 10th March. Incidentally, this is the day before World Plumbing Day, paying tribute to the important role that well-maintained pipes play in our health and wellbeing. (Hug a Plumber Day, meanwhile, falls on Saturday 25th April, which just goes to show how much we love those repairers of water, heating and sanitation systems.)
So anyway, Mario has his very own day to focus on the bizarre and ADHD-fuelled world in which his adventures are based. This is fair enough really, seeing how he must be the most recognised character in gaming history and has secured Nintendo as a major player (no pun intended) over the decades. Having first appeared as the hero in the 1981 arcade game Donkey Kong, Mario quickly became the company mascot and was joined by a host of other zany individuals, such as his brother Luigi, the boot-wearing dinosaur Yoshi, and Toad, a mushroom whose bare chest and Hammer pants remind me of Disney’s Aladdin. Then of course there’s Princess Peach who, though getting herself kidnapped by a spiky turtle on a regular basis, is a pretty mean kart racer.
I used to play Mario in the ’90s on my mate’s N64. Back then the gameplay was similar to today’s, providing you’re the kind of modern gamer who rubs popping candy into their eyes before repeatedly pressing the wrong buttons. Still, even an insane mishmash of blurry pixels and unresponsive controls couldn’t tear me away from that two-dimensional bouncing Italian, and I wasn’t alone. There are eight Mario titles released between 1985 and 2009 that are amongst the bestselling games ever, shifting between 18 and 40 million units each. If this doesn’t demonstrate how popular the franchise remains, I don’t know what will.
Do you have a favourite Mario Game? Let me know by tweeting a pic, video, review or simply something along the lines of “OMG MARIO FTW LOLZ!” to @sobananapenguin.