September 13: Super Mario Bros.

MarioIt’s a simple story, really: Boy meets girl, girl gets kidnapped by a turtle-monster, boy (and his brother) travel around the world and stomp on nearly everything in their path while attempting to rescue girl, boy defeats turtle-monster and rescues girl, play again. Of course, you probably know that story better as Super Mario Bros., which was released on September 13, 1985.

Although Super Mario Bros. was the game that helped make Mario and his supporting cast (his brother Luigi, his oft kidnapped girlfriend Princess Peach Toadstool and his archnemesis Bowser) household names, were you aware that this wasn’t Mario’s first starring role in a video game? In fact, Super Mario Bros. wasn’t even the first game to feature Mario’s name in the title. Mario’s first appearance was as the hero of the 1981 arcade classic Donkey Kong as the anonymous “Jumpman” trying to rescue his girlfriend (Hmm, I’m detecting a pattern here.) from the title character, Mario’s escaped pet ape. The popularity of that game lead to 1983’s Mario Brothers, in which the newly rechristened Mario and his brother Luigi were plumbers trying to defeat strange creatures living in the sewers of New York City.

Super Mario Bros. represented a major step-up in Mario’s adventures. While his previous games featured only a handful of levels and only a few unique enemies, Super Mario Bros. tested Mario’s running, jumping and stomping abilities against 32 levels full of enemies, bottomless pits, mazes and fire traps. Thankfully, the game’s developers also provided Mario with a few power-ups: Mushrooms that made him grow in size, Fire Flowers which allowed him to shoot fireballs at enemies, Super Stars which would make him temporarily invincible and carefully hidden 1-Up Mushrooms that would grant him an extra life.

Unsurprisingly the game’s combination of adventure, whimsical design and tricky levels made Super Mario Bros. a massive hit. In fact, it was the best selling video game of all time until the release of Wii Sports in 2006. Since then, Mario has appeared in hundreds of games in which he’s done nearly everything: In addition to rescuing Princess Peach from Bowser a few dozen times, Mario’s gone back in time, gone go kart racing, traveled into space (to rescue the Princess from Bowser), played 3 on 3 basketball against NBA stars and the Beastie Boys, refereed a Mike Tyson boxing match, participated in the Olympics (Summer and Winter), taught children how to type, became a doctor, played every sport from golf to baseball, and for a change of pace was once kidnapped by Bowser and rescued by Princess Peach.

In 2008, Scrollbar at the IT University of Copenhagen hosted a special Mario themed cocktail night. The bar created several great Mario inspired drinks including a delicious 1-Up shot. It’s a creamy, melon flavored green shot that when properly constructed looks similar to the one of Mario’s green 1-UP Mushrooms.

1-Up

  • 1 ounce Melon Bols
  • 1 ounce Vodka
  • 1 ounce milk
  • Whipped cream
  • Green frosting

Mix the three liquid ingredients into shot glass. Place whipped cream tuft on top, then add dots of green frosting.

Tomorrow: A small university in Cambridge, Mass gets a major donation.

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