September 13th, 2005, 21:11 Posted By: wraggster
News from Lik Sang
A group of pixels is worth more than a thousand words. In this case they tell a story that begins in 1985, where one Japanese industrial design graduate can't stop thinking about how bad he wants to create an explorable world around a character he introduced four years earlier, a somewhat feisty Italian carpenter, sporting a moustache. Super Mario Bros. was born on the ingenious home gaming system Famicom, and today, 20 years on, Nintendo is honoring their most famous icon Mario with the release of games, merchandise and even a handheld system for the occasion. Likewise we at Lik-Sang have geared up to provide you with a look back through his history, and a chance to get your hands on all the cool products that are available to celebrate Mario's 20th birthday in style. Note that many more goodies are planned by NoJ and are coming in with the coming weeks.
The Early Years - From Miyamoto's Childhood to Super Mario Bros.
At Donkey Kong's introduction in 1980 (shown left below), the main hero was referred to simply as 'Jumpman', based on his one and only ability. It wasn't until 1982 that Mario got the name we know him by, and back then Pauline was his girlfriend, before Princess Peach was even in the picture. Rescuing Pauline from the clutches of a big barrel throwing ape was as basic of a Jump'n Run style game as there ever was, but this retro platformer is considered a true classic of its genre, appealing to both Japanese and Western markets in the golden era of arcade parlors.
Donkey Kong and Jumpman didn't spring up from nowhere though, they were the creations of the brilliant Shigeru Miyamoto, who was born and raised in a rural community near his current home of Kyoto, Japan. Humbled by the natural world surrounding him, and lacking a television set growing up, young Miyamoto had to fall back on his own imagination for entertainment. This certainly showed in the virtual worlds he dreamed up throughout his career, and it goes without saying that employing Miyamoto was directly responsible for Nintendo's radical success in videogames. In an industry where only a handful of names are widely recognized, his is one that draws massive crowds whenever he makes an appearance across gaming trade shows. Despite this, unlike movie and music stars that have touched so many people worldwide, Miyamoto can probably walk into supermarkets un-noticed.
As the father of videogaming’s most recognizable mascot, Miyamoto actually admits though, that "I cannot come up with hairstyles so good." That, along with avoiding the difficulty of having hair move realistically, is the reason for Mario sporting a hat, while his moustache and oversized nose were added simply to make the nose more noticeable on such a small and pixilated character. Moving onto his famous overalls, these were chosen since they make Mario's arms and arm movements more obvious. In Donkey Kong and Donkey Kong Jr., he started out with a blue shirt and red overalls, but the color scheme got switched to a red shirt and blue overalls when Mario Bros. hit arcades (middle below). Super Mario Bros. (right below) for the Famicom however, saw him give a brownish shirt a go, then thankfully in the sequel, Mario went back to the blue and red he's been like ever since.
For many, Mario entered their homes through the Famicom, but years before that Mario Bros. was officially developed and released on various Atari consoles, from the 2600 to 7800, and Commodore 64. Further ports were also later released on the Intellivision and Colecovision!
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