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Super Mario Bros - Nintendo 1985

Arguably the biggest paradigm shift in video-gaming history, Super Mario Bros. was responsible for an awful lot of the basic structure and gameplay elements of the games we still play today.

Before Super Mario Bros most action games simply consisted of a series of ‘waves' or screens that had to be completed, one after another, until the game ended or the waves or screens repeated at a faster rate. Mario changed that through the killer combination of scrolling landscapes and carefully designed, monster and power-up packed levels.

Now each section of the game had a beginning and an end, and gamers had a clear, vaguely narrative objective to complete that went beyond "eat all the pills" or "shoot all the invaders."

What's more, Super Mario Bros. brought real character to video gaming. Sure, Pac Man was lovable and the likes of Sabre-Man (from Ultimate's Sabre Wulf, Underwurlde, Knight Lore series) had charm, but Mario introduced a huge range of goodies and baddies that we still care about today. Who can ever forget Bowser, Princess Peach or the Koopa Troopas?

A variety of themed levels gave the game staying power, while power-ups and hidden routes injected serious replay value. And there's still no doubt that, with SMB, Nintendo cracked 2D character control in a way that nobody had done before and nobody would do for years after - a trick it would repeat with 3D character control in Super Mario 64.

There is a good reason this game is venerated as the video-game equivalent of The Beatles' Revolver or D.W. Griffith's Birth of a Nation: it's the moment where a new craze suddenly looks like something more important and long-lasting.

Mention: The legendary secret ‘minus' level.

Don't mention: The Movie. Hoskins is Mario. Hopper is Bowser. The audience is squirming with embarrassment.

David Ritko

October 22, 2014, 8:50 pm

Did you say Space Invaders? http://youtu.be/VczbbiRmDik

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