If hearing the “Ground Theme” of Super Mario Bros makes you feel all warm and fuzzy, then you may want to celebrate the holiday dedicated to its central character, Mario, aptly called Mario Day. This holiday, which falls on March 10th, gives the leaping plumber the respect he deserves. So fire up one of the games in which he appears and have yourself a hopping good time.
History of Mario Day
Back in the late 1970s and early 1980s, Nintendo was a struggling toy company that desperately needed to break into the arcade game market—a field that was beginning to expand dramatically. They tried making a few video games, but these games were subpar at best. What they needed was something original and new to break into the market. This is when a Japanese artist named Shigeru Miyamoto was tasked with creating a video game for Nintendo by the company’s then-President, Hiroshi Yamauchi. Nintendo’s President thought this “fresh approach” would yield something new and unique, and he was right. Miyamoto wrote a story for a game and then went to work on it. The result was Donkey Kong, a game released in 1981.
Donkey Kong featured a character who was originally called Jumpman but whose name would later be changed to Mario. This character would then try to rescue a princess by climbing a series of ladders and girders while jumping over the rolling barrels thrown by an angry ape. A game that was unique for its time. In fact, it was so unique that corporate headquarters didn’t think the game would catch on. However, they were wrong. It was destined to become a huge success.
So how did Jumpman become Mario? Well, it all comes down to the fateful day when the landlord of Nintendo’s warehouses showed up demanding his rent—which just so happened to be late. Can you guess what his name was? Yes, you guessed it; it was Mario. Soon, the employees began calling Jumpman by the name Mario, and it stuck. Which is a good thing because Mario sounds a whole lot better than Jumpman. And Mario was destined to become a star.
During the early ’80s, Mario would appear in a number of Donkey Kong sequels and other games. These included Donkey Kong Jr. (1982), Donkey Kong II (1982), Mario’s Cement Factory (1983), and Mario Bombs Away (1983). Then a game was released that would begin what could only be called the Mario craze.
In 1983, Mario was given a brother, the now-infamous Luigi, and was put into the plumbing system of a major metropolis in Mario Bros., a game released in 1983. Two years later, in 1985, Super Mario Bros was released and it became one of the top-selling video games of all time. In 1988, Super Mario Bros 3 was released, and many consider it to be the best Mario game of all time.
From 1988 to the present, a variety of different Mario games have been released. These include Super Mario World (1990), Super Mario Kart (1992), Super Mario 64 (1995), Super Mario Bros. Deluxe (1998), Super Smash Bros (1999), Mario Sports Superstars (2017), Mario Kart 8 Deluxe (2017), and Super Mario Odyssey (2017). And of course, this is only a partial list. There are dozens of games featuring our fine jumping plumber, Mario, which should make it easy to choose one for Mario Day.
While the rise of Mario is pretty easy to trace, figuring out when Mario Day was invented is another matter altogether. No one really knows who invented the holiday. All that is known is that March 10th was chosen because this day’s abbreviation (Mar.10) looks like Mario.
Mario Fun Facts
- Super Mario Bros. 2 was originally Doki Doki Panic.
- Chain Chomps were modeled after a chained dog that scared Shigeru Miyamoto as a child.
- Mario has appeared in over 200 video games and counting.
- Over 210 million copies of the Mario series have been sold so far.
- Mario has been a carpenter, plumber, doctor, CEO, athlete, and kart racer.
- Luigi is Mario’s younger fraternal twin.
Celebrating Mario Day
The best way to enjoy Mario Day is to play one of the many games in which Mario appears. And since he appears in over 200 games, it shouldn’t be that difficult of a task. You can also throw a Mario Party. Invite your friends to dress up as their favorite character from the Super Mario Bros series and serve them special Mario Day foods such as cupcakes decorated as mushrooms or turtles; chocolate coins wrapped in gold foil; cookies shaped as gold stars, or fruit punch served in cups adorned with Mario’s mustache. You can also have Mario-themed games such as Stomp the Goombas (balloons fill in for the Goombas); or find Yoshi’s Eggs (basically, a Yoshi egg hunt).
Another way to celebrate Mario Day is by using the hashtags #MarioDay and #NationalMarioDay on social media. That way, everyone can know that you are enjoying your day and hanging out with one of the most iconic video game characters ever produced.