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Nintendo's beloved Super Mario has been around long enough for multiple generations of teens to bond with him in their own way. Whether it was during the now-"classic" '90s platforming era of Super Mario World, or the character's first foray into 3-D adventures in Mario 64, his pugilistic turn in the cult hit Super Smash Bros., or the party-favorite Mario Kart, the now ubiquitous character has made an indelible impact on countless gamers. And it's fitting that as Mario's 25th anniversary is trumpeted by Nintendo (complete with a gold-trimmed commemorative wreath), bloggers are looking back on their favorite moments with the iconic Italian plumber, each remembering a different "golden age" of the character.

  • Just Remember 'The First Mushroom'  "Super Mario Bros. was like Alice in Wonderland in the sense that you could experiment with different items to alter the hero's appearance," recounts John Artest at RunDLC. "Part of the fun came from grabbing that first mushroom and watching Mario grow twice his size." But the best power was obviously the "Fire Flower": "That mushroom's great, but the fire flower's superior. Not only is Mario huge, but he can shoot fire ball from his hands, killing most enemies instantly."

  • Mario Is More Recognizable Than Mickey Mouse  That's only one of the numerous factoids (25 in total) that Guardian writer Keith Stuart dredges up in honor of the tubby Italian plumber on his birthday. Other notable tidbits: "Since 1995, the voice of Mario has been provided by American voice actor Charles Martinet. He also voices Wario and Luigi." and "Mario has appeared in over 200 video games."
  • Few Games Are as Iconic as 1985's Super Mario Bros released for the Japanese Famicom system, writes Mike Luttrell at TGDaily. But few know that, "Super Mario Bros was not the entrance of the classic Italian plumber. He was introduced a couple years earlier in the Donkey Kong arcade game as 'Jumpman.' He then joined his brother Luigi in the simplistic arcade title Mario Bros." 240 million copies later, Mario is a veritable cultural icon.
  • I Have A Soft Spot for Mario gushes Wired's Paul Govan who at first wasn't going to succumb to the 25th anniversary "marketing ploy." But then he realized, "Having grown up in the 80’s enjoying Super Mario Bros in the arcades as well as on my NES at home, I’ve often tried to get my kids to understand how different it was back then. It’s great to see them working their way through the likes of Mario Kart, New Super Mario Brothers and most recently Mario Galaxy 2. What struck me seeing the different Mario’s all laid out was how consistent this world is. The music, architecture and characters perpetuate from the 80’s right through to 2010. So much so that I could almost tell a Mario game by just listening to it."
  • Young Gamers May Chuckle but "the simple-yet-challenging gameplay (NES controllers only had two action buttons and a 4-axis directional pad) is something many current games lack, and makes Super Mario Bros. an enjoyable classic to still play today," contends Jesse Nunes at The Boston Globe. "The old-school NES block-buster (pun intended) was the gold standard of side-scrolling jumping-based video games that dominated the home game consoles of the '80s and early '90s, and in the process sucked up the hours of many an adolescent and teenager."

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