Classic Video Games: Why Super Mario Bros. Is So Successful

1985 was the year that the king of classic video games would star in a game of his own. You could argue that Mario, the plumber, doesn’t deserve that title. But come on, the guy has a freaking movie coming out this year, and Pacman doesn’t. 

So there! 

Beyond that, have you ever even played the original Super Mario Bros.? It’s a video game masterpiece! Even though it’s nearly 40 years old now, it’s still a popular choice by gamers at your local arcade bar. 

Why is this the case? Read on to find out! 

Classic Storyline 

The main goal of Super Mario Bros. is to rescue a character named Princess Toadstool. She was kidnapped by an evil turtle-like monster named Bowser. Mario must fight through several levels of monsters to reach the castle that holds Princess Toadstool. 

It’s a simple premise, but such a storyline is an important part of human culture. 

Princesses and Dragons 

The whole idea of saving a princess from a monster is a trope that dates back centuries. You can often find it in classic Indo-European fairytales. These days, it’s become so rooted in human culture that you’ll see it pop up repeatedly. 

Frankly, it’s gotten to the point where people have become sick of it. New media these days tends to feature spins on the classic plot. You’ll find princesses that rescue themselves, princesses that rescue heroes, etc. 

Back in the 80s, though, rescuing princesses wasn’t a tired trope. It was, quite frankly, a stroke of genius to use a storyline that has popped up in human cultures so often. There’s probably a good instinctive reason why humans love hearing stories where heroes rescue princesses. 

Memorable Characters 

In 1985, video game designers could only create characters, scenery, etc., using 8-bit technology. This limited what designers could do. But the designers at Nintendo overcame these limits with incredible success. 

One could even argue that the simple designs made the characters more memorable. It’s easy for someone to pull up goombas, koopa troopas, etc., in their minds. The same goes for Mario. 

Mario’s Mustache

If you don’t think the 8-bit limit was a gift, consider the following fact. The limits of 8-bit technology gave us Mario’s mustache. The mustache was easier for the team to create in 8-bit than a mouth. 

The Nintendo team didn’t need to keep adding the mustache when video game technology got better. However, players have already fallen in love with the plumber’s trademark fuzz. 

The Music 

The world has Nintendo composer Koji Kondo to thank for this incredible soundtrack work. Even in today’s Super Mario games, you can still hear the famous “duhduhduh duh duh duh… duh” theme. Heck, you can even hear pieces of it in the trailers for the new movie.

Plus, did you know that the theme is one of the most popular ringtones in the United States? Very few themes have that kind of popularity. Maybe only the cinematic themes of John Williams can compare. 

Other Themes 

Still, even if you take the “Overworld Theme” out of the game (please don’t), the rest of the soundtrack slaps. Each theme matches the feel of each landscape to a T. You can close your eyes and still picture yourself underwater, underground, etc. 

The themes that play when Mario does or gets a star are also perfect. All of this great music just adds to what is already an incredible video gaming experience. 

Platforming Video Game Style 

Platforming is a video game style where a character jumps onto platforms. Usually, these are floating in the air over pits, above ground level, etc. They take on many shapes, such as clouds and tree branches. 

In the Super Mario Bros. game, most of the platforms look like brick walls. But you can also jump up onto pipes and lines of construction scaffolding. Players often have to jump up on these platforms to escape enemies, get over pits, and continue moving across the landscape. 

Platforming Still Popular

Even with all the technology available to them today, video game designers are still using this video game style. Why is this so? It’s not always because it’s an easy feature to use.

People just love platforming games! They love having the simple goal of jumping up onto platforms. They love the retro 2-D style that many platform games have. 

And Super Mario Bros. (heck, even many Super Mario games in general) allows them to platform jump to their hearts’ content. 


Super Mario Bros. sold millions of copies when it debuted. Many of the people who played it were kids, and those kids are now adults. These adults are likely the ones beelining it to the Mario cabinet after they get to the arcade bar

Mario games are fun video games, but there are plenty of fun games out there. When adults who played Super Mario Bros. as kids revisit the game, they aren’t just looking for fun. They want to revisit their childhoods. 

Success Begets Success 

Yes, this need for nostalgia doesn’t say anything about Super Mario Bros.’s design. But what it does say is that the game was successful enough for many people to remember. Super Mario Bros. remains successful because it was so successful in the past. 

People are still buying copies of the game so they can play it on modern consoles. With every copy sold, Super Mario Bros. sales record just keeps going up. That’s why nostalgia is one of the reasons why the game continues to be successful. 

Play Classic Video Games 

You now have plenty of evidence to prove why Super Mario Bros. is one of the most successful classic video games of all time. If you haven’t played it yet, we highly recommend that you do. You’re sure to have an unforgettable experience, and you’ll be humming the famous theme song all the way home. 

And there’s no better place to play Super Mario Bros. than at our arcade bar, Emporium. Not only do we have arcade games, but we also have DJs, live shows, game tournaments, and more. Book your next party on this page

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