The Face of Nintendo’s Transformation Is Super Mario Bros. Wonder

The Face of Nintendo’s Transformation Is Super Mario Bros. Wonder

Nintendo is enjoying a highly successful year. “The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom” achieved record-breaking success, and Switch sales continue to rise, even in the console’s sixth year. Additionally, the recent opening of Super Nintendo World at Universal Studios in California has been a significant milestone. However, these achievements pale in comparison to the buzz surrounding their iconic mustachioed plumber.

This summer, “The Super Mario Bros. Movie” made nearly $1.4 billion worldwide at the box office, making it the second-highest-grossing animated film in history. Now, Nintendo is set to release “Super Mario Bros. Wonder,” the latest installment in the franchise, which has received rave reviews from critics.

The journey to this point has been a long one for Mario. Created by developer Shigeru Miyamoto four decades ago, this unassuming Italian plumber, known for saving princesses and making remarkable jumps, has become a beloved character. After a rather forgettable live-action movie in 1993, Mario found his true home on Nintendo’s gaming consoles. With hit games like Mario Kart and Super Smash Bros., Mario’s popularity continued to soar as Nintendo expanded its horizons both within and outside the gaming industry.

Nintendo of America president, Doug Bowser, reflects on the limitless potential of the Mario franchise, highlighting the company’s evolution from solely focusing on game development to embracing a broader spectrum of possibilities.

Mario’s reach is extensive, extending beyond video games to various aspects of popular culture. He has become a Lego minifig, a clothing brand, a cereal, and even a character on Saturday Night Live. Fans are enthralled by details like who voices Mario and even the character’s physical attributes. As Nintendo’s most recognizable and beloved character, Mario essentially serves as a mascot for the company. His likability, cuteness, sense of adventure, and approachability make him a perfect ambassador.

The development of “Super Mario Bros. Wonder” was guided by the principle of approachability. The game’s setup is familiar, with Mario and his companions visiting the Flower Kingdom and facing Bowser’s disruptive presence. Players must collect Wonder seeds to defeat Bowser. Nintendo aimed to make this game accessible to both longtime fans and newcomers, particularly those who are experiencing Mario for the first time.

The game features 12 characters, including options that are less susceptible to damage, making it easier for novice players to enjoy the game. The addition of co-op mode, offering both local and online play, allows players to collaborate to complete the game.

“Super Mario Bros. Wonder” marks the return of the series to side-scrolling platforming after a decade. With players more knowledgeable than ever about Nintendo’s approach to Mario games, the title had to meet high expectations. The game introduces “Wonder” elements, which add a fresh and unexpected twist to the classic Mario experience, surprising players with new challenges and power-ups.

Looking ahead, Nintendo is not merely a video game developer but a broader entertainment company. The success of the Mario movie illustrates the potential of expanding Nintendo’s intellectual property into different media. However, while comparisons to entertainment giants like Disney are inevitable, Nintendo remains committed to respecting Mario’s legacy and ensuring any expansion aligns with his popularity and beloved status. Rushing to market with activations outside of video games is not in their strategy; they want to protect and preserve what makes Mario so cherished as they venture into new territories.

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Disclaimer: The views, suggestions, and opinions expressed here are the sole responsibility of the experts. No Sandiego Currents journalist was involved in the writing and production of this article.

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