Nintendo's 'Super Mario Odyssey' wins top prizes at Gamescom

The overall-wearing Italian plumber has swept the prizes at the video game trade fair in Cologne. The new Super Mario installation will be released in October - some 36 years after Mario first debuted as "Jumpman."

The pudgy Italian plumber from the Mushroom Kingdom in the red cap and blue overalls has triumphed again.

Business | 03.03.2017

On Thursday in Cologne, Nintendo's newest version of its Super Mario video game franchise took home the award for Best Game at the leading European digital games trade fair. "Super Mario Odyssey," which will be released on the Nintendo switch platform in October, also nabbed the "Most Wanted" consumer award, as well as the prizes for Best Family Game, Best Action Game and Best Console Game Nintendo Switch.

Read more: Super Mario hits smartphone screens

The multitalented Italian plumber

Super Mario is the best-selling video game franchise of all time, and the Mario character has been a video game favorite around the world ever since Japanese electronics and video game company Nintendo introduced him in July 1981 as part of the "Donkey Kong" game. Originally called "Jumpman" - a reference to his signature move - Mario earned his own eponymous game in 1983 with the launch of the Super Mario arcade game that also featured his younger brother and fellow plumber Luigi.


The world's most successful video game franchise

Super Mario is a well-known leading man among children and adults alike (above at the 2017 Gamescom fair in Cologne). Since 2005, he has had a star on the Walk of Game, a spin-off of the Walk of Fame, which can be found in a San Francisco shopping center. But the famous Hollywood sidewalk could still yet be a possibility...


Creator Shigeru Miyamoto

The brains behind Super Mario also came up with other video game success stories like "The Legend of Zelda" and "Pimkin." After a short interlude as CEO in 2015, Miyamoto is currently Creative Fellow at Nintendo, an honorary position for the legendary game designer.


It all started with an ape

In the 1981 arcade game "Donkey Kong," the girlfriend of an overall-wearing carpenter (Mario had a previous handyman career before becoming a plumber) is captured by a gorilla and must be saved. The game was Nintendo's breakthrough into the American market, becoming the second most-successful arcade game in the US after Pacman.


Mario becomes a star

Mario's design was significantly influenced by graphic capabilities. A mustache was easier to portray than a mouth, and the hat spared designers the complicated work of depicting hair. Mario also wasn't always the little man's name. His previous monikers include "Mr. Video" as well as "Jumpman."


The dream team of Mario und Luigi

Mario's brother Luigi made his appearance in the 1983 "Mario Bros." But it was only with the next game, the 1985 "Super Mario Bros" that the plumbing brothers made video game history. Today it remains one of the most successful video games of all time. It had a profound influence on the Jump'n'Run genre and inspired many future designers. It also introduced Princess Peach to the world.


Big screen problems

TV series and a feature film followed on the heels of the console game's success, but the other mediums didn't do nearly as well. Despite famous actor Bob Hoskins in the role of Mario (above) and co-star Dennis Hopper, the 1993 "Super Mario Bros." movie flopped in cinemas. The confusing plot and the gloomy setting may have turned off viewers.


Mario, Mario and, once again, Mario

However, the subsequent "Mario Bros." games found success, and not just in homes. The games were played on the 1990s most popular mobile console, GameBoy, as well as on the Nintendo Wii console, introduced in 2006 and complete with motion sensors. Mario also appeared in 3D and an extra Mario Kart series was developed. And as of 2016, you can find Mario games on your Smartphone, too.



Everyone may have a little Mario inside of them, but there is only one true Mario voice, that of Charles Martinet. Since 1995, the US actor has lent his voice to the pudgy plumber and given him his calling-card motto. You can also hear Martinet in the Japanese version of the game. The actor can often be spotted at gaming events around the world.


Mario universe

The number of characters in Mario's world have grown significantly over time. Yoshi, Bowser, King Buu Huu - more than 37 friends and acquaintances can be found romping around the Mario universe.


The adventure continues

"Super Mario Odyssey" is the latest gaming escapade. The game was designed for the new Nintendo console Switch and will be released at the end of October. In the meantime, Mario creator Shigeru Miyamoto is working on a new Mario theme park in Japan. It should be finished by the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo. In Mario's own words, "Mamma mia!"

The character Mario was developed by video game designed Shigeru Miyamoto, who also created other video game smash-hits like "The Legend of Zelda," "Star Fox," and "F-Zero." Mario has appeared in over 200 different video games and led to various spin-off series such as "Mario Kart," "Mario Tennis and Golf," and even the educational "Mario Teaches Typing." This one plumber does it all.

Business | 15.12.2016

The well-mustachioed Mario first entered homes in 1985 in the "Super Mario Bros." platform game. In the game, users must navigate Mario and Luigi must through the Mushroom Kingdom, overcoming obstacles and defeating castle creatures, to rescue Princess Toadstool from the evil Bowser. The popular green, object-eating dinosaur Yoshi first appeared in 1990.

Though the franchise's character names and appearances evolved over time and with advancements in game technology, such as 3D-gaming capabilities, the appearance, premise and goals of the games have remained much the same - and much beloved. Mario and coompany have starred in one feature film, several TV series, served as Halloween costumers for countless young children, and even provided inspiration for the popular TV series "Game of Thrones."

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Science | 23.06.2017

Playing Super Mario in augmented reality

Super Mario Odyssey

The newest version of the franchise that was previewed at Gamescom, "Super Mario Odyssey," will be released worldwide on October 27, 2017. The player takes on the role of Mario and travels around to various kingdoms in an open-ended, exploration-based level design. A new addition in the game is Cappy, a spirit that lives in Mario's brimmed hat that enables the user to "capture" and use other objects and their powers.

Gamescom's attendees could preview the game at the Cologne fair and even meet game producer Yoshiaki Koizumi.

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