Super Mario is already 30 years old. Having first appeared in the arcade game, Donkey Kong, Super Mario came into the gaming world under his own name in September 1985. Thirty years later, the Mario franchise is still going strong, with new iterations of Super Mario World and the recent release of Super Mario Maker, where fans can for the first time create, edit and share their own levels from the Super Mario Series.
The fact that Super Mario has become one of the most recognizable characters of the Gaming industry despite never being available outside the Nintendo suite of products is telling of the impact that both Nintendo and Shigeru Miyamoto have had on the creation of what is now the largest segment of the entertainment industry. For a long time Super Mario, Super Mario Kart and its characters were one of the main drivers of the success of the Nintendo consoles.
There has been limited ability to interact with the Super Mario brand and its Intellectual Property outside of the Nintendo realm. There was an attempt at a mainstream movie in the 1990s, which was a complete failure and echoed similar inabilities to bring video games to a mainstream audience through movies. While there have been several other attempts at gaming extending to movies (who does not remember Angelina Jolie as Lara Croft or worse, Christopher Lambert in Mortal Kombat), games have more recently gained prominence through the simplification of gaming propositions on Facebook and on mobile and other devices.
Several popular games have produced successful entertainment, such as Resident Evil, Prince of Persia, or more recently Need for Speed, which have all grossed over $200m despite poor Rotten Tomato and Metacritic reviews. 2016 will see attempts to bring Angry Birds, Warcraft and Assassin’s Creed to the big screen. Drawing big names like Michael Fassbender, Marion Cotillard, Jason Sudeikis, Charles Roven and Dominic Cooper, there is hope and expectation to capitalize on the phenomenal success of the underlying IP of these games.
For the first time, 2016 will also see Nintendo opening their beloved pool of characters to mobile. In a yet unannounced line-up, we can bet it will include popular stars such as Mario, Luigi, Donkey Kong and Princess Peach. Such widespread availability is likely to be the first step towards Nintendo finally being able to exploit their own characters. With their worldwide and cross-generational appeal, this move will bridge the gap for audiences to experience renowned gaming IP without the cumbersome recourse to expensive hardware.