Mario is the most popular video game franchise of all time, selling over 260 million games worldwide. The character Mario appears in over 200 games on every Nintendo console ever made, and in the 1990s, a survey discovered more children recognized Mario than Mickey Mouse. While the Mario series mainly features platform adventures, often involving the safe rescue of Princess Peach, it also includes role-playing, puzzle, racing and educational games. The franchise further includes television shows, a live-action movie, comics and promotional materials. Created by Shigeru Miyamoto in 1981, Mario first appeared as the protagonist Jumpman in Donkey Kong. As his name suggests, the character completed levels by jumping over barrels and climbing ladders to rescue the Lady kidnapped by Donkey Kong. In certain advertisements, Jumpman was named Mario, after the landlord of Nintendo of America's offices, and the name stuck. In 1983, Miyamoto produced the arcade game Mario Bros., which starred Mario and his brother, Luigi. Subsequent games introduced the Mushroom Kingdom, Princess Peach and the antagonist Bowser. Similar gameplay, reoccurring characters and power-ups link the games of the main Mario series. In almost all cases, the goal is to navigate through various levels, each of which concludes with a castle or dungeon and a boss fight. Throughout the games, Mario discovers power-ups such as mushrooms, fire flowers, feathers and stars. These allow him to grow in size, shoot fireballs, fly and become temporarily invincible. Common enemies such as Koopa Troopas, Buzzy Beatles, Piranha Plants and Cheep-Cheeps attempt to halt Mario on his quest to save Princess Peach from Bowser, but friends such as Yoshi and Luigi often appear to assist him. As Nintendo's mascot, Mario's popularity seems in no danger of waning. Appearances in non-platform games such as Mario Kart, Paper Mario, Super Mario RPG and Super Smash Bros. cement his appeal to fans of all genres.
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