Your Monday Briefing – The New York Times

Almost exactly 35 years ago, Super Mario Bros., the iconic video game from Nintendo, debuted — making a high-jumping plumber named Mario the Japanese video game company’s equivalent of Mickey Mouse. We’ve compiled 35 things to consider about the overachieving plumber. Here are a few.

1. First, it’s the game that is 35, not Mario. He’s 39. Mario debuted in 1981 in another famous Nintendo game, Donkey Kong, in which he runs up a series of girders, jumps over barrels and climbs ladders to rescue a woman kidnapped by a giant ape.

2. In the early years of video games, characters were defined less by who they were than by what they could do. Pac-Man gobbled dots and chased — or was chased by — ghosts. Sonic ran fast. Mario jumped. In fact, before the creators of Donkey Kong called him Mario, they called him “Jumpman.”

3. Mario is so famous that even his brother, Luigi — who was playable in Super Mario Bros. in two-player mode — is a superstar. Luigi has more personality; he’s a nervous worrier and an underdog in the shadow of his famous sibling. Nintendo marketed 2013 as the Year of Luigi. Did you celebrate?

4. It’s unclear what Mario’s last name is. Sometimes Nintendo officials have said it is Mario (hence Mario and Luigi being the “Mario Bros.”), which would make him Mario Mario. Other times, they’ve said he doesn’t have one.

5. There’s also Wario, a sort of evil Mario, relation unknown. He has starred in over a dozen games, like Wario Land and WarioWare.

That’s it for this briefing. See you next time.

— Carole

Thank you
To Melissa Clark for the recipe, and to Theodore Kim and Jahaan Singh for the rest of the break from the news. You can reach the team at

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