A look back at 30 years of Super Mario Bros

Guest Blogger

This past weekend, Super Mario Bros turned a whopping 30 years old!

While some things – like those signature blue dungarees – never change, Mario’s makeovers through the years have been a fascinating indication of the forever changing gaming landscape. From the 8-bit hero that helped launch the Nintendo empire to the slick, 3D character of today, Super Mario continues to thrill fans young and old.

Let’s take a look back…

1985: Super Mario Bros

After his first appearance in the 1981 game Donkey Kong, Mario (who was then still called Jumpman), earned his very own game world. Super Mario debuted in 1985 and was included for free with the Nintendo Entertainment System, gaining masses of fans instantly for its side-scrolling capabilities and imaginative worlds.

1991: Super Mario World


Mario and Luigi stepped into the ’90s with a new friend in tow – a freshly hatched dinosaur named Yoshi – as they battle evil King Bowser on the search for Princess Toadstool. The game was a smash hit, selling more than 20 million copies worldwide and ranking as one of the best-selling video games of all time.

1996: Super Mario 64


As with the original Nintendo console, Mario once again helped pioneer gamer technology by starring in one of N64’s launch titles. This gave Mario a whole new perspective, with 360 degree views, more exploratory worlds and a 3-dimensional cast of characters.

2007: Super Mario Galaxy


While the Mustache, hat, and overalls remain standard, Mario continued to clean up with more detail and 3D interaction – this time via the Wii console.

2013: Super Mario 3D World


Once born as a simplistic, pixelized figure, today Mario flits across the screen in picture perfect HD.

2015: Super Mario Maker


For Mario’s 30th birthday, Nintendo pushed the envelope once again with the launch of Super Mario Maker. This time around, they’re putting Mario’s fate into his fans’ hands. Players can sketch out their own courses using the Wii U GamePad, adding obstacles and switching easily between playing and creating as they go.

The game also gives a special nod to Mario’s extensive history, offering the ability to switch the game’s eras from its pixelated beginnings to the more modern style we know today. Each era offers its own special elements and actions.

Pixel art logos

While Mario and friends are far more shapely these days, pixel art has been enjoying a recent rennaisance. Be it in rebellion of the perfectionist style of high-res gaming or 90s nostalgia, pixels are trending. So to celebrate Super Mario’s birthday and his pixel roots, let’s indulge in some 8-bit designs courtesy of our design community. Happy Birthday, Super Mario!

There are varying ways to incorporate pixel art into a logo. Those who want to exploit the effects of youthful nostalgia adhere to the 80s Super Mario style – coarse, blurry and with little color sophistication.


9 pixel designs

Pixel art apparel

Even the fashion industry loves pixels these days. Geek becomes chic with playful nods to video games on clothes, bedding, cell phone cases and more.

11 t-shirt with pixels

Corporate design

6 business cards Pixel
4 pixel love design
5 pixels inspired

A true pioneer in gaming design, Super Mario has left a clear mark on the design world. We can’t wait to see what world we’ll get to explore next!

Now you can have a go yourself! Try out the 8-bit look with this fun tool.

This article was written by 99designs staffer, Monique. Monique makes the Berlin 99designs office for current, exciting content on all channels. Creative Writing is her passion, her mission communication! With a focus on art and design, social and business communication is always looking for distinctive faces and exciting topics. Inspire, inform, enlighten!

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Guest Blogger

99designs loves to share design how-to's directly from design professionals themselves. Reach out to share your thoughts, ask questions, or thank these experts for their awe-inspiring tips!

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