Super Mario's Expected and Unexpected Influence on Gaming and Gambling
Site News

One of the most instantly recognisable video game characters of all time is Mario. The lovable plumber has been the star of many games, ranging from the original Super Mario  Bros. title to the much-loved Mario World and the rip-roaring Mario Kart.

After an earlier appearance in Donkey Kong, the first Mario game was launched in 1983. Mario, his brother Luigi and other famous characters like Yoshi, Princess Buttercup, Donkey Kong, Toad and Bowser are still going strong today.

But why is there such a clamouring to this day for the world’s most famous plumber?



A large part of Mario's appeal is that he doesn’t strap on a form-fitting Lycra superhero costume to show off muscles. He can’t fly through the air, doesn’t have a cavern full of cool gadgets, and can’t shoot lasers from his eyes or run close to the speed of light.

Despite existing in fantastical worlds, Mario is reliably human. He’s just the average humble, hard-working blue-collar guy, spouting his famous catchphrase “it’s-a-me!”

He's almost the plucky archetypal underdog, the one that you can’t help but root for. That gives him game appeal, as players guide him through trials and tribulations. But that down-to-earth appeal is only partly why he has become a pop culture icon.

Mario And Gambling

It is not unusual for characters to get licensed for use in online casino slot games like those among the vast library at as well as starring in a burgeoning franchise.

Picturing Mario sitting down across the table from Bowser in a high-stakes poker game is a fun thought. From Mario World 3 to Super Mario World on the SNES, to the brilliant 16-bit original Super Mario Kart, Maria titles have pushed boundaries including elements of gambling.

In Super Mario 64 variations of Roulette and Poker appeared on the DS. Slots have featured in Mario titles as well, and all offered as much casino-style play as you liked, essentially until you ran out of in-game coins.

While it lacked the real-money gaming experience and stunning graphics that can be found at online casino games today, an innovative nod towards gambling was in the games. At the time, and now looking back, that was an understated and subtle nod to the future of where online gambling was heading.

The Gaming Experience

Yes, Mario is a fun, recognisable character. But that is only half of the story. The Super Mario games from Nintendo have always been good — very good. It’s where Nintendo beat Sega in the battle between Mario and Sonic — playability.

The first Mario game revolutionised the gaming industry. It was a different level of 2D platforming, rich, varied, colourful with great storylines woven in. One of the innovative key elements that the later Mario World inspired in gaming was the notion of power-ups.

It’s a feature of gaming that is taken for granted in the modern day, but Mario World showed that a character could, with skill from grabbing boosts, get bigger, faster, stronger and invincible — if only for a short period. 

But there was more. The appearance of the famous gold stars in Mario World 64 was also the first time that something inherently collectable in a game of this size and stature was implemented.

It added a new, obsessive mentality to gaming — almost unabashedly insisting that players collect all the stars from a level. The feature has been rinsed and repeated throughout video gaming ever since.

Thriving Not Surviving

From the early 8-bit and 16-bit titles through to the modern 3D era, the franchise has been transformative. That leads into another area of where Mario may be going next. There has, fundamentally, been the same brilliant playability throughout the 30-plus years that Mario World has been around.

Mario has survived big digital shifts, and has adapted to newer styles of play, like Super Mario Brothers Wonder on the Nintendo Switch. While the format of 2D gaming is still strong, it’s open to evolution.

“It's-a-me” is right, Mario is everywhere and the days of seeing him hurl fireballs from your living room coffee table through augmented reality, or jumping into the Mushroom Kingdom with full VR isn’t an unlikely leap.

The Cultural Force Drives On

Mario World has been a cultural force, and the recent 2023 film opened up the door to a whole new audience. The film allowed a new generation to embrace everything that Mario is. Bright, fun, charming and instantly appealing. 

A new Super Nintendo World at Universal Studios in Hollywood opened in 2023, further heightening the exposure of Mario.  For most people who played the original, those iconic notes still likely ring loudly with a fond warmness.

Over 200 different Mario World titles that have been launched with likely many more to come, less on-demand than in-demand.

Join our free mailing list

Signup for our newsletter to receive updates, game news and information.