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 1985, Miyamoto produced the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) game Super Mario Bros. The game takes place in the mythical Mushroom kingdom and stars Mario as he attempts to save Princess Peach from an antagonistic, anthropomorphized turtle named Bowser. Similar gameplay, reoccurring characters and power-ups link the games of the main Mario series.
In 1992, Nintendo released Super Mario Kart for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System (SNES). This racing game enabled players to use Mario, Luigi, Princess Peach, Toad, Bowser, Koopa Troopa, Yoshi, or Donkey Kong Jr. Gamers could choose to play Mario Kart using either a single-player racing mode or as a two-person competition. The game was significant for being the first entry in the Mario Kart series, which is considered by gamers and critics alike to be one of the best multi-player games of all time. This arcade version of Mario Kart translates the excitement of the console game into a large stand alone arcade game.