It all began with Ralph Baer, the "Father of TV Games." His ideas ushered in a new era of electronic entertainment and sparked the home video game revolution. In the nearly four decades since the release of the Magnavox Odyssey, home video game consoles have become a significant part of American culture and the industry has grown into a multi-billion dollar enterprise. The gaming world was once populated primarily by pre-teen and teenage boys, often huddled around televisions in each other's living rooms. Today, players are boys and girls, men and women, both young and old. They still play in their home or dorm room with friends, but increasingly they play online as well. The games they play are a unique combination of technology and graphic art, and game developers have continually pushed the limits of design to create exciting new settings and cutting-edge graphics. The possibilities for the future seem limitless, and "gamers" eagerly await the release of advanced consoles and new game titles.
Mario was created by video game designer Shigeru Miyamoto, and first appeared as the protagonist "Jumpman" in Donkey Kong in 1981. Two years later he and his brother Luigi starred in their own arcade game, Mario Bothers, as Italian-American plumbers working in the sewers of New York City. Mario has since appeared in over 200 video games on every single Nintendo console ever created, and has been featured in almost every genre of video games, including platform, puzzle, racing, sports, fighting, role-playing and educational games.
As Nintendo's mascot, Mario is one of the most famous characters in video game history, and the Mario series is the best-selling video game series of all time.