Fans came together to celebrate Mario’s 30th birthday on Oct. 10 at the Utah 3DS StreetPass event in South Murray. A good portion of the attendees were alive to play Super Mario Bros. when it first came out in 1985.
“(Mario) looks great for 30,” said Sharon Hansen, an event organizer. Hansen has been playing the game for years.
“My brother figured out how to hook up the Nintendo power set my grandmother got us,” Hansen said. “He told me, ‘I’ve been playing Mario and I got to a level with elevators.’ I ripped the sheets off my bed and ran to the TV. I was just like, ‘Wow.'”
Many participants were associated with the Utah 3DS StreetPass club, a group that meets regularly to play Nintendo games, trade Amiibo avatars and meet new friends in the Utah area.
One event organizer brought all the Nintendo consoles he has collected over the years. A crowd favorite was Mario Maker on the Wii U, where players get a chance to build custom Mario levels and then play and share them.
“Mario was revolutionary for its time,” said Chris Bennion, another event organizer. Bennion said he remembers Super Mario World being the first game he ever completed. He now lets his daughter play.
“It’s fun to watch my daughter play a Mario game,” Bennion said. “It’s fun to put myself back in her shoes because I don’t remember what it was like.”
Tabitha McKenna said she’s always had to play Luigi while her brother gets to be Mario. “That’s because she’s the younger sibling,” said Leena McKenna, Tabitha’s mother.
Another popular character in the Mario universe is Toad. “Toad is my favorite character because he’s underrated,” Sam McKenna said. “He has a way of annoying Mario every time he says ‘the princess is in another castle.'”
Attendee Amy Moeller said her favorite character is Yoshi. “Sacrificing Yoshi in order to jump over a pit is a necessary evil,” Moeller said.
One of Moeller’s fondest memories was staying up all night at a friend’s house in order to beat Super Mario.
Some of the participants admitted to having at one point played with emulators, or unlicensed simulations downloaded from the internet. “You can get every Nintendo and Super Nintendo game through (an emulator),” Bennion said.
Many honor and revere Mario creator Shigeru Miyamoto for his creativity and character development at Nintendo. Others still want a little more from him.
“If I ever met Miyamoto, I would ask him to spend an extra half-hour on the story so the storylines don’t contradict,” attendee Joseph Oakes said.
Oakes has all his consoles set up and often plays Mario with his kids, continuing the 30-year tradition of our friend Mario.