Welcome to Superoceras, a blog about science and natural history, slightly biased towards paleontology and zoology, but inclusive of all sciences. Started in October of 2009, my goal is to communicate scientific knowledge (and the occasional piece of nonsense) in an informative and entertaining manner. Feel free to contact me with questions, comments, concerns, or criticism at superoceras(at)gmail(dot)com, and follow me on Twitter @Superoceras for all that and more in 140 characters or less!

Monday, September 13, 2010

Happy 25th Anniversary, Super Mario Bros.

I know this is supposed to be a science related blog, but I can't let this occasion slip me by. And I think I can tie it in with the general Superoceras theme as well. So please join me in celebrating the 25th Anniversary of one of the greatest games of all time, Super Mario Bros. for the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES). Released on 13 September, 1985, I remember jumping through hidden warp pipes and saving the Princess (despite the fact that she always seemed to be in another castle) when I was a very young lad. And it was always a blast. It's hard to believe that 25 years later, the game is still just as fun to play as it was the day I first blew out the cartridge and slid it into the NES console.

Despite Mario's (then known as "Jumpman") initial adventures with primates like Donkey Kong in the 1981 arcade classic Donkey Kong, he soon moved onto battling and befriending sauropsids of various shapes and sizes. In fact, one of his best friends, and his arch enemy were both "reptiles" in the classic sense.

In the 1985 game, Mario and his brother Luigi have to travel through the various worlds of the Mushroom Kingdom fighting off all kinds of strange fauna and flora to save Princess Toadstool (I'll probably never get used to calling her Princess Peach) from the clutches of the evil Bowser, the King Koopa (koopas in general being anapsids, and more specifically testudines). Koopas in all of their various incarnations are clearly cryptodires of a more standard variety, but Bowser on the other hand is a little more menacing to say the least. My gut tells me that he was a meiolaniid, a member of a group of extremely large, heavily armored, extinct tortoises. But clearly a much larger, more heavily armored, less extinct meiolaniid. And perhaps, even, representative of an asexual species, as he has eight known offspring, yet no known mate is ever referenced.

But many years after Mario's many encounters with Bowser, the Koopalings, and the rest of the inhabitants of the Mushroom Kingdom, he and Luigi decided to take a much needed vacation with the Princess in Dinosaur Land, which is as you may have guessed, inhabited by a variety of dinosaurs. After nap on the beach, they discover that the Princess is once again missing. Looking for her, they find a giant egg out of which hatches a green dinosaur named Yoshi. If I had to take an educated guess, I'd say Yoshi is a theropod (although he wears shoes, so you can't really tell if he has a three toed foot) and more specifically, a derived ceratosaur, what with the four fingered hand and all. In fact, since the discovery of Limusaurus, the toothless, herbivorous ceratosaur, with strong legs used for running at significant speeds, I'm thinking it's a pretty good guess indeed. Yoshi seems to be primarily herbivorous, is a very good runner, and from what I can tell, also has no teeth. Not a Limusaurus, surely, but perhaps a close relation. Regardless, Yoshi informs the "Bros." that a bunch of evil turtles have imprisoned him and his friends. And Mario and Luigi figure that this is probably Bowser, and that he has the Princess, and once again set off to save the day.

For 25 years, the "Super Mario Bros." have appeared in countless Nintendo games, and I'll gladly admit that I've enjoyed playing the majority of them. Whether saving Sarasaland or the Mushroom Universe, traveling through time or fighting viruses, Mario and Luigi have been through a lot with many of us, and I personally want to wish them a happy anniversary, and another 25 great years. Be sure to check out the video timeline at the official Nintendo 25th Anniversary site, and dust off that old NES (or follow this link) and play some Super Mario Bros.!

Image of Super Mario Bros. box art for the NES from Wikimedia Commons.

1 comment:

  1. I remember with some shame visiting a friends house and realizing that it was totally obvious that I was just using him for access to SMB, since my parents wouldn't buy me an NES. He was burnt out on it and made me play outside, the jerk.