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How Super Mario Bros Revolutionized The World of Gaming

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By Aaron Tam:

It seems far-fetched that an average Italian plumber can turn up as one of the most popular gaming icons. But then again, people will know immediately that it is Mario that we are talking about. This short, moustachioed plumber also emerges as the face of Nintendo as it dominates the gaming industry. Aside from being the darling of the gaming world, it is simply incredible to see how Super Mario Bros has revolutionised the world of gaming.

How A Humble Plumber Made His Mark

Thanks to the legendary video game designer, Shigeru Miyamoto, Mario became a huge success as few would have anticipated that a plumber could inspire and influence the gaming world. Running and jumping over numerous obstacles, Mario raced to rescue his beloved Princess Peach from the evil Bowser. Before he was known as Mario, his original name was actually “Jump Man” (how generic can you get?).

It all began when a little-known card and toy company, Nintendo, was attempting to enter the “gold mine” at that time – arcade games. Despite making several efforts in producing games, the results were not that encouraging. Desperate for something that was truly game-changing, the Nintendo President, Hiroshi Yamauchi engaged the artist, Shigeru Miyamoto, in designing a game for the cabinets. Until then, Shigeru was the guy who designed the art for Nintendo games. Going against the conventional wisdom, Shigeru actually planned a story before working out on the gameplay since he was not a programmer by profession.

Video game experts believed that such workflow was truly unprecedented because this was the first time that it happened in the history of video games. Nevertheless, Shigeru came up with Donkey Kong which featured the efforts of a man in overcoming obstacles so that he could ascend a construction site in order to rescue his girlfriend from Donkey Kong who kidnapped her.

This man, Jump Man, could climb and jump around. Needless to say, this style of gaming was remarkedly different from the contemporary video game titles. Humorously, Jump Man eventually got his iconic name, Mario, when the landlord demanded Nintendo of America to pay its rent. Its staff began to come up with a nickname by calling adding Jump Man to landowner’s name. As you have guessed it, his name was Mario.

The Hero That The Gaming World Deserves But Not The One It Needs

Despite the glorious age of video games in the early 1980s, the video game industry actually crashed in 1983. Apparently, the crash was so massive that the revenues of video game companies at that time went from a few billion to just a hundred million. This catastrophic crash lasted from 1983 to 1985. Primarily, it was due to consumers’ loss of faith in the quality of video games. Not just that, video games were regarded as just a short-lived fad. It was the time when video games were considered to be on the brink of extinction. Yet, the arrival of Super Mario Bros seemed to save the day.

The release of Super Mario Bros has been seen as incredible since it actually single-handedly injected the much-needed life into the dying industry. Characterised by its simple gameplay, the Super Mario Bros game was both immersive and addictive in terms of gameplay value. The popularity of that game just soared sky-high as more and more people bought video game consoles just to play the game. Not only that, this game also gave people the reason to get back into video gaming again. Needless to say, the Super Mario Bros has taken its place as one of the most recognisable video games of all time.

2D Platformers Have Never Been This Fun

Prior to the arrival of Mario, 2D platform games were around but only a handful of them can be that fun and engaging. Moreover, the platform itself could be described as more on the sidelines. The debut of Super Mario Bros certainly changed the face of 2D platform games forever as it would make it the genre of choice.

Following the lead of Mario, it spawned other legendary games such as Sonic, Megaman, Superfrog and others. Just as the Super Mario Bro revived the video game industry, so too the New Super Mario on the Nintendo DS-inspired waves of 2D platform games that continued to this day. Amazingly, you still could find a lot of new 2D platform games which are being designed and developed every single day. Thus, the 2D platform games are still very alive and relevant today.

Heralding The New Era Of 3D Gaming

Talking about the realm of 3D gaming (do not confuse with the defunct 3DO company), it has been said that tons of the golden 2D era never made the final cut into the new 3D gaming. Despite the greatness of Sonic 3D Blast, many still regarded it as not as good as the Super Mario 64. Once again, the Super Mario 64 revived the 3D platform gaming by introducing players to a totally new gaming atmosphere. Offering rewarding gaming experience, the makers of Mario showed that they understood the key to a  gamer’s heart. Time and time again, it has been proven that one must devise a way to enable gamers to enjoy the game totally, regardless of any gaming format.

Mario, Moment, Magic

Aside from its “wacky” look, Mario is a fun character that is synonymous with the true meaning of entertainment. When he is not racing to rescue his princess, Mario actually got tons of hobbies which you can play as well! Look at other Mario game titles and you will discover that he played go-kart, golf, football, tennis and other games.

Not just that, you could join Mario in cleaning up an island. A game about cleaning could be awkward or bizarre but Mario made the process to be so much fun and entertaining. There is just so much magic in involving Mario in numerous sporting activities. It is utterly unexplainable but having an iconic face that does other stuff certainly works. What’s next? Call of Duty cleaning game? (you know you want it!)

As Mario has entered into the mobile gaming, it is not hard for him to conquer the region as well as carving a niche for himself. Yes, the latest Mario game, Super Mario Run, is yet another offering from Nintendo when it comes to shaking up the mobile gaming industry. While Nintendo has been rather hesitant in bringing its famous face to mobile games, the lucrative market of mobile games just entices even Mario to go powered up to seize the price.

Hence, there are so many ways of how Super Mario Bros transformed the world of gaming to the one that we know today. Once you know the key, you will even understand how Farmville or Angry Bird becomes famous in the first place.

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An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

Read more about his campaign.

Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

Read more about her campaign.

MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Read more about her campaign. 

A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Find out more about the campaign here.

A native of Bhagalpur district – Bihar, Shalini Jha believes in equal rights for all genders and wants to work for a gender-equal and just society. In the past she’s had a year-long association as a community leader with Haiyya: Organise for Action’s Health Over Stigma campaign. She’s pursuing a Master’s in Literature with Ambedkar University, Delhi and as an MHM Fellow with YKA, recently launched ‘Project अल्हड़ (Alharh)’.

She says, “Bihar is ranked the lowest in India’s SDG Index 2019 for India. Hygienic and comfortable menstruation is a basic human right and sustainable development cannot be ensured if menstruators are deprived of their basic rights.” Project अल्हड़ (Alharh) aims to create a robust sensitised community in Bhagalpur to collectively spread awareness, break the taboo, debunk myths and initiate fearless conversations around menstruation. The campaign aims to reach at least 6000 adolescent girls from government and private schools in Baghalpur district in 2020.

Read more about the campaign here.

A psychologist and co-founder of a mental health NGO called Customize Cognition, Ritika forayed into the space of menstrual health and hygiene, sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights and gender equality as an MHM Fellow with YKA. She says, “The experience of working on MHM/SRHR and gender equality has been an enriching and eye-opening experience. I have learned what’s beneath the surface of the issue, be it awareness, lack of resources or disregard for trans men, who also menstruate.”

The Transmen-ses campaign aims to tackle the issue of silence and disregard for trans men’s menstruation needs, by mobilising gender sensitive health professionals and gender neutral restrooms in Lucknow.

Read more about the campaign here.

A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

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A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform Change.org, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on Change.org has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in Change.org’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

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