Mario first appeared in the arcade game Donkey Kong (1981), where his simple tasks were to climb rickety ladders, leap on precarious platforms, and eventually rescue a fair maiden from the clutches of a giant gorilla. Super Mario Brothers (1985), for Nintendo units, was the first game to involve journeys through fantasy worlds filled with malevolent MUSHROOMS, hammer-throwing turtles, anthropomorphic bullets, "piranha plants," and flame-throwing dragons, a pattern generally followed in the successor games Super Mario Brothers 2 (1988) and Super Mario Brothers 3 (1990); similar Game Boy games were Super Mario Land (1989) and Super Mario Land 2: Six Golden Coins (1992). The first Super Nintendo game, Super Mario World (1991), brought a quantum leap in visual quality and sophistication and introduced the key characters of the friendly, omnivorous dragons, the Yoshis; Super Mario World 2: Yoshi's Island (1995) is an interesting "prequel" to the other games, describing how the Yoshis once helped baby Mario. Some games have featured former foes of Mario now cast as heroes: Donkey Kong (Donkey Kong Country , Donkey Kong Land ), and Donkey Kong Country II ) and Mario's evil twin Wario (Super Mario Land 3: Warioland ). Mario, Luigi, and friends have also been used—or misused—in radically different sorts of games, like educational games (Mario Is Missing  and Mario's Time Machine ), a racing game (Mariokart ), puzzle games (Doctor Mario ) and a make-your-own-art game (Mariopaint ).
Despite their enormous popularity in video games, Mario and Luigi have not fared well in other media. A syndicated cartoon series, Super Mario Brothers (1991-1993), all too transparently functioned as an ADVERTISEMENT for the games, as Mario and his friends experience adventures contrived to display various characters from and features of his games; and the live-action movie Super Mario Brothers (1993), despite some high-powered talent, was a surprisingly leaden, unfocused affair, suggesting that Mario's fantasy world may be too playful and outrageously fantastic to successfully translate to more traditional genres of fantasy.
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