Mario (マリオ, Mario) is a prominent character in Nintendo games and is the long-running eponymous hero in the extensive Mario series of video games. Ubiquitously viewed as the mascot of Nintendo, Mario is said to be the most well-known video game character in the world, having appeared in over 200 video games, causing him to be described as a "Video Game Legend." Mario appears as a main playable fighter in all four Super Smash Bros. games. Mario was also the rival to Sega's Sonic the Hedgehog in the 1990s. His voice actor in all three Super Smash Bros. games is Charles Martinet, who also voices Luigi, Wario, Waluigi, and Toadsworth in the Mario series.
 Character description
Years before video gaming exploded into mainstream popularity, prominent game designer Shigeru Miyamoto designed the original arcade game Donkey Kong in 1981, debuting Mario as the main playable character and Donkey Kong as his in-game nemesis. Mario's character design was heavily influenced by the extreme technical limitations of digital games at the time; as a small batch of pixels, Mario was given a mustache under his big nose to show he had a face, and suspenders with his shirt to show a distinction between his arms and body. In this game Mario was originally known as "Jumpman" in the initial Japanese release, and he was portrayed as a carpenter whose girlfriend Pauline (originally "Lady" in Japan) was held captive by the colossal ape Donkey Kong, and must jump his way over the barrels and flames DK throws at him to rescue Pauline.
After his initial appearance in this pioneering game, Mario, under his proper name for the first time in Japan, was introduced in the sequel, Donkey Kong Junior, and identified as of Italian ethnicity by Nintendo's president Hiroshi Yamauchi. Mario was named as such due to his comical resemblance to Nintendo of America's landlord Mario Segale. Then Mario and his newly introduced brother Luigi starred in the 1983 arcade game Mario Bros. as plumbers.
Miyamoto's next game was the world-famous Super Mario Bros. for the Famicom/NES, the game that single-handedly brought video gaming into the mainstream and made Nintendo a major company in a now major industry. Many iconic aspects of Mario and his franchise were established: Mario and Luigi now live in the Mushroom Kingdom ruled under Princess "Peach" Toadstool and her mushroom-retaining Toad servants, and the Koopa king Bowser kidnaps the princess for Mario to rescue. Mario must bound across side-scrolling platform stages to rescue her, jumping on the heads of common enemies like Goombas and Koopa Troopas to defeat them. He starts out tiny but can grow to double his size if he grabs a Super Mushroom powerup, gain the ability to shoot out fireballs by grabbing a Fire Flower, and turn invincible for a short period of time by grabbing a Starman. Super Mario Bros. became a franchise with these elements lasered into video game iconography, consistent in future games in the Mario series.
For over 20 years afterward, Mario would star in many games for various Nintendo systems. Mario and his accompanying franchise can be viewed as Nintendo's thematic tileset with which to create games of a whimsical, colorful, and light-hearted nature. Mario himself is meant to be a character anyone can enjoy playing as, and can fit well as a protagonist figure and/or main balanced character in many genres of games. To this end he is not portrayed as a character that undergoes development like what players would see with a character in an epic RPG's story. He is, in fact, rarely depicted speaking coherent English sentences. In contemporary Mario games, his high-pitched Italian voice, provided by Charles Martinet, is used mainly for grunts and yells and the occasional catchphrase, such as "Mama-mia!", "It's-a-me, Mario!", "Let's-a-go!". As a semi-silent, optimistic protagonist, Mario is inherently easy for players of his various games to appreciate, and he is ideally the most balanced selectable character in any game he appears in, including the Smash games.
Genres of games in which Mario appears in a playable role include the traditional 2D side-scrolling platformer, including various sequels to Super Mario Bros., the famed Super NES launch platformer Super Mario World, which introduced Yoshi as a mount of sorts for Mario, and the DS homage to these games in the form ofNew Super Mario Bros.; 3D platforming adventures such as the especially seminal Super Mario 64 adventure game launching for the Nintendo 64, which is one of the most influential and best-reviewed games ever, followed up by Super Mario Sunshine for GameCube and Super Mario Galaxy for Wii; the Mario Kart series of power-up and obstacle course-based racing games; a long-running series of multiplayer-based party games named Mario Party; various series of Mario-themed Sports titles such as Mario Golf and Mario Tennis; hands-on RPGs such as the Paper Mario and Mario & Luigi series; and a puzzle game named Dr. Mario, where Mario in the garb of a medicine man throws pills into a bottle to combat viruses (his persona in this game is also a playable character in Super Smash Bros. Melee, see Dr. Mario). A baby version of Mario, who's often treated as a separate character, has also appeared in many of these games. Mario made his first appearance in a fighting game in 1999's Super Smash Bros., and has appeared traditionally in all subsequent installments of that series.
 In Super Smash Bros.
 As a playable character
Mario makes his first appearance in a fighting game in the original Super Smash Bros. as a starting playable character. He is based on his appearance in Super Mario 64. Like in many other games, he is touted as the most balanced character with no real strengths or weaknesses; therefore, new players of the game are encouraged to play as him first. In the competitive meta-game, he can combo well but lacks a multipurpose finisher. His lack of outstanding strengths make him only a high tier fighter, not top-tier, placing him at 5th in B tier on the SSB tier list. His neutral special move shoots a moderately fast, bouncing, low-damage Fireball in the direction he is facing; his up special move is an uppercut third-jump called the Super Jump Punch which can hit multiple times for minor damage (and coins briefly appear with each hit); and his down special move is the Mario Tornado, where he whirls his body to damage foes around him, before throwing them up into the air.
Mario's in-game character description reads as follows:
 In Super Smash Bros. Melee
 As a playable character
In addition to the standard three trophies which playable characters in Melee get - a standard trophy won by defeating Classic Mode, and "Smash Red" and "Smash Blue" trophies won by beating the Adventure and All-Star modes, respectively - Mario, as Nintendo's mascot, also features on a number of other trophies as Dr. Mario (see Dr. Mario (SSBM)), Raccoon Mario, Metal Mario, Paper Mario, and Mario and Yoshi. The last trophy in particular is especially notable for being one of two "gift trophies" never found during normal play, only available at all in the NTSC version of Melee, and then only at special Japanese events or by using a hacking device. There is also a trophy for Baby Mario, a baby version of Mario that mostly appears in Yoshi games.
Mario's Classic Mode trophy, and his Baby Mario trophy, read as follows:
 In Super Smash Bros. Brawl
 As a playable character
Mario was again a playable character in Super Smash Bros. Brawl, ostensibly intended to be the most balanced character. He has undergone a visual redesign, like his Fireball, which looks more realistic, but he is essentially the same fighter as he appeared in Melee, retaining all of his moves (although his former down special attack, the Mario Tornado, has become his down aerial attack, its former slot taken by F.L.U.D.D.). Like all of the games other returning characters, he incorporates a Final Smash attack which can be used once he collects a Smash Ball. His Final Smash is the Mario Finale, where he projects a colossal, intertwining fireball to engulf all opponents in his direction. The Mario Finale extends to both well above and well below Mario's position, so Smash Bros. DOJO!! recommends that he is standing on a moderately elevated platform for maximum effect.
Mario is ranked 31st on the current tier list in F tier. While his tournament results have been surprisingly high, his rather standard abilities are outshined by the abilities of many other characters.
Mario has a trophy that is awarded each time the Classic mode is completed with Mario on any difficulty. The player can get a Mario Finale Trophy each time the player completes All-Star mode with Mario. See Mario Finale for the trophy description of Mario's Final Smash.
 In Super Smash Bros. 4
Mario has been confirmed as a playable character.