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Why I’m Celebrating Mario Day

March 10 is Mario Day (MAR10 looks like the name Mario — get it?).

It’s just another great day for fans to celebrate our favorite animated plumber.

I am one of those fans of Nintendo’s mustachioed hero. Let me explain.

Mario holds a special place in my heart. During my childhood, I remember my typical weekend ritual: saddling up in my living room, sitting way too close to the television, blowing into the Super Mario World gaming cartridge (a technique that I later found does absolutely nothing at all), and switching on the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES).

Mario was great for a young gamer like me to get started because the instructions were simple: Get as many coins as you can, avoid the monsters trying to attack you and save Princess Toadstool. It was through the joys of beating hard levels, and the defeat that would come with playing a level over and over (only to still die every time), that kept me excited.  

Shortly afterward, my parents purchased a Game Boy (the handheld Nintendo console) along with Super Mario World, and this changed my life. Not only was I able to free up the living room television (decreasing the number of fights I had with my brother), but I was able to play anywhere and everywhere. I was in love. This Mario came on a tiny screen, but the adventure felt as new as it was on the NES.

And this is where my Mario story takes a 15-year hiatus. Seriously, I didn’t touch a video game for years.

But three weeks ago, I decided to dive back in. I bought a Nintendo Switch, the first gaming console I’ve purchased myself. The first game I bought? Super Mario Odyssey.

I sat in my living room, fired up my Switch on my television screen, and was instantly transported to those days in my childhood living room. This time I was helping Mario, along with his trusty friend Cappy, travel across the world to save Princess Peach from the dreadful Bowser. The best part? Nintendo incorporated aspects of the old Mario games, including making Mario “flat” – just like he was on my SNES and Game Boy.

This MAR10 I look forward to celebrating all the joy Mario has brought me through the years, and maybe I’ll even dig that old Game Boy out of my parents’ basement.