Who is Mario?
When it comes to gaming icons, one character stands above all the rest. No one, not even Master Chief, Samus, Link, Cloud, Sephiroth, Mega Man, or all the rest can match what Mario has done for the video game industry. Other characters and games have been good, but at the end of the day, no one can take away from the fact that Mario was the character who made video games famous in the first place. The very first Super Mario Brothers title helped sell well over 40 million Nintendo units. A TV show was made to hype Super Mario Brothers 2, and even though Mario 2 wasn't nearly as good as the original, Nintendo quickly learned from there mistake and began the marketing behemoth that was the hype of Super Mario Brothers 3. Super Mario 3, without question, was the single most hyped game of all time, and thankfully, the game delivered. Mario 3 wound up selling nearly 20 million copies, and if Mario's legend wasn't cemented by that point, then the success of Mario 3 put him over the top.
But he wasn't done there. Super Mario World helped launch what may very well go down as the single greatest gaming system of all time, the Super Nintendo. Once again, massive hype surrounded Mario's next title. Once again, he delivered. The same can be said of Super Mario 64 as well. The Nintendo 64 was another hyped system, and thanks to another massively hyped game starring Mario, the system was successful. Super Mario 64 wasn't released with the Nintendo 64, but the game had almost as many sales as the system itself, which is absolutely unheard of.
And that still doesn't tell the entire story. Mario is Nintendo's main man for a reason. He has appeared in well over 100 games spanning across multiple systems, and when you add the total sales from all of these games, from Mario Party to Smash Brothers, from Mario Golf to Mario Tennis, from Mario is Missing to Mario Kart, from Mario's day as Jumpman to one of the best games of all time in Mario 3, the total sales of games in which Mario has appeared in amounts to well over, well over, 300 million games.
Three. Hundred. Million. Games.
Mario has appeared in TV shows, appeared in movies, has had songs made about him, and is the godfather of video games. Mario made video games famous, and when it comes down to it, the original Super Mario Brothers is by far the most influential game ever made. Other games have set the trends for their respective genres, but the original Mario title set the trend for video games in and of themselves. To put this in perspective, Sonic the Hedgehog is a character specifically designed to be a cooler version of Mario, and Sega was a company that was out to dethrone Nintendo from being the king of the video games industry. Ten years later, and Sega is now a third party developer for Nintendo.
Mario may not be the strongest character on GameFAQs, but make no mistake about Mario as a pop culture icon. Through all these years, Mario has remained as the single most recognizable figure in gaming. Other characters, including Sonic, Lara Croft, and Crash Bandicoot have tried dethroning Mario from this position, but Mario still finds a way to outlast them all. When it comes to video games, no matter what happens, Mario himself is the Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, and it would take an act of God for any other gaming character to take the position that Mario currently has away from him.
"It's-a me, Mario!" -Mario
Win-Loss Record: 30-9
Summer 2002 Contest - North Division - 1 seed
- Northern Round 1 --- Defeated (16) Servbot, 39436 [74.11%] - 13777 [25.89%]
- Northern Quarterfinal --- Defeated (9) Morrigan Aensland, 44448 [66.81%] - 22084 [33.19%]
- Northern Semifinal --- Defeated (4) Donkey Kong, 52333 [81.98%] - 11507 [18.02%]
- Northern Final --- Defeated (2) Cloud, 64990 [50.11%] - 64713 [49.89%]
- Final Four --- Defeated (5) Crono, 53831 [50.05%] - 53716 [49.95%]
- Finals --- Lost to (2) Link, 36796 [37.47%] - 61415 [62.53%]
- Extrapolated Strength --- 6th Place [37.47%]
Summer 2003 Contest - South Division - 1 seed
- Southern Round 1 --- Defeated (16) Captain Olimar, 89189 [88.42%] - 11678 [11.58%]
- Southern Quarterfinal --- Defeated (9) Shadow the Hedgehog, 59756 [55.10%] - 48694 [44.90%]
- Southern Semifinal --- Defeated (4) Crono, 66571 [50.05%] - 66434 [49.95%]
- Southern Final --- Lost to (2) Sephiroth, 47458 [38.40%] - 76129 [61.60%]
- Extrapolated Strength --- 5th Place [36.95%]
Summer 2004 Contest - Hyrule Division - 2 seed
- Hyrule Round 1 --- Defeated (15) JC Denton, 65184 [83.54%] - 12847 [16.46%]
- Hyrule Quarterfinal --- Defeated (7) Bowser, 56098 [70.65%] - 23302 [29.35%]
- Hyrule Semifinal --- Lost to (3) Crono, 45165 [46.76%] - 51430 [53.24%]
- Extrapolated Strength --- 7th Place [34.77%]
As powerful as Mario is as a pop culture icon, he hasn't had quite enough strength to have the same power on GameFAQs. To think that Mario may never be strong enough to win a contest on GameFAQs is somewhat disheartening, but those are the breaks. Mario simply doesn't cater to the GameFAQs fanbase the way he does to culture as a whole.
2002 was clearly Mario's best year. After blowing away his first three opponents with ease, he went up against the main character of the very game that made GameFAQs famous, Cloud Strife and Final Fantasy 7. After falling behind by 1000 votes, Mario rode the momentum of Planet Gamecube and Super Mario Sunshine being released the day of the match all the way to a comeback victory. Board 8 was never busier than it was on that day. There were well over 100 pages of topics and over 100,000 posts total. But Mario was not done there. In his next match against Crono, the roles were reversed. Mario went up by 1000 votes in that match, and this time it was Crono who would come back with a vengeance. After Crono came all the way back and took the lead with one of the final updates, CJayC took votes away from Crono due to catching a vote-stuffer in the act. Mario escaped the match with the win, but his luck ran out in the finals as Link beat him down with ease.
In 2003, Mario wasn't quite as strong as he was in 2002. He beat his first two opponents with ease, but after another epic, close victory against Crono in the divisional semifinal round, Mario was steamrolled by Sephiroth in the match afterward. 2004 was a year that saw Mario lose even earlier in the contest. After he took down his first two opponents with relative ease once again, Mario was to face Crono in yet another rematch between the two heated rivals. But this time, Mario simply had nothing left in the tank. He rolled over and died quite early in the match, and was never in it at all.
As popular as Mario is, he hasn't shown to have enough ability to be able to win a contest on GameFAQs. He always does well, but he can't seem to reach the level of elite necessary to win. To add onto this, Mario may very well have lost to Cloud in 2002 had there not been interference from Planet Gamecube during the match. Mario is a top five character at best, and even though he has the support necessary to win close matches, he'll have to wait until his next major title, most likely Mario 128, to even think of being good enough to take down the likes of Cloud, Link, or Sephiroth.
But even though Mario may never win a contest on GameFAQs, it sure as hell doesn't discredit his career. GameFAQs is but one site, after all.
Summer 2005 Contest - Mushroom Division - 1 Seed
- Mushroom Round 1 --- Defeated (8)Mushroom Round 1 --- Defeated (8) Joanna Dark, 80185 [80.89%] - 18941 [19.11%]
- Mushroom Semifinal --- Defeated (4) Ness, 75566 [82.80%] - 15696 [17.20%]
- Mushroom Final --- Defeated (3) Zero, 67452 [62.86%] - 39856 [37.14%]
- Contest Quarterfinal --- Defeated (1) Samus, 58304 [59.79%] - 39215 [40.21%]
- Contest Semifinal --- Defeated (1) Solid Snake, 59463 [57.21%] - 44483 [42.79%]
- Contest Final --- Defeated (2) Crono, 55739 [53.85%] - 47762 [46.15%]
Tournament of Champions - 4 Seed
- Tournament of Champions Semifinal --- Lost to (3) Sephiroth, 50598 [43.93%] - 64570 [56.07%]
- Extrapolated Strength --- 4th Place [39.59%]
Just as a quick note, Mario Xst strength isn't listed in with the main bracket because Xsts were never made for the main bracket. Mario was also the only character from the main bracket to be put in the TOC (out of winning the contest, durrr), so his Xst strength is listed after his loss against Sephiroth.
It was a bit difficult to estimate Mario properly due to all the talk being about how Samus would whip his ass, and many felt that even if Mario were "lucky" enough to make it past Samus that he was likely screwed in the finals anyway.
....Right. Mario sliced through his division with ease, and it took all of ten seconds into his match with Samus before everyone realized that Mario was going to win the Clinkeroth-less main bracket of the Summer 2005 Contest. Even better for Mario was the fact that he faced Crono (his big rival) in the finals of the contest and not only beat him, but completely wiped the floor with him. There was no doubt as to who the winner of the main bracket was, though the accomplishment felt watered down once Mario went up against Sephiroth and got his face kicked in after spending two months owning the hell out of the main bracket. Mario's chances were slim as is, but post-AC Sephy was a bit too much for him.
Still, paper champion or not, Mario finally earned his title. And really, who in the hell deserved to win one of these things more than the godfather of gaming himself?
Summer 2006 Contest - Battle Royal
- Battle Royale Day 1 --- Outlasted Samus, 18473 [11.59%] - 12335 [7.74%]
- Battle Royale Day 2 --- Lost to Solid Snake, 15878 [11.18%] - 20954 [14.76%]
- Extrapolated Strength --- N/A
It was cool for Mario to be in the Battle Royale as per being a past champion, but he disappointed by exiting very early. He only lasted two days, and fell victim to the massive SFF beating laid on both him and Samus. Mario's a bit of an odd character, as he's very strong for a main bracket but not quite good enough to beat the big three in any type of match, gimmick or not. We'll see what the future holds for him.
Summer 2007 Contest - Division 3 - Third Group
- Division 3 Round 1 --- 1st place , 76130 [57.91%] - Big Boss, 30234 [23.00%] - Pac-Man, 13289 [10.11%] - Wander, 11819 [8.99%]
- Division 3 Round 2 --- 1st place , 62062 [46.60%] - Big Boss, 33146 [24.89%] - Magus, 23700 [17.80%] - Phoenix Wright, 14263 [10.71%]
- Division 3 Finals --- 2nd place , 50341 [35.08%] - Sephiroth, 65795 [45.85%] - Big Boss, 15787 [11.00%] - Fox McCloud, 11566 [8.06%]
- Contest Quarterfinal --- 3rd place , 32239 [22.24%] - Link, 52795 [36.42%] - Sephiroth, 45633 [31.48%] - Vincent Valentine, 14277 [9.85%]
You've really got to wonder if Sephiroth is the equivalent of Kryptonite for Mario. It seems like every time he faces the guy, he chokes. He can't even come close. Maybe Bowser should get some tips from Sephy in the future. For what it's worth, he did dominate his first two matches impressively as he was expected to do. In addition, Mario didn't fare too badly against Link, contrary to what the Battle Royale last year seemed to indicate would happen. Perhaps Samus hindered him more than Link did. Who knows? The plumber seems to be in a tier all of his own. Nobody below him can compete with him, but he won't be competing with Clinkeroth any time soon either.
Summer 2008 Contest - Division 2 - Third Group
- Division 2 Round 1 --- 1st place , 53836 [40.47%] - Zelda, 32691 [24.58%] - Knuckles the Echidna, 27794 [20.90%] - Fei Fong Wong, 18695 [14.05%]
- Division 2 Round 2 --- 1st place , 42599 [31.04%] - Mega Man X, 41146 [29.98%] - Zelda, 27572 [20.09%] - Mudkip, 25908 [18.88%]
- Division 2 Final --- 1st place , 44537 [32.73%] - Mega Man X, 40050 [29.44%] - Liquid Snake, 29823 [21.92%] - Luigi, 21647 [15.91%]
- Contest Quarterfinal --- 2nd place , 29244 [21.67%] - Link, 54357 [40.28%] - Zack Fair, 28099 [20.82%] - Mega Man X, 23237 [17.22%]
- Contest Semifinal --- 3rd place , 25594 [19.56%] - Link, 50315% [38.45%] - Crono, 33087 [25.28%] - Samus Aran, 21871 [16.71%]
Mario was able to win three matches before being grouped with Link. The champ and Samus were too much of a Nintendo cluster that Mario's rival Crono was able to slip through with Link to the contest finals. Mario can still beat him 1 vs. 1 but Mario will have to wait to get his revenge some other day.
Winter 2010 Contest - Mushroom Division - 1 Seed
- Mushroom Round 1 --- Defeated (16) Falco Lombardi, 44525 [81.04%] - 10419 [18.96%]
- Mushroom Round 2 --- Defeated (8) Big Boss, 36136 [63.16%] - 21075 [36.84%]
- Mushroom Semifinal --- Defeated (4) Ike, 38401 [74.10%] - 13420 [25.90%]
- Mushroom Final --- Defeated (3) Mega Man, 29285 [58.38%] - 20879 [41.62%]
- Contest Quarterfinal --- Defeated (7) Charizard, 41452 [53.59%] - 35896 [46.41%]
- Contest Semifinal --- Lost to (1) Link, 37006 [35.43%] - 67456 [64.57%]
- Extrapolated Strength --- 12th Place [35.43%]
Mario looked incredible early on. Mario was able to break 80% in his first match. A feat that not even Link could do against Thrall. There was some debate if Charizard's run could get past Mario, but he didn't although he was the closest. Eventually Link got the better of him. This was also the first time they met in a 1 vs. 1 setting since the first Character Battle.
Summer 2013 Contest - Division 8 - 1 Seed
- Division 8 Round 1 --- 1st place, 20759 (69.47%) - (18) Duke Nukem, 6011 [20.12%] - (27) Fawful, 3110 [10.41%]
- Division 8 Round 2 --- 2nd place, 16409 (41.09%) - (6) Vivi, 16483 [41.27%] - (9) Ganondorf, 7045 [17.67%]
- Bonus Battle 2 --- 1st place, 13038 (39.46%) - (1) Crono, 11525 [34.89%] - (7) Mega Man X, 8474 [25.65%]
Draven winning the ninth character battle was the biggest complaint about rallies. Mario falling in Round 2 was the second. Granted, rival Crono became the first 1 seed\N9er to suffer an upset a few days earlier, but it was not unexpected from combining two characters from an acclaimed 18 year old (!) game with the mascot of a franchise that still runs strong. But IT'S FREAKING MARIO! He shouldn't suffer this kind of defeat. Alas, 4chan rallying for Vivi and Ganondorf leeching the Nintendo vote led to a really close defeat by the plumber. And since Mario and Crono remain bound for each other both were the bonus battle with the three strongest losers along with Mega Man X (victim of the already mentioned Draven rally). The easy win proves that only being in unfavorable situations can take down this icon.
Fall 2018 Contest - Finals Division - 7 Seed
- Legends Round 1 --- Defeated Sephiroth, 11993 [59.25%] - 17437 [40.75%]
- Legends Round 2 --- Defeated (2) Samus Aran, 14765 [51.42%] - 13950 [48.58%]
- Legends Semifinal --- Lost to Zelda, 13242 [49.09%] - 13733 [50.91%]
- Loser Bracket Round 4 --- Defeated (2) Samus, 14324 [49.97%] - 14343 [50.03%]
- Loser Bracket Semifinals --- Lost to (4) Cloud Strife, 14526 [49.76% ] - 14667 [50.24%]
Returning to 1-on-1s showed that in spite of what happened in 2013, Mario hasn't lost a step, even if like 2006 he was removed from the regular bracket. Super Mario Odyssey and Smash Bros. hype made Mario more appealing than ever, and in all matches he had most of the registered user vote, which counted double in a counter-rally measurement. He opened right away by avenging many past defeats to Sephiroth, showing how much things had changed by being the one nearly breaking 60%. Beating Samus again was no challenge, but then came the overall surprise of the contest. With Breath of the Wild boosting her, Zelda was going through characters she'd lose to otherwise, and this included Mario in a very close match. Being denied the final with Link, Mario had another chance by winning the Loser Bracket, where Samus waited, and even now she was backed by enough people to win in raw vote totals, Mario still won by 19 votes given his support from GameFAQs' own. The table was set for Mario to again bring Cloud down, specially with Final Fantasy falling and Nintendo in a massive high. Sure enough, aside from some of the first updates Mario took the lead and soon was leading by hundreds, a quantity impressive with how depressingly low the vote totals have become. But then, with just five hours left in the poll, Cloud tied, and started to build a small advantage that in the end amounted to 141 votes. Unlike in 2002, the FFVII faithful managed to make Mario the one who ran out of gas. But if there's another contest, hard to count on the Nintendo mascot losing the rematch.