The Game: Twin brothers Mario and Luigi give up the illustrious life of ape-chasers and damsel-rescuers for their original line of work… plumbing. But this doesn’t mean the job’s any less dangerous. Killer lobsters and turtles abound in the sewer system (well, isn’t it that way everywhere?), along with airborne fireballs not unlike the foxfires in the original Donkey Kong. Another key event in this game? Nintendo solidifies its near-total dominance of the video game industry for the better part of the following decade and a half. (Nintendo, 1983)
Memories: The fourth game in an ongoing line of coin-ops starring either Mario or some member of Donkey Kong’s family, Mario Bros. cemented the rotund plumber as the star of the show, rather than a simian’s sidekick.
Mario Bros. begat Super Mario Bros., which led to a whole slew of games with similar game play (lengthy quests) as well as bit-players in the Mario saga (Koopa Troopas, Kirby, Yoshi, etc.). Super Mario Bros. even mutated into a very forgettable movie, but as bad as it was on film, it was a reminder of who ruled the video game roost: Mario (and therefore Nintendo). You’ve come a long way, “Jumpman”.
Where Donkey Kong 3 was universally skipped over for home console translations, Mario Bros. was a big hit, and Atari snatched the license away from Coleco to produce versions of the game for the 2600, 5200, and 7800.