La proeza de un rescate interminable: Super Mario Bros celebra su 25 aniversario

SMB_25th_anniversary

La fecha oficial de lanzamiento en Japón para Super Mario Bros fue el 13 de septiembre de 1985. Hace exactamente cinco lustros. Fue entonces que aquél fontanero bigotón de risible overol revolucionó por completo la industria del videojuego, no sólo por inaugurar el formato más longevo en los anales del entretenimiento interactivo, sino porque permitió, con su éxito, la fundación de una industria que, en sus inicios, tenía un solo apelativo: Nintendo.

La historia de Mario y su interminable epopeya rescatista es a la vez la propia historia de la industria del videojuego. De su evolución paralela a las tecnologías informáticas. De su paso por el cartucho cuadrado a las flash cards, los discos ópticos y los soportes en línea. De la institución de consolas caseras a la creación de artefactos móviles. De los controles analógicos a las pantallas sensibles al tacto, la experiencia de los sensores de movimiento y la creación de imágenes tridimensionales.

La noción misma de videojuego estuvo por muchos años ligada a Super Mario Bros y sus pautas de entretenimiento. Hasta hace muy poco, para los no versados en el tema, “Nintendo” era sinónimo generalizado de “videojuego”. Decir uno era decir otro y viceversa. La influencia de Mario es entonces indiscutible en el desarrollo de la cultura popular contemporánea, de una sociedad cada vez más abierta a los nuevos soportes electrónicos en donde el “entretenimiento interactivo” ha superado ya en facturación monetaria a la industria del cine y sus propuestas sensoriales lideran la vanguardia en artes visuales.

De plomero a rescatista…

Mario, nuestro heroico fontanero de enorme gorro, tupido bigote y llamativo traje escarlata nació en 1981 con el nombre de “Jumpman”, “el hombre que salta”. Su padre, la leyenda de los videojuegos Shigeru Miyamoto (quien fue serio candidato para el Premio Príncipe de Asturias de Comunicación y Humanidades 2010) ideó su participación para el novedoso arcade Donkey Kong, un juego marcadamente influenciado por el gigante cinematográfico King Kong, cuya dinámica consistía en controlar a “Jumpman” para esquivar obstáculos, trepar a la cima del nivel, derrotar al belicoso gorila y rescatar a la doncella en peligro.

Cuenta una bella anécdota que el nombre de “Mario” fue adoptado por Miyamoto y su equipo creativo para el estreno de Mario Bros en septiembre de 1983 debido al gran parecido anatómico que mantenía “Jumpman” con Mario Segali, un empresario por entonces dueño del edificio en donde la compañía de la gran “N” mantenía sus oficinas en Estados Unidos.

Fue, sin embargo, con el lanzamiento de Super Mario Bros en 1985 cuando la franquicia determinó el curso de la historia. La compañía había desarrollado el cartucho para el Nintendo Enterteinment System (NES), la primera consola casera que granjeó ganancias multimillonarias a una casa desarrolladora de videojuegos.

Desde entonces la franquicia ha mantenido un emporio, engendrado innumerables personajes secundarios y cultivado toda una escuela de entretenimiento. Tan sólo de la marca oficial se derivan ocho títulos a lo largo de un cuarto de siglo, de los cuales, al menos una tercia de ellos son incluidos por la crítica internacional entre los más influyentes de todos los tiempos.

Mario es considerado el personaje de juegos de video más famoso de la historia, sus títulos ha vendido más de 200 millones de unidades alrededor del mundo y su penetración en la esfera mediática rivaliza con la de Mickey Mouse de Disney. A finales de la década de los ochenta y principios de los noventa el personaje era tan popular en Estados Unidos que motivó la creación de tres series de comedia televisiva y una rarísima adaptación cinematográfica con actores de carne y hueso. Recientemente, su figura ha sido homenajeada en teleseries como Los Simpsons, Family Guy y South Park.

AM/RL/IM

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