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HAPPY BIRTHDAY MARIO!

-The world’s most loved videogame character is 20 years old-

14 November 2005 - Mamma Mia! Prepare to don your dungarees in recognition of the 20th birthday of the world's original videogame royalty! Developed by legendary videogame designer Shigeru Miyamoto, a cap-wearing Brookland plumber might not be the most likely of gaming heroes, but in the last 20 years Mario, of Super Mario Bros fame, has captured the hearts and minds of millions.

In the early 1980s a small Japanese games card manufacturer called Nintendo revolutionised the entertainment industry by making a bold move into the fledgling computer games industry, a move that would later come to define the company's future. One of the company's first titles was the Donkey Kong arcade game, starring a small moustached Italian American called Jump-Man. In 1985 this character featured in his first ever dedicated game and re-launched with the new iconic name - MARIO.

Twenty years after this first appearance, Mario has become one of the best-known video games characters in the world. The Mario franchise has to date sold 190 million games around the world, across eight Nintendo consoles and has launched a hugely successful range of spin-offs including a motion picture, a cartoon series and numerous toy ranges loved by generations.

In celebration of the 20th birthday of the world's most famous plumber, Nintendo has declared November 'Mario Month'. To celebrate, Nintendo will be launching a staggering six Mario titles. Furthermore Mario Smash Football kicks off with an exciting bundle containing an exclusive pearl white Nintendo GameCube console!

As well as Mario Smash Football, the Nintendo GameCube will take on a distinctly active feel with the launch of Dancing Stage: Mario Mix and Mario Baseball during Mario Month. The Game Boy Advance will see the launch of Mario Power Tennis and classic puzzle fest Dr Mario and Puzzle League. Finally the Nintendo DS will be supported by the launch of one of the most anticipated games of the year, Mario Kart DS.

A release schedule for the Mario Games detailed below:

Nintendo GameCube

Dancing Stage: Mario Mix - 28th October 2005

Mario Baseball - 11th November 2005

Mario Smash Football - 18th November 2005

Game Boy Advance

DR Mario & Puzzle League - 4th November 2005

Mario Power Tennis - 18th November 2005

Nintendo DS

Mario Kart DS - 25th November 2005

-ENDS-

For further information please contact Kate Fayers or Stephanie Moses at the Nintendo Press Office on 020 7307 3103 or log onto the Nintendo Extranet at www.nintendo-europe-media.com.

MARIO *THE HISTORY HIGHLIGHTS*

All dates are based on worldwide launch dates

2004

  • In 2004, fans of this amazing franchise, will not be disappointed. Following on from the success of the summer smash Mario Golf: Toadstool Tour for Nintendo GameCube and Mario Golf Advance Tour for Game Boy Advance, Nintendo launches a further three Mario titles.
  • Super Mario Ball, available on the Game Boy Advance and launching in Europe on 26th November, is a fusion of both a pinball and an adventure game and sees Mario transformed into a ball. Steamrolling through enemies, defeating Boss characters and winning new power ups, this game offers Mario fans everywhere a rollercoaster ride through the Mushroom Kingdom.
  • Launching on 19th November 2004, Mario vs. Donkey Kong, is the all-new Game Boy Advance action adventure. The game begins when Donkey Kong sees a TV advert for an exclusive new toy product, the "Mini Mario". After rushing to the store he finds they have all sold out and decides to takes things into his own hands! The infamous ape breaks into the Mario Toy Company, stealing the newly made toys straight off the production line but it all goes terribly wrong when Mario turns up to give chase to retrieve his stolen toys.
  • Maps at the ready! Princess Peach has been kidnapped and Mario must follow the map's clues to the Star Crystals. Paper Mario: The Thousand Year Door, launching on the Nintendo GameCube on 12th November 2004, is an all new role playing adventure which gives Mario unique abilities to help him fold and squeeze his way to Princess Peach in a bid to save her from her evil captors.
  • Mario Golf Advance Tour, which launched across Europe on 17th September 2004 saw Mario and chums return to Game Boy Advance for the ultimate golfing challenge. The new story mode allowed players to have complete control of their own unique golfing team, who they must coach to turn them into golfing champions!
  • In Mario Golf: Toadstool Tour, launched across Europe for Nintendo GameCube on 18th June 2004 and is the follow up to the hugely successful Mario Golf on N64 where the golfing green plays host to some of its most bizarre and brilliant moments ever. Plenty of side games will keep players reaching into their golf bags as they enter a tough tournament, facing 30 challengers.

2003

  • Mario and friends return for more racing fun in Mario Kart: Double Dash!!. One of the most anticipated Nintendo GameCube titles by players of all ages; this game brings more skids, shells and spins by the bucket load!
  • The legendary platform title comes to the small screen in Super Mario Advance 4: Super Mario Bros 3. One of the best selling games of all time faithfully recreated for Game Boy Advance is as playable now as it ever was with all the magic a player would expect from a Mario title.
  • Action, adventure and role playing feature strongly in Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga for Game Boy Advance. In one of Mario's most innovative appearances yet, Princess peach has had her voice stolen and this time its up to Mario & Luigi to save the day!

2002

  • This is the life! Sunshine, sea and sand play a major part in Mario's starring debut on Nintendo GameCube in Super Mario Sunshine. Disaster strikes when Mario is framed for spraying graffiti and paint on the beautiful vacation island. With a special new water cannon, Mario goes to investigate the crime and cleans up the island with his new aqua device. At Japanese launch, Super Mario Sunshine sold a phenomenal 400,000 in just four days.

2001

  • For the release of the next generation handheld Game Boy Advance, Mario scores his own Super Mario Advance series as well as appearing in the multi-player smash hit Mario Kart: Super Circuit.
  • Nintendo's launch of Nintendo GameCube console sees his brother, Luigi, make his starring debut in Luigi's Mansion as he rescues Mario who is trapped in a haunted painting.

2000

  • Mario wins 6-4, 7-6, 6-0 in the action-packed tennis title, Mario Tennis, for the Nintendo 64. With some of the most familiar characters in Nintendo history, this fun-filled sports game was a true smash hit!

1999

  • Super Smash Bros. on the Nintendo 64 showcases Mario like never before. In a clash of the titans, Mario and Nintendo's stable of famous characters are thrown into fight arenas to battle it out by using wacky objects like sledge-hammers and Poké balls to achieve victory.

1996

  • Mario goes 3D! The biggest Mario experience yet comes to the small screens as his new game launches on the Nintendo 64 (N64). Representing both the worlds first realistic 3D home console game and the first game to feature analogue controls, Super Mario 64 is proclaimed by many as "the greatest video game of all time!"

1993

  • All the Mario classics on one superb collection * Super Mario All-Stars launches on the SNES much to the delight of his fans. Players browse and choose their favourite adventure and jump straight into the action.

1992

  • Mario gets to compose his first tunes and explores his artistic talent in Mario Paint on the Super Nintendo Entertainment System (SNES). In the same year, Mario and an all-star cast of Nintendo characters go head to head in a race for pole position in Super Mario Kart. The game immediately won over gaming fans and is thought of as one of the most entertaining racing classics of all time.

1990

  • Mario becomes a doctor in Dr. Mario for the NES. In the fast and frantic game, players get to grips with an innovative puzzle game where they have to match the colours of the medicine pills to complete lines.
  • That same year, in Super Mario World for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System (SNES), fans are introduced to the loveable dinosaur character Yoshi who quickly becomes an excellent sidekick to Mario. With a great tongue reach and an extra height to his jump, Yoshi is able to open whole new pathways for Mario and helps to defeat his enemies.

1989

  • Game Boy launches with Super Mario Land, propelling Mario onto the most popular console in the world. This is the first game where fans are introduced to Princess Daisy.

1988

  • Mario takes to the skies! With a special yellow cape and an exciting array of fun disguises, players get to experience Mario flying in the air in Super Mario 3 for the NES.

1985

  • Mario takes a leap onto the NES in Super Mario Bros. Armed with an array of skills from hopping onto enemies and jumping blocks to access new bonuses, Mario reinvented and redefined the "platform adventure genre". Super Mario Bros. is the first game to feature Mario's lovely lady Princess Peach and her aide, Toad. However, Bowser's first appearance in a Mario game also means that the Princess never gets a rest. Bowser develops a long history of kidnapping Princess Peach to lure his nemesis, Mario, into danger.

About Nintendo

Nintendo Co., Ltd. of Kyoto, Japan, is the acknowledged worldwide leader in the creation of interactive entertainment. To date, Nintendo has sold more than 2 billion video games worldwide and more than 350 million hardware units globally, creating such industry icons as Mario® and Donkey Kong and launched franchises like The Legend of Zelda® and Pokémon. Nintendo manufactures and markets hardware and software for its popular home video game systems, including the Nintendo 64, NINTENDO GAMECUBE, Game Boy Advance, Nintendo DS, and Game Boy - the world's best-selling video game system which has sold over 180 million units. As a wholly owned subsidiary, Nintendo of Europe, based in Grossostheim, Germany, was established in 1990 and serves as headquarters for Nintendo's operations in Europe.

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