If anyone was in any doubt about the Mario’s status as a video gaming icon, you only need to look at the recent sales figures from Nintendo. According to the company’s finance department, Super Mario Odyssey sold more than two million copies in the three days following its October 27, 2017 release. Fast-forward a week or so and the global sales figure had topped 7.6 million. By way of comparison, Nintendo’s other 2017 hit, The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, sold 2.7 million copies in two months.


It seems that the rest of the world loves this extraordinary plumber just as much as we do – in fact, just as much as everyone did when Mario first appeared on a gaming screens as “jumpman” in Donkey Kong (1981). As a tribute to the continued success of Mr Mario and all of his virtual friends, we’ve decided to run the numbers and bring you a few of the franchise’s financial highlights. By picking through the numbers, we’ll not only show why Mario has become so iconic, but why we’ll probably see him bouncing across our screens for many years to come.

So, without further ado, here’s Super Mario by the numbers:

Gaming Sales and More

Since the release of Donkey Kong, in which Mario made his first appearance, the franchise has sold more than 528 million games (as of 2017). The bestselling game in the franchise to date is the original Super Mario Bros. which came out in 1985. Since its release, this video game classic has sold more than 47.5 million copies. Now, when you compare that figure to the rest of the gaming world, it’s certainly impressive. However, it doesn’t make Super Mario Bros. the top-selling video game of all time.

Sure, it ranks in the top five, but when you look at the stats, Tetris stands alone with more than 495 million sales. However, if you consider Tetris as a franchise, it pales in comparison to Super Mario. Indeed, when you combine the revenue from the Super Mario Bros. game and combine with revenue from 200+ sequels, spin-off games and merchandise, it’s estimated the franchise is worth a staggering $10 billion/£7.4 billion.

Mario as a Collector’s Item


Beyond the sale of Mario-themed games to gamers that want to play, the brand also has impressive value in the world of collectables. Despite selling more than 40 million copies in the 1980s, an original, sealed version of Super Mario Bros. can fetch a pretty penny in 2017. Research shows that an unopened game that which once cost £29.99, it is now worth around £72. If, however, you’ve got a factory-sealed version of Super Mario, you could get as much as £266 for it. In fact, if you’re very lucky and you’ve got a rare original, you could try to beat the $30,000/£22,284 price eBay seller DKOldies received in 2017.

When you compare that price tag to some of the gaming industry’s other collectable games, Mario comes out at the top of the pack, but only if you exclude Gamma Attack for the Atari 2600. This game itself was created by Gammanation Products, a company that used to make peripherals for the Atari. However, in a slightly left-field move, the company also decided to make a game. Basically a scrolling shooting game where you had to fire laser bullets from a spaceship, Gamma Attack never took off. In fact, only one copy was ever made and that’s why it appeared on eBay in 2008 with a sale price of $500,000/£371,400.

However, as impressive as that is, it’s worth remembering that it was a one-off and that’s the main reason it’s worth so much. When you consider that Super Mario Bros. sold many millions of copies, the fact a sealed version could be worth up to £22,200 is impressive.

Mario in the Mainstream

If the sales statistics for the games themselves weren’t impressive enough, what about Super Mario in the world at large? When it comes to merchandise, Super Mario and the likes of Luigi and Yoshi have been put on anything and everything you can imagine. From key chains and figurines to posters, costumes and phone cases, the cast has been used in a myriad of ways. For those that like the numbers, the average cost of a Mario action figure on eBay at the moment is around £10. Of course, if you’re too grown up for toys, there’s always the Super Mario Bros. movie. Released in 1993 and starring Bob Hoskins, this movie netted the franchise another $20.8/£15.4 million. Even though it wasn’t a cinematic masterpiece, it was yet another reason for Mario fans to rejoice.

Before we conclude our look at the Mario franchise, let’s talk about one of its smallest numbers: its file size. Unlike today’s games, the original Super Mario Bros. game wasn’t filled with 3D graphics, hundreds of levels and online connectivity. Even though it looked pretty good for its time, the game wasn’t a memory monster by any stretch of the imagination. In fact, when you look at the original game, you’ll see that it contained just 40 kilobytes of data. To put that in perspective, that’s smaller than the average sized Word document in 2017 and a lot smaller than even the most basic game you can play via your smartphone.

For us, that’s what makes this whole story so impressive. From such a small and, by today’s standards, simple piece of technology, an empire has grown. Whichever way you look at it, Super Mario has always been a hit. Whether it’s as a game, a collectable or a tiny trinket, it seems as though gamers and the general public can’t get enough of the world’s most famous plumber. In summary, that’s why Super Mario Odyssey has sold so well in 2017 and why it will continue to be a hit with gamers of all ages for the next few years at least.

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