'Super Mario' celebrates 30th anniversary

'Super Mario' celebrates 30th anniversary
'Super Mario' performs at the Nintendo exhibit during the Annual Gaming Industry Conference E3 at the Los Angeles Convention Center on June 16, 2015.

TOKYO - Nintendo will celebrate the 30th anniversary of Super Mario, one of the best-known characters in video game history, at an event in Tokyo Sunday evening where artists will play his theme music to fans dressed up as the hyperactive plumber.

Super Mario series creator Shigeru Miyamoto and video game music composer Koji Kondo are due to join as guests, while fans, many of whom are expected to appear in Mario's blue overalls, red cap and moustache, will watch a live performance of the most well-known Mario music.

Since Mario first hit the screens under his own name on September 13, 1985, Nintendo has sold more than 310 million units featuring the plucky plumber's adventures fighting off Goombas and Koopa Troopas as he races to save Princess Peach.

The character had earlier made an appearance in the Nintendo arcade game "Donkey Kong", but under the name Jumpman.

With his distinctive uniform and moustache, the hyperactive little plumber is instantly recognisable, a rare quality in the games market.

"Mario now has a status in popular culture equal to Mickey Mouse," Florent Gorges, the French author of a book on Nintendo's history, told AFP.

In his best-known adventures, Mario comes to the rescue of Princess Peach, but our hero has also been inserted into formats featuring football, golf or karting.

The games have often been accompanied by technological advances, such as the fully three-dimensional format introduced by "Super Mario 64" in 1996.

To mark the three-decade milestone, Nintendo is releasing "Super Mario Maker" on the WiiU console, which allows players to create their own worlds for Mario, or use those created by other players and shared through the Internet.

Nintendo is also eyeing the booming smartphone games market -- a long awaited departure from its consoles-only policy.

The Kyoto-based company said in March it would create games based on its host of popular characters, but did not release any details about which characters would be made available to play on smartphones or tablets.

The company hopes to offset weakening demand for its 3DS portable game system by tapping into smartphone games market.

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