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Digital Culture

Nintendo's 'Super Mario Odyssey' wins top prizes at Gamescom

The overall-wearing Italian plumber has swept the prizes at the video game trade fair in Cologne. The new Super Mario installation will be released in October - some 36 years after Mario first debuted as "Jumpman."

The pudgy Italian plumber from the Mushroom Kingdom in the red cap and blue overalls has triumphed again.

On Thursday in Cologne, Nintendo's newest version of its Super Mario video game franchise took home the award for Best Game at the leading European digital games trade fair. "Super Mario Odyssey," which will be released on the Nintendo switch platform in October, also nabbed the "Most Wanted" consumer award, as well as the prizes for Best Family Game, Best Action Game and Best Console Game Nintendo Switch.

Read more: Super Mario hits smartphone screens

The multitalented Italian plumber

Super Mario is the best-selling video game franchise of all time, and the Mario character has been a video game favorite around the world ever since Japanese electronics and video game company Nintendo introduced him in July 1981 as part of the "Donkey Kong" game. Originally called "Jumpman" - a reference to his signature move - Mario earned his own eponymous game in 1983 with the launch of the Super Mario arcade game that also featured his younger brother and fellow plumber Luigi.

The character Mario was developed by video game designed Shigeru Miyamoto, who also created other video game smash-hits like "The Legend of Zelda," "Star Fox," and "F-Zero." Mario has appeared in over 200 different video games and led to various spin-off series such as "Mario Kart," "Mario Tennis and Golf," and even the educational "Mario Teaches Typing." This one plumber does it all.

The well-mustachioed Mario first entered homes in 1985 in the "Super Mario Bros." platform game. In the game, users must navigate Mario and Luigi must through the Mushroom Kingdom, overcoming obstacles and defeating castle creatures, to rescue Princess Toadstool from the evil Bowser. The popular green, object-eating dinosaur Yoshi first appeared in 1990.

Though the franchise's character names and appearances evolved over time and with advancements in game technology, such as 3D-gaming capabilities, the appearance, premise and goals of the games have remained much the same - and much beloved. Mario and coompany have starred in one feature film, several TV series, served as Halloween costumers for countless young children, and even provided inspiration for the popular TV series "Game of Thrones."

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Super Mario Odyssey

The newest version of the franchise that was previewed at Gamescom, "Super Mario Odyssey," will be released worldwide on October 27, 2017. The player takes on the role of Mario and travels around to various kingdoms in an open-ended, exploration-based level design. A new addition in the game is Cappy, a spirit that lives in Mario's brimmed hat that enables the user to "capture" and use other objects and their powers.

Gamescom's attendees could preview the game at the Cologne fair and even meet game producer Yoshiaki Koizumi.

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