It’s a funny thing: When it comes to commercials for Super Mario World, in such instances that such a topic would come up, it seems the ones people remember are always either this one or that one. And while I do remember both well, the one which has always remained burned into my memory when talking about video game commercials is the one everyone has seemingly forgotten:

Perhaps the reason I remember it is, well, I sort of took it as a challenge at the time…

“You’ve played every Mario game.” Yup. “You’ve conquered every Mario game.” And you’re two for two. “You think you’ve mastered everything there is to know about Mario.” And the voice on the TV is reading me like a book.

“Well you’d better think again!”

And with that, I had officially been served.

Okay, granted, there was the matter of my lack of a Game Boy while growing up, which meant that Super Mario Land was out of my reach. But that was just a Game Boy game, and no one counts Super Mario Land, right?

Well, I’m pretty sure we did back then. So, that was a little salt in the wound there, amplified by my lack of a Super NES as the commercial rolled. And as a Mario fan, it drove me crazy. I assume you know what it was like, being a kid and all. In any case, time has passed, and just listening to that challenge again… well, if anything, it makes me think of how many Mario games I haven’t played over the years, for one reason or another.

Of course, part of that is the fact that one now has to consider what counts as a “Mario” game now. His brand has grown considerably since those days, now covering party games, sports games, racing games, role playing games, and more. And the simple fact is, as much as I would like to have done so, I simply haven’t been able to keep up.

In addition to the variety of genres and titles, there are also platforms. When this commercial came out, there had been two: The Nintendo Entertainment System and the Game Boy. Between them? Four games to bear Mario’s name… five if you want to count Mario Bros., six if you want to include Dr. Mario, and seven if you’re some sort of jerk who insists that both the NES and Game Boy versions of the latter be included.

…and let’s not even look at Game & Watch.

Compare that to now, and things are quite different. About ten consoles, and more games than I wish to count.

Fortunately, I’ve managed to make peace with it all. What was once a glove slap, a throwing down of the gauntlet to my excited young mind, I look back on now with amusement and a certain fondness for a simpler time. Despite how big a Mario fan I am, I don’t think there will ever be a time I’ve played, conquered, and mastered everything Mario… well, maybe during retirement, but let’s not get ahead of ourselves. And even if I do, there’s a good chance that unless this whole “vidya game” thing takes a left turn off a steep cliff, Mario games will probably be around long after I’ve shuffled off this mortal coil.

Plus, there are new elements as well. While I’ve still played and beaten a good share of Mario titles (I focus most on the “main line” games), I must admit I’ll probably never be as good at the 3D games as I am the 2D. I’ve beaten all but Sunshine, but I’ll probably never manage to completely master them. In fact, I’ve yet to 100% a single one of them.

That’s my tale, all brought on by an old commercial no one seems to remember. Is there a series of games you’ve dedicated yourself to mastering? And if so, has there ever come a time when you’ve decided– due to time, money, or other reasons– to let go? If so, share in the comments below!