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After 30 years, here's why the world still loves Mario

When he's not defining childhoods, he's saving the games industry. Three decades after Super Mario Bros. landed on the NES, CNET examines the enduring appeal of Nintendo's iconic plumber.

Now playing: Watch this: The enduring appeal of Mario

The face of an industry, and the moustachioed mascot for millions of childhoods -- Mario is gaming. But as the hyper-competitive world of videogames grows ever more mature, how has Nintendo's cartoonish mascot endured as an emblem for the very best the medium has to offer? Hit play to see CNET go in search of the secret to Mario's success.

Originally dubbed "Jumpman", Mario made his first appearance in Nintendo's 1981 Donkey Kong arcade game, but it was his starring role in the groundbreaking Super Mario Bros. for the Nintendo Entertainment System -- which this year celebrated its 30th anniversary -- that made Mario a star.

The game proved to be a quite literal blockbuster, going on to sell over 40 million units, and rescuing the gaming industry from a catastrophic crash that had occurred just a few years earlier. Super Mario Bros. paved the way for plenty more 2D adventures, before Super Mario 64 changed the game all over again. Hit play to learn how this technical marvel established Mario as a mascot with true staying power, then let us know your Mario memories in the comments, and be sure to check out more videos on CNET.