First Appearance: Donkey Kong (1981)
Famous For: Super Mario Bros/World/64/Galaxy and many, many other games
Special Abilities: Jumping. Can gain many other powers with a variety of power-ups.
Biggest Enemy: Bowser
He's Super. He's Mario! He's SUPER MARIO! Easily the most recognisable character in video gaming history, he is Nintendo's mascot and has featured in so many games to list. While he made his gaming debut in 1981's 'Donkey Kong', it was in 1985 that he was thrust into gaming history with the release of "Super Mario Bros". And so over 25 years of saving the Princess from Bowser followed, and it doesn't look like it is stopping any time soon.
Mario is a man of many different other talents though. Although he's a plumber by trade, he is also an accomplished Tennis player, Soccer player, Golfer, Olympian, Doctor, Brawler, Kart Racer, Party Host, Demolition Man and many more. In fact, I'm pretty sure the only thing we don't see him do is actually plumb!
No matter what game he is in, he is always supported by a colourful cast of heroes and villains. It's very rare that you'll see him without either his brother, Luigi, or Yoshi, his trusty steed. Not only that it seems Princess Peach needs saving at least once a year and it's always up to Mario to save her from Bowser's evil grasps. Not only that, but Mario's evil counterpart, Wario, is never too far behind, though they've been known to work together in the past (especially if there is treasure for Wario to grab).
As I play more games in the series, these characters (and more) will be introduced in more detail.