A Brief Tribute to 30 Years of Dr. Mario

Here’s to another 30 years of Dr. Mario

There have been quite a few incredible platforming feats over the many years of Mario games, but his attainment of a license to practice medicine may be the most impressive logic-defying leap the little-mustachioed man has ever pulled off. Dr. Mario is essentially just an attempt at injecting some Nintendo charm into a Tetris-type effort, but its weird concept keeps the derivative gameplay feeling hale and healthy if a little odd. After all, this is a game about a former plumber who somehow became a doctor that fights angry viruses with a variety of multi-colored capsules. How the little misshapen beasties got into his oversized bottle is anyone’s guess, but those pixelated globs look ready to start some trouble, and who better at dealing with mutant weirdos than the guy who stomps sentient mushrooms and flying turtles?

So it’s up to Nintendo’s very own Dr. House to save the day by throwing as many pills at the problem as possible until something sticks, matching the color of the capsules with those of the viruses, which somehow causes them to disappear. It may sound like quackery, but it works, and most importantly is plenty of chaotic fun. However, the real lifeblood of Dr. Mario comes from the multiplayer mode, where two aspiring physicians offer competing treatments, shaming any misdiagnoses with an increase in their opponent’s pill supply. The pace is fast and furious, the premise is absurd, and Dr. Mario is still a great cure for puzzle fans.

Patrick Murphy

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