Retro Vault is our regular weekly feature in which we dive into gaming's past and share five classic nuggets of retro nostalgia. If you want to catch up on previous Retro Vaults, check out the CVG Retro Vault archive.
Summer 1983 - Mario Bros Atari magazine ad
These days it would be unheard of to see any Nintendo character, let alone Mario, on another console. Back in the early 1980s however, before Nintendo unleashed the NES on the west, it licensed games like Mario Bros and Donkey Kong for home use.
Mario Bros, for example, was actually released on eight different home computers as well as the NES. This meant you could indeed find an official Mario game on your Apple II, ZX Spectrum, Commodore 64 or Amstrad CPC.
This particular ad is for the Atari 2600 and 5200 versions of the game, which was easily the least visually impressive of the lot but had arguably the finest ad campaign.
The odd dialogue you see from Luigi, ending with a distraught "Mario, where are you?" is actually taken from a jingle in Atari's TV ad for Mario Bros. You can watch it here; it's oddly appealing.
Eventually the NES captured the attention of western children and Nintendo decided its games had so much clout that not only did it not need to license games anymore, it actually made sense to make them exclusive so that the only way you could play them was by buying an NES. It's a policy that has never changed since.