Why Mario is Fun (And What Marketers Can Learn From It)


Mario is the epitome of the successful video game. There have been challengers, but none have yet to overcome the little Italian. Even gamers engrossed in modern online games typically have some roots in Nintendo's iconic series. But what is it that made Mario so damn fun? What continues to make the series successful? Shigeru Miyamoto, now senior managing director at Nintendo and one of the original minds behind Mario, says it best:

a fun game should always be easy to understand — you should be able to take one look at it and know what you have to do straight away. It should be so well constructed that you can tell at a glance what your goal is and, even if you don't succeed, you'll blame yourself rather than the game.

Miyamoto's words aren't just a glimpse at what makes Mario fun, they are a valuable lesson in clarity that can be applied to many things.

For example, when users go to your website, they have a specific objective they are looking to accomplish. They may be researching a product, learning more about your company, or making a purchase. Just like a game, your site should be so well constructed that users can understand how to reach this objective at a simple glance.

As a marketer, your job isn't just to get users visiting your site; your job is to make their visits enjoyable, and at the heart of every enjoyable experience, whether on a game or a website, is clarity. In a good website there is no room for ambiguity or confusion. Instead, create clear and easy paths that help users accomplish their objectives.

Picture via: Dr Case on Flickr

Miyamoto interview found via Maki.

Written by Chris Allison on December 3, 2009


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Chris Allison