Mario games of the present are not the mario games of the past. So i think its fair to say people are familiar with the franchise he represents, his character is one of the oldest video game characters in existance and thus an icon to represent video games in general. However, Mario as a character is well known, NOT Mario as a video game. If you mention mario to someone, they will know who he is but they wont be able to explain the games that are associated with his character.Originally Posted by Celestial
This is where choosing a preferable game and genre come into play. Final Fantasy is amazing because it does not rely on the same characters to sell the product, its a franchise with no main character. Just quality and consistant good story telling. GTA is a franchise with no main character(s), its a game known for its style of play and humor. Mario is a franchise that is consistant that it relies on the character as the icon. Many say if you have played any post N64 mario game you have played them all. In a sense this is true because they are becoming a bit repetative. So people play mario for mario. Get rid of mario and what do you have? In Final Fantasy you dont rely on any one known character, same with GTA. This is why people might enjoy these franchises more due to less repetative characters.
So we need to seperate Mario as an icon and game. The icon is popular, i wouldnt go as far as to say the games are, especially the current ones.