Why Mario Will Rise Again. I love Nintendo. I just read "Game Over: Press Start to Continue" that talked about the people behind their domincance with the NES and their struggle to a tie with the SNES. Lately they've got a bad rap, with the N64 being seen as a kiddie game system, with fewer games, and that using cartridges instead of a CD like format was a total mistake. There are elements of truth to all these charges, but cartridges have zero load times, the games for the system tend to be a higher quality especially if you can see past the Japanese 'cuteness', by having four controller ports builtin to the hardware it has become the system if you actually have friends you like to game with, etc. In particular, the games that use the 'stable' of characters are all uniformly top notch.
The Mushroom Kingdom is a fan site that talks all about Mario, his history and that stable of characters. I love the encyclopdedic reference for all the characters, including all the minor bad guys, with images.
In related news, the Game Boy Advance is out in Japan. Kind of a sideways gameboy, but it can play games on par with the SNES (circa 1992 or so), instead of just the old NES (circa 1985 or so). When it comes out here in a few months, it's supposed to be retailing for $99! That's going to be a really interesting system. I'm almost sorry I got a Game Boy Color for Christmas, it's so outclassed by this one-- plus it has four player linking, including a feature with some cartridges that only one of the units has to have the game, the rest get what they need over the link. Neat.