Would you trust a plumber who pretends to be a doctor? Probably not, but Mario swore on this day 31 years ago that he would save lives by throwing pills at viruses. And he achieved remarkable success. Just not among the medical profession but in the world of video games.
Original Dr. Mario from 1990 for the NES and GameBoy consoles was a puzzle game similar to Tetris, but with a small variation in the formula of falling blocks. Mario was throwing pills into bottles here, and the pills had different colors at each end. These colors had to be paired with the color of the viruses that "bothered" the player. The ultimate goal was to eradicate all red, blue, and yellow viruses by stacking the tablets vertically or horizontally.
Dr. Mario had 20 levels and two-weight settings. It could also be played in multiplayer where two players competed in parallel over who would get rid of all the viruses first. The players liked "Mario's Tetris" and it achieved commercial success and grew into a series with a total of eight games. Critics, on the other hand, were not particularly sympathetic to the game - some accused it of plagiarizing Tetris, and some disputed the use of pills in the game for children.
Despite everything, Mario kept his medical practice for a full three decades. The last version of his doctoral role was the mobile one, full of infectious microtransactions that did not delight the players. For some unknown reason, mobile Dr. Mario is not officially supported by us, so if you want to play it, you have to get this app outside of Google Play.