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On 'National Video Games Day,' here are some of our favorite gaming stories of the year

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September 12 is recognized as "National Video Games Day." Although sources are unsure of the origin of this day, the impact of gaming on today's society is very clear. In the decades that the industry has existed, video games have provided entertainment to the masses and have influenced much of present-day culture.

Here are the most iconic characters in the history of the gaming industry

Many mascots and gaming characters -- including the likes of Mario and Pac-Man -- are among the most recognizable figures in the world, with their fame expanding far beyond fans of the medium.

The legendary "Tetris song" is actually a cover of this Russian folk song

Games like "Tetris" utilize other art forms and have repurposed them for a specific title. The iconic "Type A" theme from the game is one of many examples of how the fusion of music, game design, and visual art create an interactive experience that no other medium can do.

This gamer holds the world record for the fastest 'Super Mario Bros.' completion time

Nowadays games are being used for more than just recreation. The competitive scene of gaming has branched off into tournaments and events worldwide, such as with the rise of the international esports scene or competitive speedrunning. Gamers like Brad "Darbian" Myers have achieved nearly impossible feats through dedication and strategy never before seen.

Boise State professor uses virtual classrooms

Video games have also been utilized for educational purposes by professors like Dr. Chris Haskell of Boise State University, something that perhaps several years ago would be considered too obscure to even attempt. Several gaming-based charities have been established that use the power of this form of entertainment to address mental health or help children with their fight against cancer.

These are some of the worst 'Mario' games that have ever been made
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So while some video games may have been major flops, for the most part, gaming has continued to push the limits of entertainment and influence. With continued growth in the industry, it doesn't look like that is going to change anytime soon.

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