The Story of Nintendo's Mario

The small Italian plumber has been Nintendo's mascot for decades. Now, Mario Kart can be played on your phone. This is the story of an icon, Mario. 🕹️🍄🏰🏎️

Not a superhero, just a normal guy

A legendary Nintendo video game character, Mario was born in 1981. Initially, he was named Jumpman, and was a carpenter, in the arcade game Donkey Kong. The same year, Nintendo of America renamed him Mario. His name makes reference to Nintendo of America's landlord, Mario Segale, an Italian American. He was created by Japanese video game designer Shigeru Miyamoto. At age 2, Mario was the hero of the first “Mario Bros” Game, seen on arcade machines. As a plumber, he had to fight, alongside his brother Luigi, enemies in the sewers of New York. Mario wears a moustache, a baseball cap because, at the time, the technology was not able to correctly depict mouths or hair.

At 4, with the release of “Super Mario Bros.,” Mario became the mascot marketing tool for Nintendo and its first console, the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES). Video games, a global market worth over 600 billion, 40% of the toy market, invented by creators under 25, tested on children under 15, for whom Super Mario is their superhero, just behind MacGyver and Patrick Bruel. At 12, Maris was portrayed by English actor Bob Hoskins in “Super Mario Bros” on the big screen. The film was a critical and commercial flop. The same year a pornographic parody was released — Super Hornio Brothers — starring Mario. According to Ron Jeremy, the actor who played Mario, Nintendo bought the rights to the movie to stop its distribution.

Over the years, Mario has worked in many professions, he’s been a doctor, boxing referee, tennis referee and painter. Perpetually single, Mario has an ambiguous relationship with Princess Peach, who he often frees from his enemy Bowser and then with Princess Daisy. At 14, Mario adopted his definitive voice, that of American voice actor Charles Martinet. For 24 years, Super Mario Bros. was the most sold video game in history with over 40 million copies sold, until it was beaten by “Wii Sports” in 2009. At 30, Mario was accused by PETA of approving the wearing of raccoon fur, because in Super Mario 3D Land he wears a Tanooki suit. At 38, Mario holds the record for the most sold video game series in history.