Mario’s 35th Anniversary

Jackson Gordon ’22
Science & Tech Editor

Mario Mario, one of Nintendo’s most beloved characters, recently celebrated his 35th anniversary, making him almost twice as old as the oldest student at St. Paul’s. Mario was first introduced as “Jumpman” in the 1981 game Donkey Kong and became so popular that he received a standalone game: Mario Bros.

This game also introduced Mario’s twin brother, Luigi Mario. Mario has appeared in over 200 games since, and together these games have sold over 600 million units. The Mario franchise is the bestselling video game franchise of all time, it has sold more units than the Call of Duty, Minecraft, and the NBA 2K franchises combined.

Mario almost missed out on all this fame because his creator, Shigeru Miyamoto, did not think he would be a popular character. Miyamoto originally named him “Mr. Video” and planned on using him exclusively as a cameo character. Mr. Video was renamed Mario after the landlord of Nintendo of America’s warehouse, Mario Segale. Segale came to the warehouse and confronted then-president of Nintendo Minoru Arakawa, demanding back rent. After a heated argument, Nintendo employees convinced Segale he would be paid and decided to name Mr. Video after him.

Mario’s name is not the only notable characteristic that changed about him, as his profession also changed from a construction worker to the lovable Italian plumber we know today. Mario’s original profession was chosen to fit the scene of Donkey Kong, which takes place at a construction site. When one of Miyamoto’s colleagues suggested that Mario looked more like a plumber, he decided to change Mario’s profession and created Mario Bros., which takes place in the sewers of New York City.

Mario is a pop culture icon who has received seven world records in the book series Guinness World Records: Gamer’s Edition. He also appeared at the closing ceremony of the 2016 Summer Olympics to promote the upcoming 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo. A 1990 survey found that Mario was more recognizable among American children than Mickey Mouse. This is an old survey, but Mario’s popularity has increased greatly, especially in the past year.

In the past two months alone, Mario World opened at Universal Studios in Japan, the fifth official Mario Day (Mar. 10) occurred, and it was the 35th anniversary of Mario himself. Mario is one of the world’s biggest pop culture icons and will likely retain this title for a long time.

Photo Credit: Nintendo

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