In honour of the absolutely amazing eighth instalment of the Mario Kart series and our fab new Mario T-Shirts, we have decided to pay tribute to Nintendo’s finest icon. As a long time gamer since the NES days myself, I am very proud to present to you ‘10 things you (probably) didn’t know about Mario!‘
1 – Mario’s first appearance was in the game Donkey Kong but he was originally named Jumpman. Nintendo must have realised their hero was deserving of something better and his name was changed because of an uncanny resemblance to the landlord of Nintendo’s US office, Mario Segale, who had been busy chasing Nintendo for rent money!
2 – Donkey Kong was originally intended to be a Popeye game but Nintendo couldn’t secure the rights so had to create their own cast of characters. Popeye was replaced with Mario (or Jumpman), Olive Oyl with Pauline (the damsel in distress) and Bluto with Donkey Kong, a legacy was born!
3 – Mario was originally a carpenter when he appeared in Donkey Kong. Since then he became better known as a plumber but has also been a doctor, kart racer, archaeologist, referee, golfer, tennis star, typing tutor and many others. Has he no ends to his talents!
4 – Mario’s appearance was partly influenced by the limitations of the trusty NES and Arcade systems around the time he was created. His sprite wasn’t large enough to fit in a mouth so he got a moustache instead, his distinctive hat was added because it was too difficult to animate hair, and his overalls allowed for his arms to be animated clearer due to them being a different colour to the rest of his body.
5 – Mario was actually the villain of an early arcade title called Donkey Kong Jr. In this game Kong’s son is the plucky hero who is trying to rescue his father who has been imprisoned by an uncharacteristically nasty Mario! He tries to stop Kong Jr on his mission by releasing animals and planting obstacles in his way, what a meanie!
6 – Mario’s main antagonist is the King of Koopas, Bowser, but he wasn’t always the giant fire-breathing turtle that he is today. Miyamoto had originally imagined him as an ox, but other staff members claimed he looked more like a turtle instead, so the design was changed.
7 – The mushrooms from the Mario Bros games are based on a real mushroom called the Fly Agaric with psychedelic effects that make it feel as though you are growing in size when consumed.
8 – Everyone has seen the cover of the original Super Mario Bros many a time, but if you actually look closely you’ll see Mario is actually about to meet an unfortunate end as he is mid fall into a lava pit. That’s pretty sadistic Nintendo!
9 – The Super Mario Bros manual states that the people of the Mushroom Kingdom were all turned into blocks by the Koopa tribe, quite a sombre thought when you think of the number you need to smash and destroy to get to the end of the game! Perhaps you should bare these poor citizens in mind on your next play through!
10 – The original Super Mario Bros game on the NES was Nintendo’s bestselling game of all time until 2006 when Wii Sports was the game to finally outsell it.
I hope you’ve enjoyed these facts and have hopefully learned a thing or two (or 10!) about the Worlds most famous Italian Plumber. If this has got you in the Mario mood we’ve got a great selection of gaming goodies that are bound to appeal to fans of everyone’s favourite Nintendo star.