Donning his red cap and rad mustache, Mario is one of the most well know animated characters in the world.  I mean, when you’ve been in over 200 video games in 35 years, someone is bound to notice. 

As popular as Mario is, I was pleased to find 10 facts about our plumber friend that took me by surprise. 

I’m Morgan with Bosstalgia Retro Gaming, and here are 10 Cool Things: About Mario.

Copyright Family Computer Magazine

1.  A Super Mario Bros. Strategy Guide Was the Best Selling Book in Japan…Two Years in a Row.

That’s right.  Just 7 weeks after the release of Super Mario Bros. in Japan in 1985, Family Computer Magazine published and released a strategy guide calledSuper Mario Bros.: The Complete Strategy Guide.

Despite being released on October 31st, it still went on to sell over 600,000 copies before the year was over, making it the best selling, non-manga book in Japan. The same strategy guide would go on to win the same award the next year in 1986.  Mario Mania was very real.



Nintendo Men’s Keep It Classic T-Shirt, Premium Navy Heather, X-Large
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2.  His Official name is Mario Mario?

There is still a bit of controversy that surrounds this tidbit.  If the game were called “Super Smith Brothers,” would you assume that the last name of the two characters was Smith? 

That was the logic used when writing the script for the 1993 live action movie, Super Mario Bros., which included a scene where Mario and Luigi both give their full names to the police.  

Mario fans who dejected the double name found some relief in 2012, when Mario’s creator, Shigeru Miyamoto responded to the claim, stating that someone mentioned the Mario surname idea as joke when writing the script for the movie because they needed last names for the scene with the police, and that:

“Just like Mickey Mouse doesn’t really have a last name, Mario is really just Mario and Luigi is really just Luigi.”

Shigeru Miyamoto

CREDIT: EVAN AGOSTINI/INVISION/AP/SHUTTERSTOCK

HOWEVER

3 years later at a Super Mario Bros. 30th Anniversary Event, Miyamoto, contradicted his 2012 statement, stating that the last name of the brothers was in fact Mario. 

It’s also hard to ignore this clip from the Super Mario Bros. Super Show back in 1989 (3 years before the live action movie came out mind you), when both Mario and Luigi seem to proudly claim their surname as Mario.

INTERESTING


3.  Mario is Named After Nintendo’s Landlord

Inspiration for the Mario’s name came from a landlord that Nintendo America had for their warehouse in Seattle named Mario Segale, who just so happened to be both Italian and an avid duck hunting fan. 

Rumor has it that they chose Mario’s name after he had allegedly stormed into a Nintendo meeting demanding overdue rent money.


Copyright Nintendo

4.  His Original name was “Jumpman”

Before the “Mario Mario” debate, our beloved Italian hero made his debut as “Jumpman” in the 1981 hit classic Donkey Kong.

He was a working man trying to save his girl from his now enraged pet ape, Donkey Kong. DK has kidnapped the girl after being mistreated by his mustached owner.  If there was one thing that man could do…it was jump.


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Nintendo Super Mario Bros 8-Bit Pixel Sprite T-Shirt-Navy Heather (Large)

5.  That Girl’s Name…is Pauline

Even though some of us have been referring to this girl as Princess Peach for a good portion of our lives, her name is actually Pauline.

As I mentioned earlier, her role in the story is that of Jumpman’s girlfriend. She’s been kidnapped by Donkey Kong and taken to the top of tall structures to avoid capture. 

Sounds kinda familiar actually…



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6.  He was a carpenter before he was a plumber

That’s right.  Before Mario even thought about touching Princess Peach’s kitchen sink, he was working as a construction worker named Jumpman trying to save his girl Pauline.  That explains all the steel beams and his pain pill addiction.


Copyright Nintendo

7.  His First Two Appearances Were in Donkey Kong Games

Yep.  Mario finally did get his own game (shared with his brother Luigi of course) in 1983 with the original Mario Brothers game. A game where you and your bro are now plumbers who are working to clear the sewers of nasty creatures.

But before all that happened, Mario first appeared in Donkey Kong and Donkey Kong Junior.


Evil Mario by HAVT

8.  He’s Starred as the Villain

Speaking of Donkey Kong Junior, this game turned the tables on its predecessor by making Donkey Kong Junior the hero, and Mario (now appearing as Mario instead of Jumpman) as the main villain.

Mario has now kidnapped and caged Donkey Kong, making this game Mario’s first and only appearance as an antagonist.


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9.  His Hat and Mustache Were the Answer

According to Shigeru Miyamoto, mouths and hair were extremely difficult to portray and program using such a pixelated area to work with. 

His solution…don’t give him a mouth or hair…well, any visible mouths or hairs anyway.  Instead, he was given a red cap and a dark brown stache


Copyright Nintendo

10.  Japan and North America Have Different Versions of Super Mario Bros. 2

You heard me right:  the game that we know and love as Super Mario Bros. 2 in North America is a totally different game than what was released in Japan as Super Mario Bros. 2

This is a crazy story, and I won’t be diving into too many of the fine details, but if you’re interested in learning even more about this, then I recommend The Gaming Historian’s video on the Story of Super Mario Bros. 2. He gives a detailed account of the events that took place, and it’s where I learned all about this debacle.

So here’s the quick version:

Nintendo’s Famicom Disk System. Copyright Nintendo.

In 1985, Super Mario Bros., the game we all know and love, was released by Nintendo.  The following year, Nintendo was planning to release their new disk system gaming console, the Famicom.

The disks had some major advantages over the current cartridges used for the NES, so Nintendo put the pressure on Miyamoto and his team to develop a sequel to Super Mario Bros. that they could release on their new system.


Cartridge BLOW ME Vintage Retro 8-bit Gamer – Mens Cotton T-Shirt, L, Black

They got to work, and initially developed the structure for a game that offered new features, such as vertical scrolling levels and the ability to pick up items and throw them. 

This type of programming proved to be very difficult and time consuming, and, due to the time restrictions, the idea was shelved as a prototype and the team moved on to try new ideas.

Copyright Nintendo

The Mario team had already been tinkering with making original SMB levels more difficult, both fun and for profit.  The team had just released an arcade version of SMB called Vs. Super Mario Bros., which featured these more difficult and even frustrating levels. 

Running out of time, Miyamoto took the idea of modifying the existing levels and ran with it and in 1986, Super Mario Bros. 2 was released in Japan for the Famicom Disk System after just 4 months of development.

Copyright Nintendo
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When the game arrived on the desk of Nintendo America, they refused to release the game as a sequel to SMB.  The first game was a hit, but this SMB 2 had the exact same graphics, animations, and music as SMB 1

Nintendo America didn’t want to release what was basically a more frustrating version of SMB as a sequel, and they demanded a new game to release as their own version of SMB 2.

Copyright Fuji Television

Around this same time, Nintendo Japan had been approached by Fuji Television about making a game for them to promote their upcoming festival called Dream Factory 87 using 4 Arabic characters that Fuji had designed and owned. 

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Nintendo agreed, and they took the initial SMB 2 vertical scrolling prototype and combined it with Fuji’s characters to make Yume Kojo:  Doki Doki Panic, or Dream Factory:  Heart Pounding Panic.

Copyright Nintendo & Fuji Television

Miyamoto’s involvement was limited due to having a new child, but his input was to more or less make it a Mario game, just with these Fuji characters.  So that’s what his team did, and they even noted after the fact that they all felt like they were developing what was meant to be the real SMB 2.

When Nintendo America got their hands on a copy of Doki Doki Panic, they told Nintendo Japan that this is what they wanted for their version for SMB 2.  After all, Fuji owned the characters, but Nintendo owned the game itself. 

So in 1988, after replacing Fuji’s character’s with Mario, Luigi, Peach, and Toad and after changing a few game features, such as removing the save feature which wasn’t possible on a cartridge game without a special battery, the game that we all know as Super Mario Bros. 2 was released to NA and Europe.  


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SO TO RECAP

  • Super Mario Bros was a big hit in 1985
  • Nintendo Japan releases the rushed Japanese SMB 2 in 1986 as the original game engine with harder levels
  • Doki Doki Panic is then developed from the original SMB 2 prototype using Fuji TV characters and released in 1987.
  • Nintendo releases the North American version of SMB 2, which is Doki Doki Panic, with Mario characters

BUT WAIT THERE’S MORE

Copyright Nintendo

Then in 1993, The Japanese version of SMB 2 is released with updated graphics and some slight modifications as the game Super Mario Bros. The Lost Levels, which was part of a Super Nintendo game collection called Super Mario All Stars.

THEN Nintendo Japan releases the NA version of SMB 2 as Super Mario USA, even though the already have an almost identical game called Doki Doki Panic


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Copyright Nintendo

Did you get all that?  Me either.  

Thanks for checking out 10 Cool Things About Mario! What are some of your favorite things about Mario that I didn’t talk about? Tell me in the comments below!

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