10 Amazing Facts About How Mario Was Born
We all grew up playing it. We grew up, obsessing about ‘The’ ultimate game. But do we really know anything else about Mario other than the fact that he’s a brick breaking, flower shooting, turtle hunting, plumber?
1. Nintendo president, Hiroshi Yamauchi was desperate to try and break into the arcade games division in North America but they turned out to be a complete disaster to the American consumers with the game, Radarscope.
2. In 1979, Nintendo hired Shigeru Miyamoto who was then simply an in-house artist, to create a game that would salvage the situation. And indeed, it did. Donkey Kong was born.
3. Before Mario became Mario, Donkey Kong was loosely conceptualised on Popeye. However, since Nintendo lost the exclusive rights to the cartoon series, Miyamoto was left with his own imagination.
4. Donkey Kong was about a carpenter who had to save his girlfriend from his pet gorilla. This little carpenter helped Nintendo hammer its way into the American arcade game scene. Donkey Kong sold over 65,000 units, totally.
5. That carpenter then, was called ‘Jumpman.’ However, everyone knew that Jumpman didn’t identify with the American audience and Nintendo had to come up with something approachable.
6. Many wouldn’t know that Mario is named after, Mario Segali. Who was he? He was the Nintendo warehouses landlord that barged into their office asking for his rent. Hence, Arakawa named him Mario and the rest was history, as they say.
7. Mario debuted in his own game in 1981 with ‘Mario Bros.’ It was about him and his brother, Luigi, who were now plumbers, trying to complete various tasks in order to save the day.
8. Mario Bros has sold 200 million units till today but this still wasn’t the winner for Nintendo till Super Mario came out in 1983 (that sold 500,000 famicoms within 2 weeks) Never thought a couple of plumbers could do that, did you?
9. Design wise, it’s interesting to note that an artist instead of a programmer, created this iconic game. But this is exactly what Nintendo needed in order to break into other markets. He was fresh with his ideas and lent a story-like element to the game.
“I didn’t know how to make a really cool character..so I made Mario.” – Shigeru Miyamoto
10. When Mario was first created, he had a bright red cap because it was tough to animate hair and make it move and he had a thick moustache so that the makers didn’t have to draw a mouth. He wore bright overalls so that he was easily visible too.
Miyamoto is a world famous name today, with other iconic games like legend of Zelda series, Star Fox, Wii Sports/ Play/ Fit. And Mario then went on to evolve into a three dimensional character with numerous versions of the basic game, like Mario Kart, Mario Space, Mario Golf, coming out. However, no one could replace the originality and simplicity of the first game and the characters it involved.
Today, either the sheer simplicity of Mario the plumber would get lost or we would finally get to witness Mario’s world through an Oculus Rift. While some might call it outdated, others would do anything to bring a part of their childhood memories back. Which one would you be?