It’s interesting the things you find out when people are in a talkative mood isn’t it? Up until now the mystery of how Mario came to be the way he is had been left up to the simple explanation of “that’s just how it got started”. Now we know better obviously since Mario wasn’t even Mario until he was given the role he had in Donkey Kong, and even then he wasn’t Mario, he was the carpenter whose girlfriend was taken by some giant, barrel-tossing ape that simply didn’t like the guy.
He has been Nintendo property since his inception however, and his creator, Shigeru Miyamoto, changed the world of video games without even knowing what he’d done at that point. He was responsible for Mario’s look, though the character’s name came from the landlord of a warehouse in Seattle, Washington, where the Japanese company first shipped the game Donkey Kong to the US with intent to distribute it. The landlord had a mustache as well and didn’t seem to object that his name was used for the character. From there Mario got his famous mustache and name, but that wasn’t the end of it.
His rounded, everyday person look came from the idea that he would be just like the everyday working man, not an Adonis with a rock-hard chiseled body, but just an average Joe that could do great things and navigate his way through a maze of pipes. This last portion was where he got his profession as a plumber, nice and simple. Mario would eventually go on to become all kinds of famous, but from Donkey Kong he would go on to Mario Bros., along with his brother Luigi, which was incorporated within the Japanese version first as well. Anyone remember the original Mario Bros.? The game with the giant POW sign at the bottom? You’d hit the POW and every monster coming out of the pipes would be immediately knocked flat?
Yeah, I didn’t think so. A lot of people remember the shift from Donkey Kong to Super Mario Bros. largely because the next game in line was so much more dynamic and included different levels and mazes to move through with multiple enemies that made the game even harder. Of course that really depends on who you talk to since some people went so far as to say that Super Mario Bros. was a piece of cake. I don’t know about that, but I know that if you spend enough time on a game that the pattern will eventually become evident and then the ‘easy’ part is taken care of. After that it’s all a matter of reflexes.
Mario has been the number one mainstay for Nintendo for a long time now, even if Link from Legend of Zelda has stolen a great deal of his thunder in the recent past. It’s all well and good to let Link have his fun in the spotlight now and again but the character with the staying power is the one that was used to initially bring Nintendo to the level it currently rests at.