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Mario, the beloved Nintendo mascot, has experienced a rich and vast history over the past 30+ years. First appearing in the 1981 arcade classic, Donkey Kong, this iconic video game character has taken the world by storm. Check out this list of 20 facts and accolades from Mario’s expansive history as the world’s most popular video game character.
1. Mario has appeared in over 200 video games since his first appearance in 1981.
2. Throughout his years, he’s held several occupations including carpenter, (Donkey Kong) plumber, athlete (Mario sports), kart racer (Mario Kart), medical physician (Dr. Mario), archaeologist (Mario’s Picross), and even president of a toy-making company (Mario vs. Donkey Kong 2: March of the Minis). Talk about a wide-spread career.
3. Mario was originally named Jumpman, referring to his signature offensive move that would also gain him access to different places, and worlds.
4. Mario games as a whole are the best-selling video game franchise of all time, with over 210 million units sold.
5. The voice of Optimus Prime, Peter Cullen, once voiced Mario for the 1983 Saturday Supercade Donkey Kong shorts.
6. Charles Marinet, the voice of Mario since 1995, also voices Mario’s brother Luigi, Waluigi and Wario.
7. Due to the limitations of arcade game hardware and graphics in 1981, Mario’s overalls were originally red and his shirt was originally blue in order to contrast against each other and the background.
8. Nintendo has never officially released Mario’s full name. As speculated by the “Mario Brothers” title for Mario and Luigi, and the live-action film, Mario’s name is known to be Mario Mario, but Nintendo has actually stated that this is not the case.
9. The famous plumber was one of the first video game character inductees at the Walk of Game in 2005, along with Sonic the Hedgehog and Link.
10. In 2003, he was also the first video game character to have a wax figure at the Hollywood Wax Museum.
11. A 1990s national survey found that Mario was actually more recognizable than Mickey Mouse to American children.
12. Mario is the recipient of 7 Guinness World Records including “Best Selling Video Game Series of All Time”, “First Movie based on an Existing Video Game”, “Most Prolific Video Game Character” and “Longest-running computer game character”.
13. Mario was named after the landlord of the Nintendo of America office. He interrupted a company meeting demanding rent. It was then that Jumpman was renamed to Mario.
14. Mario has appeared in several other video games including NBA Street V3, The Legend of Zelda games, and Metal Gear Solid: The Twin Snakes.
15. Although he is commonly known as the hero, he was actually the “damsel in distress” in the Super Princess Peach, Luigi’s Mansion, and Mario is Missing! video game.
16. With the limitations on graphics in 1981, in order to avoid making Mario’s mouth move, Shigeru Miyamoto (creator) hid it under a mustache.
17. In his second ever video game appearance, Donkey Kong Junior, Mario was actually the bad guy! After Donkey Kong is imprisoned by Mario, Donkey Kong’s son must come to his rescue and avoid Mario’s dastardly ways.
18. Shigeru Miyamoto originally intended on naming Mario, “Mr. Video” as his purpose was to appear in every video game he created.
19. Mario’s first ever power-up was the Hammer used in Donkey Kong.
20. Former WWF manager “Captain” Lou Albano actually starred as Mario on the “The Super Mario Bros. Super Show!” live skits.