Did you know that the character Mario originally started out as a carpenter? That’s right – arguably the most famous plumber around (fictional or otherwise) wasn’t always in the profession. Now a beloved mascot to plumbers and gamers alike, it’s hard to imagine Mario any other way. Let’s dive in – no pun intended – to the history of this famous character and his creation.
The Timeline of Mario’s Creation
Before the famous character’s debut came the company responsible for the magic: Nintendo.
1889 – Founding of Nintendo
Computers and video games did not exist when Fusajiro Yamauchi founded Nintendo Karuta in 1889 as manufacturer and distributor of Japanese playing cards called hanafuda.
1977 – Release of Nintendo’s First Video Game
Nintendo developed its first dedicated console with the pre-programmed game “Light Tennis” – a form of digital ping pong with six different game modes.
1981 – Creation of Jumpman
Shigeru Miyamoto created the arcade game “Donkey Kong” in 1981, which featured the character design we all recognize today, but as a carpenter. In this game, Mario was called Jumpman because he needed to leap and maneuver over obstacles in a construction site to reach the goal.
1985 – Creation of Mario the Plumber
In 1985, Nintendo released the game “Super Mario Bros.” which featured Mario and his brother Luigi. The characters move through pipes in the Mushroom Kingdom to collect coins and secret items in their quest to save Princess Toadstool from Mario’s archenemy Bowser. In part due to the underground setting, Shigeru Miyamoto selected a plumber as the ideal profession for the hero of the video game. The character design was also an intentional choice for other reasons, as detailed below.
Miyamoto faced the design challenge of creating a distinctive-looking, unique but instantly recognizable character in but a few pixels using the available technology. He wanted the end result to be a versatile avatar that could extend beyond a single game and serve as a popular character people could relate to with ease. Rather than a superhero, Miyamoto designed Mario to be someone who might live near you.
Enter the red-capped, blue-overalled, white-gloved, mustached Mario, the plumber who would go on to be the official mascot of Nintendo and the most famous fictional plumber ever.
Mario: The World’s Most Popular Plumber
Before 1985 players won most video games by achieving a high score. But in “Super Mario Bros.,” players had the freedom to chase their curiosity throughout the game world without knowing what came next. Through Mario, game mastery came from exploration and trial and error, building on player experiences to advance. Needless to say, the character design and game strategy were a hit.
Worldwide, Nintendo has sold over 40 million copies of “Super Mario Bros.” and the iconic plumber has gone on to star in multiple other games and spinoffs since his initial debut. In fact, Nintendo’s Mario is one of the best-selling video game franchises ever. Now, you can find endless references to Mario in film, TV shows, magazines, comics, songs and more in pop culture.
As an everyday character people could relate to, Mario’s popularity soared and still endures today. Much like the diligent mascot, plumbers are hard-working professionals who try their best to save the day. While we can’t combat evil toads or find treasure, our technicians at Atlas Home Services can help with your plumbing diagnosis, repairs and replacement. Contact us today.