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|Mario franchise character|
Mario, in promotional artwork for New Super Mario Bros. Wii (2009).
|First game||Donkey Kong (1981)|
|Created by||Shigeru Miyamoto|
|Designed by|| Shigeru Miyamoto (Donkey Kong)
Yōichi Kotabe (Super Mario Bros. series)
Shigefumi Hino ( Super Mario World)
|Voiced by (English)||
Peter Cullen ( Saturday Supercade)
"Captain" Lou Albano ( The Super Mario Bros. Super Show!)
Walker Boone ( Super Mario Bros. 3, Super Mario World)
|Voiced by (Japanese)|| Tōru Furuya ( 1986 film, original video animations and Satellaview games)
Takeshi Aono ( Mario Paint commercial)
Kōsei Tomita ( 1993 film, Japanese dubs)
|Portrayed by|| "Captain" Lou Albano (The Super Mario Bros. Super Show! live-action segments)
Bob Hoskins ( 1993 film)
Gorō Inagaki (2003 "Hot Mario" commercial)
Takashi Okamura (2005–2006 "Hot Mario Bros." commercials)
Mario ( Japanese: マリオ Hepburn: Mario) is a fictional character in the Mario video game franchise by Nintendo, created by Japanese video game designer Shigeru Miyamoto. Serving as Nintendo's mascot and the eponymous protagonist of the series, Mario has appeared in over 200 video games since his creation. Though originally only appearing in platform games, starting with Donkey Kong, Mario currently appears in varied video game genres such as racing, puzzle, party, role-playing, fighting and sports.
Mario is depicted as a short, pudgy, Italian plumber who resides in the Mushroom Kingdom. He repeatedly rescues Princess Peach from the turtle-like villain Bowser and stops his numerous plans to destroy him and take over the kingdom. Mario also has other enemies and rivals, including Donkey Kong and Wario. Since 1995, he has been voiced by Charles Martinet.
As Nintendo's mascot, Mario is said by many to be the most famous character in video game history. Mario games, as a whole, have sold more than 210 million units, making the Mario franchise the best-selling video game franchise of all time. Outside of the Super Mario platform series, he has appeared in video games of other genres, including the Mario Kart racing series, sports games, such as the Mario Tennis and Mario Golf series, role-playing video games such as Paper Mario and Super Mario RPG, and educational games, such as Mario Is Missing! and Mario's Time Machine. He has inspired television shows, film, comics and a line of licensed merchandise.
Concept and creation
Shigeru Miyamoto created Mario while developing Donkey Kong in an attempt to produce a best-selling video game for Nintendo; previous titles like Sheriff had not achieved the same success as titles like Pac-Man. Originally, Miyamoto wanted to create a video game that used the characters Popeye, Bluto, and Olive Oyl. At the time, however, Miyamoto was unable to acquire a license to use the characters (and would not until 1982), so he ended up making Jumpman (later known as Mario), Donkey Kong, and Pauline. In the early stages of Donkey Kong, Mario was unable to jump, and the focus was to escape a maze. However, Miyamoto enabled Mario to jump, saying "If you had a barrel rolling towards you, what would you do?"
Miyamoto originally named the character "Mr. Video", and he was to be used in every video game Miyamoto developed. According to a widely circulated story, during localization of Donkey Kong for North American audiences, Nintendo of America's warehouse landlord Mario Segale confronted its then-president Minoru Arakawa, demanding back rent. Following a heated argument in which the Nintendo employees eventually convinced Segale he would be paid, they opted to name the character in the game Mario after him.
Miyamoto commented that if he had named Mario "Mr. Video", Mario likely would have "disappeared off the face of the Earth." By Miyamoto's own account, Mario's profession was chosen to fit with the game design. Since Donkey Kong was set on a construction site, Mario was made into a carpenter. When he appeared again in Mario Bros., it was decided he should be a plumber, since a lot of the game is played in underground settings. Mario's character design, particularly his large nose, draws on western influences; once he became a plumber, Miyamoto decided to "put him in New York" and make him Italian, lightheartedly attributing Mario's nationality to his mustache. Other sources have Mario's profession chosen to be carpenter in an effort to depict the character as an ordinary hard worker, and make it easier for players to identify with him. After a colleague suggested that Mario more closely resembled a plumber, Miyamoto changed Mario's profession accordingly and developed Mario Bros., featuring the character in the sewers of New York City.
Due to the graphical limitations of arcade hardware at the time, Miyamoto clothed the character in red overalls and a blue shirt to contrast against each other and the background. A red cap was added to let Miyamoto avoid drawing the character's hairstyle, forehead, and eyebrows, as well as to circumvent the issue of animating his hair as he jumped. To make him appear human onscreen despite his small size, Mario was given distinct features, prominently a large nose and a mustache, which avoided the need to draw a mouth and facial expressions on the small onscreen character.
Miyamoto developed Mario with the idea of using him as a "go to" character that could be put into any title as needed, albeit in cameo appearances, as at the time Miyamoto was not expecting Mario to become popular. To this end, he originally called the character "Mr. Video", comparing his intent to have Mario appear in later games to the cameos done by Alfred Hitchcock within Hitchcock's films. Over time, Mario's appearance has become more defined; white gloves, brown shoes, a red "M" in a white circle on the front of his hat and gold buttons on his overalls have been added. The colors of his shirt and overalls were also reversed from a blue shirt with red overalls to a red shirt with blue overalls. Miyamoto attributed this process to the different development teams and artists for each game as well as advances in technology as time has gone on. Nintendo has never revealed Mario's full name, stating only that it was not "Mario Mario" despite the implication of the Mario Bros. series' title, its use in the live-action film adaptation, and information given in the Prima official Guidebook to Mario and Luigi: Superstar Saga.
Mario first debuted as "Jumpman" in the arcade game Donkey Kong in 1981. He is shown as a carpenter that has a pet ape. The carpenter mistreats the ape, so Donkey Kong escapes and kidnaps Jumpman's girlfriend, originally known as the Lady, but later named Pauline. The player must take the role of Jumpman and rescue the girl. The character was later renamed "Mario" in the 1982 arcade game Donkey Kong Junior, the only game in which he has ever been portrayed as an antagonist. In the 1983 arcade game Mario Bros., Mario and his younger brother Luigi are portrayed as Italian-American plumbers who have to defeat creatures that have been coming from the sewers below New York. Their surname was "Mario", resulting in Mario's full name being first given here as "Mario Mario".
In Super Mario Bros. for the Nintendo Entertainment System, Mario saves Princess Toadstool (later known as Princess Peach) of the Mushroom Kingdom from King Koopa. To save Princess Toadstool, Mario conquers the eight worlds of the Mushroom Kingdom by going to the castle in each to defeat a minion of King Koopa. To reach each castle, Mario battles through three sub-worlds by defeating King Koopa's henchmen. If Mario successfully fights his way through the castle and defeats the minion, he frees a Mushroom Retainer. Inside the eighth castle, Mario has a final fight with King Koopa and frees Princess Toadstool. In Super Mario Bros. 2, the player could choose between Mario, Luigi, Toad, or Princess Peach. Each character possesses unique abilities (Luigi has stronger jumping ability, Toad can dig the fastest, and Peach can float), with Mario being the most well-rounded. In Super Mario Bros. 3, Mario quests to save the rulers of seven kingdoms from Bowser and his children, the Koopalings, and Mario travels across eight worlds to restore order to the Mushroom World and to rescue Princess Peach. Mario is introduced to new power-ups that augment his abilities.
In Super Mario Land an alien named Tatanga appears, hypnotizes the inhabitants of an area called Sarasaland, and kidnaps its ruler, Princess Daisy. Mario then sets out to rescue her from Tatanga, traveling through the four geographical areas of Sarasaland and defeating Tatanga's minions along the way. He finally corners Tatanga in the skies of the Chai kingdom, bringing down Tatanga's alien warship and rescuing Daisy. In Super Mario World, Mario and Luigi take Princess Peach for a vacation in Dinosaur World sometime after the events of Super Mario Bros. 3; during the vacation, Peach is kidnapped by Bowser. Mario and Luigi meet the Yoshis, dinosaurs that live in Dinosaur World, and they help rescue Peach by allowing Mario and Luigi to ride them. In Super Mario Land 2: 6 Golden Coins, whose events take place immediately after the original Super Mario Land, Mario's evil counterpart Wario has put an evil spell over Mario Land while Mario was away in Sarasaland, renaming the area Wario Land. The inhabitants are now brainwashed into thinking that Wario is their master and Mario is their enemy. Wario's motive behind this sudden attack was to take control over Mario's castle in order to have one of his own. To stop Wario, Mario finds the 6 Golden Coins throughout Mario Land and regains access to his castle. In Super Mario World 2: Yoshi's Island, a stork carries Baby Mario and Baby Luigi across the sea, but the evil Magikoopa Kamek steals Baby Luigi, and Baby Mario falls onto an island called Yoshi's Island, home to Yoshis. After Mario meets the Yoshis, the group journeys through the game's six worlds to rescue Baby Luigi and the stork from Baby Bowser and Kamek.
Mario made his 3D debut in Super Mario 64. Princess Peach sends Mario a letter inviting him to join her at her castle for cake; however, when he arrives, Mario discovers that Bowser has invaded the castle and imprisoned the princess and her servants within it using the castle's 120 Power Stars. Many of the castle's paintings are portals to other worlds, in which Bowser's minions guard the stars. Mario explores the castle and these other worlds to recover the stars. He gains access to more painting portals as he recovers more stars, and he traverses three obstacle courses that lead him to battles with Bowser. Defeating Bowser the first two times earns Mario keys that open new levels of the castle, while the final battle releases Peach, who rewards Mario by baking the cake that she promised him.
In Super Mario Sunshine, Mario, Toadsworth, and Princess Peach take a vacation to Isle Delfino, a tropical island. A person resembling Mario, known as "Shadow Mario", vandalizes and pollutes the entire island using a magic paintbrush. The vandalism has also caused the Shine Sprites to flee from the island's main city, Delfino Plaza, and blanket the island in darkness. Blamed for the mess, Mario is arrested by the island authorities and ordered to clean up Isle Delfino. Mario is equipped with FLUDD, a robotic hosing device invented by Professor E. Gadd, which he uses to clean up the pollution and collect the Shine Sprites. Meanwhile, Peach is kidnapped by Shadow Mario, who reveals himself to be Bowser Jr., one of Bowser's children. Mario eventually confronts Bowser and Bowser Jr. and rescues the princess. With the island cleaned up, Mario and Peach begin their vacation.
Mario went to 2.5D in New Super Mario Bros. While Mario and Peach take a walk together through the Mushroom Kingdom, Bowser Jr. kidnaps Peach and flees. Mario gives chase, venturing through eight worlds. Mario eventually catches up, defeating both Bowser and Bowser Jr. and rescuing Peach. In Super Mario Galaxy, Mario is invited by Princess Peach to the centennial Star Festival in the Mushroom Kingdom. Upon arrival, Bowser invades the kingdom and rips Peach's castle from its foundations and lifts it into outer space. After failing to prevent the princess from being kidnapped, Mario meets star-like creatures called Lumas and their companion, Rosalina. Rosalina tells Mario that Bowser has stolen the Power Stars, the source of power for Rosalina's mobile observatory, and has taken Peach to the centre of the universe. Mario then travels to various galaxies to reclaim the Power Stars to restore power to the observatory and reclaim Princess Peach. In New Super Mario Bros. Wii, another 2.5D game, Mario, Luigi, and two Toads are attending Princess Peach's birthday party when Bowser Jr. and the other seven Koopalings ambush the princess and kidnap her. Mario, Luigi, and the two Toads chase after them across eight worlds, defeating each Koopaling as they progress. The quartet eventually confronts Bowser, defeating him and reclaiming the princess. In Super Mario Galaxy 2, Bowser, who has transformed himself into a giant using the Power Stars, attacks the Mushroom Kingdom and abducts Peach, taking her to the center of the universe. With the help of the Lumas, Mario pilots Starship Mario, a mobile planet in the shape of his head, in order to travel to various galaxies and gather the Power Stars, used to fuel the ship. After multiple battles against both Bowser and Bowser Jr., Mario eventually arrives at Bowser's lair at the centre of the universe, where he defeats him and rescues the princess. In 2012, Mario returned in New Super Mario Bros. 2 where he collects one million coins that are scattered across the Mushroom Kingdom in addition to saving Princess Peach from the evil clutches of Bowser and the Koopalings. Mario returns once more to defeat Bowser and his minions in New Super Mario Bros. U.
Other Mario games
Mario games of other genres include various Game & Watch games; Mario Pinball Land, a pinball game for the Game Boy Advance; various educational games; and the Dr. Mario puzzle games, (with Dr. Mario itself first released in 1990). In these games, Dr. Mario throws vitamins that the player must align to destroy the viruses that populate the playing field. 1996's Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System is the first Mario role-playing game; seven games have followed, including four in the Paper Mario series ( Paper Mario for the Nintendo 64, Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door for the Nintendo GameCube, Super Paper Mario for the Wii and Paper Mario: Sticker Star for the Nintendo 3DS) and four in the Mario & Luigi series ( Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga for the Game Boy Advance, Mario & Luigi: Partners in Time and Mario & Luigi: Bowser's Inside Story for the Nintendo DS, and Mario & Luigi: Dream Team for the 3DS).
Several other sub-series of Mario video games, especially those inspired from sports, have been released. The Mario Kart franchise, which began with Super Mario Kart for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System in 1992, is currently the most successful and longest-running kart racing franchise. Other Mario sports games include the Camelot-developed series Mario Golf and Mario Tennis, and, respectively, the baseball and soccer games Mario Superstar Baseball and Super Mario Strikers. In 1999, the Hudson-developed Mario Party series began on the Nintendo 64. The games revolve around a set of minigames and are playable with up to four players. Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games, released for both Nintendo DS and Wii, is a collection of 24 events based on the 2008 Summer Olympic Games from Beijing, in which characters from Sega's Sonic the Hedgehog series compete with Mario characters. This was followed in 2009 by Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Winter Games on both systems, based on the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver. Two more sports games for the Wii was released in 2011, Mario Sports Mix and the third Mario & Sonic game, Mario & Sonic at the London 2012 Olympic Games while the latter was released for the Nintendo 3DS in February 2012, which is based on the 2012 Summer Olympics in London.
Mario was originally portrayed as a two-dimensional sprite, but in later games, he is shown as a three-dimensional, polygonal model. He is depicted as a portly plumber who lives in the fictional land of the Mushroom Kingdom with Luigi, his younger, taller brother. In the television series and film, Mario and Luigi are originally from Brooklyn, New York. Little is known of Mario's childhood, though the infant version of Mario, Baby Mario, first appeared in 1995 in Super Mario World 2: Yoshi's Island, and has often appeared in Nintendo sports games since that time. Baby Mario has a major role along with Baby Luigi in Mario & Luigi: Partners in Time and appears in Yoshi's Island DS. He (along with the adult Mario) is voiced by Charles Martinet.
Occupation and hobbies
Mario's occupation is plumbing, though in the original Donkey Kong games he is a carpenter. Mario has had several other occupations: in the Dr. Mario series of puzzle games, which debuted in 1990, Mario is portrayed as a medical physician named "Dr. Mario"; in the Game Boy game Mario's Picross, Mario is an archaeologist; and in Mario vs. Donkey Kong 2: March of the Minis, Mario is the president of a profitable toy-making company. Mario is also an athlete in various Mario sports titles including Mario Hoops 3-on-3, Super Mario Strikers, and Mario Super Sluggers; as well as a kart racer in the Mario Kart series. Mario usually saves Princess Peach and the Mushroom Kingdom and purges antagonists, such as Bowser, from various areas. Mario has gained fame in the Mushroom Kingdom due to his heroic deeds, as shown in Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga, where the brothers are referred to as "superstars".
Since his first game, Mario has usually had the role of saving the damsel in distress. Originally, he had to rescue his girlfriend Pauline in Donkey Kong from Donkey Kong. Pauline was soon replaced by a new damsel in distress, Princess Peach, in Super Mario Bros., but returned in the Game Boy remake of Donkey Kong in 1994, and in Mario vs. Donkey Kong 2: March of the Minis in 2006, although the character is now described as "Mario's friend". Mario has rescued Princess Peach multiple times since Super Mario Bros. In a role reversal, Peach rescues Mario in Super Princess Peach. Mario rescued Princess Daisy of Sarasaraland in Super Mario Land, but Luigi seems to be more linked to her. In Super Smash Bros. Melee, the text explaining Daisy's trophy states that "after her appearance in Mario Golf, gossips portrayed her as Luigi's answer to Mario's Peach".
Luigi is Mario's younger brother. He is a companion in the Mario games, and the character whom the second player controls in two-player sessions of many of the video games, though he occasionally rescues Mario, as seen in Mario is Missing! and Luigi's Mansion. Super Mario Land 2: 6 Golden Coins for the Game Boy saw the arrival of Wario, Mario's greedy counterpart, who is often Mario's antagonist or an antihero. Yoshi is a dinosaur whose species is also named Yoshi. They vary in colour, but the original Yoshi is green. Yoshi serves as Mario's mount in games such as Super Mario World, and is depicted as a more sentient creature in games like Super Mario Kart and Yoshi's Island.
During the development of Donkey Kong, Mario was known as Jumpman. Jumping—both to access places and as an offensive move—is a common gameplay element in Mario games, especially the Super Mario Bros. series. By the time Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars was released, jumping became such a signature act of Mario that the player was often tasked with jumping to prove to NPCs that he was Mario. Mario's most commonly portrayed form of attack is jumping to stomp on the heads of enemies, first used in Super Mario Bros. This jump-stomp move may entirely crush smaller enemies on the stage, and usually deals damage to larger ones, sometimes causing secondary effects. This attack often enables Mario to knock the turtle-like Koopa Troopas into or out of their shells, which can be used as weapons. Subsequent games have elaborated on Mario's jumping-related abilities. Super Mario World added the ability to spin-jump, which allows Mario to break blocks beneath him. The Game Boy version of Donkey Kong allowed Mario to jump higher with consecutive jumps, and perform a back-flip. In Super Mario 64, Mario gains new jumping abilities, such as a sideways somersault, a ground pound, and the "Wall Jump", which propels him upwards by kicking off walls.
Mario uses items, which give him various powers, and differ between the games he's in. The first power-up Mario ever uses is the Hammer in Donkey Kong.
Super Mario Bros. introduced the basic three power-ups that have become staples for the series, especially the 2D games —- the Super Mushroom, which causes Mario to grow larger; the Fire Flower, which allows Mario to throw fireballs; and the Starman, which gives Mario temporary invincibility. These powers have appeared regularly throughout the series. Throughout the series' history, there have been several kinds of Mushroom power-ups, including the 1-Up Mushroom, which gives Mario an extra life; the Poison Mushroom, which causes Mario to either shrink or die; the Mega Mushroom, which causes Mario to grow very large; and the Mini Mushroom, which causes Mario to shrink.
A reoccurring power-up throughout the series is an item that gives Mario the ability of flight. The first of this type was introduced in Super Mario Bros. 3: One power-up, which gives Mario a raccoon suit, is called the Super Leaf, while another is called the Tanooki Suit (a transliteration of Tanuki) and grants Mario the ability to fly or turn into a statue. In Super Mario World, an item called the Cape Feather was introduced that gave Mario a cape. In Super Mario Land 2: 6 Golden Coins, a carrot was available that gave Mario rabbit ears that allowed him to fly, and in Super Mario 64, Mario could acquire an item called the Wing Cap, which temporarily gave him the ability of flight. Super Mario Sunshine introduces a pump-water spraying device named "F.L.U.D.D.", which abilities included spraying water and hovering.
Super Mario Galaxy introduced new power-ups, including the Bee Mushroom, which turned Mario into a bee and allowed him to fly temporarily; the Boo Mushroom, which turned Mario into a ghost, allowing him to float and pass through walls; the Spring Mushroom, which encased Mario in a spring, allowing him to jump higher; and the Ice Flower, which allowed the player to temporarily walk on water and lava without sinking or taking damage. Super Mario Galaxy 2 introduced even more power ups alongside those introduced in Super Mario Galaxy, including the Cloud Flower which allows Mario to create platforms in midair and Rock Mario, which transforms Mario into a boulder that could be used to break through barriers.
New Super Mario Bros. Wii updated the Ice Flower, which then allowed Mario to shoot ice balls that temporally froze enemies; and also introduced the Propeller Mushroom, which allows him to fly; as well as the Penguin Suit, which allows Mario to easily traverse ice and swim through water in addition to shooting ice balls.
Super Mario 3D Land introduced the Boomerang Flower, which allows Mario to throw boomerangs at nearby enemies; and the Statue Leaf, which allows Mario to turn to a statue.
In New Super Mario Bros. U, a Super Acorn makes its debut. This transforms Mario to his new Flying Squirrel form where he can glide and stick on walls.
Reception and legacy
As Nintendo's mascot, Mario is considered by some to be the most famous video game character in history, and has been called an icon of the gaming industry. The Mario series of video games has sold more than 200 million copies (210 million as of 2009), making it the best-selling video game franchise of all time. Mario was one of the first video game character inductees at the Walk of Game in 2005, alongside Link and Sonic the Hedgehog. Mario was the first video game character to be honored with a wax figure in the legendary Hollywood Wax Museum in 2003. In the 1990s, a national survey found that Mario was more recognizable to American children than Mickey Mouse; in fact, Mario has been called the "most recognisable" figure in the gaming industry.
Since his creation, Mario has established himself as a pop culture icon, and has starred in numerous television shows, comic books, and in a feature film. He has appeared on lunch boxes, t-shirts, magazines, commercials (notably, in a Got Milk? commercial), in candy form, on shampoo bottles, cereal, badges, board games, and as a plush toy. Nintendo of Japan produced a 60-minute anime feature which starred Mario and his friends in 1986, although this film has never been released outside of Japan. The animated series The Super Mario Bros. Super Show! featured a live-action series of skits which starred the late former WWF manager "Captain" Lou Albano as Mario and Danny Wells as Luigi. Mario appeared in a book series, the Nintendo Adventure Books. Mario has inspired unlicensed paintings, performances on talent shows such as India's Got Talent, and short films, which have themselves been viewed hundreds of thousands of times.
Many people and places have been named (or nicknamed) after Mario. Bergsala, the distributor of Nintendo's products in the Nordic and the Baltic countries, is located at Marios Gata 21 (Mario's Street 21) in Kungsbacka, Sweden, named after Mario. Many sports stars, including Bundesliga football players Mario Götze and Mario Gómez, NHL hockey player Mario Lemieux, Italian footballer Mario Balotelli, and Italian cycling star Mario Cipollini have been given the nickname "Super Mario". In the Spanish suburb of Zaragoza, in commemoration of Mario a street was named "Avenida de Super Mario Bros".
Mario's legacy is recognized by Guinness World Records, who awarded the Nintendo mascot, and the series of platform games he has appeared in, seven world records in the Guinness World Records: Gamer's Edition 2008. These records include "Best Selling Video Game Series of All Time", "First Movie Based on an Existing Video Game", and "Most Prolific Video Game Character", with Mario appearing in 116 distinct titles (not including remakes or re-releases).
Creator Shigeru Miyamoto has stated that Mario is his favorite character out of all that he has created. Nintendo Power listed Mario as their favourite hero, citing his defining characteristics as his mustache, red cap, plumbing prowess, and his mushrooms. In a poll conducted in 2008 by Oricon, Mario was voted the most popular video game character in Japan, outranking characters such as Cloud Strife from Final Fantasy VII and Solid Snake from the Metal Gear Solid series. Gaming site GameDaily listed the "unlikely hero" on its top 25 video game archetypes, and used Mario as an example of this. It stated that in spite of the fact that he should have run out of energy through the first level, he kept going. Mario ranked fourth on GameDaily's top ten Smash Bros. characters list. Mario was fourth on UGO's list of the "Top 100 Heroes of All Time", ahead of fellow video game characters Samus Aran ( Metroid), Link (Legend of Zelda), Gordon Freeman ( Half-Life), and Master Chief ( Halo). CNET listed him first on its list of the "Top 5 video game characters". He was voted 100th in IGN's Top 100 Villains for his appearance in Donkey Kong Junior, adding "This Mario is a total jerk, holding Donkey Kong Jr.'s dad hostage". UGO.com listed Mario's Hat twenty-first on their list of "The Coolest Helmets and Headgear in Video Games", stating "there’s always somebody at your Halloween party wearing one."