But What About Luigi? Happy Birthday to Mario

The Creation of Mario by DeviantArtist TsaoShin

So a lot of people are going around saying it was 25 years ago today that Shigeru Miyamoto created the Mustachioed One who’s helped sell over 200 million Nintendo games.  So I’m guessing the customary ritual is to eat mushrooms instead of cake? Anyway, they’re all crazy because Mario’s first appearance was in the arcade version of Donkey Kong, released in 1981.  He was then known as “Jumpman,” but come on, it’s the same guy.  What do you think, Billy Mitchell?

So it’s not really Mario’s birthday, per se, but the anniversary of Super Mario Bros. on the NES.  Now that I’ve set that record straight, enjoy some more delicious factoids about Brooklyn’s most beloved plumber.

  • He was originally named Mr. Video, as he was to be the face of video games.  He did, in fact, reach that level of superstardom, but ironically, Miyamoto-san has noted that had he not changed the name to Mario he likely would have “disappeared off the face of the Earth.”
  • He is largely credited with saving the video game industry, after the dark age of E.T.
  • He was originally a carpenter instead of a plumber, although he’s held several other jobs throughout his illustrious career including archaeologist, prescription-happy doctor, and ring referee.
  • Mario’s distinct look is less a fashion statement than a result of technological limitations.  The red/blue combo was used to contrast against black backgrounds.  The hat was slapped on to avoid having to deal with hair, and the mustache likewise in lieu of facial expressions.
  • Donkey Kong Jr., the follow up to the original Donkey Kong is the only game to have ever featured Mario (Jumpman) as a villain.
  • He’s made many cameos in other Nintendo properties, such as in a portrait in A Link to the Past and Ocarina of Time in the Zelda series, and of course as the referee in Mike Tyson’s Punch-Out!!.

Now, in his honor, please enjoy the soothing sounds of two 7 foot Tesla coils playing the Super Mario Bros. theme with sparks.  It’s crazy but it’s science.

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