When you think of Nintendo, it’s likely the plucky plumber Mario from Super Mario Bros. will likely come to mind. This long-lasting dynasty of games has withstood the test of time. Yet, you’ll probably be surprised at some of these little known facts about the everlasting plumber brother franchise.
30. The Plumber Formerly Known as Jumpman
Nintendo USA was attempting to brainstorm a more marketable name for the character in the US when they were interrupted by their landlord, a man named Mario Segale, who inspired the upgraded name.
29. Graphical Limitations
Mario’s distinct look was designed in a way to combat the limits of pixel animation at the time.
28. Donkey Kong Jr Villain
Mario also appeared in the sequel to Donkey Kong, but as a bad guy who captures Donkey Kong, spurring on the events of the game.
27. Luigi’s First Appearance
Mario’s partner in crime first appeared in Mario Bros., one game before Super Mario Bros.
26. Mario’s World was Invented First
Creator Shigeru Miyamoto thought of Mario’s kingdom, Mushroom World, long before creating the character.
25. A Household Name
One survey taken in the 1990s ranked Mario as more recognizable among children than Mickey Mouse himself.
24. Super Mario 64’s Whomps
These creatures were inspired by a being known as the “nurikabe” or “wall ghost” said to block the way of travelers at night.
23. Super Mario Bros. 3 Chain Chomps
Meanwhile, these creatures were inspired by some of the frightening neighborhood dogs from Miyamoto’s own childhood.
22. Boos Based on Designer’s Wife
An ordinarily quiet woman, it was said she exploded on the game’s co-designer one day due to his excessive work hours.
21. Best-Selling Franchise of All Time
The Mario Bros. have landed themselves in the Guinness Book of Records as the best-selling video game franchise of all time.
20. Nintendo was Ready to Say Good-Bye to the NES
While Super Mario Bros. would go on to make the Nintendo Entertainment System a hugely popular gaming system in America, it was not intended to. In fact, it was meant to serve as a good-bye for the console to make room for the Famicon Disk System.
19. Original Cloud and Bush Animations Were the Same
To save the animators a bit of stress, they originally recycled the bush and cloud animations. They used them interchangeably, tweaking them slightly.
18. The Mushroom Kingdom is Dark
The backstory of the original Super Mario Bros. game explains that the citizens of the Mushroom Kingdom were all turned into the bricks, plants, and Goombas players encounter throughout the game. Each item or monster defeated is just one less Mushroom person that can come back at the end of the game.
17. 128 Life Limit
The game cannot handle players who obtain more than 128 lives. If this happens, players will get a game over the next time they die, thanks to overload issues in the game.
16. Hammer Bros. Eventually Get Bored
While these enemies infamously remain perched above Mario to throw their hammers down, they will eventually chase after Mario if you wait too long.
15. Super Luigi Bros.
Released as a part of the Wii U NES Remix 2, Super Luigi Bros. is Luigi’s time to shine. Players can only play as, you guessed it, Luigi. The game even goes so far as to invert things by scrolling right to left and giving Luigi a boosted jump power.
14. Mario Inspired Sonic the Hedgehog
The hit Sega game’s creator explains that he was inspired to create Sonic after trying to beat Super Mario Bros. levels as quickly as possible.
13. Miyamoto Directed both Zelda and Mario at the Same Time
Nintendo fans will likely be able to point on some similarities between the franchises. This is likely because both masterpieces were directed by Shigeru Miyamoto and in production at the same time.
12. Original Mario was More Intense
Surprisingly, the character was initially meant to carry guns and ride around on rockets, making the game more action-based.
11. Mario Has Appeared in Over 200 Games
While the Mario Bros. have spawned quite an impressive number of games themselves, Mario has found himself in a wide variety of Nintendo games.
10. Voice Actor Since 1995
The same American voice actor has voiced Mario, Wario, and Luigi alike since 1995.
9. The Super Mario Bros. Movie
This live-action movie was considered the first Hollywood movie based on a video game, although the film was not well-received.
8. The Introduction of Princess Daisy
The new princess made her first appearance in 1989’s Super Mario Land.
7. US and Japan Have Entirely Different Super Mario Bros. 2
The original Japanese edition of Super Mario Bros. 2 was deemed too difficult for American gamers, with American gamers receiving another game entirely.
6. Top of the Music Charts
The Super Mario Bros. central theme, the “Ground Theme,” remained on Billboard ringtone charts for a whopping 125 weeks.
5. Once the Best-Selling Game of All Time
Super Mario Bros. has only recently been ousted by games such as Wii Sports and Minecraft.
4. Bowser was Originally an Ox
Creator Shigeru Miyamoto’s designs were mistaken by animators as a turtle, and the modern image of Bowser was born.
3. Bowser is Not Always a Bad Guy
Bowser has been known to help Mario, such as in the RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars.
2. Not Always a Plumber
Mario has appeared as a doctor in the game Dr. Mario. However, he was first known as a carpenter rather than a plumber.
1. Mario First Appeared in Donkey Kong
Few players remember that Mario actually made his first appearance a side character in Shigeru Miyamoto’s first-ever game, Donkey Kong.
Mario’s Long-Lasting Legacy
The idea that Mario’s legacy could span decades and still leave room for more to be learned about this beloved character truly speaks to the character’s influence. Nintendo created the franchise with care and ideally expected players to learn new things about their fantasy world each playthrough. That legacy will likely continue to evolve over the years, with Mario not going anywhere anytime soon.