Mario is easily one of the most recognizable faces to come out of Nintendo, but did you know his original name was Jumpman? That's right, in 1981 Mario first appeared in Donkey Kong, but then, he went by the name of Jumpman, but Mario was used as his name in some promotional material.
This game surprised Nintendo by its extreme success. To test the popularity of Mario, Nintendo released an arcade game called Marion Bros., which included Mario and his brother Luigi. This game was an immense success for Nintendo. Because of the success of both Donkey Kong and Mario Bros., in 1983, when Nintendo release the NES (Nintendo Entertainment System), they also release Super Mario Bros.
References to his original name appear in a couple of Mario games, such as in Paper Mario: the Thousand-Year Door, when an audience member refers to Mario as Jumpman before a battle, and in Mario Hoops 3-on-3, where his nickname is "The Jumpman."
Mario's look, even to this current day, can be blamed on the limitations that were placed on the programmers and artists back in the early 80s by their current technology.
The programmers couldn't animate Mario's arms when he moved without making them disappear, so they gave him overalls and a solid shirt color.
They also didn't have room for a face or ears, and couldn't animate his hair, so they gave him his mustache, sideburns, and a baseball cap. Shigeru Miyamoto, Mario's creator, has stated in interviews that Mario wears a baseball cap because he finds it difficult to draw hair.
Mario's surname or last name is also Mario, which explains the use of Mario Bros. as game titles, because Luigi is Mario's brother, so they have the same last name. was first used in The Super Mario Bros. Super Show, and then again in 1993 in a movie called Super Mario Bros.. Nintendo as a whole has never officially confirmed it, but it was put up on Nintendo of Europe's official Mario Megasite.
Ever since Mario has been popular he has been the unofficial mascot of Nintendo. He has been extremely and possibly over-merchandised along with his one time rival Sonic the Hedgehog, who came to be Sega's mascot in the early 1990s.
They competed fiercely until 2001, when Sonic Adventure 2: Battle came out for a Nintendo console due to Sega's new third-party status. Even though Sonic and Mario were now on Nintendo consoles, they still competed with each other, though not as much as before.
It hasn't been until recently, that they've been seen working together in the newly released Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games for the Wii. They will also appear in Super Smash Bros. Brawl together as well.
Mario is a 5 foot tall, portly plumber from Brooklyn, New York who lives in Mushroom Kingdom. He is considered to be the most famous video game character in history, and his series of games has sold over 193 million copies.
Mario has not only appeared in plat formers, but in other genres as well. The other genres include reaching, with Mario Kart, sports games such as Mario Tennis, and RPGs such as Super Mario RPG: The Legend of the Seven Stars.
Although Mario's said occupation is being a plumber, he is almost never seen doing any actual plumbing. With the exceptions being in Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga and in the original Mario Bros.. Pipes have still remained a mode of transportation, however, although the reason as to why might not be clear. However, in the original Donkey Kong games, Mario, who was still called Jumpman, was actually a carpenter.
Mario has also appeared as a doctor in Dr. Mario. He has even been shown as an archaeologist in the Game Boy game, Mario's Picross.
Mario's favorite pastime seems to be saving Princess Peach, and Mushroom Kingdom. Other ways he spends his time is battling villains, namely Bowser. In the role-playing games, Mario is given a heroic status for saving the Mushroom Kingdom so many times. In Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga, he and Luigi are called "superstars", which basically means huge celebrities.
Ever since his first appearance in a video game, Mario has been given the role of the hero, destined to save the damsel in distress. In the original Donkey Kong, he had to rescue his girlfriend, Pauline from Donkey Kong. Pauline obviously didn't stay in the series, as she was replaced by Princess Peach, who was originally referred to as "Princess Toadstool" or just "the Princess" in the English releases, in Super Mario Bros.
In 1993, with the release of Yoshi's Safari, Princess Peach was finally used in an English release of a Mario game, but it still wasn't used as widely until the release of Super Mario 64 for the Nintendo 64, three years later. Pauline has only been seen twice since the original Donkey Kong, once in the remake for the Game Boy, and once in Mario vs. Donkey Kong 2: March of the Minis, in 2006.
She has since been described as Mario's friend, not girlfriend, as that appears to be Peach's position. Mario has received a kiss from her countless times, after each time he's rescued her, but the true status of their relationship has never been officially revealed, most likely to avoid the problems experienced with Pauline, but there is obviously affection shared between Mario and Peach.
Most of Mario's abilities come from the items that he collects and uses. In the platform games, there is the Super Mushroom, which makes Mario double in size. He is called "Super Mario", when he is in this state, and he also gets an extra hit point.
Other examples of items include the Fire Flower, which turns Mario into Fiery Mario, or just Fire Mario. This allows him to throw fireballs at his enemies. Another item is the star, which makes Mario completely invincible, and allows him to defeat all enemies with a single touch.
In other versions of Mario plat formers, there are other unique items, such as the Raccoon Leaf, and the Cape Feather. The Raccoon Leaf turns Mario into Raccoon Mario, and allows him to fly short distances by whipping his tail around in the air, sort of like Tails from the Sonic the Hedgehog games.
The Cape Feather obviously turns Mario into Cape Mario, which allows him to whip his cape at enemies to attack ,and also allows him to fly. In Super Mario Land 2: 6 Golden Coins, Mario can pick up the Power Carrot, which transforms Mario into Bunny Mario and makes his falling speed reduced.
Obviously, Mario is an extremely popular character, who has been in many games, and has even inspired indie games and online flash games, which get tons of hits and plays because they are free. With the increasing demand for new games, you can look for Mario to keep evolving and testing the waters in new genres as well. The future is still as bright for Mario as it was 20 years ago.
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