Super Mario isn’t who you think he is.
Get ready to get your mind blown. Call me a naive summer child, but I grew up with some basic indisputable facts. One such fact was that Mario from the Super Mario Bros. games was Italian. It’s how he was portrayed in virtually every other piece of extended media. The TV show and movie, he was an Italian plumber. So, you can imagine my surprise when I found out that he was never really perceived as such by those who created him.
Earlier this month, Kotaku interviewed Nintendo’s Famicom hardware designer Masayuki Uemura. Needless to say, he had lots of good nuggets to share regarding the start of the industry. But, as you can imagine, based on the title of this thing, the big bombshell news had to do with Mario’s ethnicity. In spite of me thinking he was Italian…he is anything but.
“Super Mario Bros. isn’t set in Japan, but the character’s Japanese. The name Mario sounds Italian, but he isn’t Italian. They were really able to capture that ambiguity. The number of dots you could use to draw the characters was extremely limited, so Miyamoto was forced to use colors to differentiate them. He spent a lot of time working on the colors. In the end, it became the template for how a designer might express themselves through a game. It was a whole new world.”
Now, excuse me while I blow up my entire world’s perspective.
Okay, now that that’s done, I’ve been able to reflect on some of the old content I’ve seen and recontextualize it all. It’s not as though Mario ever did anything stereotypically Italian. I’m actually not even entirely sure his English voice portrays an Italian accent.
Regardless, given how much time I’ve spent playing video games in my life and how little I knew about Mario’s ethnicity, I’m sure there are plenty of you who are feeling the same. What do you think of this piece of news? Have you already this factoid? let us know in the comments down below!
Continue the LRM Online conversation on Discord by CLICKING HERE!
Have you checked out LRM Online’s official podcast feed yet The LRM Online Podcast Network? This includes our flagship podcast Los Fanboys, our premiere podcast Breaking Geek Radio: The Podcast, GeekScholars Movie News, and our morning show LRMornings. Check it out by listening below. It’s also available on all your favorite podcast apps!