Before Mario, Before Jumpman, There Was 'Ossan'

You know Mario. Everyone knows Mario. Perhaps you even knew him once as Jumpman, the hero of Donkey Kong, before he was properly named. Maybe you even knew him as Mr. Video. But Mario was once known by another name.

Ossan was the original name of Nintendo's famous mascot, says Hiroshi Imanishi, former director and general manager, in the latest "Iwata Asks" entry. Nintendo president Satoru Iwata interviews Imanishi and Masayuki Uemura, R&D advisor, about the early days of the Famicom, the Japanese equivalent to the Nintendo Entertainment System, as part of the Super Mario Bros. 25th anniversary series.

The nickname Ossan means "middle-aged guy," Imanishi explains, the internal name of Mario before he was known as Mr. Video, Jumpman and ultimately Mario.

Imanishi, Uemura and Iwata wax nostalgically about the early days of Nintendo's 8-bit console, touching on its early difficulties, Nintendo's original plans for the console to only play Nintendo-created games and the creation of Super Mario Bros., featuring the world renowned Ossan.

Iwata Asks 25th Anniversary [Nintendo]