You know he's got a moustache, a red beret and a penchant for jumping on people's heads, but have you ever stopped to wonder what you maybe didn't know about Mario, the world's most popular and iconic video game character?
He's Had Three Names
In Mario's first ever video game appearance, as the hero of Donkey Kong's 1981 arcade game, he was known as Jumpman. Before that, however, legendary Nintendo designer and Mario's creator Shigeru Miyamoto wanted to call him...Mr. Video. Why? Because he thought it was "solid" and "imposing". The plan was that Mr. Video would, like an Alfred Hitchcock cameo in each of his films, appear in every game Miyamoto made.
Which wasn't far from how it's actually panned out! As for the name change, it's something Miyamoto is grateful for, as he's joked "If he had been called 'Mr. Video', he might have disappeared off the face of the earth a long time ago."
The Men Behind Mario
The two most famous men to have portrayed Mario are Charles Martinet, who has voiced the character since 1995's Mario's Game Gallery on the PC, and Bob Hoskins, who played Mario in the 1993 Hollywood adaptation of the franchise. But they're far from the only two to have stepped behind the moustache.
Pro wrestling legend Lou Albano played Mario on the live-action The Super Mario Bros. Super Show, while even more awesomely, Mario's appearances in the Donkey Kong cartoons during 1983's Saturday Supercade were done by none other than Mr. Optimus Prime himself, Peter Cullen.
His Costume Made Him Easier To Draw
Because he's so established we rarely pause to think about it, but really, Mario's outfit is weird. A beret and overalls? This isn't the 1920s. There's a reason for it though: the primitive hardware available in the early 1980s meant the more corners developers could cut with a character's design, the better. By giving him a beret and giant moustache, Nintendo didn't have to draw or animate a mouth, facial expression, hair or eyebrows.
He's Not Just a Plumber
While perhaps the world's most famous plumber, Mario actually began his career (in Donkey Kong) as a carpenter. He didn't move into plumbing until he got his own game, the original Mario Bros. Since then he's been a basketball, football and tennis player, a golfer, an archaeologist, the president of a toy company and even, on more than one occasion, a doctor.
Nobody Knows His Full Name
If it's called Super Mario Bros, then Mario and Luigi's second name must be Mario, right? Nope. While a few third parties have taken a swing at it, Nintendo has never, ever officially disclosed the full name of the pair in a video game. Which means they probably never thought of one in the first place, and now it's too late to just slide one in.