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Gaming Reviews, News, Tips and More.

Only One Of Mario's Hats Is 'Pure' Red

Mario's colour palette changes subtly between games, and even between games on the same console

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Mario
Image: Nintendo

Hello, and welcome to a fact you may never have considered in your entire life, but which you will now be noticing every single time you ever see a plumber jumping around in a Nintendo game.

While we all know that Mario wears a red shirt, red hat and blue overalls, nearly every time the character has appeared in his own series, that red has been a different colour. Which is a neat and interesting thing to know, and you probably already knew that as well, but did you also know that only once in his entire career has Mario worn pure red?

The wonderful Supper Mario Broth decided to grab a sample of Mario’s hat/shirt colour from a number of different games, find the hex colour figure, and compare them. If you’ve never had to use them before, hex colours are the numerical code given to a colour in order to precisely identify it when printing or using software like, say, Photoshop.

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Photoshop’s color picker, with #FF0000, the reddest of the reds, shown
Photoshop’s color picker, with #FF0000, the reddest of the reds, shown

What they found was pretty surprising! Mario’s palette has drifted from being almost brown in earlier games, to darker, more maroon tones in 21st-century 3D titles. One title in the middle of all of those stands out: Super Mario 64, which has the hex colour code #FF0000, meaning it is pure red. As red as the colour can get.

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There’s something pleasantly circumstantial about the game many long-time fans would consider the “purest” 3D Mario experience having such a literal representation of that purity displayed on Mario’s...hat.

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Almost as interesting as this find, though, are some of the disclaimers the blog had to add underneath. Like the fact “the NES games’ colours appear differently on every device and there is in fact no standardized conversion of those colours to hex values.I did not know that! Also that Mario’s “pure” N64 colours were not replicated in his other appearances on the console (like Mario Party and Smash), and that Super Mario Odyssey’s textures were so complicated they couldn’t pinpoint a single hex code for the colour, and instead just had to smoosh them all together for an “approximation.

If this is somehow the first time you’ve come across some of Supper Mario Broth’s fantastic Nintendo trivia, you can check out more at their Patreon page (which features an illustration of Mario where, for reference’s sake, his shirt is #DF2424).