One of the gaming world’s most recognisable faces is Nintendo’s mascot Mario. He and his brother Luigi captured the hearts of video gamers around the world when they helped launch the Nintendo Famicom all the way back in 1983. Since then they have gone on to star in a number of mainline Super Mario Bros. games as well as offshoots such as Super Mario Kart and Mario Tennis, not to mention the friendship-ruining party fests that are Super Smash Bros. and Mario Party. Mario and Luigi are so well known that you would be hard pressed to find a gamer worthy of the title that is unable to tell you who they are. But does that mean we REALLY know Mario and Luigi? What secrets lurk in the Mario brothers’ family or what details from their past is hidden beneath years of successive Nintendo games?
5. Mario Started His Career As a Villain
Check out the original Donkey Kong game for proof behind this. The story goes that Donkey Kong, Sr. was Mario’s pet at one time – and kidnapped Pauline to protest the abuse he was receiving at Mario’s hand. That’s pretty dark stuff and we checked around the Internet to make sure it’s true but alas it is. On top of being the bad guy at one point, his “whipping Donkey Kong, Sr. also makes him an animal abuser – that’s a twofer if ever there was one.
4. Those Blocks in the First Game?
Apparently the residents of the Mushroom Kingdom were transformed into the omnipresent blocks found in the first NES outing. That means every time Mario or Luigi bashes one he is inadvertently killing a citizen of the Mushroom Kingdom. This bit of lore appeared in the original instruction manual for the game.
3. Super Mario Bros. 3 was a Play
Bet you didn’t know that Mario and Luigi were actors? The premise behind Super Mario Bros.3 was apparently a theatrical production according to Shigeru Miyamoto. This explains the opening screen featuring a drop-down red curtain and the obvious black-and-white tiled foreground and background contrast.
2. Luigi’s Name
When the concept for Mario was initially introduced, Miyamoto wanted to call him Mr. Video. Later, when it was changed to Mario and his background was that of an Italian plumber living in Brooklyn, the team at Nintendo came up with a brother to be his counterpart. They wanted something that was an unmistakably Italian name like Mario which led them to Luigi. Incidentally the name Luigi when transliterated into Japanese has the meaning of “similar.” It wasn’t until Super Mario Bros. 2 that Mario and Luigi’s abilities began to diverge with Mario being the best all-around platformer and Luigi having ultra-high jumping capabilities.
1. Use Your Fist, Not Your Head
Mario and Luigi break blocks with their fists, not their head. Bam. But as a bonus fact, the original Super Mario Bros. was envisioned as the last major title from Nintendo in cartridge format as the Big N wanted to explore putting all future games on the Famicom Disk System addon.