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Man who inspired the naming of ‘Mario’ dies aged 84

The incident behind naming of Mario was a row.

  • Published: November 5, 2018 1:39 PM IST
Super Mario-Nintendo

Super Mario is perhaps the one video game character that most people in the world know about. It has been the mascot of Nintendo and the flag bearer in many of its games that have gone on to become extremely popular. Even though many people know about Mario the video game character from Nintendo, few know how Nintendo developers zeroed in on the name of the character, NYT reports.

Back in the 1980s a small team from Nintendo had gathered at a 60,000-square-foot warehouse in Tukwila, a suburb of Seattle, writes David Sheff in his book Game Over: How Nintendo Conquered the World. This is when the real-estate developer who had rented out the warehouse to Nintendo named Mario Arnold Segale came to give a talking to Minoru Arakawa who was the then president of Nintendo of America, for being past due on the rent. Segale apparently “blasted him” in front of all his team members and was promised the money soon.

But the team that was at that time looking for an American names for their characters of the game Donkey Kong and were stuck on the character of a tiny carpenter that wore a red cap. And as soon as this incident was over, the team had a name, and it was “Super Mario!”

This was later confirmed in the year 2015 when game designer Shigeru Miyamoto confirmed in a video published by Nintendo that Mario Segale was indeed the inspiration behind the character. And though Super Mario only had a supporting role in the game Donkey Kong, he would soon go on to change his profession to plumbing, and have a whole lineup of games with him as the the protagonist.

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Mario A. Segale was a Seattle based real-estate developer who had built his construction business in Tukwila, a suburb of Seattle in the 1950. He died on October 27 at a local hospital at the age of 84. And though he and his family were not too keen on speaking with the press about his apparent involvement with the naming of Super Mario, he did break his silence in 1993 shortly after David Sheff’s book was published. The Seattle Times asked him of his opinion about his name being used for the most popular video game character ever.

He replied, “You might say I’m still waiting for my royalty checks.”

  • Published Date: November 5, 2018 1:39 PM IST