Do you know Super Mario’s original name wasn’t Mario? We positively clutched our pearls when we found out. We can’t imagine the iconic video game character called anything else. But do you think Super Mario would be the legend he is today if his name had simply been “Jumpman”?
Mario’s original name: less than super
Super Mario, the iconic video game character loved by millions, has become synonymous with Nintendo and gaming itself. But let’s shed some light on the man behind the mustache and his journey to gaming stardom.
Super Mario was brought to life by renowned game designer Shigeru Miyamoto. Miyamoto’s vision for a new arcade game with a unique character led him to create what would become one of the most recognizable figures in gaming history.
During the early development stages, Miyamoto initially named the character “Jumpman.” While it’s pretty lame, the name Jumpman aptly described Mario’s ability to leap across obstacles and enemies. It’s just a little too on the nose.
Landlord, plumber, icon
However, it was during the game’s U.S. release that Jumpman’s name took a turn.
As the story goes, Nintendo of America’s landlord confronted the company about late rent payments while they were finishing the game. That landlord’s name was Mario Segale. Impressed by Segale’s assertiveness, Nintendo’s staff decided to honor him by renaming their beloved character. Thus, Jumpman officially became Mario, forever linking the iconic plumber to a chance encounter with a cranky landlord. (We assume they also eventually paid their rent.)
With his new name, Mario catapulted to fame. The character debuted in the arcade classic “Donkey Kong” before getting his own “Super Mario Bros.” on the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES). Mario’s adventures are now a staple of the gaming industry and he’s demonstrated his enduring appeal and ability to captivate players across different genres and generations.
What’s in a name?
The character has made appearances in numerous spin-offs, cartoons, comics, and even a Hollywood film. His likeness and iconic catchphrases have become embedded in popular culture, making him an instantly recognizable and beloved figure around the globe.
Super Mario’s dominance shaped the future of video game design. But we’re not sure things would have been that way if Super Mario’s original name had stuck.