Home > Video Games > The VG True Hollywood Story: The Real Mario Brother

The VG True Hollywood Story: The Real Mario Brother

mario!
Mario’s Daddy/Brother/Inspiration

Interesting footwork by the boys at Technologizer:

Regarding Mario’s origins, it’s common knowledge among game fans that legendary game designer Shigeru Miyamoto created him for 1981′s Donkey Kong arcade game. But few know that Nintendo borrowed Mario’s name and Italian heritage from a real man.

That man’s name is Mario Segale, and he’s not a plumber. He’s a wealthy real estate developer in Tukwila, Washington. Segale unwittingly stepped into video game history by renting out a warehouse that served as Nintendo’s U.S. headquarters in the early 1980s. At that time, a financially struggling Nintendo of America (NOA) was preparing the U.S. launch of Donkey Kong. Legend has it that NOA President Minoru Arakawa noticed physical similarities between Donkey Kong’s short, dark-haired protagonist and the landlord. So the crew at NOA nicknamed the character Mario, and it stuck.

Apparently Mr. Segale isn’t a big fan of publicity, so the best anyone can come up with is the yearbook photo posted above which, frankly, makes him look more like modern era Luigi than Mario.

Still, a neat bit of gaming esoterica for those inclined.

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