Nintendo’s beloved Super Mario Bros. character Super Mario is actually named after a real-life businessman. The interesting story behind how one man influenced the popular game is one of trial and triumph. Check out the little known fact inside.
The @facts Instagram page shared the story about Super Mario Bros, saying the video game company Nintendo began renting one of Mario Segale’s Tukwila warehouses in 1981 for use as they built their American headquarters. During their development of the arcade game Donkey Kon, Segale visited the warehouse to collect overdue rent from the Nintendo of America President Minoru Arakawa and scolded him in front of his employees. According to the circulated story, Arakawa and the other developers renamed the Donkey Kong player character to Mario, who previously known as Jumpman.
The story was first published in David Sheff’s 1993 book Game Over. Though due to incorrect spelling in the book, many people believe his last name was spelled “Segali.” It later appeared again in Steven L. Kent’s The Ultimate History of Video Games in 2001 and spread like wildfire on the Internet. In 2015, Ninetendo confirmed that their Mario character was named after Segale.
In 1993, Segale revealed to The Seattle Times, “you might say I’m still waiting on my royalty checks.”
Surely, Segale never received any royalty checks for the use of his name. Yet, the Super Mario Bros brand is the most emblematic brand of the video game company Nintendo, which is worth 6.8 trillion dollars, according to a report by TitleMax.
The Super Mario Bros movie was released back in April 2023 and currently streaming on Peacock (with a subscription). It made $1.35 billion in the box office. Safe to say, the brand’s namesake is shaking in his boots.