Mario was created by video game designer Shigeru Miyamoto, who joined the Nintendo company at the age of twenty-four after graduating from university. Nintendo’s flagship character Mario first graced the screens of arcade machines back in 1981, starting off as a supporting character called ‘Jumpman’ in the game Donkey Kong.
‘Jumpman’ was rebranded as Mario in the subsequent release Donkey King Jr. following the instant success of the character. He was named after the owner of Nintendo’s first warehouse, Mario Segali. In 1983, the arcade game Mario Bros. was released with Mario as the main character, alongside his brother Luigi. This was Luigi’s first appearance in the franchise.
Nintendo’s first home game-console, the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES), was released in 1985, alongside the release of the enormously successful Super Mario Bros. This marked the first ever appearance of Princess Peach, and the villain Bowser, two iconic characters known globally. The game has gone on to sell over 50,000,000 copies worldwide.
Ninendo’s first ever portable console, the GameBoy, was released in 1989.
In 1991, a new Nintendo console – the Super NES was released. This console came with the release of Super Mario World, which marked the first appearance of popular character Yoshi. This game took a team of sixteen experts three years to create. By 1994, Mario-titled games had sold more than 100,000,000 copies worldwide.
In 1992, Super Mario Kart was released on the Super NES console, with playable characters including Peach, Browser and Toad.
Super Mario 64 was released in 1996, and was the first Super Mario game to feature three-dimensional gameplay. There have since been ten further editions of the Mario Kart game released, including the massively successful Mario Kart DS and Mario Kart Wii versions, which are amongst the best-selling video games of all time.