Mario fans are going through an identity crisis.
If you’ve played Nintendo games over the past decade, you’ve probably noticed that the company’s mascot, Mario, is a man of many talents. He’s been a doctor, a building cleaner, a tennis player, a baseball star, and a race car driver. However, he’s most famous as a plumber.
That’s apparently changing. In a recent post, Nintendo Everything reported an interesting revelation on Nintendo’s Japanese website. Here’s how the page describes Mario:
“All around sporty, whether it’s tennis or baseball, soccer or car racing, he [Mario] does everything cool. As a matter of fact, he also seems to have worked as a plumber a long time ago…”
The implication, of course, is that Mario is a plumber no more. Fans aren’t really taking it well.
“They literally fixed a pipe with tools on screen in Super Mario 3D World,” one Twitter user wrote. “Plumbers. Recent. CANON! C’mon Nintendo!”
Others seemed unsurprised.
Granted, Mario wasn’t always a plumber.
The character first appeared in Donkey Kong, and according to creator Shigeru Miyamoto, the original Mario had a different profession.
“In Donkey Kong, Mario was actually a carpenter … and then the next game we made after that was a game called Mario Bros., and that was a game that was set in the sewers, and the pipes were green, and there were turtles coming out of the pipes,” Miyamoto told NPR in 2015.
“And so we thought, in this game, it would make sense that Mario would be a plumber because of all the pipes,” he continued. “And so that’s where the plumber came from.”
Miyamota saw Mario as a “blue-collar hero” and “representative of everyone.” He was given common jobs like plumber or carpenter to further embody that image.
As for his trademark hat, that was a product of the technical limitations of computer graphics in the 1980s.
“We had very few dots available to us to draw the character, and trying to draw hair that moves while you run would’ve been very complicated,” Miyamoto said. “So we gave him a hat to make it easier to draw but make him still look realistic.”
This isn’t the first time that Nintendo has changed the Mario universe.
The instruction booklet for the first Super Mario Bros. contained a disturbing detail:
“One day the kingdom of the peaceful mushroom people was invaded by the Koopa, a tribe of turtles famous for their black magic. The quiet, peace-loving Mushroom People were turned into mere stones, bricks and even field horse-hair plants, and the Mushroom Kingdom fell into ruin.”
Yes, that means that every time Mario breaks a stone, he’s effectively ending the existence of some poor, innocent mushroom person. Nintendo has retroactively changed this “fact,” so it’s no longer canon in the Mushroom Kingdom universe.
Maybe some changes aren’t so bad. We’re willing to give the new, non-plumber Mario a chance—hopefully Nintendo fans will grant the iconic character some leeway as he pursues other careers.