Wednesday , July 28 2021

Mario Segale, the Italian in which Nintendo was inspired to name the most famous plumber

In 1981 Mario Segale entered Nintendo's North American headquarters to demand that he be paid rent from the building he owned, unaware of taking place in the history of pop culture.

By Marcos Merino


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Mexico City, November 11 (TICbeat / SinEmbargo) .- The ultimate story of video games is a popular book by journalist Steven L. Kent about the story of video games. A story was reported for the first time on its pages that this week has jumped to the headlines: the story of how Mario, the popular character of Nintendo which in 1991 was better known for American children than Mickey Mouse himself, he got his name (after being created as "Jumpman") and his Italian background.

It is 1981; The North American subsidiary Nintendo is experiencing economic problems, but Minoru Arakawa's head has received a call from his father-in-law (Hiroshi Yamauchi, CEO of Nintendo) to announce that a new game was being prepared (Donkey Kong) that would make the company the most popular in the United States But meanwhile, Nintendo Of America he has to deal with the debts: Arakawa argues with the owner of the rented building that they use as headquarters, which ends up delaying the payment to launch the game. The name of the owner was Mario Segale, and he was the inspector of the name change of the carpenter's co-star of Donkey Kong (The change to the plumber's occupation was later).

The sad reason why this anecdote is relevant has been Segale's last death at 84 years old. But who really was Mario Segale? Was he a plumber? Did he have Italian origin? Or was it marked with its tight mustache? Yes, he was really a son of Italian immigrants, but nothing more. Far from being a plumber he was a prominent and influential real estate developer in the state of Washington. And there is no sign that he ever had a mustache.

It is known that a Segale It did not make this connection to videogames special history (a link, however, never officially recognized by Nintendo). Two were the reasons for his rejection: the lack of seriousness that gave him a good businessman like him and the abuse that the character was made of the most obvious stereotypes of the Italo Americans. He only spoke at an opportunity about his digital name companion, in an interview to Seattle Times, and then he just commented, joking that he was still waiting for "controls of image rights".

Mario Segale died at 84 years old. Photo: Twitter, Nintenderos

* Technically, it can be said that it was the second time: in 1993, 8 years before the publication of Kent's book, David Sheff had told a similar story in his book Games over. However, Sheff misrepresented Mario's last name as "Segali", and gave the fanciful fact that Segale I had arrived at Nintendo's headquarters just at the time the workers chose the name for the character, and when they left they saw each other and exclaimed "Super Mario!". but Super Mario It is a game that was not released to the market until 4 years later.


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