Mario, probably the most recognizable video game character in the world, is only 24 years old, according to the man who created him, Shigeru Miyamoto.
From his glossy moustache, his generous feel and the fact that British actor Bob Hoskins was 50 years old when he played him in the Super Mario Bros movie, Nintendo fans generally assumed they were middle-aged, but that’s not the case at all.
In a 2005 Japanese interview recently reposted by Nintendo, Miyamoto claimed that Mario’s age is the only thing definitive about the character.
“I think it was a fluke that we didn’t limit Mario as a character,” he said in the footage. “Normally all the details are filled in when you create a character and present him to the world: What’s his favorite color? What kind of food does he like to eat?”
“But other than the fact that he’s about 24-25 years old, we haven’t defined anything else.”
He added: “When we make a game, we make sure we don’t add incongruity to the world of that game. With that caveat, I would like to continue using Mario in future games.”
However, given the increasing psychedelic quality of Mario’s later adventures, one has to wonder what kind of incongruity Miyamoto would find too much for his greatest creation to bear.
Incredible, Super Mario 64 was released 20 years ago yesterday in the US, when Mario first appeared, in the original Donkey Kongwhen he was more prosaically known as Jumpman was 35 years ago, in 1981. The franchise he spawned has sold over half a billion copies worldwide, with over 200 titles.
More worryingly, this news means that Luigi, Mario’s younger brother, is in his early twenties at most – even raising the possibility that he’s a teenager who happens to have one of the thickest and most overdeveloped mustaches in history.
Update: We’re told that according to canon, Mario and Luigi are actually twin brothers, but Luigi is the younger of the two. So Luigi is not a teenager; he’s 24 too!