The real-life Mario, who inspired Nintendo’s iconic character, has died

The man who, legend would have it, inspired Nintendo’s beloved Super Mario character has died, aged 84. 

Mario Segale, a highly-successful Italian-American property developer, was Nintendo of America’s landlord at its offices near Seattle, Washington in the company’s early days.

So the story goes, Mr. Segale left an impression on Nintendo by storming into the warehouse he rented to the company demanding it catch up on late rent payments.

Segale, who also wore overalls and wasn’t very tall according to a ‘close associate‘, did not seek publicity for inspiring the legendary pixel-based plumber, according to his obituary (via NPR).

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It says he “always ducked the notoriety and wanted to be known instead for what he accomplished in his life”. However, in 1993 he joked to the Seattle Times: “You might say I’m still waiting for my royalty checks.”

Mario’s first appearance in a video game was as ‘Jumpman’ in the 1981 arcade game Donkey Kong, but the red-suited plumber would go on to star in his own franchise later that decade and become, arguably, the most iconic character in gaming history.

Kotaku reports the Mario name came from Nintendo’s search for actual names for their characters. The site reports: “Nintendo wanted proper names for the characters, so they named the hero after their landlord and the lady Pauline after a Nintendo of America employee’s wife.”

Do you think Mario is gaming’s most iconic character? Or do the likes of Sonic, Link or more modern stars like Lara Croft run him close? Drop us a line @TrustedReviews on Twitter.