The man Super Mario was named after has died at the age of 84
Mario Segale passed away surrounded by his family on October 27, 2018.
Mr. Segale was the only child born to Italian immigrants in Seattle Washington and became a prominent real estate developer throughout the Pacific Northwest. Segale, who got his start in real estate when he started his first construction business shortly after High School with a single dump truck.
He moved from construction into real estate where his paths crossed with the video game company Nintendo in the 1970’s when they became a tennant in one of the properties that he managed.
It was during the launch of the Arcade game Donkey Kong into the US markets where the overall wearing mustached plumber made his first attempt to rescue his girlfriend Princess Peach. The little Italian Plumber had been named Jumpman, but the creator of the now iconic hero, Shigeru Miyamoto said he was looking for a character that could be understood by people around the world .
“When we shipped Donkey Kong to the US market,” Miyamoto said to journalists last year, “Japanese staff went to the US to help with the release, and the warehouse’s landlord was named Mario, and he also had a mustache, he looked like the character. I thought it was a nice name, and it might work.”
NPR has said that the encounter between Mario and the Nintendo America staff wasn’t a chance meeting, but happened when Segale stormed into the warehouse demanding that they catch up on late rent payments.
However the encounter may have taken place, Segale didn’t want any noteriety and according to his obituary “ducked the notoriety and wanted to be known instead for what he accomplished in his life.”
In a 1993 interview with the Seattle Times he said “You might say I’m still waiting for my royalty checks.”
And what a check that would be! With over 500 million Mario games sold, the Mario franchise is valued at over $27 billion, and the latest adventure for the little plumber, Super Mario Odessy, has sold over 12 million copies and is currently the number 1 game on Nintendo’s newest console the Switch.
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