Mario turns 33 today, and considering the different mascots and other characters that failed to survive even a few years (RIP Bubsy), this is a huge accomplishment. Of course, Mario went through a handful of revisions as he made his way through the 80s, 90s and beyond. In fact, his name wasn’t Mario when he made his debut in the arcade smash hit, Donkey Kong, on July 9, 1981. Nintendo referred to the character as Jumpman, and he didn’t set out to rescue Princess Peach. Instead, it was the lovely Pauline waiting for the overall-clad plumber to rescue her from DK’s clutches.
That said, here’s a look at Mario circa 1981. Some things are the same. He still wears a red cap and overalls, and there’s his trademark mustache, but other details like skin tone, bright blue eyes and round nose are noticeably absent. What’s up with that checkered shirt? [Source]
Oddly enough, he wears the familiar blue shirt on the side of the arcade machine and in this Japanese ad, where he sort of resembles his retro Super Mario Bros. NES design.
Here’s Donkey Kong Jr., where Mario played the villain. This is well before Bowser’s time as the head bad guy.
Here he is today in Super Mario 3D World for the Wii U. White gloves, trademark letter M on the cap? That’s the Mario we know.
Considering the ways Mario changed over the years (he’s definitely thinner these days), will Nintendo make further changes to his current design? Since little changed over the past 10 years, there’s a good chance this version of Mario is here to stay.