Mario Segale, an Italian living in the US, died on October 27. Who was? He was an entrepreneur in the real estate sector in Washington. Among his tenants he had Nintendo of America.
With the death of Segale at age 84, the story of how Super Mario was born, an institution in the world of video games, resurfaces.
The first time the character appeared on a screen was in the Donkey Kong video game. They all remember: he had to overcome some obstacles that a giant monkey was throwing at him. He had limited movements since he could only jump and advance and that was why he was called Jumpman. However, since he did not have a very commercial name, Nintendo decided to change it and they named him Mario for Segale.
The story says that the company did not have enough money to maintain an office far from Japan and fell behind in the rent payment. Segale forgave the debt and Nintendo, as a gesture of thanks to the goodness of the owner, decided to name his character in his honor. The Italian talked about it in an interview with The Seattle Times in 1993 when the game had just sold 100 million copies. He said it was Minoru Arakawa, who had been entrusted with the task of installing Nintendo of America, who told him that the hero of the video game was named after him. In the publication he joked that he was still waiting for his commission.