Mario Segale, inspiration for Nintendo’s Super Mario, dies aged 84

Mario Segale, inspiration for Nintendo’s Super Mario, dies aged 84

Segale developed office buildings, and one of them housed Nintendo of America during an integral part of their development.

According to Game Informer, Mario Segale, a real estate developer and landlord of various properties, passed away at the age of 84.

Starting in the 1950s, Mr. Segale built a small empire in construction and real estate in Tukwila, a suburb of Seattle. When Nintendo chose to give "Jumpman" and "Lady" real names in the original Donkey Kong for the arcade, they named Lady "Pauline", which they derived from their warehouse manager's wife, Polly.

"What if they'd named our beloved character "Segale" instead?" Nintendo then immortalized Segale by naming the most iconic video game character in existence after him. A flustered Arakawa vowed that Mr. Segale would get his money soon. As Benj Edwards notes in an in-depth 2010 exploration of the tale, though, the "Super" descriptor for the character wouldn't become common until the release of Super Mario Bros. in 1985. The long-running series has reportedly sold more than 500 million copies during its lifespan, making it the best-selling video game franchise of all time. At the time, the company was looking for proper names for characters from Shigeru Miyamoto's Donkey Kong, who were just called "Jumpman" and "Lady". The entry also acknowledges Segale's fondness for the colour red, but doesn't mention whether that filtered down to Mario's famous outfit. The funeral home's online obituary describes him as the only child of Italian immigrant farmers.

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The company is said to have used Mario as a nickname for their landlord. It became a major construction contractor in the Northwest. In 1981, Segale was renting a Tukwila warehouse to Nintendo of America.

The family is famously averse to speaking with the media.

Along with his son, Mr. Segale is survived by his wife, Donna, whom he married in 1957; three daughters, Lisa Atkins, Tina Covey and Nita Johnson; and nine grandchildren.

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