Mario Segale, namesake for Nintendo’s mascot, dies at 84

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

AFP Timothy A. Clary

The big picture: The story of how Nintendo's mascot got its name is nearly as unlikely as his eventual success. Video and Jumpman, Mario has been the face of the Japanese gaming giant for almost four decades.

The man for whom arguably the most iconic character in all of videogaming was named has died, aged 84. He was 84 years old.

Creator Shigeru Miyamoto was looking for a proper name for the character, as well as his girlfriend 'Lady, ' and made a decision to name him Mario after the businessman. The company chose to name the character after him.

Our beloved plumber was originally known not by his Italian forename, but by the far more innocuous name of Jumpman.

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. Some retellings even suggest the "Super" in Super Mario was a nod to Segale's role as the superintendent of the building (super is another word for a caretaker of a building). He reportedly made such an impression on the video game company that the company chose to use his name for its hero, NPR reported.

The Mario character went on to become a franchise, appearing in dozens of games, from vehicle racing to tennis. You would think he was a blue collar working class guy renting out a dingy basement to Nintendo rather than someone famous for doing global business deals worth tens of millions and never having to jump over anyone.

Segale reportedly passed away at his home in Tukwila, Washington surrounded by his friends and family on October 27.

'While he was the inspiration for the name of Nintendo's "Super Mario" from when they were tenants in his business park in the 1970s, he always ducked the notoriety and wanted to be known instead for what he accomplished in his life, ' his obituary read.

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