In Which Game Did Mario Make His First Appearance?
Answer: Donkey Kong
Although Mario has appeared in dozens of games that bear his name–including the original Super Mario Bros., the sequels, Super Mario Land, Super Mario World, Super Mario Galaxy, and more–and some that don’t he first appeared in a game without any billing at all. In the 1981 arcade classic Donkey Kong, Mario makes his first appearance as the unnamed “Jumpman”, a carpenter with a pet ape gone berserk. Only in the subsequent game Donkey Kong Junior is Mario actually given his trademark name.
One of the more fascinating things about Mario is that he was almost never created. The designer behind Donkey Kong, Shigeru Miyamoto, actually wanted to use the American cartoon characters Popeye, Olive Oyl, and Bluto as the three characters in the game. Due to licensing issues Nintendo was never able to secure the rights to the iconic cartoon characters and they had to create their own in-house cast.
Mario was originally envisioned as a generic go-to character that could be plugged into any Nintendo game, a kind of everyman that would simply be a character players could move around when such interaction was needed. No one at Nintendo, including Mario’s creator Shigeru Miyamoto, predicted that Mario would go on to become the face of Nintendo and one of the most loved video game characters of all time.