Super Mario's father reveals how Mickey Mouse inspired the evolution of the saga


  • Super Mario as Mickey Mouse. Almost.
  • Mickey's influence on anime and video games
  • Super Mario, heir to a great cultural heritage

Super Mario is a pop culture icon, not just for gamers. The first game in which the mustachioed plumber is the protagonist has now was 35 years old, more than three decades at the peak of global success. So much so that a survey thirty years ago had already revealed that the character from Nintendo games had become more recognizable than Mickey Mouse. Mario's father, Shigeru Miyamoto, gave an unexpected response to this survey. Reveal how Mickey influenced the strategy behind Mario's fame.

Super Mario as Mickey Mouse. Almost.

Nintendo has just revealed the summary of a Q&A session with some of the top executives. This document published to analyze the company's policies during the financial year, includes numerous color notes which they interest fans more than investors. For example, the statements of the father of Super Mario, Shigeru Miyamoto oncultural impact of the plumber fruit of his imagination.

Miyamoto describes how he felt sorry when he discovered thirty years ago that his creation had become more famous than Mickey Mouse. “ I was sorry that Mickey Mousewhich had been incredibly popular with fans, myself included, for 60 years, at which point it could only be compared to Mario, who had only been around for a few years at the time. ”

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He then explained the importance that the Disney mascot had on them marketing strategy for Mario. “In any case, considering that Mickey had grown up with the evolution of animation technology, I decided that this would help Mario grow with each development in digital technology. In fact every time Nintendo released new hardware, we also released a new title in the saga. So that gamers can experience a new type of entertainment made possible by technology.”

This decision, inspired by the success of the most famous mouse in the world, allowed Mario to become the most recognizable plumber on all continents. If you want to revisit his adventures over the years, you can play Super Mario 3D All-Starsof which we link our review.

Mickey's influence on anime and video games

THE souls they are one of the most successful forms of animation in the world. Although Disney itself has moved toward more « computerized » cartoons, with tastes closer to Pixar than first-hand drawings of Mickey Mouse, the Japanese cartoons continue in the tradition started by Walt Disney. Not just metaphorically.

Long before that Super Mario and Link adopted rounded lines and the gigantic eyes of anime inspiration, the work of Walt Disney had influenced a renaissance of cartoons in Japan. If before the Second World War Japanese animated films were drawn in a very realistic way, one person changed the fashion and invented a genre: Osamu Tezukaconsidered one of the fathers of anime and manga.

Tezuka had grown up watching Snow White, Bambi and especially her Adventures of Mickey and Uncle Scrooge. The simplified lines and large expressive eyes of Disney's creations had the enormous value of reduce production time (and therefore the cost) while maintaining emotional intensity scenes.

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Mickey is therefore also partly responsible for the success of Astro Boymanga from '52 which became an anime in 1963. A plot inspired by Pinocchio and the appearance reminiscent of big Mickey Mouse eyes. A character who made Tezuka successful and paved the way for Japanese animation, so appreciated today around the world.

Super Mario, heir to a great cultural heritage

Mickey Mouse's Super Mario didn't just take the  » evolutionary model“. The development and graphics of anime over the years have always evolved in concert with those of video games. The Disney mascot's simplified animation and big eyes had an impact on Tezuka, who in turn, he has inspired hundreds of manga and anime artists. Of this very rich cultural treasure Miyamoto drew a lot making her princess-savior plumber fun and cute. During a long cultural journey, Mickey's iconic face influenced the creation of one of the most famous video game characters of all time. Probably many others too, whether the creators explicitly know it or not. Without a doubt, Mickey Mouse has also inherited many earlier and contemporary influences. This is part of the creation process: every artist breathes culture then transform it into something unique but never totally new.

But we too now understand Miyamoto's wonder at learning better than his own Mario was more recognizable than Mickey Mouse. Mickey's cultural impact can be seen in every animated product, even the most unrecognizable. Thanks to Mario, his the cultural impact has also carried over to all video games.

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