In the 1970’s when Nintendo US was in startup mode, a young Shigeru Miyamoto was looking for naming inspiration for his new American inspired character at the time called “Jumpman”. Nintendo wanted real names for Jumpman and “Lady” the stars of Donkey Kong so that future games could be more relatable. When Nintendo’s landlord Mario Segale came by one day the spark hit and Super Mario was born. (Lady was named Pauline after the wife of an NOA employee)
Mario Segale was no mere landlord though, he was a smart real estate investor who was able to cash out in 1998 to the tune of $60 million when he sold his business to an Irish development org.
So how did he feel about sharing his name with Super Mario? He didn’t really give a shake.
Via the Obituary: “While he was the inspiration for the name of Nintendo’s ‘Super Mario’ from when they were tenants in his business park in the 1970’s, he always ducked the notoriety and wanted to be known instead for what he accomplished in his life.”
Mr. Segale passed away on October 27th at the age of 84. Here’s to an entrepreneur who saved us from having to play Super David Bros. all these years.