News Article

Miyamoto Explains the Chubby Appearance of Mario

Posted by Trevor Chan

Nothing to do with ordering extra cheese

How many rotund heroes can you think of? Okay, it doesn't actually matter how many you can think of, the only chubby hero that matters for the sake of this article is the one and only Mario, and Shigeru Miyamoto explains why the plumber looked the way he did when he first appeared on our screens.

During the Steel Diver edition of Iwata Asks, Miyamoto spoke about the technical capabilities of the gaming machines back in the day and how restrictions played a part in Mario's physique:

The reason Mario is a plump shape is because gaming devices at that time could only read collisions between square boxes, not because I wanted to make him cute. His design turned out like that because I adjusted for the capabilities of the gaming device of the day. For example, resolution was low, so I made his face big. But today's game consoles can handle collisions with round or irregular shapes.

The collisions are how in-game solid objects know when they come into contact with other objects. We wonder if Mario's debut was today, would he look similar or totally different? Maybe Mario would be slimmer like Luigi and Luigi would be the token fat brother?

[via iwataasks.nintendo.com]

More Stories

User Comments (28)

XD375

#6

XD375 said:

Mario would be nowhere near as endearing if he wasn't chubby.

TheAmazingRaccoon

#7

TheAmazingRaccoon said:

mario would look nothing like he does if he was created today; it was difficult to make a mouth so they gave him a mustache, it was hard to do hair so they gave him a hat.

TwilightV

#8

TwilightV said:

I actually thought he looked pretty fit in the early games. Still, the round appearance is one of the best aspects of his design.

NintyMan

#10

NintyMan said:

I didn't think Mario in Super Mario Bros. was chubby. He really showed his chubbiness in Super Mario Bros. 3 and Super Mario World. He got into shape once Super Mario 64 came around.

eviLaTtenDant

#11

eviLaTtenDant said:

The whole invention of Mario / Jumpman just goes to show that Nintendo always wanted him to appeal to everybody. All the logical thoughts how to make him look unique and human despite technical limitations really appeal to me. :)

Monsti

#13

Monsti said:

Olimar is chubby as well and Miyamoto invented him way into the 3D area.

warioswoods

#14

warioswoods said:

A great Steel Diver interview with Iwata and Giles Goddard (of Star Fox fame, recently profiled on this site), and all anyone cares about is the brief mention of Mario. sigh.

A couple of tidbits: Steel Diver was planned for DSiWare release before it was switched to a 3DS project, at which point the periscope and Steel Commander modes were introduced. Miyamoto also makes it clear that the Steel Commander mode (you know, that part most reviewers pretty much skipped over) is crucial, and marks the most significant content and gameplay difference between the originally planned package and the 3DS retail game.

Kid_A

#15

Kid_A said:

@warioswoods
Your admiration for Steel Diver is causing me to seriously consider a purchase. It's always struck me as an interesting-looking game, but the lukewarm reviews turned me off to it. But imagine if I had done the same with Wii Music?

I think I'll take your advice on it :)

warioswoods

#17

warioswoods said:

@Kid_A

Well... I do feel strongly about little pet Miyamoto projects like this one. I wouldn't say that it's as important as Wii Music, certainly, but it is an original idea and IP... something fans always say they want, yet end up ignoring when it doesn't fit their standard idea of game content.

TrevorTheChan

#19

TrevorTheChan said:

@warioswoods - "... all anyone cares about is the brief mention of Mario."

That's not a broad statement at all, and I admire the way you effortlessly stay on topic.

Capt_N

#20

Capt_N said:

When Nintendo had their GBA Classic Nes Series sub site, SMB had a tidbit of info from Miyamoto that he designed Mario to "not be handsome", to be, oh what's the word for those everyday-type of heroes? Anyway, Miyamoto wanted Mario to have a strong sense of justice(resemble a certain robot to later appear in the gaming scene? lol), yet appear to be not your typical strong/handsome-type of hero. Edit: The everyday average person turned hero.

ToastyYogurt

#25

ToastyYogurt said:

Yeah, constrictions definitely make iconic appearances. Did you know the reason Mario wears a hat is because hardware restrictions didn't give enough pixels to animate his hair? If he was just appearing today, he might be hatless for an entire game, whether it has hat-stealing monkeys or not.

Lan

#26

Lan said:

speaking of constrictions, the varia suit has the big shoulders cuz the gb was monochrome and they couldn't just change the color of the power suit in metroid 2 like they did in metroid 1

Matillion

#28

Matillion said:

Mario is a midget.
An awesome chubby midget.

But in his appearance in the Mario & Luigi RPG series
he was longer.

Leave A Comment

Hold on there, you need to login to post a comment...