Weirdness: New York Times Finally Issues a Correction for Describing the Mario Bros. as Janitors in 1988

The error was spotted in Hiroshi Yamauchi's obituary

Writers and journalists, no matter the prestige of their publication, make mistakes. Facts are incorrect or the wording may be wrong, and corrections are made. The New York Times, in an admirable sense of perspective and maintaining standards, has corrected an error from an article published 25 years ago.

It came to light as part of the paper's obituary for former Nintendo President Hiroshi Yamauchi, who passed away in 18th September, which quoted the incorrect statement. The correction is below.

An obituary on Sept. 20 about Hiroshi Yamauchi, the longtime president of Nintendo, included a quotation from a 1988 New York Times article that inaccurately described the Nintendo video game Super Mario Bros. 2. The brothers Mario and Luigi, who appear in this and other Nintendo games, are plumbers, not janitors.

That original article is a fascinating read, as it reflects the impact that Nintendo had in the mid-late '80s, and the bafflement that it caused to uninitiated observers. As a sign of how perspectives have changed, the NES was very much considered a key part of the toy market targeting young children, with Nintendo's marketing strategies bringing major success.

When 13-year-old Peter Gambardella of Staten Island drifts off to sleep these days, he's not counting sheep but battling with Mini Bosses, Zoomers and Rippers, and perfecting his plan to destroy the dread Mother Brain.

Mike Wetch, a high school student in Tacoma, Wash., is savoring his second-round knockout against Mike Tyson (his friends know he's the only kid in Tacoma who's done it), and Paul Sposata in Manhattan is thinking of the top items on his Christmas list: games called Paper Boy, Xenophobe and Rampage.

These are the daydreams of young Americans, but they are based on hugely successful video games, called Nintendo, that are made in Japan. Some 10 million Nintendo ''home video entertainment systems'' have been sold in the United States in recent years and have sparked a firestorm of interest that toy industry experts - and millions of teachers and parents - say is America's latest toy craze and teen-age cultural phenomenon.

''It's a mania,'' said Rick Anguilla, editor of Toy and Business World, an industry trade journal. ''The kids of America are saying 'This is great, we've got to have one.' For boys in this country between the ages of 8 and 15, not having a Nintendo is like not having a baseball bat.''

The full article is certainly worth a read, and it's good to know that the record for the Mario Bros. has finally been set straight.

[via kotaku.com, nytimes.com]

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