Mario is one of the most recognisable characters in entertainment media, and has starred in a staggering number of games over the past few decades. The portly Italian plumber has also enjoyed a number of cameo roles throughout the years, and it's this element of the character's history that the latest episode of YouTube show Gaming Historian investigates.
Host Norman Caruso takes a look at Mario's appearances in non-Mario Game Boy titles, and lists the usual suspects such as Baseball, Alleyway and F1 Race. However, when he comes to Nintendo's port of Taito's Qix, things start to become a little weird.
For reasons known only to Nintendo itself, there are cut-scenes in the game which show various locations around the world, complete with Mario dressed in the local attire. Some of these are harmless enough - in Mexico for example, Mario is armed with the traditional sombrero and poncho - but others are perhaps a little more worrying. In India, Nintendo's mascot is seen wearing a turban while charming a snake, and in Africa he possesses an uncharacteristically dark skin tone and is shown carrying a spear and shield.
This just goes to show how much the industry has changed over the past few years; it's hard to imagine anyone at Nintendo signing off on these scenes today. Still, the fact that they did make their way into a game proves that perceptions of race and what is acceptable can change over time.
Do you find these scenes offensive - as Caruso clearly does - or has the world simply become too sensitive to stereotypical depictions such as these? Share your own thoughts by posting a comment below.