Despite having starred in countless hit video games, Mario of the Super Mario Bros. was never given a detailed backstory, or even much character development. The platforming plumber is certainly one of the most recognizable video characters of all time, but we don’t know a great deal about the man behind the mustache.
For instance, there’s the question of Mario’s age. A recently uncovered interview with the character’s creator, Shigeru Miyamoto, reveals that this particular trait was settled upon very early in the design process — but the amount of birthdays that Mario has celebrated may come as a surprise to many, according to a report from Ars Technica.
“I think it was fortuitous that we didn’t put any restrictions on Mario as a character,” said Miyamoto, in an interview that was first published by Nintendo of Japan back in 2005. “Aside from the fact that he’s about 24-25 years old, we didn’t define anything else.”
If we are to assume that Mario hasn’t aged beyond his mid twenties since his debut — and that seems to be the case, given that his physical appearance has changed very little, graphics notwithstanding — that means that he’s still a spring chicken circa 2016.
Mario’s signature facial hair is perhaps the reason that most players think that he’s older than he really is. For generations, teenagers have used mustaches to gain a few years of seniority, and it seems that Mario is embarking on a similar gambit to ensure the success of his plumbing business.
Even Mario’s profession takes on a new dimension when his age is taken into account. While his tendency to use pipes as a method of transport might suggest that he’s a master of the plumbing trade, it’s likely that he’s still working as an apprentice, or just recently completed his apprenticeship, if he’s only 24 or 25 years old.
Now that this information is public knowledge, expect to see Mario crop up on plenty more 30-under-30 lists. What’s more, we might have to start questioning the seniority of other mustachioed video game characters that were assumed to be of a certain age. Did Sergeant Johnson of the Halo franchise enlist while underage? Can Dr. Robotnik be forced to release his birth certificate? Does Mike Haggar even pass the age requirement to be mayor of Metro City?