They are the most legendary video game characters in history, who have served to put face and eyes to two of the most prestigious companies in the industry for more than three decades. SEGA and Nintendo, so much so, so much, are behind these two icons of popular culture that many of you might think were created at the same time, but that’s not the case. Do you know which of the two arrived first?
First the egg or the chicken?
The fact that in our country Mario and Sonic became famous almost at the same time, in the early 90s with the boom of 8 and 16 bit consoles, made us think that both had been recent creations, practically contemporary. But in reality the story that illuminates each of them is separated by a crucial period of time within the video game industry.
While one got to see the rise and fall of the first generations of consoles in the early 1980s, the other did not rise to fame until the industry had finally regained its grip and began to evolve towards the present, with a market in the that the new hardware happens every few years to continue maintaining the good health of a sector that is bigger every day.
Pole for Mario!
As you probably already know, Mario is the first of the two characters to hit the market. He did it in a camouflaged way in 1981 thanks to that wonder called Donkey Kong (both in Game & Watch and later, in 1982, in a recreational version), although it still did not have the definitive name. They simply referred to him as Jumpman, that is, the “jumping man”. Already at that moment we could see his characteristic cap, mustache and work overalls.
It would not be until 1983 when the name of Mario would already take a naturalization certificate, inside the game mario bros who starred alongside Luigi and that was the one that marked him forever as the best-known plumber in the world. Those pipes were decisive. It must be said, however, that the name is not accidental and was taken from the one who in those years was the owner of the building where the Nintendo offices were located. A man who went by the name of Mario Segale and with whom he had a considerable resemblance.
SEGA realized in the early 90’s that it needed a real pet. An iconic character that would serve to be present on all your consoles in the same way that Mario was the undisputed icon in the territory of Nintendo. So we can say that one inspired the other or, rather, the plumber helped in the process of creating the blue porcupine.
In the case of SEGA, do not think that they did not already have a pet before the creation of Sonic in 1991, Alex Kidd had been the first attempt with video games that came pre-installed on its mythical Master System since practically the mid and late 80s. The problem is that it didn’t work, it didn’t have charisma and the Japanese understood that they needed something with more impact, faster, cooler and cool. And out of that need, one of the most recognizable icons in video game history was born: Sonic.
So when asked who came first, the answer is simple: first Mario (1981) and then Sonic (1991).
The entry Who went before? Sonic or Mario? was first published in The Output.