You know it’s a bad day when you learn that adult love shacks and porn stars have deep, historical roots in your childhood icons.
Or maybe it’s just a sign you’re getting older.
Take Nintendo: On the surface, it’s an 8-bit, fun-loving universe packed with colorful heroes and affable villains. But behind the scenes? Let’s just say there’s more to the plumber than a little butt crack.
In the latest episode of 5acts, we take a look at the funniest (and dirtiest) facts behind the world’s most beloved gaming franchise.
1. What’s in a Name?
Mario, the famed mustachioed plumber, was apparently named after Nintendo’s warehouse landlord and Seattle real estate developer Mario Segale — not Mario Lopez.
2. Space Boy
3. Cards Against Japanity
Nintendo was founded in 1989. One of its original products were playing cards, which they still sell today.
4. Super Hornio Bros
Porn star Ron Jeremy — a.k.a. Mario five years after his first divorce (seriously, look at that face) — says Nintendo bought the rights to two adult film parodies, Super Hornio Brothers and Super Hornio Brothers II, in hopes that they would never, ever see the light of the screen.
They did not, however, buy the rights to Brassiere’s Castle. Go.
5. Sail Away
There’s only one man in the entire world who has the right to call his sailboat “Donkey Kong.”
A lawyer named John Kirby won a case for Nintendo in 1984, and to thank him, the company bought him a boat along with the “exclusive worldwide right to use the name for sailboats.”
6. Legend of Retcon
Only one Legend of Zelda game is a chronological sequel to the original. According to Nintendo’s official timeline, all other subsequent games in the franchise occur hundreds or thousands of years in the past — some, even, in a parallel universe.
7. Simply Mario
Nintendo claims the Mario brothers don’t actually have a last name. It’s not “Mario Mario” or “Luigi Mario,” despite popular belief — it’s just “Mario.”
8. Sloppy Seconds
Donkey Kong, Mario, and Princess Peach are based on characters from the cartoon series Popeye. Nintendo created them after they failed to obtain a license to make a Popeye video game.
9. I Chew You!
Characters in the world of Pokémon have languages, personalities and quirks. They’re sentient — human, almost.
In some of the later games, though, you can eat them. One particular restaurant (only “$$” on Yelp) offers Slowpoke tails or cheese made from Arbok poison. The Pokédex even lists the fish Basculin as being “remarkably tasty.”
10. Samus’ Secret Message
Fun fact about Metroid Prime 3 for the Wii: When you enter a secret combination of symbols into your ship’s computer, you’ll see a secret message from Nintendo executives Satoru Iwata and Shigeru Miyamoto.
The Japanese version of the NES had a microphone embedded in the controller, and the correlating Legend of Zelda game allowed players to kill certain enemies by shouting into the gamepad.
Zelda‘s instruction manual, which was sold internationally, even stated that the Pols Voice enemy “hated loud noises.” It was all well and good advice for the Japanese players — but for everyone else who bought the manual? A little confusing.
Turns out, Nintendo forgot to remove a line for the translated version, which resulted in several players talking to their devices — a move later parodied via chair by game-savvy actor and director Clint Eastwood at the 2012 Republican National Convention in Tampa, Florida.
12. Mario Kart IRL
A lab in Texas built a real-life Mario Kart track that used RFID tags to make the carts slow down, speed up or spin out, depending on the power ups they rolled over.
13. Ken Griffey Donkey Kong, Jr.
Nintendo owns the Seattle Mariners. Next fact.
14. A Janitor Invented the Game Boy
A janitor at Nintendo in the 1960s was given the opportunity to make new toys and products for the company. His creativity sparked some of Nintendo’s greatest hits, including Metroid, Donkey Kong and the Game Boy.
15. Wii Candles
The Wii sensor bar doesn’t communicate with the console — it just provides infrared light to the Wiimotes. You could easily substitute an alternate light source, such as a candle.
16. Super Knitendo
Nintendo was very close to releasing an accessory and game that let players create their own knitting patterns.
During its market research period, all seven of the beta test volunteers died of old age. The project was abruptly cancelled.
In 2007, a radio station in Sacramento, Calif., had a contest called “Hold Your Pee for a Wii,” which challenged listeners to drink as much water as possible without using the bathroom.
One woman died from alleged water intoxication.
18. The Love Hotel
In the early 1960s, one of Nintendo’s many failed business ventures included a “Love Hotel,” where adults could rent rooms by the hour and play video games. That’s right, all you kids out there reading this. That’s what the adults were doing in the hotel. They were playing video games. Loud ones.
Mario is voiced by Charles Martinet, who crashed an audition in the early ’90s and gave the Italian plumber his signature sound in Super Mario 64.
Martinet has been doing video game voices for decades. His resume includes the voices of Mario, Luigi, Wario, and Baby Mario — even Paarthurnax, the legendary dragon from Skyrim.
20. How Far We’ve Come
Data-wise, even the largest NES games were no bigger than 6 Megabits, or about 768 Kilobytes.
By comparison, you could fit roughly two and a half Kirby’s Adventure games entirely into one iPhone photo.
BONUS: Zelda Wind Waker – Dragon Roost Island Acapella (via Smooth Groove)
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