Perhaps one of the most iconic video game characters of all time is the flagship face of Nintendo, the squat and mustachioed Super Mario. Clad in his red-and-blue jumper and overalls along with his M-labeled cap, Mario (often accompanied by his brother Luigi) has rescued the Princess of the Mushroom Kingdom from multiple perils ever since the 1985 NES classic “Super Mario Bros.” up to the current “Super Mario Odyssey” on the Switch. He was praised as an ultimate game hero despite his professed job as a plumber (indicated by the prevalence of pipes in gameplay).

But a new official “biography” from Nintendo intimates that Mario is no longer a plumber. The news has caused gamers and the internet to react.

He's no longer what?

Shockwaves erupted in the video game corner of the online world when Nintendo updated the character info on Super Mario on their Japanese website. A partial translation of the brief description goes: “All around sporty, whether it’s tennis or baseball, soccer or car racing, he [Mario] does everything cool. As a matter of fact, he also seems to have worked as a plumber a long time ago…”

The last part was what fans of Mario, from the retro titles to the later generations, were all in an uproar over the altered profile. After all, the character’s stylized utility overalls are a defining look for his character.

It was his game designer, the legendary Shigeru Miyamoto of Nintendo, who made clarifications as to the line of work that Super Mario does from game to game.

Creator explains

Miyamoto points out that the earliest game appearance of “Mario” was in the 1981 arcade platform game “Donkey Kong,” where he tries to save his girlfriend Pauline from the titular ape while racing up a high-rise construction site.

Here he was actually a carpenter (and alternatively named “Jumpman”).

It was a chance remark that he looked more like a plumber that caused Miyamoto to change his job as such for the 1983 follow-up “Mario Bros.” which introduced Luigi as the Player-2 character. In 1985 Nintendo released “Super Mario Bros.” and the rest was history.

Not just a plumber

Over the span of multiple titles and spin-offs, Mario (and Luigi) has usually assumed different roles according to the genre of the video game. Miyamoto notes Mario was a demolisher in “Wrecking Crew” (1985), a doctor in “Dr. Mario” (1990), and archaeologist in “Mario’s Picross” (1995) and Olympic athlete (Mario Olympic titles on the Wii and beyond). So for Nintendo, Mario’s “job” depends on what the game atmosphere is and that he was always more than a plumber but a hero.

Still, many people felt a need to be heard regarding their opinions on the profession of a videogame legend like Mario. Real-life plumbing unions in the US and Canada actually wished the Nintendo character well, and reminded him on social media that “once a plumber, always a plumber.”