There are a few certainties that come in the world of video games. One of the longest standing traditions, or so we thought, is that Mario, the most popular character in the history of video games, is a plumber. Or, at least he used to be. According to Nintendo, the Italian guy in the red overalls is no longer working as a plumber. That is all in the past. And some are blaming political correctness for the sudden change to his resume.
This is a bizarre thing to even consider if you've ever played a Mario game, but this is coming right from Nintendo. The reveal was spotted by Kotaku, who noticed while browsing through Nintendo's Japanese language bio for Mario that, at some point, they decided to totally change his profession. When translated to English, it is pretty clear. Here's how the bio reads when translated.
"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..."
What do you mean worked? When did he stop being a plumber? Unfortunately, the bio doesn't offer anything else to help clarify when this change happened, but this is significant. In the earliest days of Mario's existence, being a plumber was a massive part of the the franchise. All of the pipes that connected the bizarre world he found himself and much of the other imagery had to do with the fact that he was a plumber. And not for nothing, but being plumbers was a huge part of the Super Mario Bros. movie. Speaking of that, What about Luigi? Is he no longer a plumber either?
While reading the bio, the answer to this change may be right there. Over the years, the Mario video games have changed dramatically. He has been a professional go kart racer in Mario Kart, a professional athlete in Mario Tennis, a tournament fighter in Super Smash Bros. and a space traversing hero in Super Mario Galaxy. The point is, he has moved far beyond the ways of a humble plumber over the years and he seems to have more or less adopted a more glamorous life that doesn't require him to fix toilets. But still, even if it makes sense, Mario being a plumber is something that we always just assumed to be part of his identity, despite his more complex adventures. Some are definitely blaming political correctness for the change, but perhaps we can just chalk it to Mario having one to many hobbies that pulled him away from his craft. Maybe sporting and kart racing events have brought him healthy endorsement deals, enabling him to lose his day job. Is plumbing that associated with Italian stereotypes that it needs to be changed? Or did Mario create it's own Italian plumber stereotype in a case of a snake eating it's own tale. This is all up for debate and discussion. But probably shouldn't become too much of a heated conversation.
It should be noted that this bit was translated, so something could have been lost there. But this still seems pretty cut and dry. Since 1981 when Mario first appeared in Donkey Kong, we have thought of the iconic figure as a plumber. Somewhere along the way in the more than 200 games he has appeared in, that changed. Granted, this should have little effect on your ability to enjoy a Mario game as this doesn't seem like a change that happened just now. But it will be hard not to think of this next time you're jumping on some mushrooms or taking out some turtles in a Mario game.