It is only thanks to Popeye that Mario’s universe exists as it does today

Mario is the biggest franchise when you look at video games, but did you know that Mario only exists because Nintendo didn’t get a deal with Popeye?

What does Popeye have to do with Mario? Popeye was one of the most popular franchises around 45 years ago and had a lot of value with the audience Nintendo wanted to appeal to. Back in 1981, Nintendo was still concentrating their efforts on arcade machines and their games and thought that a Popeye game could be quite lucrative.

Shigeru Miyamoto developed the first concepts for the game while negotiations were ongoing with the owners of the Popeye license. Since the negotiations ultimately failed, but the development of the game idea was already advanced, it was decided to develop the game anyway.

You can see the trailer for Super Mario Bros. Wonder here:

Super Mario Bros. Wonder is coming to Nintendo Switch in October

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Popeye becomes Mario without any spinach

So how did Popeye become Mario? The game should have three characters:

  • Popeye who became Mario
  • Olive Oyl, who became Pauline
  • Bluto who became the monkey Donkey Kong
  • The characters that were planned all got new designs. But the spinach also had to go, so there was a hammer with which Mario became stronger.

    The best way to compare the similarity of the planned Popeye game with the “Donkey Kong” game that was created is to look at the posters.

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    After the success of 1981’s Donkey Kong, Mario became the main character in many more games. Nintendo had its breakthrough in 1985 with Super Mario Bros. for the NES. Donkey Kong became one of the launch titles for the NES in North America but still had the sequel “Donkey Kong Jr.” on a cartridge there.

    Due to the game’s huge success, there have also been ports for home computers such as the Commodore 64 and remakes and remakes of the game for modern platforms.

    What was the reaction from the team behind Popeye? The reaction of the people in charge of Popeye is not exactly known. But after Nintendo was very successful with Donkey Kong, they were able to get the license for a Popeye arcade game just a year later. The game was also developed by Shigeru Miyamoto.

    Although the Popeye game was also successful and was one of the most popular games in the early 1980s, it could not achieve the cult status of Donkey Kong.

    It’s not just Mario who was never actually planned to be the way he is today. The popular life simulation “The Sims” also changed everything again shortly before its release, even though the game had been in development for many years: “Sims” wasn’t actually supposed to be about the Sims, but then it did someone has the idea of ​​success