Nintendo’s Mario and Luigi are the most famous brothers in gaming. Mario, the shorter of the two, is possibly the most recognizable video game character ever. His brother Luigi, typically relegated to player two, has also had his share of the limelight. He even gets a chance to be Mario’s hero in the Luigi’s Mansion games, which Nintendo recently acquired the developer of. They’ve always been associated together as brothers, but it may come as a shock to learn that they are in fact fraternal twins. It’s true, and even the late former president and CEO of Nintendo, Saturo Iwata, confirmed it in a Nintendo Direct in 2013.
As the eldest of the two, Mario was put in the unfortunate circumstance of having the family surname also be his first name. Yes, since they are the Mario Bros., that makes Mario’s full name Mario Mario. This poor, double-named man is also – one might say – vertically challenged. Standing quite a bit shorter than his younger twin brother, Mario is not as athletic either. The plumber originally known as Jumpman was even upstaged in his signature move by his taller, and, some might argue, more handsome, brother. Luigi might even be the most premier jumper in the Mushroom Kingdom, seeing as he jumps the highest out of all the playable characters in Super Mario 3D World.
Perhaps it’s this physical inferiority that has driven Mario to become such a big star (even in golf and other Mario sports games). His name and face have graced hundreds of game titles, and he’s saved the Mushroom Kingdom from Bowser countless times. The brotherly bond with Luigi is quite strong though, as evidenced by their frequent and successful collaborations.
Although Jumpman was renamed Mario for the Donkey Kong sequel Donkey Kong Junior, he was cast as the villain for the first and only time in his illustrious career. Becoming the hero once more in the 1983 arcade game Mario Bros., the iconic plumber was put alongside his twin brother from the very beginning. The Mario brothers’ humble roots are in the sewers of New York City, where they had to battle monsters that are escaping from the depths.
Ever since, Luigi has accompanied Mario on his 2D platforming quests to save the Mushroom Kingdom. However, the series most indicative of their innate twin connection might be the Mario & Luigi RPG series for some of Nintendo’s handheld consoles. The Mario & Luigi games center on their relationship heavily, and the gameplay revolves around utilizing both characters. Remakes and ports aside, a new Mario & Luigi title hasn’t been made since 2015, though a trademark filed by Nintendo recently hinted that the series might be making a return.
The Mario Bros. are indeed super, as everyone has come to learn, but some fans might find it a surprise to learn that their bond has been present since, quite literally, day one. Two of the most well-known characters in video games (and popular culture in general), Mario and Luigi are in fact fraternal twins.