The Design Evolution of Mario

James White’s Inspiration of Design

Growing up James White would draw his favorite cartoon characters of all the time. He would re-draw stuff from newspapers, cereal boxes, comic books … He would even record cartoons from television to pause on a certain frame to draw. Most of these characters were part of an established franchise, but one little guy stood out as we all watched him evolve from a blocky little hero to fully rendered 3D. Everyone’s favorite plumber: Mario.

James always cited Mario as one of his favorite character designs. Nintendo took great care in tuning his image from way back in 1981 when he first appeared in Donkey Kong, keeping all of his iconic elements intact. Nintendo stayed true to their little hero despite the advancements in technology and gameplay.

So this was put together as a point blank documentation of his design evolution. There are zillions of Mario games out there but James wanted to only show the main titles that advanced his design.

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