Mario has been battling giant apes and stomping on turtles for over 35 years now, and yet the guy still looks as young as the day he was created. Maybe a bit less pixelated, but still just a spritely. Well, we may have our first evidence that even fictional super-powered plumbers aren't immune to the ravages of time.
Nintendo recently released some new promo art as part of their E3 2017 Super Mario Odyssey blowout:
At first glance, Mario looks more-or-less like he always does here, but if you zoom in on the ultra-HD image, you'll discover it features a lot more detail than you're used to seeing from the plumber. The soft felt-like fabric of Mario's red shirt and denim of his overalls has been carefully rendered, and you can see all the individual hairs on his head and in his moustache.
Well, the eagle-eyed folks at Super Mario Broth discovered one of those hairs is slightly amiss. Yes, there appears to be a single strand of gray hair above Mario's left ear.
According to the Mario Broth detectives, this isn't a Photoshop error and the fact that the image was released in lossless HD means it's not a random compression artifact. No, it seems a single gray hair was added to Mario's otherwise robust pate on purpose. Given Nintendo's attention to detail and love of Easter eggs, I'd say it's a fairly plausible scenario.
So, that begs the question – how old is Mario, exactly? The simplest answer is 36-years-old, since he made his first appearance in Donkey Kong, which hit arcades in April of 1981. If Mario really is in his mid-30s, then it's about time he sprouted his first gray. I'm 35 and I have more than my share. Although maybe Mario is hitting the Just For Men – remember how Mario used to have black sideburns? Now they're brown like the rest of his hair. That smacks of somebody trying to cover up some graying temples.
Of course, Mario is a fictional character, and doesn't necessarily age like the rest of us. According to a past interview with Shigeru Miyamoto, Mario is supposed to be perpetually in his mid-20s…
"We didn't put any restrictions on Mario as a character. Normally when you create a character and present him to the world, all the details get filed in: what's his favorite color? What kind of food does he like to eat? But aside from the fact that he's about 24-25 years old, we didn't define anything else."
24 or 25 huh? Well, congrats on your first gray, kiddo – there are plenty more to come. Get ready for all the comments about how "distinguished" you look, now.
[via Super Mario Broth]