MARIO (SUPER MARIO BROS.)
Mario’s design was initially created for the 1981 arcade game, Donkey Kong. Before Super Mario Bros. was created, Mario was given the name Jumpman and was loosely based off of the character Popeye. Shigeru Miyamoto chose to give Mario an ethnically generic character aesthetic to make the game more accessible among international release, which proved to be a successful design decision. Mario is usually seen wearing his trademark red hat with the letter M’ on the front, white gloves, red shirt, blue overalls with two gold buttons and brown shoes.
LINK (THE LEGEND OF ZELDA)
Link was originally designed for the 1986 NES title, The Legend of Zelda. He is usually depicted as a courageous young boy or teenager in green clothing who leaves his home and any relatives to pursue his destiny: fighting the evil forces threatening the land. Over the course of his adventure, Link defeats legions of evil monsters, explores vasts lands, helps anyone he meets struggling, navigates deadly dungeons, and collects mythical items while pursuing his quest for justice and peace. Miyamoto stated in an interview that the game’s and Link’s conceptualization was based on his childhood memories of books, movies, stories and personal experiences. His goal with the character was to make people identify with Link and have the opportunity to be heroes like the character. In addtion to that, the etymology of the name is simply Miyamoto’s desire to have to player have a personal “link” with the character.
DONKEY KONG (DONKEY KONG)
Donkey Kong was originally designed as a villain for the 1981 arcade game, Donkey Kong. During the arcade era, Donkey Kong was described to be a large clumsy ape who kidnapped the damsel in distress for unkonwn reasons. Loosely based off of Pluto from the Popeye series, Donkey Kong’s only purpose was to act as a foil to Mario. However; over the years, Donkey was redesigned and made into a protagonist for his own game. Along with his character design changed to appear as more fun and enjoyable, his personal description has been changed to him being a carefree simian, wearing a red tie with his initials “DK”, and is described to spend his days collecting bananas.