In 1993, buoyed by three years of SNES sales and at the height of its success, Nintendo decided to get its brand in order by creating an official style guide for all of its major characters, from Mario to Samus. Forgotten for years, the 30-year-old Nintendo Character Manual has just popped up online, and it’s a wealth of forgotten information about Nintendo’s most famous characters, from the particular color of Princess Peach’s belt (Pantone 223) to Mario’s favorite kinds of music (opera and new-wave Europop).
Discovered by gaming site Press the Buttons, the guide is a curious historical document, with huge portions of it is turned over to how characters like Mario, Luigi, Kirby, Yoshi, and more should be depicted in advertisements, on box covers, and other media.
For example, Nintendo is weirdly adamant that Mario’s dinosaur steed Yoshi should never be seen facing to the right (even though the character almost exclusively is seen from that angle in games like Super Mario World). Every character has specific Pantone colors associated with them, so they can be colored consistently across any medium. There’s even some interesting charts that depict how each character in the Mario universe relates to each other in terms of size, although 30 years later, Nintendo itself barely sticks to this stuff: depending on the context in which he’s used, Mario’s enemy Bowser can be anywhere from seven feet tall to the size of Godzilla.
For gamers, though, a lot of the interest in the Nintendo Character Manual will be the weird bio tidbits included inside. For example, Nintendo wants to make sure that no one thinks that Wario, Mario’s evil-looking doppelganger, is an evil twin of Mario: they insist they’re childhood friends. Yoshi has a mouthful of a real name, T. Yoshisaur Munchakoopas. Mario, also, is apparently not human, but a distinct species all together, according to Nintendo: homo nintendonus. And did you know that Mario’s damsel-in-distress, Princess Daisy, has a father who is called the Mushroom King, “a revered moron who has a bad habit of being kidnapped and getting his tie caught in peanut butter jars.”
Read more about the Official Nintendo Character guide at Press the Buttons.