Ever since his debut in Donkey Kong all the way back in 1981, Mario has maintained his position as one of the most iconic characters in all of gaming. Despite his official job description as a plumber, Mario has had a rather successful career over the course of his 32 years in the industry, playing the hero for his princess on innumerable occasions. However, as one would expect from someone with such a long and storied career, Mario has had numerous jobs outside of his plumbing roots. To describe the varied life of one of the Mushroom Kingdom’s most famous names, I’ll be stepping through the 10 most important jobs that Mario has held throughout his many years, besides the obvious inclusion of being a plumber, in an attempt to tell the story of a small-time Italian plumber who hit it big. Without further ado, let’s get started.
Although his brother was perfectly content with his lot in life, Mario was never quite satisfied with plumbing being his true career. Sure, he was also in the business of saving the princess of his land more times than he could count, but, shockingly enough to everyone involved, the princess never seemed to give him any more than a cake in thanks. He may not have minded very much, seeing it as his duty, but he still needed to put spaghetti on the table for both his brother and himself. As such, he decided to try his fortune elsewhere in the world of boxing.
Mario may not have been much of a boxer himself, but he had certainly seen enough fights in his time to know how to judge them. So, he became a referee for the many circuits of boxing in the world, which led him to spend time with some of the most famous athletes there were. There are even tales that Mario was in personal correspondence with the legendary Little Mac and helped to bring the kid up from his humble beginnings to the famous icon he still is today. In the end though, it was simple work and paid well enough for Mario to enjoy himself for a while.
While being a referee provided steady income for Mario and his brother, it wasn’t long until Mario felt the same dissatisfaction that he had felt as a plumber. It was simply too small a job for someone with high aspirations and Mario decided to leave the business, despite his solid reputation for fair calls. Left once again without work, Mario decided to look toward his other talents for a calling. An off comment from his brother Luigi about how Mario made “the best pasta this side of the Mushroom Kingdom” gave Mario the idea to become a chef.
While he may have spent what little remaining funds the brothers had to their name to do so, “Mario’s Italian Cuisine” was a dream that had become a reality for Mario. As the Mushroom Kingdom is rather separated from the rest of the world, Mario’s exotic cuisine became an overnight sensation in the land and the restaurant’s popularity skyrocketed faster than anyone would’ve expected. It wasn’t long before other “Mario’s” began to open across the kingdom and although Mario obviously couldn’t manage to work at every one, he became the owner of the most successful restaurant chain around at that time, although he still made sure to keep his hands in the kitchen often, keeping his original recipes alive.
With the excess funds from the success of “Mario’s,” Mario had more money to spend than he had ever had in his life. Leaving the restaurants in the capable hands of his brother and other close friends, Mario decided to chase one of his more expensive dream jobs and become an animal trainer while the real money was made from his restaurant chain. Initial experience and good rapport with the dinosaur Yoshi had instilled a sense of ease with animals in Mario’s mind from a young age and he had always wanted to try and work with them constantly. To accomplish his goal, Mario decided to call up an old acquaintance of his: a gorilla named Donkey Kong.
Although the two had a rocky past, to say the least, they had come to an understanding with one another after a series of “parties” they had together with other friends and could even be called friends themselves. As a show of good will, Kong said, in his own way, that he wouldn’t mind helping Mario fulfill a dream and proceeded to act the animal for Mario’s circus. Although Kong did his duty by both attracting attention to the circus and teaching Mario how to train other animals, it wasn’t long before Mario had a multiple-ring circus and enjoyed further fame in the kingdom’s spotlight.
Sadly, Mario’s starlight had to twinkle out sometime. Even though there were numerous other animals that could form the core of the circus, Mario insisted that Donkey Kong continue working at the center, ignoring requests from Kong to retire from the exhausting life. Kong soon felt as though his “friend” Mario had been taking advantage of his kindness and left the circus soon after, revealing the falsehood to all the fans of Mario’s circus. With yells of “Fake!” and “Phony!” ringing from every hill of the kingdom, attendance of the circus quickly dried up and a humiliated Mario closed the attraction, never to be reopened. At the same time, “Mario’s” was suffering harshly in sales as the novelty of the food had finally worn off and although the food was never considered bad, it simply didn’t capture the interest it once had. Mario was losing money fast.
In a rush of desperation after settling the worst affairs, Mario went back to his blue-collar roots in a desperate bid to get some money. Specifically, he rejoined a small construction company called “Wrecking Crew,” a group that Mario had worked for once in the past. Thankfully for Mario, they were more than willing to accept an old friend back into the fold, and, with the relatively paltry funds from destroying excess materials, Mario managed to earn enough money to eke out of the money problems he had.
Although Mario had managed to save himself from long-term financial issues, he found himself at a loss of direction after the failure of two of his dream jobs. He went through the motions at Wrecking Crew for at least six more months until he decided he needed to look inside himself and truly figure out what to do with his life. Mario left the company on good terms and looked for a way to express himself as he took a break using his remaining money.
Soon enough, Mario took up painting landscapes around the central area of the Mushroom Kingdom. After realizing that there was only so much that could be gleaned from green fields and hills with eyes, he expanded his repertoire to anything that struck his fancy. Over the course of the next year, Mario made possibly thousands of paintings; some that could be considering masterpieces, some… not. Regardless, the calm life, aside from the occasional journey to save the princess once again, set Mario’s mind at ease once more.
On one of Mario’s many expeditions to the far reaches of the Mushroom Kingdom to find some inspiration for painting, he came across an ancient skeleton of a previously unknown species, uncovered in the shifting sands of one of the many deserts scattered across the land. Though the desire to paint the discovery was certainly present in his mind, Mario couldn’t help but be fascinated by something he had never seen before, despite his numerous journeys to the far corners of the kingdom. He was struck by a sudden, real inspiration that all his paintings never provided him and decided to assist others in finding more of the past that was out there.
Although Mario had never had formal training in the matter, he still took great care in working with the fragile artifacts and discoveries he found at the various archeological digs around the land. With his assistance in the more dangerous aspects of the job, archeologists made a series of amazing discoveries featuring ancient pictures found across the many ruins. Mario’s involvement in all of these key discoveries gave him the sense of accomplishment he had been aspiring to for many years and boosted his popularity once again, to say the least.
Mario’s name had regained most of the power it once held, with practically none of the negative attention that had shut him out of the limelight in the first place. The important discoveries, interesting past, and never-ending rescues of Princess Peach made Mario one of the hottest celebrities the Mushroom Kingdom had ever seen and this is a fact Mario himself took special notice of. Interested as he was in finding out about the kingdom’s past, Mario was starting to run a little dry on funds, as the archeology job didn’t pay off as much as he had expected. In his popularity though, Mario came up with a clever idea to make more than enough money.
After forming a partnership with famous toy mogul Novel T, Mario released his own line of toys based on himself and his many famous positions throughout the years. These toys displayed such events as Mario refereeing the championship match of Little Mac’s run through the boxing circuit and even a Ringleader Mario made to clean up the little shame that still remained from one of the darker times in Mario’s life. Unsurprisingly, Mario’s celebrity status made for enormously successful sales for every line of toys that the partnership produced and Mario was riding higher than he ever had before. Naturally though, success to that degree couldn’t last forever.
Although Mario enjoyed enormous profits from his many toy lines, it was only a matter of time before something destroyed that success as well, or in this case, someone. Mario’s old rival and partner Donkey Kong came into the picture after he heard about Mario’s profit… at his expense. The toys involving Mario’s circus days portrayed Kong as a mindless animal that destroyed everything around him and ruined the circus with such actions. As can be expected, Kong did not appreciate the defamation of his character and sued Mario for the profits from the toy line in question. Kong won the suit rather handily and Mario, in a moment of unthinking passion, challenged the ape to a fistfight. Naturally, he lost in a similarly complete fashion due to his own inexperience and Kong’s strength.
However, even with the loss of both the fight and a majority of the toy profits, Mario gained something else from the entire encounter: a true sense of exhilaration. Despite all of his time watching physical sports and fights, Mario had never actually participated in the events before and now found that he liked it… a lot. He decided not to dwell on his recent losses and started to participate in as many sporting events as he possibly could, from the Star Cup of the Mushroom Kingdom tennis bracket to the world-famous soccer league. Mario trained hard and although he never quite reached the top of any one sport, he proved to be a solid competitor no matter what sport he was participating in, sparking a popularity that all but erased the debacle with Kong.
Despite his reasonable success in the venture, Mario decided before long that participating in sporting events simply wasn’t enough to satisfy the absolute need for exhilaration that he now felt deep down. Whether he realized it or not, Mario had become a true thrill seeker and although the sports were rigorous and intense, he needed more. The opportunity to fulfill that need came sooner than he may have expected, as he passed by a racetrack one day featuring a race between the best and brightest of the Shine Circuit and decided to watch something he had never seen before. As soon as he saw the speeds of the cars in question, he knew that this would finally be enough. He could fully let loose.
With the gusto that had gone into every career decision Mario made, he began training in secret using a car built by family friend and constant inventor Professor Elvin Gadd. After nearly nine months, he felt he was finally ready to participate and announced his intentions to enter the next Mushroom 500. Naturally, the kingdom was shocked that the successful sports star would be stepping into such a dangerous new role, but considering the number of times Mario had saved their princess before, his fans believed he could certainly handle the challenge and came out en masse to support him. Once again, Mario did not completely win the competition, but came in a more than respectable 3rd place for a newcomer. More importantly however, Mario finally felt that euphoria he had been so desperately searching for. He felt that he had finally found his calling.
Sadly for Mario, his calling simply wasn’t meant to be. After winning a couple of the smaller races, he participated in the second-largest race in the kingdom, the Flower 500. There, due to some faulty wiring in his machine and an inconveniently-placed banana peel, Mario suffered a horrifying spin-out that ended up with 40 full revolutions and a terrifying crash into the side wall of the racetrack. Mario was gravely injured in the wreck and it was fairly unlikely he would be able to pull through at all. Thankfully, there was a full medical crew at the scene who were able to stabilize Mario and bring him to Toadley General quickly enough to save his life. Mario underwent treatment and rehabilitation for the better part of a year before he was well enough to walk out of the hospital, but he had survived and had a new lease on life. Most of all, he felt an overwhelming sense of gratitude to the doctors who had managed to save his life and decided, once and for all, that he would learn to do the same.
Despite his weakened state, Mario buried himself in medical texts and, after innumerable days of studying, managed to get into the most prodigious medical school in the kingdom, UP-1. There, he studied all the harder and, after six grueling years, graduated with a medical license and top honors. Quickly, he used his money reserves to build his own clinic that treated every kind of patient, from those with minor colds to those with the heaviest of injuries. Dr. Mario’s quickly became one of the most renowned medical facilities in the kingdom, with its excellent track record of successes and the new treatments that Mario developed during his time working. Most notable were the “Megavitamins” he began to research in his final year of medical school and perfected after three more years of personal research; an almost-mystical medicine that had the ability to cure practically every virus that existed in the world. Through it all however, Mario always stated that he was trying to give back what the world had given him: life.
Thus ends the life story of Mario, at least until this point in time. Although unlikely, it is possible that Mario’s journey will continue past the clinic he still runs to this day. Will he grow interested in the scientific breakthroughs that happen every day and step into the world of inventions? Will he become enamored with the stars and yearn to delve into the twinkling depths of space? Will he simply decide to settle down into his old job of plumbing that he abandoned all those years ago? None can say for certain. All we can say is that Mario is certainly a figure of history in Mushroom Kingdom and a man who could boast one of the most varied career paths the world has ever seen.