Mario, one of gaming’s most iconic characters, has been around almost as long as video games have existed. The voice of the heroic plumber is distinctly recognizable to fans from around the world. Now, the man behind the voice, Charles Martinet, is being recognized for all his work as the character of Mario.
Last week, Martinet visited the Guinness World Records London Headquarters to receive a certificate for the "Most video game voiceover performances as the same character," with Super Smash Bros. Ultimate officially being the 100th time that he has voiced Mario in a video game.
In an interview with the Guinness World Records Gaming Podcast, Martinet exclaimed that he had no idea that his original audition for the character of an “Italian plumber from Brooklyn” would lead to a 28-plus year career, much less being entered into the Guinness Book of World Records. In fact, prior to the audition, Martinet had never even heard of Nintendo.
Interestingly enough, Martinet’s first role as Mario was actually not for a video game. Rather, he got his start in 1992 as more of a motion caption actor at electronics events and trade shows. Along with providing his voice, Martinet’s facial features were captured in a super computer which would translate to Mario performing the same actions on a screen. It wasn’t until 1995’s release of Mario's FUNdamentals on Windows PC that Martinet’s voice was used for a Mario video game. However, it is likely that most gamers are more familiar with his work in Super Mario 64, which was released for the Nintendo 64 in 1996.
The rest, as they say, is history, with Martinet being one of the most recognized voices in the gaming industry. Beyond Mario, Martinet’s list of game credits and characters voiced is exhausting. He has managed to keep a grip on the Italian characters of Luigi, Baby Mario and Luigi, Wario, and Waluigi, but has also been involved with more mature titles, such as 2007’s Kane & Lynch: Dead Men.
Martinet’s achievement is an impressive one, especially considering the longevity of being Mario since the character was essentially technologically capable of having an actual in-game voice. Congratulations to Charles Martinet. Here’s to a hundred more Mario games!