This weekend, our favorite video game plumbers are back, in a brand new adventure for Super Mario Bros. on the Wii-U. It turns out that Mario and the gang also exist in the historical record. We found Mario Luigi living in Yolo County, California, in both the 1930 US census and the 1940 US census. Yolo County, California, may, in fact, be a close fit to the fictional world of Mushroom Kingdom, as the surrounding region is well-known for its mushroom cultivation.
The 1940s has more ties to video games than just names reminiscent of our favorite childhood pastime. The earliest example of a video game was seen in 1947. The “Cathode ray tube Amusement Device” was almost an early version of Angry Birds giving users the chance to control a dot on a screen and simulate a missile being fired at targets. One of the inventors Thomas Goldsmith, Jr. can also be found in the 1940 US census living in New Jersey with a listed occupation of electrical engineer.
We also discovered Mario’s royal paramour Peach living in the same county. She was 32 years older than the Mario we discovered, and probably not a real princess, but who are we to judge?
Where would Mario be without his trusty dinosaur steed, Yoshi? We found three Yoshis in the same county (we strongly doubt they’re really from Yoshi Island though).
With Mario Luigi around, we didn’t find any Bowsers or Koopas living in Yolo at the time – hardly surprising! We did find quite a few villainously-named people living outside of Yolo.
Finding historical versions of some of our favorite video characters is just one of the many fantastic surprises hiding in our records, waiting to be found. What other classic cartridge heroes would you like to find?