Mamma mia! It's-a me, Mario! For nearly four decades, this iconic Italian plumber and his colorful crew of pals have entertained fans of all ages across the globe. A staple in popular culture, inspiring countless spin-off games, merchandise, theme parks and even a movie, Mario, Luigi, and their gang of colorful characters continue to create bonding opportunities between parents and their children.
In honor of the Italian roots Chicco shares with Mario and Luigi, we set out to discover which of Mario's friends is the most beloved in each U.S. state. From Yoshi to Princess Peach, each character has their own unique charm and personality. So grab your favorite Mario game, and join us as we travel through the Mushroom Kingdom to discover each state's favorite Mario character. Here we go!
In celebration of the new The Super Mario Bros. Movie, let’s take a look at the cast and see if their character is most popular in the state they hailed from.
Chris Pratt, who voices Mario in the movie, is originally from Minnesota where Wario is the most popular character. Jack Black, the voice of Bowser, is originally from California where Yoshi is the most popular Mario character. The voice of Princess Peach, Anna Taylor-Joy, has Florida roots where Luigi is the most popular. Speaking of the green-clad Italian, the only cast member who voices their home state’s most popular character is Charlie Day, who voices Luigi and is from New York.
Shout out to the District of Columbia for being the only place that favors Bowser. Hey, sometimes even bad guys need some love! Check out the map above to see which Mario character your state loves the most.
Mario first appeared as Jump Man in the classic 1981 arcade game Donkey Kong. In 1985 Shigeru Miyamoto, the creator of the Mario universe, introduced the Italian plumbers (Mario and his brother Luigi) as the heroes of the original Super Mario Bros. game for the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES).
Their debut mission to save Princess Toadstool (later known as Princess Peach) from Bowser, the leader of the Koopa Troop, is the stuff of video game legend and one of the most beloved video game storylines of all time. Mario's love interest and damsel in distress, Princess Peach, became a playable character in multiple spin-off games and remains a Mario family fan favorite.
Daisy, princess of Sarasaland and Luigi's love interest first appeared in Super Mario Land (1989). She quickly became a central character in the Mario universe. Her confidence, outgoing personality, and athletic abilities make her a perfect match for Luigi and a great role model.
The brothers and princesses are video game royalty and continue to bring their fans joy worldwide. So we had to ask: of these four iconic characters, who does each state prefer? Overall, Americans seemed to prefer Luigi and Daisy over the original protagonist and his damsel in distress, Mario and Princess Peach!
So who's the most popular Mario character nationwide?
Mario's hot-tempered arch-rival, Wario, came out on top in 16 states! Wario first appeared as the anti-hero in the 1992 Game Boy classic Mario Land 2:6 Golden Coins, and he's been a fan favorite ever since.
In second place, the reliable and lovable Luigi took the hearts of 14 states. Luigi always seems to play second fiddle to his brother Mario in the games, so it's nice to see that he gets the recognition he deserves in the real world. Let's a-go!
Princess Daisy claimed the number three spot, winning over 5 states. The athletic princess Princess Daisy appears in over 70 Mario games and has a loyal fan base.
Mario, Luigi, and the gang have come a long way since their 1985 debut. From the Mushroom Kingdom and Sarasaland in Super Mario Bros. and Super Mario Land to present-day hits like Mario Kart 8 Deluxe and Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, these characters stand the test of time. So let's raise the Mushroom Kingdom flag and give Mario and his friends their due!
One thing is certain. When it comes to keeping kids content while riding in their car seats or boosters, portable gaming devices have been a welcome helper for parents since the 90s! So the next time your family takes a road trip, be sure to bring along your favorite Mario games and an age-appropriate car seat from Chicco!
To determine each state's favorite Mario character, we used Google Trends to analyze searches for 10 characters in the Mario universe over a five-year period. Naturally, we chose the most iconic and well-known characters, and of course, Mario himself!