Super Mario Brothers character’s name is changed by Nintendo from potential racial slur after three decades
- The character will have its name changed from Blackie to Spike in Japanese
- He has been known by this name to Western fans of the video game
Video game maker Nintendo has announced it has changed the Japanese name of the foreman from The Super Mario Bros. Movie, ahead of the film’s release in Japan later this month.
The character, who first featured as an enemy of Mario in the 1980s game Wrecking Crew, will have its name changed from Blackie to Spike in Japanese, as he has been known to Western fans of the video game for the past three decades.
Nintendo did not immediately provide a reason for the decision to change the name, which is a racist slur in Western countries. It noted that the new Japanese name will be the same as the name used in Europe and the United States.
‘The name in “The Super Mario Bros. Movie,” which will be released on April 28, 2023, will be “Spike” as well,’ the company wrote in a tweet posted to its official Japanese Twitter account last Thursday.
Foreman Spike originally made an appearance in the 1985 Wrecking Crew series as a construction worker and an enemy of Mario.
The character (pictured), who first featured as an enemy of Mario in the 1980s game Wrecking Crew, will have its name changed from Blackie to Spike in Japanese, as he has been known to Western fans of the video game for the past three decades
Pictured: Spike. Nintendo did not immediately provide a reason for the decision to change the name, which is a racist slur in Western countries
In the Super Mario Bros. Movie, he is the former boss of Mario and his brother Luigi before they quit their construction jobs to start their own plumbing business.
The film scored the most successful global opening of all time for an animated film.
It stars Chris Pratt as Mario, Charlie Day as Luigi and Anya Taylor-Joy as Princess Peach.
The film took $377m (£303m) around the world in its first five days on release, overtaking the previous record of $358m (£288m) held by Frozen 2.
The film has a 56% critics’ score on Rotten Tomatoes compared to the 96% audience score.
Commenting on the disparity, Elon Musk tweeted: ‘Wow, the critics are so disconnected from reality!’
Pictured: Mario, voiced by Chris Pratt, left, and Luigi, voiced by Charlie Day in Nintendo’s The Super Mario Bros. Movie
Nintendo wrote in a tweet posted to its official Japanese Twitter account last Thursday
The film follows Brooklyn plumbers Mario and Luigi as they’re transported down a mysterious pipe while working underground to fix a water main.
The brothers wander into a ‘magical new world’ and when they’re separated, ‘Mario embarks on an epic quest to find Luigi,’ according to a synopsis on the movie’s website.
The 1993 Super Mario Bros. movie, starring Bob Hoskins and John Leguizamo as Mario and Luigi, was critically panned.
Mario and Luigi have appeared in a variety of Nintendo produced game titles in recent years, including Mario Kart, Super Mario Odyssey, and Super Mario Party.
The video game industry is worth hundreds of billions of pounds globally and is one of the fastest growing industries in the UK, with many turning to gaming during the coronavirus lockdown.
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