Mario is the main character of the Super Mario series and Nintendo's primary mascot. In the series, Mario uses his legendary jump and combat abilities to defend the peaceful inhabitants of Mushroom World from power-hungry villains such as Bowser. While not adventuring, Mario participates in a variety of sporting events and even works as one of his alter-egos, Dr. Mario.
Mario was created out of necessity by Shigeru Miyamoto after Nintendo lost the license to create a video game based on the Popeye universe. The designers kept the gameplay, but created a new cast of characters. Mario assumed Popeye's role, and the game was released as the arcade version of Donkey Kong. In this game, he was referred to as "Jumpman."
Jumpman was renamed Mario when an employee at Nintendo of America's office in New York City pointed out the similar physical appearances of Mario and Nintendo's Italian landlord, Mario Segali. This connection was made when an ill-tempered Segali burst in on a meeting to collect rent. The purpose of the meeting was to find a better name for Jumpman.
Since then, Mario has appeared in nearly every title in the Super Mario series. In addition, he has appeared in multiple television programs, direct-to-video releases, comic books, and even a feature film. He is currently one of the most recognisable fictional characters in the world.