One of the big surprises for Nintendo fans at Comic-Con was the appearance of Charles Martinet, who is the voice of everyone’s favorite plumber Mario. He was there signing autographs on oversized postcards and chatting with fans. Mr. Martinet was pleased to come down and see his fans. Their response to his different voices and the passion they have for Mario was a treat for him. Some young boys jumped up and down when they heard him talk in Mario’s voice, a couple of people even cried. So what does the man behind the moustache think of the games, the Wii and just how did he get the job?
It all started around 15 years ago at the CES. Mr. Martinet reluctantly “crashed” an audition. The camera man was putting his equipment away and the group was getting ready to call it a night. After convincing the crew to begin taping again he heard about the role, an Italian plumber from Brooklyn whose visage is going to be used in an interactive demo. At first Mr. Martinet thought of a stereotypical Italian voice with a thick accent, the result was a voice that sounded like it was out of a mob movie. This voice just wasn’t fun so he switched gears into an older Italian man. Things changed when the camera was recording. He started speaking like the Mario we all know and love until the audition tape ran out. The only tape that was sent over for the role was Mr. Martinet’s and as we all know he got the job.
Insiders heard his voice at the CES in a SimGraphics demo. While the world had to wait until Super Mario 64 to hear Mario speak for the first time. On the game Mr. Martinet says that “Mr. Miyamoto is such a genius”. He liked how in Mario 64 everything had a fun tone to it, even the sound of waaaaaa when Mario loses a life. Soon after Mario had a voice Mario’s buddies had to have one too. For many of the characters in the Mario series Mr. Martinet does the voice work. He’s Mario, Luigi, Wario, Waluigi, Baby Mario, Baby Luigi, and the tour guide in Super Mario Sunshine (you know the one that says “Welcome to Delfino Island”). It typically takes two to three days to record the voices for a console game while DS games are much shorter, they can be done in a day. The voice work for New Super Mario Brothers was done in a single day.
Speaking of the games Mr. Martinet plays them too. Of course the Mario games are his favorite titles. “Every Mario game gets better and better”, says Mr. Martinet on the evolution of the series, “Super Mario Galaxy is Mr. Miyamoto to the tenth power.” About the Wii Mr. Martinet says, “everything is brand new with Wii.” He mentioned how he liked the controller’s use as a tennis racquet in Wii Sports and as part of a hula hoop in Wario Ware: Smooth Moves. Besides Super Mario Galaxy he is looking forward to playing the Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess, Wii Sports and Wario Ware Smooth Moves. Later this week he’s off to voice another game, could it be Mario vs. Donkey Kong 2: March of the Minis? Super Paper Mario? Or an unknown Mario Wii game? For Nintendo fans it’s good to know that Mr. Martinet is continuing to bring life to Mario and his pals.