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The Most Iconic Voice in the World

On 08/22/2023 at 10:32 AM by The Last Ninja

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A tribute to gaming’s greatest voice 

In case you missed the news, yesterday Nintendo announced that Charles Martinet would no longer be the voice of Mario. This was shocking news to me (and a lot of Mario fans) as Martinet has been Mario’s voice for almost 30 years. In fact, his voice is just as iconic as Mario’s red hat and bushy mustache. It’s hard to imagine Mario without that voice, and I think we have definitely taken it for granted. 

While he technically started voicing Mario prior, it was Super Mario 64 (1996) that was most people’s introduction to Martinet’s voice. At the very start of the game, you were greeted by “It’s a-me, Mario!” Those are immortal words. In fact, this simple phrase is the most iconic thing that Mario has ever said. Martinet’s Mario voice was instantly a classic. It very quickly became iconic. Mario was associated with bounciness and fun, and that’s exactly the characteristics that Martinet brought to the character with his voice. 

For the last 27 years, Martinet has voiced Mario in hundreds of games, including platformers, sports games, party games, RPGs, and even Legos. His voice is so heavily associated with Mario that it’s hard to fathom another voice coming from the portly plumber. It has been confirmed that Martinet will not voice Mario in the upcoming Super Mario Bros. Wonder. Very fittingly, his last role was actually voicing Jumpman and Mario’s father in The Super Mario Bros. Movie. It’s touching that the last line he said in that movie was Mario’s father proudly telling the city, “These are my boys!” Yes, Martinet, these ARE your boys. You will always be the voice of Mario (and also Luigi, and a lot of other characters too). 

It seems that Nintendo is entering a new era. With the massive success of the Mario movie, Nintendo will be making a LOT more movies. They also recently opened two Nintendo World theme parks. Martinet’s retirement seems to indicate that Nintendo wants to create a new Mario for a new generation. That’s quite scary, isn’t it? Mario hasn’t changed at all in over 30 years, which is a testament to Miyamoto’s genius. Mario’s voice has been a big part of my life—he has always been there. Hopefully Nintendo won’t change him much. Whoever fills Martinet’s shoes will have a massive task ahead of him. After all, the Mario voice is not just great; it is the most iconic voice in the world. What are your thoughts?  

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08/22/2023 at 11:17 AM

It was definitely a surprise but Marinet is getting old, so it makes sense. I wonder if they will have someone try to imitate that voice going forward or if they will let it be different. I guess we'll get our first taste with Mario Wonder in a few months.

The Last Ninja

08/23/2023 at 12:21 AM

If you watch the Mario Wonder trailer, you can hear the "new" voice (Nintendo said it's not Martinet), so it seems that for now the new voice is trying to imitate Martinet's Mario voice. 

Cary Woodham

08/22/2023 at 04:00 PM

I was never a fan of Charles Martinet's Mario voice, but that doesn't mean that I hate Charles Martinet.  I have a lot of respect for him for doing that voice for so long, and even though I don't like his Mario voice, I do like his Luigi and Wario voices.  I don't think Nintendo will change the voices too much in the future, though.  I think they'll try to keep similar sounding voice actors and actresses, just maybe ones that are cheaper and younger.  Charles Martinet is at the age to retire.  And I think Nintendo making him be a Mario Ambassador is just their way of saying there was no ill will between him and Nintendo for the departure.

I got to meet Charles Martinet once.  During the E3 that they were first showing the DS, they had press wait in a room before going to another room with the DS demo stations.  While we were waiting, a screen of Mario was at the door and he was talking to all of us in real time.  He did impressions.  He did Mario's voice trying to impersonate Luke Skywalker and Darth Vader.  "Luka, I'm-a your poppa!"  "No, you're not my poppa!"  "Why did you cut-a off my hand, poppa?"  After we playing games in the demo station, Charles Martinet himself was outside the door waiting to shake our hands.

There was another time I may have gotten to talk with Charles Martinet as Mario.  At another earlier E3, they had an animatronic Mario you could interact with, and I know there was somebody who could see you because right behind Mario was a screen on the wall.  I was wearing a UT Longhorns hat and the white Longhorn logo was on the side, and Mario said, "It looks like a bird pooped on-a your hat!"  I think Charles Martinet was behind that screen.

The Last Ninja

08/23/2023 at 12:23 AM

Wow, those are great stories! There's no doubt that the man is very talented (and from what I've heard, very likable) 


08/22/2023 at 10:35 PM

It will be kind of sad, but Martinet earned an honorable retirement, and he will probably still do Mario's voice in an official capacity at Nintendo events. I kind of wonder if they want to have a more fully voiced Mario, but it's a lot harder to do it with the exaggerated Italian accent nowadays, as was lampshaded in the Super Mario Bros. movie. 

The Last Ninja

08/23/2023 at 12:25 AM

It would be neat to have a more talkative Mario, but it would take some getting used to! I honestly have no idea what Nintendo is planning here, so it's kinda exciting, but also kinda scary. 


08/25/2023 at 10:33 AM

During gaming sessions, whenever I have to sneeze, I alway embellish the "achoo!" with the Mario "Wahoo!". I'll have to hear the new "Wahoo!" and see if I like it. Martinet's Luigi is great too. I actually like Luigi better than Mario for character and the games he's in. 

The Last Ninja

08/25/2023 at 11:48 AM

Love Luigi! Martinet's work in Luigi's Mansion 3 is unparalleled. A big part of Luigi's personality is because of Marinet's excellent voice work. 


08/26/2023 at 10:20 AM

I have to get to LM3. Another Switch game I need to have. 

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