Earlier this year, Console Wars author Blake J. Harris (whose work I mentioned in brief here shared a few images from a resource known as the “Nintendo Character Manual,” an official resource from 1993 which licensees would use to make sure they portrayed Nintendo’s characters correctly, from their personality to their color scheme. Green gathered the few Mario-related scans that were shared by Harris on his Twitter, but now it appears the full set is available.
Included are a number of pieces of artwork of the characters circa 1993, along with small blurbs about each and a separate color guide for each piece of art, and even some Mario size comparison charts. What’s interesting to note is that while people say Mario himself has no character, or even just the least among those in his own series, here he has more written about his personality than anyone else. Amusing to me personally is that much of this pretty much lines up perfectly with how I’ve seen Mario and tried to portray him while rationalizing his world.
Also included in the profiles are Kirby and Samus Aran; as for the leading trio from The Legend of Zelda, IGN shared those several months ago. Of course, seeing as this all spun out of the release of Console Wars: SEGA, Nintendo, and the Battle That Defined a Generation, it’s certainly worth noting that some pages from the Sonic the Hedgehog style guide were shared by Steve Lin earlier this year as well.
Naturally, seeing as the Nintendo stuff is from 1993, it should not only go without saying that much of this information has changed and/or evolved since then. Furthermore, in lieu of evidence of earlier versions, it’s probably safe to say that at the very least, this version of the “rules” was not available in time for the makers of the Super Mario Bros. movie to make use of it, having come out in the same year (never mind DiC with their cartoons, or Valiant with their Nintendo Comics System).
As for me, I was actually the one who prodded Matt to reach out to Mr. Harris about sharing the rest of these pages, reasoning that as close as I was able to get Mario in my head, having more information to reinforce or reevaluate other characters for certain projects of mine may not be the worst thing to have handy. Will I get to use any of it? Only time will tell.