Voice Actor Charles Martinet Dreams as Mario

You may never have heard the name Charles Martinet, but if you’ve played a Super Mario game at any point in the last three decades, you’ve heard him. Martinet has provided the voices for many of the series’ characters, including Mario, Luigi, Wario, Baby Mario, and more. He’s so steeped in the characters, Martinet told Games Radar, that he even dreams as Mario.

If this doesn’t make you want to take a nap and try to dream about leaping into paintings and flying through the air collecting coins, I don’t know if you’ve played enough Nintendo games.

Martinet said, “These characters for me are always there. I mean, I dream as Mario, flying over these lakes or over the ocean, in the moonlight, a little bit Galaxy-esque. And I sometimes dream in 2D. If I wake up in the morning and I’m having a lousy day, I’m like {Wario growl}. These voices are just alive in me.”

The whole interview is a delightful peek into an aspect of video games that many of us might not often think about. Martinet talks about how he initially crashed the audition for the voice of Mario, then found himself talking endlessly—in the voice of an Italian plumber from Brooklyn—about different kinds of pasta. The role was initially something of a promotional thing, where he would be at trade shows, hidden from the audience and speaking through a “Mario In Real Time” system that showed an animated version of the character. But over the year’s he’s provided voices for everything from Mario Teaches Typing to Super Mario Odyssey.

Mario Teaches Typing, he said, was one of his favorite experiences. The script was full of negative responses when the player messed up, but Martinet wanted to make it more positive, to tell the player he knew they could do better. That fueled his approach over the years: “Creating that dynamic of positive energy and positive influence, to me the character is always love, always respect, always a joy. Even in the fear, the terror, the adventure, all of that, it always still had to have that vibrancy, that alive spirit of pure joy and pure love.”

I think it’s safe to say that Chris Pratt, who’s voicing Mario in an upcoming film, has some pretty big—and loving—shoes to fill.


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