How’s this for a plot twist: The voice of Mario for nearly the past 30 years did some Sonic related side work right at the beginning of his tenure with Nintendo.
Martinet confirmed it’s his voice behind a Hidden Valley Ranch commercial that aired with a Sonic Chaos tie-in and contest, as well as stickers that best represent the Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog television series. The original commercial was unearthed by community veteran Rlan’s Sonic the Hedgeblog account on Twitter. The commercials appears to date back to some time in 1994.
Depending on which source you trust, Martinet’s involvement with Mario began as early as 1992–the same year as Sonic 2’s release–when his voice went uncredited in a licensed Mario pinball game. Most will point to a proper credited debut in Mario’s Game Galaxy in 1995. He has been voicing the iconic character ever since, and holds the Guinness World Record for voicing a video game character the most times.
While potentially unthinkable in today’s day and age–Martinet has rarely diverged from his role as the plumber since the mid-1990s–it was and, for many, still is not so uncommon for voice artists to…well, pick up other work without controversy. Current Sonic voice Roger Craig Smith, for example, lends his voice to an array of other animated characters currently. Though the console wars were in full swing by the early ’90s, it would have been impossible for Martinet–or anyone–to see what the future would hold for both Nintendo and Sega’s flagship franchises at the time. At least Mario and Sonic are both friends now, right?
This post was originally written by the author for TSSZ News.