Mario: Nintendo reveals he's no longer a plumber, but fans wonder: has he embraced the gig economy?

Mario: Nintendo reveals he's no longer a plumber, but fans wonder: has he embraced the gig economy?

Mario: Nintendo reveals he's no longer a plumber, but fans wonder: has he embraced the gig economy?

Updated 7 September 2017, 7:30 AEST

The Japanese video game company angers hundreds of fans on social media by revealing its character Mario is officially no longer a plumber, with many wondering if he has moved on to become a freelancer or an Uber driver.

Japanese video game company Nintendo has angered hundreds of fans on social media by revealing its character Mario is officially no longer a plumber.

In a recently updated Mario profile, the company's website said "Mario was once a plumber … but that was a long time ago."

"All around sporty, whether it's tennis or baseball, soccer or car racing, he does everything cool. As a matter of fact, he also seems to have worked as a plumber a long time ago," the website said.

Although the games rarely feature Mario utilising his plumbing skills, the sudden announcement of his retirement has shocked fans and left many feeling betrayed.

"If Mario doesn't work as a plumber, then why is he dressed like one?" several fans asked.

While many others pointed out that Mario has actually practiced several professions since he first debuted as a carpenter in 1981's Donkey Kong.

"The game's stage was a construction site, so we made him into basically a carpenter," creator Shigeru Miyamoto, who is also responsible for Donkey Kong and Zelda, said in a 2011 interview.

"[In Super Mario Bros] we brought in Luigi and a lot of the game was played underground so we made him to fit that setting and, we decided he could be a plumber."

"The scenario dictates his role."

'Mario has always been representative of everyone'

While other high-profile games like Sega's Sonic the Hedgehog and PlayStation's Crash Bandicoot struggled to transition through generations, Mario has continued to evolve with the times.

Mario has held a range of occupations including a doctor, archaeologist, Olympic athlete and painter.

Mr Miyamoto told National Public Radio in the US in 2015 that his vision of Mario "has always been that he's sort of representative of everyone".

"He's kind of a blue-collar hero. And so that's why we chose those roles for him that were things like carpenters and plumbers," he said.

But with freelancers now making up 35 per cent of the US workforce and with more than a million independent contractors in Australia, it should come as no surprise that Mario has decided to embrace the gig economy.

"In this gig based economy, of course he isn't [a plumber anymore]. He drives for Uber now," joked Paris Lay on twitter.

Companies evolving characters to stay relevant

Nintendo joins a number of companies who have changed their veteran characters to evolve with society.

In early 2016, Mattel launched a range of curvy, tall and petite Barbie dolls in seven skin tones to be sold alongside the original.

"Barbie reflects the world girls see around them," Mattel president and chief executive officer Richard Dickson said.

"Her ability to evolve and grow with the times, while staying true to her spirit is central to why Barbie is the number one fashion doll in the world."

A new range of Ken dolls were also released this year featuring different body types and hairstyles.