To the misinformed Internet lurkers and crawlers out there, I have something I need to get off my chest. Contrary to popular belief, Mario does not break bricks with his head; he uses his fist. The “breaking bricks with his head” misconception almost certainly comes from the visual infidelity of 8-bit graphics of the NES era, and it still survives to this day.
In early 2014, there was a survey on GiantBomb in which forum readers were asked, “In your heart of hearts, when you see Mario hit a ‘?’ block from below, you think he’s hitting the block with his…” Possible answers were Head, Fist, and Other. Here’s the breakdown:
Head – 62%
Fist – 34%
Other (please specify) – 4% (One of the users who chose “Other” specified “heart.”)
To illustrate why 66% of survey answer-ers were wrong, here’s an illustration of Super Mario Bros. for NES, in which Mario is blown up to show the sprite up close.
And, if that’s not clear enough, here’s a similar image, though, using the magic of Photoshop, I’ve replaced 8-bit Mario with promotional art from New Super Mario Bros. U.
Note that, in both images, Mario’s fist is extended as if to deliver a mighty punch to the brickiest of overhead adversaries. This shows that, for three decades, Mario has been hitting bricks with his fist, not his head.
In case your memory is not all that great, I’ve composed a rhyme to help you remember this factoid:
When Mario breaks some bricks,
He punches them with his fists.
Okay, so that’s a terrible rhyme, and I apologize for it. That doesn’t make me wrong, though.