How Super Mario Bros. Was Made

How did we get Super Mario Bros? Where did this plumber and all those turtles come from? And what makes him ‘super’ anyways?

Let’s take a look back:

Donkey Kong was created and released in 1981 so that Nintendo (and Miyamoto) could save some face from their not very good game, Radar Scope.

The task at hand was to find a way to ‘convert’ Radar Scope cabinets into a new game altogether. The resulting game was nothing like the original, but did aLOT better in the arcades.

The not-as-good Radar Scope:

It all really started with the arcade game Mario Bros.

In order to have a Super Mario Bros you needed this game. It was the jumping off point for the series., albeit a much simpler game.

The game didn’t play much like the Super Mario Bros. we’ve all come to know and love, but Mario was there (and Luigi!). You could jump and battle turtles, and some of the mechanics for future games were established (such as knocking turtles out of their shells and then kicking them).

Shigeru was working in Nintendo’s creative department at the time, and a driving force behind the game. His childhood obsession with caves and outdoor adventures in the woods would give rise to not one, but two epic adventures.

Without him, it is unlikely we would have the entire Super Mario franchise.

Takashi Tezuka, assistant director on the game continued to help Miyamoto with a variety of Mario titles. Every great mind needs a great team around them to succeed. Steve Jobs had Steve Wozniak … Shigeru had Takashi.

Because the Famicom Disk System was being released, and the original Famicom system was on it’s way out Nintendo wanted to do something big. A swan song game to usher in a new era.

This was the perfect opportunity for Miyamoto and Tezuka to develop a killer game for the system. And that they did.

Originally Mario was to start out as a simple square pixel that couldn’t jump. Really? I can’t fathom how this de-evolution of the character could happen after Mario Bros., but it seems to be in all the reference material I looked through.

Thank goodness we didn’t get that version of the game. I don’t want to over exaggerate, but I think it would have ruined my childhood.

Originally Miyamoto wanted to create a game that would be considered ‘athletic’ and promote running, jumping, and overcoming obstacles.

It ended up still incorporating these elements with dodging turtles, and jumping to different platforms (while trying not to die). Just maybe in a different way then first conceived.

As we saw earlier the original Mario Bros. allowed you to jump underneath the turtles and bump the platform they were on so they would get knocked onto their backs. THEN you could waltz on over and kill them.

Nintendo decided that Mario should adopt this ability for his new game, and it became synonymous with the series.

Mario was originally intended to remain small for the whole game.

Later on, the developers decided that the stages could use him to be larger, and instead of simply switching him to a bigger Mario they implemented a power-up that would make him that size. IF you were good enough to get (and keep) it.

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