Super Mario Bros’ Original Design Docs Revealing

Posted by Conor Murphy on August 13, 2012 in Game Development -- Share:

Super Mario Design Documents
The Super Mario 25th Anniversary pack features a booklet titled, “Super Mario Collection Special Pack” wherein readers will find some of the original documents drafted by Super Mario designer (and all-around game world icon) Shigeru Miyamoto himself. While the documents themselves are a thing of beauty, the interesting aspect is how they illustrate how much a game can change from inception to completion.

As shown by these documents, originally, the controls for Super Mario Bros. were quite different from the final release. If you’ve played Super Mario Bros., you know the following controls:

  • Up: Nothing
  • Down: Crouch
  • Left: Walk left
  • Right: Walk right
  • A Button: Jump / Swim
  • B Button: Accelerate / Throw fireballs

However, the original documents (shown below) indicate the controls were initially conceived as follows:

  • Up: Jump
  • Down: Crouch
  • Left: Walk left
  • Right: Walk right
  • A Button: Run (Accelerate) (Rocket >> Shoot)
  • B Button: Attack (Depending on Item) (Bare Hands >> Kick; Rifle; Beam Gun)

The “Rocket >> Shoot” mentioned for button B is for airborne movement. Once Mario finds the rocket item, he will be able to accelerate left or right.

The A button lets Mario use his current item, or engage in hand-to-hand combat. This mention of combat and weapons represents a critical moment in the development of Casual Games.

With Nintendo foregoing Mario’s weapons in favor of more inocuous fireballs, the game stays more focused on strategic adventure rather than weapons and fighting and helps to pave the way for the future of Casual Games.

Super Mario Anniversary Edition Documents 1Super Mario Anniversary Edition Documents 2

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Conor is a Marketing Manager with Big Fish, working out of the Seattle office. In his spare time he enjoys watching science documentaries and playing old school adventure games. Get in touch with him on Twitter! or Google+