Welcome, Famicom-happy! My name is Akinori Sao; I am a writer from Kyoto. This is my third interview with game developers on the release of the Nintendo Classic Mini: the Nintendo Entertainment System. Today we will talk about Super Mario Bros. – The most iconic game for the original Nintendo Entertainment System (NES).
You probably know that Super Mario Bros. at one time became a hit, conquered the whole world. Developers from Nintendo quite often talked about backstage games. For example, Mr. Iwata interviewed New Super Mario Bros. games. Wii (part 1, part 2 and part 3), and also on the occasion of the 25th anniversary of Super Mario (part 5: Original Super Mario Developers). Interview data is available in English only.
This time we will hear revelations not only about Super Mario Bros. but also about Super Mario Bros. 3, which was released in Japan three (and in Europe – six!) Years later. Among our guests are Shigeru Miyamoto, with whom we already talked about Donkey Kong in Part 1: Donkey Kong, as well as designer Takashi Tezuka and sound director Koji Kondo: We will learn the whole truth about the development process of Super Mario Bros. 3, so read the article until the very end!
Well, the word guests! Miyamoto-san, Tezuka-san, Kondo-san…
Part 3: Super Mario Bros.
The quintessence of games for the Famicom system
Tezuka-san, you started working at Nintendo the same year as Kondo-san. At that time, it was already possible to buy Famicom 1.
1 Famicom: Family Computer. NES in Japan was sold as Famicom.
Right. Nintendo released Famicom a year earlier, in 1983.
And you had this?
When I joined the company, I had to buy it.
Kondo-san, what about you?
I didn’t have one either. However, I always played arcade machines. At that time, Donkey Kong 3 2 was very popular, so I played it for hours on end. Sao:
What were your first impressions of Famicom?
I liked the fact that arcade games can now be played at home.
At first, I thought it was a home computer.
(Laughs.) You are not the first, not the last. In those days, it was not surprising to confuse.
Yeah. It is hard to believe that a person as distant from games and electronics, as I am, will eventually make plays for this very Famicom.
Today we will talk about Super Mario Bros. Miyamoto-san, which game would you like to see at the development stage?
I wanted to create the quintessence of all the hitherto famous games for Famicom.
Two years have passed since the release of Famicom to the version of the game in Japan, which would later become an ageless world hit. Did Tezuka-san and Kondo-san have a hand in her creation? How significant was their role?
Quite. Before we hired Tezuka-san, I drew all the graphics myself. Our first joint game was Devil World 3.
3 Devil World is an adventure game for the Famicom console, released in Japan in October 1984 and then in Europe for the NES.
Kondo-san, did this game debut for you too?
Then we did Excitebike 4, which, by the way, is included in the Classic Mini NES game set. Tezuka-san also participated.
4 Excitebike is a race for the Famicom console, released in Japan in November 1984 and then in Europe for the NES.
In Devil World, the player’s character has taken up twice the screen space than ever before. In Excitebike, there was a scrolling of the screen and warping. Did you use all these latest technologies while developing Super Mario Bros.?
Yes. It’s as if we collected a puzzle from different technologies in one game for Famicom. As a result, the player’s character has become more, and the levels are longer, and the possibility of scrolling has appeared.
Also Read About: Super Mario Bros ROM
The following year, The Family Computer Disk System 5 was released.
5 Family Computer Disk System – an accessory for the Famicom console, published in Japan in February 1986. Floppy disks for this system contained more data than ROM-cartridges, and players were able to save. This system was sold only in Japan.
That is why I wanted Super Mario Bros. became the quintessential experience of game development for Famicom. During the life of the console, we have learned a lot, and it’s time to show our achievements.
From big Mario to small
Tezuka-san, Miyamoto-san gave you some game concept when you first got to work?
It was necessary to come up with gameplay in which a large player character runs and jumps over reasonably long distances.
So you simply control the big Mario.
In one manga magazine, stories about the development of Super Mario Bros.
Yes, it was.
In these comics, there was a moment when, due to a bug in the big Mario, only the upper half of the character’s sprite was displayed. It said that this was what gave you an idea for little Mario.
(Sharply.) Complete nonsense.
I remember it as it is now. We have with Tezuka-san, and Nakagami-san 6 had a meeting. All levels of the game were drawn on the board. We discussed the possibility to look ahead.