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Prerelease:Super Mario Bros.

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This page details one or more prerelease versions of Super Mario Bros..


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Originally, Super Mario Bros. started development as a generic Famicom title starring... a rectangle that measured 16 pixels wide and 32 pixels tall, which was obviously just a placeholder until the actual player character was designed. At this early stage of development, the player wasn't even able to jump. However, when he noticed how well Mario Bros. was performing in arcades, designer and assistant director Takashi Tezuka pitched to project head Shigeru Miyamoto the idea of using Mario as the main character. Miyamoto agreed, and the rest was history.

At various points in development:

  • The game focused far more on shooting enemies than platforming tasks. Mario could carry weapons, with a rifle and a "beam gun" being usable.
  • The original control scheme was very different from the one we're familiar with; Up on the D-Pad was used to jump, while A either used an item if Mario was carrying one or caused him to kick if he wasn't.
  • The game had sky segments in addition to the ground segments which ended up being used. These levels consisted of Mario riding a rocket and shooting enemies amongst the clouds. The sky-based bonus rounds of the final game are apparently a remnant of this idea, though Super Mario Land used the original idea for its final stage.
  • Instead of scrolling continuously, the game's environments scrolled screen-by-screen, similarly to Super Mario Bros. Special.

Alternate Title

At one point, the title Mario's Adventure seems to have been considered for the game in place of Super Mario Bros., at least for the U.S. version. The evidence supporting this is an early sales brochure for the arcade version, which uses the title VS. Mario's Adventure instead of VS. Super Mario Bros. This version of the brochure features an original artwork on the front side, with a description of the game and screenshots on the back. The screenshots appear to be from the original console version rather than the later arcade port, as evident by the alternate World 4-2 warp zone, which contain the two pipes leading to Worlds 7 and 8 (the arcade version removed them and only has the World 6 pipe). A later version of the sales brochure uses the finalized title of the game, with the packaging artwork used for the Famicom version on the front in place of the original art (which seems to suggest that the earlier flyer was made before the game was even released in Japan) and the tagline edited to reflect the title change. The back side of the revised brochure is pretty much identical, except every instance of Mario's Adventure has been replaced with Super Mario Bros.

This theory is further supported by the fact that the title Mario's Adventure is registered in the U.S. Copyrights Office with the same register number used for Super Mario Bros. (PA0000273028).

Concept Art

Yoshi Concept art

According to concept art, Yoshi from Super Mario World was planned to be playable. Due to the technical limitations of the NES without a mapper, the idea was shelved until this became possible on more powerful hardware.

(Source: Super Mario World – 1990 Developer Interview)

Early Sprite Design

Evidence of a slightly different sprite design for both Small and Super Mario exists as part of some footage recorded at the time of the game's original development that was released as part of a 30th anniversary interview. As drawn on the original graph paper, Mario used his original Donkey Kong palette at one point. There are a few differing pixels between the early and final Super Mario designs, and Small Mario's mustache is longer by two pixels. The largest difference is that there is a single visible frame of Small Mario's walk cycle that shows an almost completely different design, as opposed to reverting back to being much closer to the design from his Donkey Kong walk cycle.

Mock up.
(Source: Super Mario Bros. 30th Anniversary Special Interview, 2015)