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Prerelease:Super Mario World (SNES)

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This page details prerelease information and/or media for Super Mario World (SNES).

Super Mario World had an interesting development, starting out in 1989 with a very different overworld and closer connections to Super Mario Bros. 3. Indeed, the artwork used for the final game's initial Japanese release uses the title Super Mario Bros. 4.

1989 Build

While some elements are pretty much done even at this early point, others were changed - some significantly. Various remnants of early development, including some elements shown below and some that aren't, are present in the final game, the SNES Test Program, and the SNES Burn-In Test Cart.

Title Screen

SMWProto Title.jpg

Blue coloring aside, the logo is pretty much exactly the same as the final Japanese version, as is the wood border. Behind the logo, however, is a brown map-style drawing of the mushroom-shaped island used as the overworld at this point in development.


Very different than the final, aside from the border and Mario's overworld sprite. On the top side of the border is Small Mario walking (albeit using very different sprites), the lives counter, the stage number (using a World-Level style similar to the pre-Super Mario Bros. 3 games), and (for whatever reason) coin and score counters.

SMWProto Map.jpg

There are four "Worlds", at least three of which have a Fortress (seemingly looking no different than the final) at the end. The domed mushroom-like house is clearly a starting point, not unlike the START tiles of Super Mario Bros. 3, with World 2 to the right and World 4 downward.

Assuming the World above the house also ends with a Fortress, that would mean there were 17 levels at this point in development, although whether all of them could be entered in this build has been seemingly lost to time.

SMWProto Map2.jpg

Interestingly, the prologue cutscene of Super Mario World: Super Mario Advance 2 ends with a shot of the first world as it appears in the in-game overworld before fading to a brown map-style drawing of it, after which the logo appears.

HUD, Powerups, and Backgrounds

The backgrounds of the outdoor areas are similar to those used in the final, aside from the presence of circular "donut" clouds. Judging from their positioning between shots, they were likely implemented as a separate independently-scrolling background layer.

The HUD is very similar to the final version; only the Bonus Star counter is missing, with the coin counter in its place rather than above the score, and the lives counter is right-justified rather than centered.

SMWProto HillsFireflower.jpg

The Dragon Coins are large coins at this point, and the Fire Flower resembles its appearance in Super Mario Bros. 3. The top of the spinning platform is also much thicker.

SMWProto FireFlower2.jpg

The ? Blocks resemble those used in Super Mario Bros. 3, as do the wood blocks, which were ultimately removed from the final version.

SMWProto Racoon.jpg

The Super Leaf from Super Mario Bros. 3 is present at this point, as is Raccoon Mario. In the final game, they were replaced by the Cape Feather and Cape Mario. The triangle block looks more mechanical than the final version, which was made red and given a face. The top corner of the hill is also more rounded, possibly to accommodate the triangle block.



SMWProto GoombaCircleCloud.jpg

Mario getting hit by a Paragoomba from Super Mario Bros. 3 (they were replaced with Winged Galoombas in the final game), which also shows that the reserve item box works the same way it does in the final. The pipe has a slimmer design that still exists in the SNES Test Program.

SMWProto Swimming.jpg

This screenshot appears to be of an early version of the level Mondo.

The Koopa Troopa looks more like the one in Super Mario Bros. 3, although they tend to not appear underwater in the final. The larger floating platform is unused in the final, but only acts like the smaller floating platforms if Sprite Buoyancy is enabled in the current level, which along with the Koopa suggests that the "rising and falling water" mechanic was already in place at this point.

This level also appears to use a translucent layer 2 mode, which goes unused in the final version.

Ghost House/Test Level

SMWProto Ghosthouse.jpg

The Big Boo looks pretty much like it should, as do the Note Blocks. There's no background at this point, though, and the level design looks amateurish. This may indicate that it was merely a test level, and not a proper Ghost House.

The ground tiles found a home in the fortress and castle tileset in the final game, though the dirt-like spotted interior was replaced with a diagonal brick pattern and the slopes were removed to make room for other graphics.


SMWProto DiffCastleBG.jpg

The floor and background are slightly different. There is also no lava.

SMWProto MagikoopaCastle.jpg

Again, the floor and background are slightly different, and Super Mario Bros. 3-style Brick Blocks are used instead of the final's Turn Blocks. Magikoopa looks like he does in the final, as does his attack. Note the dark-blue discoloration of his robe, the result of a palette bug that still exists in the final game.

SMWProto WoodBlock.jpg

Same floor and background differences, along with a somewhat out-of-place wood block.

Other Scans

SMWProto Scan Cut1.jpg

The only new picture here is at the bottom-center, which shows more ? Blocks.

SMWProto Scan Cut2.jpg

Several new shots, all along the bottom:

  • The first has a Big Boo in what is likely the same level as the other Big Boo screenshot.
  • The second shows a "classic" upward-facing yellow Piranha Plant (unused in the final) and midway point, and overall seems to resemble the midway point of Yoshi's Island 1 a bit.
  • The third shows an early Koopaling "tilting platform over lava" battle, although the platform is never that long, flat, or low in the final. The Koopaling seems to more clearly resemble its Super Mario Bros. 3 style and is most likely Larry Koopa given its palettes and appearance, though Larry never jumps in his boss battle in the final game.
  • Though the arrow indicates that the fourth picture is the score tally following a boss battle, the different coin count, "4W-1", and Mario's victory pose suggest otherwise. Next to "MARIO" is the cleared course number, and "COURSE" is missing its R.

SMW EarlyBulletBill.jpgSMW EarlyBulletBill2.jpg

An early, less menacing design for Banzai Bill, featuring a dull grey palette and no mouth. The near-final HUD, lack of donut clouds, and the yellow sky on the first screenshot indicate that these were taken much later in development than the previous screenshots.

Early Yoshi and Sprite Graphics

SMW EarlyYoshi.jpg

In SFC Mini interview #5: Super Mario World & Yoshi's Island, an early design for Yoshi was revealed, along with some other work-in-progress sprites, including Nipper Plants, Chain Chomps, Sledge Bros., and non-amazing, non-flyin' Hammer Bros. - all enemies from Super Mario Bros. 3 that didn't make it into the final game. (The latter three do appear in the Super Mario World style of Super Mario Maker, but with completely new graphics.) The presence of an upright Koopa Troopa frame suggests that these graphics were created sometime after most of the early screenshots were taken; however, they are clearly not intended to be finished, as the Hammer Bro's inconsistent presence of shoes attests to.

The early adult Yoshi design bears a rather close resemblance to the final's baby Yoshi sprite.

The P-Balloon is also red instead of yellow, and the key is vertically flipped.

At one point, the American version used the same logo style as the Japanese one, albeit with "Super" above "Mario" and "SUPER MARIO BROS. 4" next to it. This logo arrangement and subtitle originally appeared on the Japanese box and label art.

The first early title screen not only doesn't show the 4, but also doesn't have the copyright info. Given that the later "SUPER MARIO BROS. 4" shot has both of these, it's possible that neither was ready at that earlier point or a bug prevented them from appearing on the title screen. The early title screen is also missing the grass tiles on top of the ground.