Miyamoto: Super Mario Bros. was nearly a shooter hybrid

Super Mario Bros, all things considered, is kind of a big deal. You know, in the same way that Everest is kind of a big rock, or that Star Wars is kind of not as good as it used to be.

But strangely, given that it's the most important game from one of the most important companies in video game history, we know remarkably little about how it came to be. Admittedly, most of us assume it was just gifted to the world, fully-formed and perfect, by the very gods themselves, but that's not true. And now, in a chat with Famitsu, Shigeru Miyamoto has finally spilled some very interesting and very surprising beans pertaining to how Mario became what he is. And what he very easily could have been.

Most surprising of all, the original Super Mario Bros. nearly had a much bigger shooting emphasis. Mario's fireballs were originally bullets, and Miyamoto planned to allow him to fly around on a cloud blasting enemies (an idea that very possibly inspired Super Mario Land's scrolling shooter levels). The original control set-up also allowed Mario to sprint around shooting as many fireballs as he wanted, until Shigs realised that made him too much of an apocalyptic Rambo-style arse-kicker. And jumping was going to be controlled by pressing up on the d-pad, which, given SMB's later influence, could have made games crap forevermore.

There are plenty of other juicy details in the interview, such as Miyamoto's justification for the Mushroom Kingdom's totally-bonkers-and-a-bit-suspect-when-you-actually-think-about-it obsession with magic 'shrooms and turtles. He also explains that the notorious infinite 1-up trick was intentional (and that the even more notorious Minus World glitch wasn't, but he's cool with it regardless because it doesn't actually break the game). Want a few more tasty morsels? You can get 'em here.


  • Strangleme - October 27, 2010 3:09 p.m.

    Super Mario Contra!! I love it!!
  • RFswitchBlade - October 21, 2010 10:23 p.m.

    So, what your saying was that SMB was almost that crappy "Journey to the West" game on the Wii? ReCAPTCHA: splart present
  • GameManiac - October 21, 2010 9:19 p.m.

    Thank god Miyamoto knew what he was doing before releasing SMB.
  • batmanboy11 - October 21, 2010 8:04 p.m.

    Good thing it wasn't...
  • FauxFurry - October 21, 2010 6:32 p.m.

    It sounds like Miyamoto planned to make the game Super Mafioso Brothers until he got the bright idea to go whimsical (and 'Focus on the Family'-style family friendly rather than Crime Family Friendly). Still,to think of what might have been. Kuribo's Concrete Shoes,Muzzleflash Flowers,the Brothers rubbing out the Koopa family one by one as Mario and Luigi take over their territory then cap it off by stealing Bowser's woman.
  • Felixthecat - October 21, 2010 4:31 p.m.

    Thank God that isn't what Mario turned out to be. I'd probably be a fanboy of it if it was a shooter hybrid thingy anyway, but Mario is way more awesome as it is.
  • garnsr - October 21, 2010 4:24 p.m.

    Rambo wasn't even what we think of as Rambo when SMB came out, first Blood part 2 came out in 85, too, so the game would have been made before it, and Rambo wasn't the same kind of one man army in First Blood.
  • corndog501 - October 21, 2010 4:19 p.m.

    So...the original idea was too make a japanese version of Rambo?
  • Evil_AppleJuice - October 21, 2010 3:26 p.m.

    An interesting read before my Deviance class. Might have to present your article Dave lol
  • BK-201 - October 21, 2010 2:54 p.m.

    Mario being similar to Rambo? I think Miyamoto-san got his hands on some of those 'shrooms before making it....
  • joedix88 - October 21, 2010 1:58 p.m.

  • Cyberninja - October 21, 2010 1:01 p.m.

    that is some interesting info.
  • hppop1 - October 21, 2010 1:01 p.m.

    Uh yeah but shooting out fireballs from a fire flower is more badass than shooting bullets from guns JS.
  • AxiamWolfe - October 21, 2010 12:59 p.m.

    So...... it very well could have been this: "It's a me! MARIO MUTHAF**KERS!!!!!!" *rat-a-tat-a-tat**BOOM*

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