Looks strange, doesn't it? But the concept was entirely real. Miyamoto wanted Mario to have a jetpack so that he could accelerate while jumping - something he can't do in the actual game. It may be in Japanese and a little hard to make out, but here are the concepts as seen in the art book:
Above: These early diagrams also show that Mario's 'jump' button was originally 'up' on the d-pad. WTF?
The concept also outlined a punch attack and potential rocket riding(!) which all sounds ridiculous when applied to the classic, pure platform action we know and love.But don't forget Mario did get a jetpack of sorts in Super Mario Sunshine, and punched many a Goomba in the facein Super Mario 64. Then there are Metal Mario and the Cosmic Clones, both ideas that were mentioned years before we ever saw them come to fruition.
Miyamoto never gives up on an idea... no matter how bad it is. So expect a Shadow The Hedgehog-style Mario gun game in the future*.
25 Oct, 2010
*most likely called SuperMario Gunshine.