Released in 1985 for the Nintendo Entertainment System, Super Mario Bros. is perhaps the most influential game of all time. With intricate level design, an inviting aesthetic, and a fantastic soundtrack, the game set the standard for platformers. The story is just as iconic, featuring a hero journeying through dangerous settings to rescue a princess from the clutches of a tyrant. It began a rivalry between a man with a red cap named Mario and a turtle king by the name of Bowser. Even non-gamers are familiar with Super Mario Bros.; that's how popular the game still is today. You would find it difficult to locate someone who doesn't know where the famous sound effects for jumping and grabbing a Super Mushroom come from.
Super Mario Bros. is what made Mario into a household name. Today we see Mario sport games, party games, kart games - all because of the success of that NES side-scrolling platformer. The game is so engraved in pop culture that in a hundred years from now, people will still be talking about it. The game has plenty of little known and fun facts (even all these years later and we're still learning new things about the classic). Today we'll be taking a look at 15 Things You Didn't Know About The Original Super Mario Bros. Let's a go!
15 It's A Sequel To Mario Bros.
Super Mario Bros. is the most famous game in the Mario series and perhaps the most well known video game of all time. It however wasn't the first time Mario appeared. He first appeared in 1981's Donkey Kong under the name "Jumpman." More importantly there was an arcade title in 1983 simply tiled "Mario Bros," predating Super Mario Bros. by two years.
Though Donkey Kong marks Mario's foray into gaming history, Mario Bros. is the first game with the actual "Mario" title. It was the first to introduce characters and concepts that Super Mario Bros. and later games would expand on. It featured the very first appearance of Luigi, as well as turtle enemies (in this game they are called Shellcreepers, and according to their Super Smash Bros. for Wii U trophy description, they evolved into the well known Koopa Troopas that we see today). The pipes even shoot out coins. This game is also the one where Mario is portrayed as a plumber. The setting is the sewers of Brooklyn, which gave the idea in popular culture that Mario found his way into the Mushroom Kingdom via a Brooklyn pipe.
14 Originally A Koopa Troopa Was The First Enemy In World 1-1
The above picture is a fun imagining of what could have been. World 1-1 is perhaps the most iconic level in video game history. Every player has fond memories of starting in the bright, colorful aesthetic of the Mushroom Kingdom while humming to the iconic theme song. The very first obstacle Mario encounters is a lone Goomba walking to the left. What happens next is something we've come to be very familiar with: stomping on a Goomba. It's interesting to think that this scene could have been different.
In an interview with Eurogamer, Mario creator Shigeru Miyamoto stated that, "Originally, we had a Koopa Troopa that came out, but we thought it might be a little too difficult for the player to jump on and then kick it. That's why we created the Goomba. If it was a turtle, we couldn't really just jump on it and defeat it." Imagine how different that first experience would have been if instead of stomping a Goomba, the player jumps on a Koopa then either gets hit by the shell due to shock or by fast reflexes jumps over and watches the shell ride off into the sunset before acquiring the Super Mushroom.
13 Goombas Are Evil Mushrooms
Since we're on the subject of the Goomba, let's take a look at this fun fact. There's a reason why Goombas resemble Mushrooms. According to the manual for Super Mario Bros., a Goomba is "a Mushroom who betrayed the Mushroom Kingdom." Yes, Goombas once lived alongside the Toads in harmony before joining with Bowser.
The Goomba's trophy description in three Super Smash Bros. installments also confirm this, further stating that Goombas were "once loyal to the Mushroom Kingdom." Why the Goombas decided to abandon Princess Peach and align themselves with Bowser is unknown. There's plenty of interesting backstory in the Mario universe that Nintendo has yet to explore unfortunately. This would make a great story aspect for a future Super Mario Bros. film adaption.
12 The Bowsers In Worlds 1 To 7 Are Fakes
One of the most iconic things about Super Mario Bros. is the final sequence in each of the Castle levels. Mario encounters Bowser atop a bridge and has to jump on an axe to send The Koopa King down below. An interesting fact is that the "Bowser" confrontations in Worlds 1 to 7 don't actually involve Bowser himself.
How would the player know this? If Mario hops on the axe, there's no way to tell. But if the player manages to hold onto a Fire Flower and beats "Bowser" with a barrage of fireballs, The Koopa King will turn into a common enemy. For example, in World 1's Castle, that "Bowser" was actually a Goomba in disguise. The real Bowser is only fought in the final level, World 8-4.
11 It Wasn't The First Side-Scrolling Platformer
Super Mario Bros. is unarguably the most influential side-scroller of all time. When one thinks of controlling a character and jumping to the right as the screen follows along, this game instantly comes to mind. With intricate level design, it set the standard for platformers. It however wasn't the first side-scroller or even the second.
Released in 1981, the arcade title called Jump Bug is credited as being the first side-scrolling platformer. In it, the player controls a car that's constantly jumping as the screen scrolls. On the more popular side, Namco in 1984 (one year before Super Mario Bros.) released a title called Pac-Land. As you can guess from the title, the game stars the famous ghost-chomper in his own 2D adventure. There have been a few other platformers before 1985, such as SEGA's Flicky, but Super Mario Bros. with perfecting the gameplay has forced these early games into a bit of an obscurity.
10 In One Port Mario Races Against Boo
Super Mario Bros. has been ported many times since its release in 1985. One of its most famous remakes is 1999's Super Mario Bros. Deluxe for the Game Boy Color (this version of the classic was also this writer's first foray into the game), There are a few things Deluxe added, such as the ability to save whenever. Perhaps the coolest addition is the mode, "You Vs. Boo."
After acquiring 100,000 points in the main "Original 1985" mode, "You Vs. Boo" is unlocked. In it, Mario or Luigi has to beat a Boo to the finish line (for a fun tidbit, the Boo sprite seems to be from Super Mario World). It's fast-paced and intense as blocks will hinder the character. The player will have to act quickly to avoid falling behind. If the player keeps winning, the regular Boo will be replaced with a Green Boo, and then a Red Boo. If the player manages to beat the Red Boo, a Black Boo will take its place. It's a fun little challenge and one reason of many why downloading Deluxe off the 3DS eShop is a great way to relive the classic game.
9 North American Name Changes
Princess Peach and Bowser are two of the most recognizable characters in gaming. On the subject of the Princess, "Peach" is the character's familiar name, but a lot of gamers remember her as Princess Toadstool from early on. The usual assumption is that she was originally called Princess Toadstool, but later her name switched to Peach. This is technically true for American players, but it's actually different in Japan.
Right from her first appearance in Japan's original release of Super Mario Bros., the Princess was always called Peach. (technically, it's "Pīchi-hime"). The Toadstool name is a product of the North American localization team. Nowadays Toadstool is rarely used as "Peach" has become the defining name worldwide. It's similar with Bowser. "Koopa" (technically "Kuppa") is Japan's name of the character and still is to this day. "Bowser" was made up by the North American localization team and of course is still in use today.
8 The Hammer Bros. Will Run Down Mario If The Player Stands For Too Long
Ask a player who the most annoying enemy is in Super Mario Bros. The answer will probably either be the Hammer Bros. or the Lakitu. But mostly the Hammer Bros. These guys are a pure nightmare to navigate as Mario and the chief reason why World 8-3 is one of the hardest Mario levels out there. Perhaps the most terrifying factor about the Hammer Brother is that if Mario doesn't attack him or doesn't proceed for too long, the Bro will start to hunt the hero down.
This doesn't seem to happen often mainly because it takes awhile for a Hammer Brother to start his assault. Usually the player would have taken him out or managed to escape. Of course, if one is frozen in fear as mini Mario, then things get extra frightening.
7 There Was A Version Featuring Japanese Celebrities
It's amazing to think how many unique Japanese exclusives there are. For example, Mario battled Wario in a puzzle game titled Mario & Wario which was only released in Japan. One especially interesting exclusive is a retool of Super Mario Bros. titled All Night Nippon Super Mario Bros. that has to be played to believe.
'All Night Nippon' is a Japanese radio program that is still going today. In 1986, just one year after Super Mario Bros. originally released, we got this interesting installment for the Family Computer Disk System. Right from the start things are different as World 1 is set in nighttime. Goombas have been replaced and Piranha Plants - well, you'll have to watch a gameplay video to see all the neat little things that were added/switched for this game.
6 The Super Mario Bros. Style Bonus Room Theme In Super Mario Maker Comes From...
Super Mario Maker is one of Nintendo's most ingenious games. The Mario series is famous for its great level design, so why not give players the chance to create their own stages? Like the games, Mario Maker includes music to go along with the stages. If the player shakes the Bowser emblem, it will transform into a Toad symbol. So, for each aesthetic if the player places the Toad element, an elegant Bonus Room theme will play. Upon first inspection, the theme that plays in the classic Super Mario Bros. aesthetic might sound unfamiliar, because it's actually nowhere to be found in the original Super Mario Bros. It's instead found in the arcade version of the classic game.
If you grew up in the late 80s and went to the arcade, chances are you've played Vs. Super Mario Bros., the arcade port of the classic game. Like most arcade games, Vs. Super Mario Bros. has a name registration screen for high scores. The theme that plays is a fun remix of the classic song. This same remix is the one used for Mario Maker's Bonus Room music for the Super Mario Bros. aesthetic.
5 The Japanese Version of The Minus World Is Terrifying
The Minus World is perhaps the most famous glitch in the history of gaming. By performing a trick in World 1-2, the player will pass through some blocks and end up next to a pipe that leads to the infamous Minus World. Here the player is trapped in a never ending water level, (the pipe at the end leads back to the beginning) fated to lose all lives either by the enemies or by timing out. The Family Computer Disk System's version of the glitch takes a horrifying turn.
Just like the version we're used to, in the Family Computer Disk System Mario is swimming in a supposed underwater stage (though there are clouds for some reason). Things start off creepily when the player begins to proceed as Mario and is met with an empty-eyed Princess Peach just standing in mid-air. It gets worse, as Mario will run into a dismembered Bowser and another Peach. A couple of enemies will also fall to their doom. There are even two more Minus Worlds to complete assuming the player survives this madness. The final one features the bridge (no Bowser) and the iconic message, "Thank you Mario! But Our Princess is in another castle!" Toad is nowhere to be found despite that message popping up. All of this would make for one great creepypasta.
4 There Is A Port Starring Luigi As The Sole Protagonist
Luigi has gotten a lot of love these last few years. From 2013 to 2014, there was the "Year of Luigi," a year dedicated to Mario's brother. In 2014 Nintendo released NES Remix 2. These Remix games features a bunch of unique level challenges from classic NES games. (both Remixes are definitely worth a download, or better yet pick up NES Remix Pack for Wii U or Ultimate NES Remix for 3DS). In NES Remix 2, there is a whole game included - a complete port of Super Mario Bros. The catch is that Luigi is the sole protagonist and it's titled Super Luigi Bros.
Perhaps the most neat thing about this port is that the game is in reverse-mirror form. So instead of proceeding to the right, the player is running to the left.(even the Question Mark blocks are reversed). This provides a fun challenge, plus Luigi is given his ability to jump higher than Mario, something that wasn't present in the original Super Mario Bros.
3 Originally Mario Was Going To Shoot Bullets
It's always fascinating to read about early concepts for classic characters (Sonic the Hedgehog could have been a dog, or even a rabbit). When Super Mario Bros. was being developed, one can imagine how many ideas were put on the table. Perhaps the most interesting is that the game could have been part shoot-'em up.
Shigeru Miyamoto said in an interview that, "During much of development, the controls were A for shoot bullets, B to dash, and up on the control pad to jump, The bullets wound up becoming fireballs later — we originally thought about having a shoot-'em-up stage where Mario jumps on a cloud and shoots at enemies, but we dropped it because we wanted to focus on jumping action..." While it was dropped from the game, the idea of a Mario shooter was later used in 1993's Yoshi's Safari for the SNES.
2 There Was An Official Computer Game
In the 80s, there was the Japanese home computers the PC-8800 series and the Sharp X1 series. For both of these, Hudson Soft released Super Mario Bros. Special, which was basically a port of the classic game. It's quite interesting to think about because this game is the only officially licensed version for a home computer.
Both computers suffered from having inferior technology compared to the NES, but the PC-8801's version of Special unfortunately looks the worst. Mario and a few other sprites will frequently flicker and worse is that instead of side-scrolling smoothly, the screen will go black for a second every time Mario makes it across part of the level. It's a shame, because the new levels and items were really good. The Sharp X1's version fares better, having actual side-scrolling and being brighter. It would be great to see Special remastered, because it has enough differences from the original game to warrant checking out.
1 It Was Intended To Be The Last Game On The NES
Super Mario Bros. came out for the Nintendo Entertainment System in 1985, when the console was released in North America. How shocking it is then, to learn that it was originally intended to be the last game on the console. To be more precise, it was intended to be the last game on a cartridge for the Family Computer (better known as the Famicom), which was the Japanese version of the NES.
Shigeru Miyamoto has described the game as "the culmination of all NES cartridge games up to that point." Indeed it was, because Super Mario Bros. has been considered a factor in saving the crashed video game market of the 80s. Also, because of its great success, games on a cartridge would continue.