The game was developed by Nintendo R&D4 under Shigeru Miyamoto at a time when their company was not doing so well. The Nintendo Entertainment System had only just started to become popular at the time, but it was still very new and there were relatively few games on the market.
This meant that development studios didn’t have many opportunities to make money off of their games yet, which is why Shigeru Miyamoto worked for long hours with a small team to create a hit game.
The first Mario game development was originally conceived as an adventure game called “Mickey Mouse” on the MSX computer, but it became Super Mario Bros after they decided that it would be better for the platforming genre.
A lot of the design concepts were taken from another one of Miyamoto’s games called “Yume Kojo: Doki Doki Panic”, which was changed from a girl-oriented title to the Mario platformer we all know and love.
The team at Nintendo R&D4 consisted of only 5 people: Shigeru Miyamoto, Takashi Tezuka, Toshihiko Nakago, Yasunari Nishida and Koji Kondo. At the time, the team only had one graphic designer and programmer assigned to their projects, while none of them specialized in sound effects or music (Kondo was a composer and arranger at the time).
When Was Super Mario Bros Released?
Super Mario Bros. was released on September 13th, 1985 in Japan, February of the following year in North America, and March 14th, 1987 in Europe.
How Many Copies Did Super Mario Bros Sell?
Over 40 million units have been sold since its release. To compare this number to other Nintendo titles: Wii Sports has sold 82.78 million units, Wii Play has sold 28.99 million units, Donkey Kong Jr has sold 6.75 million units… you get the picture.
What Were The Sales Like in Japan?
Super Mario Bros was not nearly as popular in Japan compared to North America or Europe back when it was released for several reasons: It had a 2 year delay in releasing in Japan, it was released after the Famicom Disk System (which allowed players to save games) had already been released and the levels weren’t designed for a save system.
Not to mention, there were no hints on how to get past certain obstacles or find secrets because the game manual only included rudimentary English.
What Were The Sales Like in North America?
Super Mario Bros was one of the best selling games of all time in North America. Its release was perfectly timed to ride the height of the Nintendo Entertainment System’s popularity, and it was so popular that retailers couldn’t keep up with demand. Many stores had lines wrapping around their building just to get a chance to purchase a copy.
The Evolution of the Platforming Genre in Video Games
The original Super Mario Bros was not the first platforming game in history by any means, but it did consolidate many of the gameplay elements that we associate with 2D side scrolling platformers today: coins, pipes, power ups and more.
Shigeru Miyamoto has mentioned before that he enjoys playing games like King Kong and Jumpman for the arcade since he was a child. King Kong inspired the setting of the game (jungle, building, fire-breathing dragon), while Jumpman (later known as Mario) became the protagonist. These are actually pretty big influences for what would become one of Nintendo’s biggest franchises.
What Makes Super Mario Bros So Captivating?
As I’ve mentioned in my previous article, Super Mario Bros was one of the first games to break free from the confines of single screens that were prevalent in many other platformers at the time. It not only made its levels much larger, but it also created an open world for players by hiding power ups throughout the game and making them accessible to the player, which was a pretty big deal at the time.
Super Mario Bros also brought new elements to the platforming genre: enemies and obstacles that were active and reacted accordingly depending on the situation (ex: Koopa Troopa’s shell), new mechanics like running and jumping on slopes, and more. These elements eventually became standard in most platformers.
So was Super Mario Bros a perfect game? No, but it did revolutionize the platforming genre and inject new life into it. It took inspiration from other successful arcade titles of its time and added elements to create something that would stand out.
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