Super Mario 35: the blue of Super Mario Bros.

Super Mario 35: the blue of Super Mario Bros.
If you were born between 1980 and 1985, it is very likely that Super Mario Bros. was your first game in the series; after all, that is what gives rise to this anniversary. Thirty-five years have passed since the Japanese release of Super Mario Bros. (on September 3, 1985), the game that changed and transformed Nintendo, the video game industry itself and ... well, Mario too. This year we are celebrating this important anniversary (we published an article about its creators the other day and we will come back to it again) and so obviously Nintendo is doing with several initiatives, including Super Mario 3D All Stars.

Before moving on to more interesting and general topics, we remind you, because you surely already know, that this game is celebrated for its importance, not because it invented Mario. Mario already existed, and he debuted in the Donkey Kong arcade (dated 1981): he was an unnamed carpenter in dungarees, dedicated to jumping barrels and saving damsels. A fundamental, beautiful game, which however is still part of what, in this context, we could define prehistory: fixed screen, black background, still rather woody controls.

At the time Shigeru Miyamoto, let's talk about 1981, was still working under the guidance of Gunpei Yokoi: together with him, and together with R & D1, he would also develop the first title in which the name of the plumber would appear, namely Mario Bros. An arcade game, still with a black background and still a fixed screen, but with controls - and inertia - much better than those enjoyed in Donkey Kong. After this success, President Hiroshi Yamauchi decided that the time had come to give further confidence to the recommended (so it is rumored, at least) protege.

R & D4, 32-year-old Miyamoto's team, would be born. Some members would have moved with him, and a fundamental one would have lured them with his charm, in a collaboration - concerning Excitebike - traveling to Tokyo: we are talking about Nakago, the fairy hand that gave technical dignity to Miyamoto's visions. In addition, a person who was hired almost by chance, a dizzy 20-year-old visionary, Takashi Tezuka, would also join the group. The golden trio - Miyamoto, Nakago and Tezuka - was formed and, within R & D4, would create one last cartridge game before the arrival of the Disk System.

Super Mario Bros.

Super Mario Bros. and The Legend of Zelda were developed practically at the same time by the newborn R & D4, which shortly after, given the excellent results obtained, would receive the honor of a nomenclature that exalted its uniqueness, even verbally separating it from any other team: it would be renamed EAD, and in a short time it would inexorably cannibalize every other internal group. As we wrote in our first episode, dedicated to the fathers of Super Mario, in a certain sense EAD is Nintendo; going backwards, EAD is R&D4, and R&D4 is Shigeru Miyamoto's development philosophy. Although it has a more than secular history, Nintendo, as we know it today, was born with Super Mario Bros.

Although many believe the opposite, this work did not give rise to the platform genre, much less to side scrolling games; Super Mario Bros., more simply, has combined and brought to unknown levels the qualities of many single titles released previously. It has generated, as we said before, a new quality standard. There is still a gulf between Super Mario Bros. and - virtually - any game released before: at the time, the difference was simply incredible.

It is not possible to go beyond a single factor to describe the magnitude of this. title. We can talk about the incipit, perhaps the most famous in the entire history of video games: a goomba that comes to meet Mario, the need to skip it in order not to die. The blocks to break, inside which there are coins and a mushroom, the power-up that allows you to become "big". The pipes that lead to the sub-levels, a still fundamental mechanism of the genre. You meet everything in less than two minutes.

But above all else, we would put the control system and the quality of the interaction. Inertia, rebounds, variables related to speed, stroke and amount of pressure. Immediacy and depth as they had never felt before. An overall harmony enhanced by that finally blue background, by those identical clouds, if not for the color, to the bushes. Super Mario Bros. was the killer application of the NES, and from then on no company could have ignored its existence. Nintendo included.

Super Mario Bros. 2

Creating a sequel to this game would not have been easy at all, especially since development - and publishing - times were much longer at the time. tight now. R&D immediately began work on a sequel, focusing on the ability to play multiplayer (simultaneously) and grab and throw the opponent. Nothing that the NES could handle, and so the team moved towards a simpler and more mundane solution, which in the future would rarely be repeated: they would create a direct sequel, with the same engine and a greater level of difficulty. Takashi Tezuka would have dealt with it personally, and it would have been released in 1986.

This game would only be released in the West years later, under the name of Super Mario Bros .: The Lost Levels. Internally they quickly realized that it was not enough and, with a certain arrogance, they considered it too weak and too difficult for the Western market.

So, as Tezuka got to work on what would be the "real" sequel, Tanabe - currently producer of Metroid Prime 4 - took up the initial prototype, the one with the characters grabbing and throwing objects, and got a new 2D platformer. Yume Joko: Doki Doki Panic was released in Japan in 1987, and Nintendo preferred it as Super Mario Bros. 2 to the title developed by Tezuka: R & D4 changed its appearance, transforming the oriental universe of the game into one suitable for Mario. It remains an atypical episode, in which enemies are not killed by jumping on their heads, in which turnips are collected and thrown, in which there are four characters to choose from (Mario, Luigi, Toad, Peach): in USA it was released in 1988, and it was a great success.

But the true successor of Super Mario Bros., in terms of caliber and ambition, would only arrive a few months later: we are referring to one of the most beautiful video games ever, namely Super Mario Bros. 3. We will talk about it next week, in the third episode of this special.

Powered by Blogger.