The standard against which all future platforming video games would be measured, Super Mario Bros.’ popularity made it integral to the launch of Nintendo’s new add-on, and also paved the way for its much anticipated Disk System sequel.
Super Mario Bros.
Japanese Title: スーパーマリオブラザーズ
English Release: Super Mario Bros. (NES, 1985)
Release Date: February 21, 1986 (Launch)
Developer: Nintendo R&D4
Genre: Action Platformer
Product Code: FMC-SMA
Disk Format: Single-sided
Notable Credits: Produced and directed by Shigeru Miyamoto. Designed by Shigeru Miyamoto and Takashi Tezuka. Programmed by Toshihiko Nakago and Kazuaki Morita. Music Composed by Koji Kondo.
Prior to Super Mario Bros. console video games where either straight arcade conversions, or new properties developed in the same ‘arcade mindset’. Arcades of course where designed primarily to rob players of pocket change while providing just enough meat to leave you hungry for more. High scores were the name of the game with single screen game boards and repetitive game play whose difficulty and speed increased as you progressed. Arcades games had no ending; that would be counter intuitive to their purpose.
Console video games required more than that, and Nintendo and Shigeru Miyamoto delivered the first fully developed console video game experience with the release of Super Mario Bros. for the Famicom in 1985 and it’s re-release a few months later for the Famicom Disk System. Essentially built on the back of Nintendo’s astronomically popular Donkey Kong arcade machine, Super Mario Bros. took Donkey Kong’s platforming and level progression a few steps further by providing a set of refined stages, 8 in total, with the same guiding principle; saving the princess.
Super Mario Bros. was massively successful in world building; dropping you in the middle of a fleshed out world with rules and consequences. Suddenly high scores took a back seat to progression, and successfully conquering all 32 levels in Super Mario Bros. gave you something unique in video games at the time- closure and an end to the story.
Super Mario Bros. set the standard against which all future platforming video games would be measured. How the game controlled, how the jumping mechanics worked, the movement physics, in short the feeling of the plat former all came from that first and monumental experience. Super Mario Bros. certainly revolutionized the console video game, and coming off the back of the video crash of the early 80s, may have also been instrumental in saving the medium as we know it.