Mario Bros. (ARC)

Mario Bros.
©1983 Nintendo

Arcade (ARC)




Additional Work:


Product Info: Mario Bros. is a platformer featuring two plumbers named Mario and Luigi. The game takes place inside the sewers of New York, where several strange creatures have suddenly appeared. The objective of the game is to defeat all of the enemies in each phase. The mechanics of Mario Bros. involve only running and jumping. Unlike future Mario games, players cannot jump on enemies and squash them, unless they were already turned on their back. Each phase is a series of platforms with pipes at each corner of the screen, along with an object called a "POW" block in the center. Phases use wraparound, meaning that enemies and players that go off to one side will reappear on the opposite side. The game continues until the player loses all lives.

The player increases their score by defeating multiple enemies consecutively and can participate in a bonus round to gain more points. The 35 stage variations, feature five different enemy types which are defeated by kicking them over once they have been flipped on their back. This is accomplished by hitting the platform the enemy is on directly beneath them. If the player allows too much time to pass after doing this (about six seconds), the enemy will flip itself back over, changing in color and increasing speed. Each phase has a certain number of enemies, with the final enemy immediately changing color and increasing to maximum speed. Hitting a flipped enemy from underneath causes it to right itself and start moving again, but it does not change speed or color.

Development Notes: Mario Bros. was created and developed for the arcades by Shigeru Miyamoto and Gunpei Yokoi. Following the success of the Donkey Kong series, Nintendo decided to use the engine to introduce a new Mario exclusive adventure. While Shigeru Miyamoto served as director and lead designer of the series, Producer Yokoi introduced several ideas to help distinguish the game including Mario's ability to fall from greater heights, as being more fun to the player. The element of combating enemies from below was introduced after Yokoi suggested it, observing that it would work since there were multiple floors. However, it proved to be too easy to eliminate enemies this way, which the developers fixed by requiring players to touch the enemies after they've been flipped to defeat them. This was also how they introduced the turtle as an enemy, which they conceived as an enemy that could only be hit from below.

The story of how Mario went from Jumpman to Mario is that an Italian-American landlord, Mario Segale, had barged in on Nintendo of America's staff to demand rent, and they decided to name Jumpman after him. Because of Mario's appearance in Donkey Kong with overalls, a hat, and a thick moustache, Shigeru Miyamoto thought that he should be a plumber as opposed to a carpenter, and designed this game to reflect that. Miyamoto also felt that the best setting for this game was New York because of its industrial look.

  • Production Credits: Link
  • Staff Interview: Link

Version: Arcade (ARC)
Source: KRIRM. Wired: Sakamoto Interview. Nintendo JP.
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