The Prototype That Inspired Super Mario Bros. 2

By Alexis C. Madrigal

Wired's Chris Kohler dug up a fantastic piece of videogame history, detailing how a failed prototype became the basis for the megahit Super Mario Bros. 2. If you played this game obsessively for some period of your life, you owe it to yourself to know its provenance.

Super Mario Bros. 2's long, strange trip to the top of the charts in 1988 began with a prototype videogame that failed miserably.

The 8-bit classic, which became a massive hit for the Nintendo Entertainment System, grew out of a mock-up of a vertically scrolling, two-player, cooperative-action game, Super Mario Bros. 2 director Kensuke Tanabe told Wired.com in an interview at this year's Game Developers Conference.

The prototype, worked up by SRD, a company that programmed many of Nintendo's early games, was intended to show how a Mario-style game might work if the players climbed up platforms vertically instead of walking horizontally, said Tanabe.

"The idea was that you would have people vertically ascending, and you would have items and blocks that you could pile up to go higher, or you could grab your friend that you were playing with and throw them to try and continue to ascend," Tanabe said. Unfortunately, "the vertical-scrolling gimmick wasn't enough to get us interesting gameplay."

Read the full story at Wired.

This article available online at:

http://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2011/04/the-prototype-that-inspired-super-mario-bros-2/73385/