Shigeru Miyamoto Reveals The Secret History Of Mario
This month marks Super Mario Bros. 25th Anniversary. In honor of this, the Japanese magazine Famitsu ran an interview with Mario creator Shigeru Miyamoto. The article ended up being a fun read full of interesting details even hardcore Mario fans might not be familiar with.
We take platforming controls for granted nowadays, but when Super Mario Bros. was in development there was no standard. When Famitsu asked about the game’s original design, Miyamoto responded:
"During much of development, the controls were A for shoot bullets, B to dash, and up on the control pad to jump. The bullets wound up becoming fireballs later – we originally thought about having a shoot-'em-up stage where Mario jumps on a cloud and shoots at enemies, but we dropped it because we wanted to focus on jumping action. The sky-based bonus stages are the remnants of that idea, you could say. In the end, we realized that being able to shoot all the fireballs you want while running gave Mario too much of an advantage, so instead we had it so you shoot only one fireball when you start running. That freed up the A button, and we made that the jump button. I really wanted to have A be the action button and make you press up to jump, but it definitely worked out better for Mario in the end."
1up has a transcript of much of the rest of the interview, and it’s worth a read if you have the time.