Super Mario Bros. is the successor to the 1983 arcade title Mario Bros., and was designed by Shigeru Miyamoto and Takashi Tezuka, both of whom belonged to Nintendo’s former Creative Department at the time. The game’s development was motivated by a desire to give Famicom (i.e., Nintendo Entertainment System game cartridges) a swan song in light of the forthcoming Famicom Disk System, and to further progress Nintendo’s work on “Athletic games”. Originally, the game was based around a shooting mechanic with very different controls. This may have made the final product as a special level, but a desire to focus on jumping and the mapping of the mechanic to the A button resulted in its being dropped. Unlike in Mario Bros., where Mario would be hurt by stomping on turtles without first flipping them on their backs, Mario could defeat turtles by stomping on their shells, as the developers decided the previous method had been illogical. The ability to have Mario change size was a result of basing level design around a smaller Mario, then intending to make his size bigger in the final version. They later decided it would be fun to have Mario become bigger as a Power-up. Early level design was focused on teaching players that Mushrooms were distinct from Goombas and would be beneficial to them: In World 1, level 1, the first Mushroom is difficult to avoid if it is released. Using Mushrooms to change size was influenced by folk tales in which people wander into forests and eat magical Mushrooms; this also resulted in the game world getting the name “Mushroom Kingdom”. The “Infinite 1-Up” trick was by design, but the developers did not expect players to be able to master it as well as they did. Development was aimed at keeping things simple, in order to have a new game available for the end-of-year shopping season. Originally an idea for a shoot-’em-up stage in which Mario would jump onto a cloud and fire at enemies was to be included; however, this was dropped to maintain the game’s focus on jumping action, but the sky-based bonus stages still remained.
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