Gamachronicles: Super Mario (part 3)

Today we are going to focus on the next two installments in the Super Mario Series: Super Mario Bros 3 for the NES and Super Mario World for the SNES.

Gamachronicles are multi-part features on a famous or noteworthy game series, diving into some of its most memorable moments and providing additional perspective on its history.

Super Mario Bros 3 (NES)

Super Mario Bros 3’s development began shortly after the 1986 release of the Famicom Disk System’s Super Mario Bros. 2 in Japan. Super Mario Bros. 3 was developed by Nintendo Entertainment Analysis and Development, and directed by Shigeru Miyamoto.

Originally, the team intended for the game to be played from an isometric point of view, but the developers found that this made it too difficult to position jumps, so the game was changed to the 2D side view used in previous games. Some isometric elements remain, such as the checkered floor present in the title screen.

Title screen

The game took more than two years to complete and released in Japan on October 23, 1988.

Cartridge for Famicom

Super Mario 3 released in North America on February 12, 1990.

Cartridge for NES

Super Mario Bros. 3 is acclaimed by critics as one of the greatest video games of all time. It is the third-best-selling NES game, with more than 17 million copies sold worldwide.

It introduced many elements that became Mario series staples, such as Bowser’s children (the Koopalings) and a world map to transition between levels.

World map

Check out Super Mario 3 gameplay from YouTube below:

Super Mario World (SNES)

Super Mario World is often considered one of the greatest video games of all time. It sold over 20 million copies worldwide, making it the best-selling game for the Super Nintendo.

Title screen

The game was directed by Takashi Tezuka, while Shigeru Miyamoto, the creator of both Super Mario and The Legend of Zelda, served as producer. Shigefumi Hino took the role of graphics designer. Nintendo Entertainment Analysis and Development handled development with a team of ten people including three main programmers and a character designer, most of whom had worked on the original Super Mario Bros. Miyamoto realised just having improved graphics wouldn’t be enough, and the team’s goal needed to be to create something “totally new”.

Overworld map

Composer Koji Kondo decided to reuse the themes from Super Mario Bros 3 for Super Mario World, albeit in a rearranged form. By doing this, he assumed that players would be able to recognise the same melodies, while exposing them to new variations of music as they progressed through the game.

Check out the music from the first level below:

Check out gameplay from the first level below:

As a pack-in game for the SNES, Super Mario World helped popularize the console, and became the best-selling game of its generation.

Interestingly, Super Mario World was produced during the console wars between the SNES and Sega Genesis which led to fierce competition between the two companies. Sega’s mascot, Sonic the Hedgehog, was seen by many as a faster and “cooler” alternative to Mario, and after the game’s release, Miyamoto admitted he felt it was incomplete and development was rushed toward the end.

Despite Miyamoto’s feelings, Super Mario World was an incredible game and a clear system seller for the Super Nintendo.

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