Super Mario Bros.: Stories, Facts, And Trivia You Didn't Know About The Video Game

By Jacob Shelton
(Nintendo)

Released in 1985, Super Mario Bros. began as the last gasp of the cartridge era for Nintendo and became the game by which everything that followed was measured. Mario has had three decades of monumental success, with a movie, a few cartoons, and of course, a myriad sequels that have kept players glued to their consoles. How this simple 2-D platformer came to life and inspired pretty much every game for the next 35 years is the story of a small group of creatives who poured all of their talent into 31 kilobytes of data while turning glitches and limitations into part of the gameplay.

The Real Mario Map

Growing up in the Japanese town of Sonobe, a rural town northwest of Kyoto, Mario creator Shigeru Miyamoto was fond of two things: expeditions into the countryside and drawing. He told NPR:

I spent a lot of my time playing in the rice paddies and exploring the hillsides and having fun outdoors. When I got into the upper elementary school ages—that was when I really got into hiking and mountain climbing. There's a place near Kobe where there's a mountain, and you climb the mountain, and there's a big lake near the top of it. We had gone on this hiking trip and climbed up the mountain, and I was so amazed.

It was landscapes like these that inspired the different levels and worlds of his two most famous franchises, Super Mario Bros. and The Legend of Zelda. He actually initially wanted to draw manga, but when he fell into game design at Nintendo, he found it to be the perfect medium to recreate the vastness of Sonobe. He even used his swimming experience as a frame of reference for the underwater scenes of Super Mario 64.