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Legendary Nintendo designer explains the secrets behind Super Mario Bros.’ iconic World 1-1

Published Sep 11th, 2015 8:35AM EDT
Super Mario Bros World 1

In the annals of video game history, there’s perhaps no game more recognizable nor more iconic than the original Super Mario Bros. title for NES. Even folks who are decidedly not into video games have likely played World 1-1 on Mario Bros. at some point in their lives.

Designed by legendary video game designer Shigeru Miyamoto, the first level of Super Mario Bros. is widely heralded as a game design triumph that’s as instructive as it is fun to play. Earlier this week, Miyamoto and Takashi Tezuka sat down for an enlightening interview with Eurogamer to discuss some of the strategies that went into designing World 1-1.

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As with any design choices that seem obvious, there was a whole lot of thought and clever strategy behind the features and overall flow of World 1-1.

For instance, even the decision to use a mushroom to make Mario bigger, seemingly an arbitrary choice, was the subject of careful consideration.

We wanted to figure out a way for players to be really satisfied with the bigger Mario. And so that’s actually why we created this small Mario first. Next we started thinking: how do we make him bigger? What is that magical item that we need? And we thought a suspicious mushroom would be globally understood… You try to run away but by being hit you become bigger and that makes you feel really happy.

The entire video is well worth watching in its entirety. Not only is it a nice stroll back through video game history, but it also demonstrates the level of care Miyamoto put into creating an all-time classic.

Yoni Heisler Contributor

Yoni Heisler has been writing about Apple and the tech industry at large for over 15 years. A life long Mac user and Apple expert, his writing has appeared in Edible Apple, Network World, MacLife, Macworld UK, and TUAW. When not analyzing the latest happenings with Apple, Yoni enjoys catching Improv shows in Chicago, playing soccer, and cultivating new TV show addictions.