The Story of Super Mario World | Gaming Historian

The Story of Super Mario World | Gaming Historian

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[Music] in 2015 retro gamer magazine asked readers to list their top 10 video games for the magazine's 150 greatest games of all time feature coming in at number one on almost 20 of all ballots was super mario world it was a landslide victory and for good reason super mario world not only showed off the new bells and whistles of the super nintendo it redefined what super mario games could be the goal was no longer to get the high score and defeat bowser it was to explore an entirely new world finding hidden paths and secret levels mario had an arsenal of new power-ups moves and friends but above all the game gave players more freedom than ever before super mario world is widely considered the apex of 2d platforming but it was a masterpiece made under challenging circumstances for the first time new competition threatened nintendo's position in the video game market the super mario world development team had to learn new hardware the 16-bit super famicom or super nintendo and they had to learn it quickly in order for the game to launch with the new console the result was the best super mario game yet and arguably ever it helped ensure nintendo stayed competitive in a new more powerful era of video games this is the story of super mario world [Music] it's about time for the famicom to start dropping off i think people are getting tired of it hiroshi yamauchi in the summer of 1988 nintendo president hiroshi yamauchi made a stunning declaration the famicom era was coming to an end nintendo's family computer console or famicom for short was first released in japan in july of 1983. by 1988 nintendo had sold 12 million systems and untold millions of games giving them a 90 percent share of the japanese video game market but yamauchi had reason to be concerned sales of the famicom had peaked in 1986 and were slowly dropping in an exclusive interview with japanese magazine touch yamauchi expressed disappointment in the famicom's recent sales numbers and admitted that the next generation of consoles had arrived there was new competition in the video game market in october of 1987 nec a massive electronics corporation threw its hat in the ring with the pc engine console nec boasted about the technological superiority of its system and planned to release a cd-rom attachment in the future the pc engine appealed to teenagers and young adults in just two months nec shipped more than 500 000 consoles nintendo was also keeping tabs on sega sega was planning to launch their new console the mega drive in october of 1988. sega boasted their new system would be capable of more than just playing video games it would have a modem a printer and more the mega drive was also the first 16-bit video game console sega proudly slapped a 16-bit label on their system all of a sudden nintendo's 8-bit famicom seemed underpowered and outdated but yamauchi had a surprise in the interview with touch magazine he announced that nintendo was shifting focus to their next generation console the 16-bit super famicom yamauchi had been teasing the system since 1987 not coincidentally a month before nec released the pc engine now in 1988 yamauchi was ready to reveal more details not coincidentally a month before sega released to the mega drive the news was more than an announcement it was a warning for potential buyers don't waste your money nintendo's latest console will be available soon the super famicom was much more powerful than its predecessor it had a custom 16-bit cpu more memory a custom sony sound chip more than 32 000 colors to choose from a higher max resolution stereo sound and more but yamauchi believed looking at only the technical aspects of a console was naive the strength of a video game system was in the software and the super famicom he boasted would allow developers to make games they'd never thought possible yamauchi revealed that nintendo was currently prototyping several games themselves and one of them was super mario brothers 4.

it was a surprising announcement mainly because nintendo hadn't even released super mario brothers 3. over the past summer mario creator shigeru miyamoto and his team within nintendo's entertainment analysis and development group were wrapping up super mario brothers 3. nintendo planned to release the game in october of 1988.

miyamoto considered super mario brothers 3 the definitive mario game on the famicom and the true sequel to the original super mario brothers it was 10 times the size of the first game with eight massive worlds containing 90 levels and an array of new power ups super mario bros 3 also utilized a multi-memory controller chip on the cartridge that pushed the famicom hardware to its limits by the end of development miyamoto's team was exhausted he believed they quote put everything they had into it but there was no time to rest the higher ups at nintendo gave the team a new directive make super mario brothers 4 for the super famicom and have it ready by launch making super mario brothers 4 a launch title was a no-brainer for nintendo super mario brothers was easily the most popular series on the famicom and its international counterpart the nintendo entertainment system making a new super mario game for nintendo's new 16-bit console was a sure-fire way to sell hardware but with new hardware to learn and a tight deadline the team needed more resources so they grew in size adding additional programmers testers and artists they also brought back veterans of the 16 plus staff members assigned to super mario brothers 4 9 worked on super mario brothers 3. among them was toshihiko nakago nakago was a programmer from systems research and development or srd an independent development company with an office located conveniently inside nintendo's kyoto headquarters nakago served as the director of programming for super mario bros 4. koji kondo who had written music for the series since its inception returned to compose the music and sound effects hideki kono and katsuya eguchi were once again in charge of maps and stage design then there was shigeru miyamoto by 1988 miyamoto was nintendo's rockstar developer and chief software producer and with the super famicom in development his responsibilities increased dramatically along with consulting on the super famicom's console and controller design miyamoto had to work on three other upcoming games so out of necessity miyamoto took a step back in his role as producer for super mario brothers 4. he later recalled basically i stood by and watched closely interjecting various ideas of my own here and there and finally takashi tezuka an unsung hero of the super mario series was put in charge of the super mario brothers 4 project tezuka first joined nintendo in 1984 as a designer making instruction manuals and playing cards but occasionally artists got teamed up with game designers to work on projects and one day tezuka got paired up with shigeru miyamoto the two formed a powerful partnership together they designed and developed the first super mario brothers the legend of zelda and more during the development of super mario brothers 3 tezuka may have taken on too much work along with director duties he also created character art and visuals for the game tezuka later admitted development didn't come together well as a result nintendo delayed the release of super mario brothers 3 by six months tezuka would not make the same mistake again i didn't think it was good to take on too much he said as the director of super mario bros 4 tezuka focused on managing his staff and helping with the game's overall design he delegated visuals to a new member of the team shige fumihino hino was a relative newcomer to nintendo it was only his second year at the company and he had only worked on one other game a sequel to famicom grand prix f1 race and it never got released now hino was assigned to arguably nintendo's most important project he felt a ton of pressure saying super mario brothers 3 was really well made so it was intimidating to know it would be compared to that for that reason i worried a lot over how we could present super mario in a fresh way but luckily the super mario brothers 4 team had a much more powerful console to work with the super famicom and they were excited to try all the new bells and whistles head programmer toshihiko nakago was relieved he and his programmers no longer had to worry so much about hardware limitations and miyamoto thought it would be easier to create visuals with the new vast array of colors the team also got some upgraded development tools up to that point mario levels were created by hand on graph paper then transferred into a computer by programmers now the designers had software that allowed them to edit levels directly on the computer of course there would be a learning curve with new tools and new hardware so the mario 4 team started with an experiment we ported mario 3 to the super famicom as a hardware experiment and even though the colors and sprites were more detailed it was still the same game maybe realized that we couldn't just make the same game again we had to create something new so it was in that context that we talked about how to make the most use of the new hardware shigeru miyamoto by now nintendo had solidified the super mario brothers formula mario games were about athleticism running fast jumping high dodging obstacles and stomping enemies they were about friendliness to new players anyone could pick up a mario game figure it out and have fun and finally super mario brothers was about freedom if players wanted to blaze through a level without collecting a single coin they could do it if players wanted to take their time use power-ups and explore levels they could do that too people could play super mario brothers however they wanted tezuka and miyamoto believe this new mario game should not change what made the series so special instead nintendo could perfect the concepts add fun new elements to the game and show off the latest technologies in the super famicom it would give players the most complete super mario experience yet meanwhile on november 21st 1988 nintendo revealed a prototype of the super famicom at their kyoto headquarters representatives from more than 200 companies including tv press magazines and newspaper reporters were on hand to see the unveiling nintendo announced they would ship the super famicom by july of 1989 an extremely ambitious deadline nintendo also showed some early game demos but notably absent was super mario brothers 4. the development team was still trying to solidify the game along the way they made constant changes early on the super mario brothers 3 influence was apparent the graphical style including mario's sprite was very similar many enemies looked identical to their super mario brothers 3 counterparts and the koopaling bosses still occupied the castles they also brought back familiar power-ups like the raccoon suit for flying and the world maps looked strikingly similar albeit much larger it may have looked too similar co-workers frequently commented it doesn't look all that different from the famicom games tezuka took the criticism to heart and made some changes shige fumihino gave the sprites more detail at one point the team even experimented with a three-dimensional look but they didn't stop there map director hideki kono also changed the world map considerably clearly departing from the mario 3 style in addition to graphical upgrades the super mario brothers 4 team had to figure out how to show off the new features of the super famicom the 16-bit console could do all sorts of neat tricks like background scaling and rotation and transparency effects and as a launch title nintendo wanted super mario bros 4 to show off the new hardware but miyamoto was hesitant to throw in new things just for the sake of it he said just because we found something cool the hardware could do something that made us go whoa if it ruined the balance or flow of the game we didn't want to include it the development team thoughtfully added new elements large sprites emphasized the super in super famicom transparency effects in the water and on enemies immersed the player into the game scrolling backgrounds gave levels a sense of depth rotating platforms gave mario new challenging boss fights in addition to the technological upgrades the super mario brothers 4 team also honed in on the core game design luckily they had a wealth of player feedback at their disposal [Music] on october 23 1988 after two and a half years in development super mario bros 3 finally hit japanese store shelves the game received rave reviews and was the best-selling famicom game for months but super mario bros 3 wasn't the most friendly to new players miyamoto wanted to find a better balance with super mario bros 4. as a launch title the game needed to appeal to players of all skill levels so the team implemented a few features to make the game a bit easier they added checkpoints to levels that made mario big if he was small in addition the team added an item reserve box in the previous game mario could stockpile power-ups and use them before entering levels now mario could bring extra power-ups into the level if he got hit or if players press select the item would drop down automatically by the summer of 1989 super mario brothers 4 was starting to separate itself from the previous games and the development team took it a step further by giving the game a new title with a whole new world for mario to explore there could be no better name super mario world but everything changed when not surprisingly nintendo decided to delay the release of the super famicom there were a multitude of reasons the super famicom hardware was for the most part ready to go but there was a distinct lack of software nintendo was still working on launch titles and although 21 companies had signed on to become third party developers for the system none of them had development kits yet there was also a global chip shortage a new generation of semiconductor and chip technology caused manufacturers to split their production capacity that drove prices up considerably yamauchi hoped to keep the super famicom at a price point of around 20 000 yen or around 150 however with the chip shortage the cost of the super famicom could shoot up beyond 30 thousand yen or around 225 dollars and with the chip shortage nintendo maxed out its manufacturing capacity at that time nintendo produced 3 million famicoms and nintendo entertainment systems per month they were also dealing with stock shortages of their new handheld system the game boy nintendo planned to launch the game boy in north america later that year the stock shortages led one columnist to comment why launch a competing product when you cannot cope with what you already have there was also still life left in the 8-bit famicom super mario brothers 3 was a huge success and enix's upcoming dragon quest 4 was guaranteed to fly off store shelves it was so popular that nx planned to release the game on the weekend to prevent kids from skipping school to buy it yamauchi's early teasing of the super famicom seemed to have worked in a famitsu magazine survey many readers claimed they would rather wait for the super famicom than buy a pc engine although nec's pc engine was selling well it was still nowhere near the reach of the famicom which was now in one third of japanese households and sega's 16-bit mega drive failed to make much of an impact they had only sold 400 000 units up to that point with the threat of competition dying down there was simply no need to rush the super famicom's launch so on july 28 1989 nintendo held a press conference at their kyoto headquarters and announced they were delaying the super famicom for an entire year but while the delay made headlines there was more to share nintendo unveiled a new design of the super famicom and for the first time they previewed their most anticipated game super mario world but surprisingly the reaction was mixed while many publications were impressed by the technological advancements they felt somewhat disappointed in the gameplay and graphics famitsu magazine commented that it looks to be the same as the previous mario games and electronic gaming monthly a u.s publication getting early scoops on

games from japan stated super mario world was not as graphically impressive as nintendo's other upcoming games but this would not deter takashi tezuka shigeru miyamoto and the rest of the super mario world team the delay of the super famicom turned out to be a blessing in disguise with another year of development at their disposal there was plenty more to add that would turn super mario world into one of the greatest platformers of all time with the super famicom delayed until the fall of 1990 the super mario world team had an extra year to work on the game for shigeru miyamoto and takashi tezuka it was a chance to refine the game's balance how could the development team ensure both newcomers and veterans got the most out of super mario and how could they give these players more freedom to play the game in their own way the team often met late into the night discussing potential ideas but one idea unearthed a wealth of possibilities i think great video games are like favorite playgrounds places you become attached to and go back to again and again wouldn't it be great to have a whole drawer full of playgrounds right at your fingertips miyamoto and tezuka found their playground with the world map nintendo first introduced a world map to the super mario series with super mario bros 3. it allowed players to choose what levels they wanted to play to reach the end however it was still a fairly linear experience to get to bowser and save the princess the development team initially carried this concept over to super mario world but besides some updated visuals it was functionally the same but what if the world map was more than just a map miyamoto said we were thinking that players should be able to play with the map itself so the map got a complete overhaul mario had a whole new world to explore dinosaur land and players were free to explore dinosaur land how they wished rather than having eight separate worlds dinosaur land was one massive area with interconnecting regions players could backtrack and replay levels or explore new areas of the map the development team filled the map with secret levels and hidden paths this gave players new ways to experience the game for example players could find a secret passage to bowser's castle quickly or take their time and play through all the levels in order and beating bowser was no longer the end of the game there were 96 exits players could find throughout dinosaur lands 74 levels sometimes mario found a secret pipe that led to a new exit other times a key opened up a new pathway on the map players might find an area that they previously thought was unreachable the development team provided clues to help the player find these secret exits for example levels that flashed red had multiple exits visual clues like a notch on the cliff side or a pipe off the beaten path might mean a nearby secret and thanks to a save battery on the cartridge players could take their time to find all the exits a number on the main menu let players know their progress but the changes to the world map were not just about levels and secrets they also brought balance to the game for many games developers would add an easy mode or hard mode to the main menu to change the difficulty but miyamoto was not a fan of this design choice instead he wanted players to adjust the difficulty as they played so the director of programming toshihiko nakago came up with an idea dotted line blocks the idea started from a simple addition the team wanted to try new block types and levels from there it evolved into much more throughout levels players came across various colored dotted lines when the player found the corresponding switch palace on the map the blocks activated it made levels easier by providing a new platform for mario to jump on or providing power-ups if players wanted to make the game harder they could ignore the switch palaces dinosaur land now resembled a board game there were nine unique areas to explore like forests of illusion twin bridges and star world and many regions were named after food like donut plains vanilla dome and chocolate island with a new map and unique regions for mario to explore character designer shige fumihino saw an opportunity to update many of the game's visuals mario got a makeover with back pockets on his overalls an emblem on his hat and improved shadows specifically requested mario have white in his eyes hino complied with the request but left mario with tiny black eyes when he was small he thought it gave mario more character hino also added small details mario flashed a peace sign when he finished a level when mario lost to life a look of horror swept over his face but hino didn't stop with mario many classic enemies including goombas lackatoos and dry bones got a new look koopa troopas changed significantly previously koopa troopas acted like turtles slowly moving around levels now koopa troopas walked upright mario could bounce them out of their shell revealing a vulnerable little reptile in its underwear some would even try to recover their shells or kick them at mario along with classic enemies hino and tezuka came up with new ones among them was wiggler a volatile caterpillar charge and chuck a football playing koopa that took three hits to take down and ripped van fish a sleepy fish who excitedly chased mario when he woke up and what was dinosaur land without a few dinosaurs there was rex who required two stomps to take down dino rhino a large nearsighted enemy who turned into a dino torch if you stomped on him reznor a fire-breathing triceratops that guarded several fortresses and blarg a massive dinosaur who lurked beneath the lava waiting for mario to pass by but not every dinosaur was an enemy in fact one new friend would forever change the super mario [Music] series for the past five years shigeru miyamoto had a sketch of mario riding a dinosaur taped up at his desk he had wanted to implement the idea since the first super mario brothers game the team tried to add it to super mario brothers 3 but technical limitations prevented them but with the more powerful 16-bit super famicom there was hope tezuka noticed the sketch again and decided to give it a shot he took the idea to character designer shige fumihino and asked him to draw a dinosaur that mario could ride like a horse hino's first idea came out looking like a crocodile tezuka made some suggestions the dinosaur should be smaller cuter and related to the koopa troopas hino made modifications and over time the character's final form took shape a green dinosaur with a shell on its back that doubled as a saddle tezuka recalled that quote he turned into quite the cute character as a placeholder they named the character yoshi a nickname of miye yoshimura an artist on staff but the name stuck writing yoshi was a fun new way to explore levels because he offered more than just transportation yoshi could eat enemies or grab hard to reach items help mario jump extra high and traverse rough terrain yoshi could also gain new powers for example with the different colored koopa shells yoshi could breathe fire temporarily fly or stomp the ground in addition he could eat berries scattered around levels to earn more time power-ups and coins yoshi also provided mario with a free hit when an enemy hit mario yoshi would run away but the player had an opportunity to get yoshi back the team also added adorable baby yoshis in various colors mario could feed the yoshi's enemies to make them grow up and each colored yoshi had specific traits when they gobbled up koopa shells essentially yoshi was a new robust power-up for mario to use on his journey the development team brought back old power-ups as well there were the usuals the super mushroom to make mario big a fire flower that let mario shoot fireballs and a superstar that granted temporary invincibility the development team initially brought back the super leaf which turned mario into a raccoon and allowed him to fly temporarily but with all the other changes happening they thought they could do better so they experimented with a few ideas such as wings before finally settling on a cape the cape acquired by picking up a feather worked similarly to the raccoon suit players could hit enemies with it and after a brief runoff could temporarily fly but it offered so much more players had more control mid-flight and by rocking back and forth they could stay in the air much longer mario could also attack enemies from above it was the most intricate power-up in the series thus far the development team constantly tinkered with the cape controls many test players found it too difficult at first and thanks to the extra buttons available on the super famicom controller mario also had a new move the spin jump by pressing the a button mario could destroy blocks from above bounce off obstacles and stomp enemies the development team even utilized the shoulder l r buttons on the new controller it allowed the player to scroll the screen forward or backwards slightly in previous super mario games certain levels required players to take a blind leap of faith now players could scout out what was ahead before making a decision super mario world was finally coming into its own the development team overhauled almost everything a new world new enemies new friends new mini games and new power and to complement everything were the brilliant compositions and sound effects from composer koji kondo since the beginning kondo had worked on the super mario brothers series composing the memorable original theme while working on super mario bros 3 he composed a plethora of new music with a distinct reggae vibe and a ton of percussion but after completing the project pondo thought he may have composed too much music as a result he felt like each song made less of an impact kondo's favorite songs were ones with beautiful melodies he felt they left a more profound impression on people so with super mario world he wanted to focus on one melody and incorporate it into multiple songs but due to the new hardware he found the work quote 100 times more difficult kondo had to make all the sound samples himself and learn new software tools but he quickly realized the super famicom allowed him to do so much more with the music the 8-bit famicom only had 5 audio channels and was limited to electronic sounds but the super famicom had 8 dedicated sound channels and supported samples and sound effects from all kinds of instruments as a result kondo got to completely rethink what game music could be kondo used a variety of instruments for both the music and sound effects it resulted in a rich warm sound unlike anything players had ever heard before in a super mario game [Music] players heard kondo's catchy melody throughout the game the above ground music made the melody sound bright and fun [Music] in contrast the fortress music gave the melody a sinister mysterious vibe [Music] condo added a few subtle musical cues too when mario found yoshi a new percussion track kicked in over top the music [Music] pondo even added a reverb effect to the sounds while mario was underground adding to the level's atmosphere [Music] and with the additional memory in the super famicom kondo was able to compose a title song for the game a first for the super mario series [Music] by the summer of 1990 two years after development started super mario world was mostly complete tezuka and his team felt they had taken the concepts that made the series so special freedom athleticism friendliness and perfected them it was a massive side-scrolling 2d platformer nintendo packed everything into a 4 megabit cartridge an impressive feat considering all the new graphics and sound on the game's packaging nintendo added super mario bros 4 as a subtitle reminding players that this was a continuation of the beloved series from the famicom super mario world was the quintessential launch title it showcased the hardware's new technologies while at the same time providing fans of the series comfort and familiarity in many ways it embodied the super famicom the primary colors of the console red green blue and yellow were found throughout the game in koopa shells yoshi's and even on the game's box art shige fumihino who had been nervous even to start development felt that they had perfected the genre i felt like with super mario world we had done everything we could with a side-scrolling jumping game he said with development finished all that was left was for nintendo to release the super famicom ever since nintendo announced the delay of the system a year earlier the company had been mostly silent but on june 21st 1990 they finally had an update the super famicom was coming out on november 21st 1990. on august 28th and 29th nintendo held a sho shinkai trade show at the harumi international exhibition center in tokyo there were now 33 developers making games for the super famicom many of the companies were at the show to demonstrate their upcoming games but all eyes were on nintendo for the first time they premiered the final version of the super famicom the system would cost 25 000 yen or around 170 and come with two controllers to keep the price down nintendo didn't include any cables or power adapters nintendo also premiered their two launch titles the first was f-zero an ultra-fast arcade racing game it showcased one of the super famicom's new technologies mode 7 which gave a faux 3d effect the second game was super mario world nintendo set up 10 super famicom stations at the trade show so attendees could try out the new games eight of them were dedicated to super mario world people packed the booth for the entire show the media was impressed by all the latest changes to the game electronic gaming monthly called it the premier piece of software shipping with the super famicom the hype for super mario world and the super famicom was bigger than ever nintendo received 1.5 million pre-orders for their new console from wholesalers with so many pre-orders nintendo worried that launch day might be a little chaotic so they encouraged retailers to implement a reservation system when selling the super famicom one store had so many reservation requests they held a lottery and sent out postcards to the winners two years after announcing the system nintendo was finally ready to enter the next generation and for the first time they were launching a new console with real competition in the market in the early morning of november 20th nintendo loaded 100 trucks with boxes of super famicom consoles along with f-zero and super mario world cartridges in an event dubbed operation midnight shipping nintendo sent out their newest console in games in the dead of night hoping to ward off thieves and on the morning of november 21st 1990 the super famicom and super mario world were officially on store shelves in japan launch day was a mixed bag the haku hing khan toy park store which didn't take reservations had a massive line outside the entrance the store sold super famicoms on a first come first serve basis as a result many customers left without a console but other stores like the odakyu department store were relatively calm the store issued reservation tickets six weeks ahead of time anticipating that kids would play hooky to get the system the store sold 1500 super famicoms on launch day but the biggest issue was the lack of stock although nintendo had 1.5 million pre-orders they could only ship 300 000 consoles many smaller stores particularly mom and pop shops didn't receive any consoles some stores took advantage of the shortage by offering the super famicom bundled with software at a marked up price retailers accused nintendo of stalling production to create a false shortage and drive up demand nintendo responded by promising to increase their manufacturing capacity in 1991.

despite the issues the super famicom was a hit according to a report from nintendo the initial stock of 300 000 consoles sold out in just three days and super mario world was the crown jewel of the system to put it simply it's everything a game should be challenging frustrating rewarding and most important of all unbelievably addictive i'm still nursing an injured finger from a weekend solid and i mean solid play if you've got the super famicom this is as essential as the power supply julian jazz rignal mean machines super mario world received rave reviews from the press famitsu magazine gave the game a score of 34 out of 40. they wrote the mario series repeatedly powers up and this may surprise some players but i felt a lot of power in this entry it feels like it has three times the ideas without impacting any of the fundamentals that make mario games so much fun but even with all the praise some reviewers came away slightly disappointed they expected more from nintendo's new 16-bit console one reviewer considered the game a bit stale compared to super mario bros 3. others found the extra controls challenging to learn none of that stopped customers from scooping up super mario world many people bought the game even without owning a super famicom by february of 1991 nintendo had sold 750 000 copies of super mario world despite only selling six hundred thousand super famicom consoles super mario mania once again swept over japan a new wave of super mario merchandise including plushies and toys hit store shelves bandai released super mario world mario and yoshi's adventure land an interactive anime compatible with bandai's tedebiko toy phone there were cross promotions with food and beverage companies including mcdonald's there were mangas based on the game such as the super mario koon series nintendo and warner pioneer released the game's soundtrack on cd featuring new jazz arrangements of koji kondo's music konami even released a gambling machine mario roulette based on the mini game in super mario world the super famicom and super mario world were a success nintendo hit its goal of selling three million consoles within a year by august of 1991 three months ahead of time and in total nintendo would sell three and a half million copies of super mario world in japan making it the second best-selling game on the super famicom by 1992 the super famicom overtook nec's pc engine in sales cementing nintendo as the top dog in the japanese video game market but when it came time to bring the super famicom and super mario world over to north america things wouldn't be so easy [Music] when nintendo first revealed the super famicom in november of 1988 sales of the 8-bit famicom were declining but its north american counterpart the nintendo entertainment system was setting sales records in 1988 nintendo of america sold 7 million nes consoles and more than 40 million games for the second year in a row the nes was the number one toy in the united states the country had nintendo fever if you haven't heard about the nintendo entertainment system odds are you've either just awakened from a two-year sleep or you don't have a child under the age of 14. nintendo is simply the toy of the late 80s a marketing phenomenon every bit as remarkable as the cabbage patch kids craze a few years back dennis lynch chicago tribune 1989 looked to be another banner year for nintendo of america but just like in japan there would be new contenders in the market at the 1989 summer consumer electronics show in chicago sega introduced the genesis the north american version of the mega drive nec brought the pc engine over as the turbografx 16 and the hot buzz word of the show was bits to the general public more bits meant better video games the turbo graphics 16 was technically an 8-bit console but sported dual 16-bit graphics chips and nec marketed the console as a 16-bit system sega boasted that the genesis was the only true 16-bit system and promised arcade quality graphics stereo sound and unsurpassed gameplay with nec and sega bringing in more powerful consoles it begged the question where was nintendo's 16-bit system officially nintendo said it had no plans to launch a 16-bit console in north america during their presentation at the summer ces show nintendo played a video hosted by a costumed mario that showcased the nes in game boy mario tried to convince the audience that 16-bit consoles were not the future of video games and that the nes was plenty powerful the press called it propaganda but while nintendo of america feigned disinterest in 16 bits video game magazines were picking up news on the super famicom from japan video game magazines had seen a resurgence in the past year thanks to a booming video game industry nintendo even had a magazine nintendo power with an estimated 1.2 million subscribers nintendo carefully chose what to cover and what to keep up its sleeve and it wanted to keep the super famicom up its sleeve but other magazines didn't have those restrictions and regularly looked to japan for the latest video game news and rumors there was game pro video games and computer entertainment and game players but by far the magazine with the most coverage of japan was electronic gaming monthly or egm in their very first issue from may of 1989 the magazine revealed the super famicom calling it the most incredible game system ever seen in their second issue egm had full color photos of the super famicom prototype along with the first mention of a new super mario game super mario brothers 4. it couldn't have made nintendo happy super mario brothers 2 hadn't even been out for a year in north america and nintendo was spending 1989 hyping up super mario brothers 3 due to come out in early 1990 by the fall of 1989 nintendo of america could no longer deny that a 16-bit machine was in the works vice president of marketing peter main confirmed the super famicom was real and coming to japan but he stopped short of announcing a north american release instead maine affirmed that the company wanted to ring every last megabyte of power from the nintendo entertainment system before jumping into the 16-bit generation in other words any announcement of a new 16-bit system would cut into nintendo of america's sales but that didn't stop the press from talking about the super famicom in super mario brothers 4. electronic gaming

monthly repeatedly brought over the latest news from japan in issue 4 they confirmed super mario brothers 4 was now called super mario world and showed the game's first screenshots despite the whisperings of a 16-bit console nintendo of america had another record year in 1989. they sold an astonishing 9 million nes consoles for the third year in a row the nes was the number one selling toy in addition nintendo's new game boy handheld introduced in august of 1989 sold around one million units in less than six months and despite the new competition nintendo still controlled about eighty percent of the four billion dollar video game market in 1990 looked like another big year nintendo of america was preparing to launch their highly anticipated new game super mario brothers 3. the company spent the past year hyping up the game with teasers and early releases on the play choice 10 arcade cabinet the game was even in a hollywood film the wizard in january of 1990 nintendo power had an article about the making of super mario bros 3 featuring a write-up on mario creator shigeru miyamoto the article briefly mentioned that miyamoto was working on games for the super famicom including super mario bros 4 but that wasn't all in the mailbag section a reader noted he read about the super famicom in other magazines and wondered why nintendo power had not talked about it more the magazine replied that the super famicom wasn't even out in japan they only wanted to provide information that was quote timely and accurate nintendo power now had a subscriber base of almost 2 million this was their first acknowledgement of the super famicom in super mario world with the hype of super mario bros 3 dying down a new hype emerged for nintendo's next console and super mario game and those other magazines kept the hype train moving rumors swirled about what the super famicom would look like in north america and when exactly it was coming one rumor suggested that the super famicom was actually a more powerful 32-bit system another report claimed that nintendo planned to call the new system sfx in north america there was even gossip that the super famicom would come to north america as an attachment to the nes by the fall of 1990 it seemed like nintendo was tired of the rumors and speculation in september nintendo power published a blurb on the unveiling of the super famicom in japan along with screenshots of super mario world they also took a jab at other publications asking readers to stick with nintendo power for quote hard facts and not wimpy rumors but electronic gaming monthly also covered the unveiling of the super famicom in japan and much more extensively their november issue had a multi-page preview of the console super mario world and other upcoming games still with all the previews rumors and speculation no one outside of nintendo knew when the super famicom and super mario world were coming stateside but 1990 proved to be a defining year for nintendo of america the company had another record-breaking year with 3.4 billion dollars in sales nintendo now controlled 87 of the video game market super mario brothers 3 was a colossal hit selling seven and a half million copies and grossing more than 400 million dollars at the time it was the best-selling stand-alone video game ever nintendo also sold 3.2 million game boys along with 9 million games but despite all the accolades nintendo also saw problems the nintendo entertainment system was saturating the market one in four households owned an nes and in homes with children aged 10 to 14 almost 100 owned an nes for the first time in north america nes sales declined down to 7.2 million units and the company's projections for 1991 were even lower nintendo estimated they would only sell four and a half million nes systems there was also the threat of competitors particularly sega nintendo president hiroshi yamauchi once stated that sega was not a legitimate contender in the u.s market

but that had changed by the end of 1990 sega had sold around 1.5 million genesis consoles and had an 80 share of the 16-bit market the company expected to sell even more consoles in 1991. the public was ready for the next generation according to sega 60 of genesis owners were nintendo fans who traded up a rand youth poll revealed that one of the most requested items on a teenage boy's wish list was a new video game system despite 90 percent of the participants already owning a system the venerable nes is finally showing its age compared with this competition the nes offers inferior sound and fuzzy graphics in japan buyers are being treated to nintendo's super famicom an awesome new game machine but no plans have been made for the us debut of this system come on nintendo how about equal rights for american buyers dennis lynch chicago tribune nintendo of america saw the writing on the wall it was time to enter the 16-bit generation in january of 1991 less than two months after the super famicom hit stores in japan nintendo of america officially confirmed that the super famicom was coming to north america at the 1991 winter consumer electronics show attendees waited in line for 20 minutes to see a demonstration of the system nintendo showed previews of a few games including pilot wings and f-zero but the biggest hit was super mario world one reporter said it looked like quote the best mario game yet nintendo of america's peter main predicted the super famicom would go on sale in the united states by the second half of 1991. nintendo wanted to have

more software available before launching to entice developers and compete with sega nintendo removed their exclusivity agreement the super famicom would have a new design and eventually a new name in north america the super nintendo entertainment system nintendo predicted it would sell 2 million consoles by the end of 1991 but selling the 16-bit system would be much more challenging in the united states than in japan in japan the economy was booming nintendo was selling super famicoms faster than they could make them and this was despite a shrinking consumer base since the mid-1970s japan's birth rate had declined and the average family had one and a half children the result as one analyst explained fewer children are surrounded by more rich adults and that means that the money spent on each child increases but in the united states the situation was much different the country was in the tail end of a recession war in the middle east more than doubled oil prices the failure of many savings and loan institutions hit the lending market hard more than 1.8 million people were added to unemployment because of this consumers were spending less and saving money wherever possible so when nintendo announced a 200 video game system that was not compatible with nes games many parents were outraged in the united states the average family spent 225 on toys per child almost all of it would have to go to the super nintendo when a reporter asked a mother of three if she was going to buy a super nintendo for her kids she exclaimed no way we're not shoving the old nintendo in the closet i've got 700 invested in that baby a father from california called it immoral the press jumped on the controversy claiming the super nintendo would make the nintendo entertainment system obsolete nintendo had to do some serious damage control they argued that adding backward compatibility would make the super nintendo even more expensive they also insisted they were not abandoning the nintendo entertainment system the nes they claimed was an entry-level system for people not wanting the latest graphics sound or challenge it was a cassette tape in the super nintendo was a cd a console for the veteran player who had gotten their full enjoyment out of the nes but it wasn't just the super nintendo parents blamed nintendo for their child's lower school grades and eye strain and claimed the games were too violent nintendo was also accused of monopolizing the industry the company had been hit with multiple anti-trust lawsuits and for the past year the ftc had investigated nintendo over anti-trust violations such as price fixing nintendo denied any wrongdoing but settled the case and agreed to send out up to 25 million dollars worth of rebates to customers the rebate took the form of a five dollar coupon that consumers could only use to buy more nintendo games but industry insiders were skeptical that people would ditch nintendo completely as one writer put it nintendo may have a tough time but kids still tend to get what they want that was true some kids couldn't wait and had already imported the super famicom from japan plus nintendo had arguably the biggest weapon of all super mario super mario brothers 3's success catapulted mario into another stratosphere according to his q score a measurement of popularity among brands and celebrities mario was now more popular among children than mickey mouse there were more than 300 licensed mario products in the united states worth 200 million dollars in annual sales there was a saturday morning cartoon a breakfast cereal and even a planned feature film with rumors that danny devito would play the leading role if anything could help convince consumers to pick up a new console it was a super mario game back in 1986 when nintendo launched the nes nationwide they released a version bundled with super mario brothers it played a significant role in driving sales it seemed like a no-brainer to do it again for the super nintendo on june 1st 1991 nintendo officially unveiled the newly designed super nintendo entertainment system at the summer ces show in chicago the big guy in the home video game market has finally caught up with a pack you're looking at nintendo's much awaited 16-bit home system the super nes it's a big step forward for nintendo fans better sound better graphics and much more sophisticated play this is positioned for the true heavy user who wants that next level of play experience not for everybody nintendo set up multiple super nintendo stations at their booth where attendees could try out mario's latest adventure and other upcoming titles the system was scheduled to launch on september 9th 1991 and come bundled with the latest mario game super mario world but while nintendo touted the super nintendo in super mario world their competitor sega had an ace up their sleeve sonic the hedgehog sega came up with the character to compete against the super mario juggernaut the company first announced their speedy new video game back at the winter ces show and was ready to launch the game to retail stores sonic the hedgehog received high praise from the press video games and computer entertainment declared at last sega has their own mario and sega had one more surprise in store the sega genesis was getting a price cut down to 150 dollars and would come bundled with sonic the hedgehog the company knew the battle between sonic and mario would be critical in the 16-bit market and sega was not going to play around they now controlled 90 of the 16-bit market and had a two-year head start on nintendo sega president tom kalinski shrugged off the super nintendo claiming nintendo would have to play catch up with sega while nintendo hoped to have around 18 games by christmas sega would have more than 100 and for the second half of 1991 sega had a 15 million dollar advertising budget after sega announced their new sonic the hedgehog console bundle sales surged for the first time nintendo of america had legitimate competition in the video game market but they hoped super mario could save the day [Music] on wednesday august 21st 1991 a toys r us store in cerritos california opened a shipment box from nintendo inside was their new 16-bit console the super nintendo the system arrived almost three weeks ahead of time over the next few days stores around the country started receiving shipments soon the word got out the super nintendo was here [Music] the super nintendo launched with f-zero pilot wings and the bundled game super mario world praise for mario's latest adventure poured in from magazines newspapers and school playgrounds electronic gaming monthly gave the game a score of 36 out of 40 calling it easily the best mario adventure yet and video games and computer entertainment called it by far the best installment in the mario saga but some critics expected more from super mario world entertainment weekly claimed nintendo was beating a dead koopa and that mario was doing quote all the things he's been doing for the past five years but it didn't seem to bother anyone else who played super mario world it was mario at his finest nintendo backed the super nintendo launch with a massive 25 million dollar advertising blitz the september 1991 issue of nintendo power made its way to 2 million mailboxes across the country with super mario world featured on the cover inside was a 16-page guide featuring maps items enemies tips and more nintendo invaded televisions as well there were commercials with a jazzy new slogan now you're playing with power super power and nbc aired a new super mario world cartoon on saturday mornings super mario world and the super nintendo even made their way into grocery stores there were cross promotions with pepsi kool-aid shasta soda and kraft mac and cheese nintendo also released mario mania a 150 plus page guide all about nintendo's hero including a super mario world strategy guide by october nintendo sold more than 500 000 super nintendo consoles and was on track to sell 2 million by the end of the year but the demand for the super nintendo was not as high as it was in japan some stores sold out quickly a manager at electronics boutique in greenville south carolina commented if we got 50 in tomorrow we'd have 50 sold but in other areas the super nintendo was easy to find one reporter in detroit called eight local toys r us stores and all eight had the system in stock nintendo could blame sega for the lack of super nintendo craze the genesis was cheaper had more games and offered backward compatibility with master system games via an adapter and sega was more than willing to pit sonic against mario their commercials featured the games side by side the message was simple mario is old and slow sonic is fast and cool sega also launched the sega world tour traveling to shopping malls around the country to let people try sonic the hedgehog in super mario world according to sega 88 of the participants preferred sonic house to house fighting continues unabated war drums beat along the shores of lake michigan and bugles blair west of the rockies the marshall music of the silicon samurai's hearts from the east the question is no longer if there will be a video game war but rather who will win it arnie cats video games and computer entertainment the launch of the super nintendo in super mario world officially signaled the beginning of one of the greatest battles in video game history the console wars sega and nintendo duked it out for control of the 1991 holiday season in the end both companies claimed victory nintendo claimed it sold 2.1 million super nintendo units sega disputed the figure claiming it was closer to 1.4 million

meanwhile sega claimed it sold every system it could make in 1991 1.6 million units nintendo argued it was closer to 1 million units nintendo knew they were in for a long war so in january they slashed the price of the super nintendo to 180 by the summer nintendo cut the price again to 150 that same year nintendo expanded their 16-bit territory by launching the super nintendo in australia and europe bundled with super mario world the game once again received glowing reviews the fight between sega and nintendo would drag on for years both companies attempted to one-up each other with new and exciting games hardware attachments and peripherals children would argue on playgrounds and in classrooms and declare their allegiance to sega or nintendo for nintendo super mario world remained a key weapon in the console wars it was bundled with a super nintendo for years and nintendo president hiroshi yamauchi's declaration that the strength of a console was in the games rang true the super nintendo strong software library paid dividends in the end nintendo would come out on top of the 16-bit console wars super mario world was released during what many consider the best years of the franchise in january of 1992 nintendo power reported that for each nintendo system the nes game boy and super nes the number one game was a super mario game [Music] when the super nintendo first launched nintendo's vice president of marketing peter main commented that the system was evolutionary not revolutionary the same could be said about super mario world mario's 16-bit debut did not significantly change the mario formula and many reviewers took issue with that but super mario world did perfect the formula and today super mario world is widely considered a masterpiece mario creator shigeru miyamoto admitted he was happy with how the game turned out but he felt that he was only scratching the surface of what video games could become in a 1995 interview he said i joined nintendo because i wanted to create a product that people would talk about and remember and that's what i want to do in the future too create something that will make an impact on the world over the next several years miyamoto would experiment with new cutting-edge technologies on the super nintendo and for nintendo's next console codenamed project reality miyamoto would bring the super mario series to the third dimension giving mario more freedom than ever before but even with new advancements in technology super mario world stayed with him miyamoto would later confess in an interview with usa today that super mario world was one of his favorite mario games it was the culmination of everything that made the series great but more importantly miyamoto was proud that it launched the careers of several of his co-workers director of programming toshihiko nakago would continue to program countless games for nintendo today he is the president and ceo of the company he had been programming for for years systems research and development level director katsuya eguchi would direct his first game star fox in 1993. star fox utilized new technology that pushed the super nintendo hardware to its limit in 2001 he created animal forest later known as animal crossing which gave players their own world to explore today he's a deputy general manager at nintendo map director hideki kono would direct one of the best selling games on the super nintendo super mario kart today he is in charge of the mobile game division at nintendo composer koji kondo continued to compose music for nintendo and still does today he has written some of the most memorable tunes in video game history shige fumihino worked as a character designer for several more years before getting to tackle his own game the quirky strategy game pikmin for the gamecube but hino&#

2022-05-11 14:47

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