It has been 30 years of jumping, Goomba stomping, shell kicking, princess saving, kart racing, and plenty more since Super Mario Bros. first launched on the Nintendo Entertainment System. With the commemorative release of Super Mario Maker, fans the world over have finally been granted the tools to tap into their budding creativity and design their own stages, reliving and paying tribute to growing up with the series since it began in 1985. To celebrate three decades of Mario, IGN has spoken to a number of Nintendo representatives – including Shigeru Miyamoto, Takashi Tezuka, Hideki Konno, and Reggie Fils-Aimé – and asked them about their fondest Mario memories as creators and gamers.
Takashi Tezuka, who worked as a producer for
Super Mario Maker, talked about his time as the director behind Super Mario Bros. 3 when asked about his favorite memory.
“I was the director of Super Mario 3 [but before that] I was also the director of Super Mario 2 for Japan, but that was really just taking the courses from the first Super Mario Bros. and revising them. So, it wasn’t that big of a creative role for me. I think my first role as the creative director of a Mario game was with Super Mario 3, and so because it was my first time, there were just so many different things I wanted to try. But as I thought about all these things I wanted to try, the scale and my hopes and everything became so big that it became really something that we really couldn’t narrow down and focus. It just became this big monstrosity. And then of course that increased the development time. At the time, I was also still working as an artist, so I was actually still creating artwork for the project as well. It was this project that sort of grew out of control and became this big thing, but I was able to get all of these different people to lend a hand and pitch in and help me finalize all these dreams I had when I became the director. The end result was Super Mario 3. That’s my favorite Mario memory.”
— Takashi Tezuka
Shigeru Miyamoto, whose position as Senior Managing Director and General Manager of Nintendo EAD changed to a more creative consultant-type role with
new company president Tatsumi Kimishima’s massive restructure, spoke about bringing Mario onto the three dimensional plane for the first time with Super Mario 64.
“Of course, I’ve had many memories with Mario over the last 30 years, but the one that sticks out for me most was when we made Super Mario 64. I felt very fortunate to be able to work in a 3D space for the first time, take on this new technology, and have Mario be the character that helped bring it to life. And that we did that by working with 3D technology at a time when there weren’t many people doing it. So that was a very important moment with Mario for me.
“The other memory links back to my childhood. When I was younger I used to always like to make puppets and do puppet shows. When we made Super Mario 64, it was like I was able to do a puppet show with Mario in a 3D space. It’s been very fun for me to have these moments where the things that I’ve enjoyed from my youth have blended in with the work that I do in video games.”
— Shigeru Miyamoto
Hideki Konno, on the other hand, reminisced about the creation of
Super Mario Kart for the SNES and the subsequent birth of Mario Kart as a series.
“I would have to say my favorite Mario memory would be the first Mario Kart game for the Super NES. The first Mario game that I worked on was Super Mario Bros. 3 with Mr. Tezuka and Mr. Miyamoto. I have a history of working on Mario games, but when F-Zero came out we had an idea. It was a racing game, and we wondered what if we put Mario in one of those cars. Initially it wasn’t Mario sitting in the driver’s seat. It was another character. But, eventually, we decided to place Mario in that position and, as it evolved, the Mario Kart franchise evolved. So I’d have to say that my fondest memory would be my participation in bringing Mario Kart to life, and being heavily involved in that process.”
— Hideki Konno
On the western front, Nintendo of America COO Reggie Fils-Aimé spoke as a gamer while he recalled playing
Super Mario World with his sons.
“My deepest Super Mario memory is with Super Mario World. I came into the Nintendo family in 1991 via the Super Nintendo Entertainment System, and that console came with Super Mario World. I can still picture Yoshi’s Island 2 and the opening sequence to get a Koopa shell moving to the right and picking up my 1-Up. I also loved the various Yoshis – especially the Blue flying Yoshi and the Yellow sand-stomping Yoshi. I played and replayed that game with my sons and always kept it at 99 lives. I still have the cartridge, and a working SNES at home and in my office.”
— Reggie Fils-Aimé
Finally, from the Nintendo Treehouse comes Bill Trinen and his memory of a more obscure
Mario title, that being an arcade version of the original Super Mario Bros.
“My fondest Super Mario Bros. memory is that the very first time I saw the game it was the
Vs. Super Mario Bros. arcade game, which I played at Zesto Burgers (R.I.P.) in Seattle. I don’t remember what year it was, because I had never even seen an NES at this point. I plugged in a quarter and was instantly mesmerized, but also terrible. I think I got to World 1-3 on that first quarter. Literally just a few days later I was at a friend’s house and he had the first NES I’d ever seen, and he had Super Mario Bros. and I was totally amazed and was trying to figure out how he had this brand new arcade game running on his TV. I ended up playing a lot of Super Mario Bros. in both the arcades and on the NES, and I still play it today, but now I play the NES version on Virtual Console and I play the arcade version with my kids at Full Tilt Ice Cream in Seattle.” — Bill Trinen
You can read the rest of the interview over on IGN to see what other Nintendo legends had to say about their fondest