[theme music] Back in 1988, Nintendo of Americareleased the highly anticipated follow-up to Super Mario Bros.
, Super Mario Bros.
People loved it.
Still do, actually.
But the game was quite differentfrom the first installment.
You were no longer stompingon Goombas and Koopas but instead picking vegetables out of theground and throwing them at enemies.
Bowser, the main villain from the first game, was replaced with a giant toad named Wart.
But hey, developers like to try new ideas.
Maybe Nintendo just wantedto change things up a bit.
No big deal.
But then Super Mario Bros.
3 came out and.
Bowser was back! So was all the Goomba and Koopa stomping.
This made Super Mario Bros.
2even more of a mystery.
Why was it so different? It wasn't until several years laterthat people would discover the truth.
about the game.
This is the story.
of Super Mario Bros.
[acoustic guitar plays”Super Mario Bros.
Overworld Theme”] In order to understand Super Mario Bros.
2, we first have to look at the original game, Super Mario Bros.
Released in 1985, the game was a smash hit.
In Japan alone, 6.
8 million copies were sold.
Worldwide, around 40 million copies.
The best-selling book inJapan at the end of 1985 was a strategy guide onhow to beat the game.
Seeing the success, Nintendoquickly worked on ports of the game, as well as special versions.
One of these titles was an arcade game: Vs.
Super Mario Bros.
Super Mario Bros.
was similar to the original, but added some new, more difficult stages in order to gobble up quarters from gamers.
Development was handled byNintendo's Research & Development 4, the same team that createdthe original Super Mario Bros.
The manager was Mariocreator Shigeru Miyamoto.
While R&D4 designed new levels, they noticed how much fun thenew challenges made the game.
“We had to redesign some levelsto make them a little more difficult.
We ran some tests with the teamand we couldn't stop playing.
When I realized this, I said to myself, 'Gifted players who've completedSuper Mario with ease should find this fun.
' This is how the developmentof Super Mario Bros.
” – Shigeru Miyamoto Super Mario Bros.
2 would be developedfor Nintendo's brand new device, the Famicom Disk System.
Released in February of 1986 and only in Japan, the Disk System played games madeon proprietary double-sided disks.
They were cheaper to make than cartridges and could hold more data.
Nintendo hoped that all their future big releases would be dedicated to the Disk System.
That included Legend of Zelda, Metroid, and of course, Super Mario Bros.
The original game was a major success.
Releasing a sequel was a no-brainer and would help drive sales of the Disk System.
R&D4 would work on the sequel but were given a smalltimeframe to complete the game.
Miyamoto, who had just become a father, and was simultaneously working onthe upcoming Legend of Zelda game, took a step back in his role.
Director duties were handedover to Takashi Tezuka, a young designer who helpedwith the original Super Mario Bros.
Miyamoto did, however, find some time to tinker with levels.
Said Miyamoto, “Designing challenging levelsreally brought out the best in me.
” Using the same game engine, as well as a few levelsfrom Vs.
Super Mario Bros.
, Tezuka and his team were ableto finish the game in four months.
Less than a year afterthe original game's release, Japan was given the first official sequel.
Super Mario Bros.
on the Famicom Disk System.
Well, here it is, theJapanese Super Mario Bros.
2! Let's boot it up and see what it has to offer.
The first thing you'll notice right away is there's no longer a two-player option.
You can either play the game as Mario or Luigi.
Unlike the original game, though, each plumber has their own unique traits.
Luigi can jump really high but has really poor traction, which makes it seem almost like he's on ice.
Mario can't jump as high, but he has better traction.
This was the first game togive Luigi his characteristics.
In most games since, he is given the ability tojump higher than his brother.
The poison mushroom in thefirst level lets you know right away that this game isn't messing around.
Super Mario Bros.
2 is hard.
The level designs seemalmost deliberately cruel.
Some levels force you to findsecrets in order to advance, else you just stare off into an endless pit.
There are warp zones to help you advance, but even these can trick you.
I was able to find a warp zone in World 3 that would only send me back to World 1.
New enemies appear, too.
Red piranha plants pop out of pipes quickly and won't stop even if you are close by.
Later stages feature Hammer Bros.
that keep moving towards you.
The game even adds wind in some areas, making jumps longer andmore difficult to accomplish.
You only get three lives before it's game over.
Luckily, the game offers you unlimited continues.
As you can see, the game looks just like the first one.
The music is exactly the same, too, which led many gamers tocriticize Super Mario Bros.
2 as a ROM hack or an expansion pack of the first game.
Regardless, Super Mario Bros.
2 wenton to become the best-selling game on the Famicom Disk System, selling two and a half million units.
With the success, Nintendo made plansto release the game in North America.
They sent it across the Pacific Ocean.
[acoustic guitar plays”Super Mario Bros.
3 Overworld Theme”] Back in 1981, Nintendo of America hired a young, enthusiastic red-haired man to help unbox, assemble and even deliver arcade games.
His name was Howard Phillips.
As new games were unboxed, Phillips would occasionallyget a chance to play them.
President Minoru Arakawa noticed theenthusiasm in his young warehouse employee and would often ask forPhillips' opinion on new titles.
He saw value in a Western gamer's opinion.
By 1985, Phillips was playing just aboutevery new Nintendo product to see if it would be agood fit in North America.
In the Summer of 1986, Howard Phillips received a new assortmentof games from Nintendo of Japan for review.
Among the games was Super Mario Bros.
Phillips was surprised.
This was the sequel to the most populargame on the Nintendo Entertainment System, and he had received it without warning.
He quickly booted the game up to test it out.
He was immediately killed by apoison mushroom in the first level.
As Phillips played on, he became more and moreastonished at the difficulty of the game.
“As I continued to play, I found that Super Mario Bros.
2 asked me again and againto take a leap of faith and that each of those leapsresulted in my immediate death.
This was not a fun game to play.
It was punishment.
I put down my controllerastonished that Mr.
Miyamoto had chosen to design such a painful game.
” – Howard Phillips Phillips went to Nintendo of Americapresident Minoru Arakawa to share his thoughts.
Arakawa silently nodded.
Video games were still on the comebacktrail in North America at the time.
A difficult sequel to the extremelypopular Super Mario Bros.
game could potentially turn off new players.
Not only that, but visually the game looked exactly like the original.
Nintendo of America wantedto show off new gameplay and better graphics.
The game would also have to beconverted from a Disk System game into a cartridge.
By the time the game could be mass produced, it would probably seem outdated.
Releasing Super Mario Bros.
2 in North America would not be a wise marketing decision.
Arakawa contacted his father-in-law, Nintendo of Japan president Hiroshi Yamauchi, asking for a more accessible sequel.
It seemed like an impossible task.
The Nintendo R&D teams wereoverwhelmed with other projects.
But a sequel was necessary.
Nintendo's rival, Sega, was pushing their Alex Kidd character.
And third-party Nintendo licenseesbegan making up their own franchises.
Nintendo risked having theirflagship mascot fade into obscurity.
The idea then came to reworkan older title as a Mario game.
But which game? Nintendo found their answer in the Summer of 1987 when Research & Development 4 completed andreleased a new game on the Famicom Disk System: Yume Kōjō: Doki Doki Panic.
[acoustic guitar plays”Super Mario 64 Overworld Theme”] In April of 1986, a recent graduate of the Osaka University of Arts joined Miyamoto's R&D4 team: Kenuske Tanabe.
Miyamoto encouraged his team to be creative and come up with potential new ideas for games.
Tanabe came up with a platforming game where players would progressthrough the level vertically rather than horizontally.
“The idea was that you wouldhave people vertically ascending, and you would have items andblocks you could pile up to go higher, or you could grab your friendthat you were playing with and throw them to try and continue to ascend.
Unforunately, the vertical scrolling gimmick wasn't enough to get us interesting gameplay.
” – Kensuke Tanabe The technical limitations of the NES madeit difficult to program this type of gameplay, and playing it solo just wasn't very fun.
The prototype was shelved.
But Nintendo was a companyknown for recycling ideas.
An opportunity for the prototype to be used came when the Fuji Televisioncompany approached Nintendo about creating a game fortheir upcoming summer festival, The Dream Factory.
The Dream Factory took place betweenJuly and August of 1987 in Tokyo and Osaka.
It was used to promote Fuji Television'slatest shows and increase viewership.
It was a huge celebration with live concerts, TV specials and costumed events.
Fuji TV wanted special productsto coincide with the festival, and a collaboration withNintendo would be huge.
The Famicom was selling at a blistering rate.
One in four households in Japan had the system.
Kensuke Tanabe was putin charge of the project and he met with Fuji Televisionofficials to discuss the game.
Executives handed Tanabe papers thatcontained drawings of Arabic-themed characters known as the Dream Factory Family.
They were the official mascots of the festival.
“Make a game with this, ” they said.
Tanabe dug up his shelved prototypeand went over the concept with his boss, Shigeru Miyamoto.
Miyamoto made a few suggestions.
“Make something a little more Mario-like.
An action game, ” he said.
“As long as it's fun, anything goes.
” Development was officially underway, and several veterans of the Mariofranchise worked on the game.
While Tanabe served as director, Miyamoto supervised the project.
Koji Kondo, the composer for Super Mario Bros.
, would provide the soundtrack.
Under Miyamoto's supervision, horizontal levels were addedin addition to the vertical ones.
The original prototypeconcept of picking things up became the core gameplay mechanic.
Several Mario references were added as well.
There were stars, POW blocks, coins and warp zones.
At one point, Miyamoto felt the gamewas TOO similar to Mario.
On July 10, 1987, Yume Kōjō: Doki Doki Panic was released for the Famicom Disk System.
Translated, the game is known as”Dream Factory: Heart-Pounding Panic.
” The game begins with two children, named Poki and Piki, reading a storybook.
Suddenly, an evil hand pulls them inside.
Their small Monkey, Rusa, runs off to get help fromthe Dream Factory family, who enter the book to rescue the kids.
Doki Doki Panic lets you play asthe four members of the family.
First, there is Imajin, a play on the word “imagine.
” He's the most balanced character with average jump, speed and strength.
Next is Lina, the sister.
She can hover for a short period of time but isn't very fast or strong.
Mama has the ability to jump really high but has subpar speed and strength.
And finally, there is Papa, who is fast and strongbut isn't very good at jumping.
The core gameplay revolves aroundpicking things up to use as a weapon, usually a vegetable.
Of course, not everything is a vegetable.
Sometimes you'll pull up bombs, clocks that stop time and magic lamps.
When you throw these lamps, they conjure up a door to another world, where you can potentially upgrade your health and gather coins.
The coins allow you to play the bonusslot machine game at the end of each level to earn extra lives.
If you jump on top of an enemy, you'll go for a ride.
But you can also pick them up and throw them.
There's also a variety ofmasks throughout the levels, all references to the Dream Factory festival.
The game takes place in a varietyof locations, such as deserts, grassy plateaus, caves and dungeons.
Thanks to the vertical gameplay, you'll be going up into the clouds as well.
Doki Doki Panic has a very Arabic feel to it which matches the characters.
Because of their unique abilities, the game offers some strategy inhow you want to approach each level.
In order to see the true ending, you'll need to beat thegame with all four characters.
Luckily, Doki Doki Panic has a save system, so you won't have to do it all in one sitting.
Critically, the game was a success.
The popular Japanese magazine Famitsugave the game a score of 31 out of 40, calling it, “an action game that's aslight remix of Super Mario.
” When Nintendo of America requested amore accessible sequel to Super Mario Bros.
, Nintendo of Japan saw Doki Doki Panic as a potential answer.
It was made by the same teamthat worked on Super Mario.
In fact, Miyamoto approacheddevelopment of Doki Doki Panic as if it were, quote, “a full-fledged new Mario.
” Graphically, the game lookedmuch better than Super Mario Bros.
and the gameplay was different.
While Fuji Television ownedthe Doki Doki Panic characters, Nintendo owned everything else.
They could replace the Dream Factorycharacters with Mario characters and release the game without any legal issues.
The game was sent to Nintendoof America offices with a note.
“If you replace the four characterswith Mario, Luigi, Peach and Toad, will the American children be happy? Nintendo of America thought yes, and plans were underwayto change Doki Doki Panic into a Super Mario sequel for North America.
Tanabe and his team went back to work.
In 1988, Howard Phillips receiveda new package on his desk, this time containing a modified copy of Doki Doki Panic.
He thought it was a lot of fun and passed the news on to Mr.
Nintendo went to work hyping up its release.
Around the same time, the company wasgetting ready to launch its own paid magazine, known as “Nintendo Power.
” Gale Tilden, who was in charge of the magazine, made the decision to featureSuper Mario Bros.
2 on the cover, as well as include a largewalkthrough on the first few levels.
Will Vinton Studios, the same studio that designedthe California Raisins claymations, came up with the cover.
They created a clay dioramaof Super Mario Bros.
2 featuring Mario and the main villain, Wart.
In July of 1988, over 600, 000 gamers across the continent received the very first issue of Nintendo Power free of charge.
It was the first time gamers would discover they were getting a sequel to Super Mario Bros.
Later that year, on October 10, 1988, Super Mario Bros.
2 wasofficially released in North America.
[“Super Mario Bros.
2 Menu Theme” plays] Super Mario Bros.
2 quickly becamethe hot Christmas item that year.
The game was somewhat hard to come by, thanks to the industry-widechip shortage of 1988.
It was so popular, in fact, that ABC's “20/20” news programfeatured a segment with John Stossel trying to find a copy of the game.
So what are some of the differences betweenDoki Doki Panic and Super Mario Bros.
2? Well, overall, the games are pretty much the same, but there are a few small differences.
The most obvious difference is thatthe characters have been changed.
Imajin, the most balanced character, was changed to Mario.
Lina, with her hovering abilities, was changed to Princess Toadstool, also known as Princess Peach.
Mama, who could jump the highest, was changed to Luigi.
And finally, Papa, who was fast and strong but couldn't jump well, was changed to Toad.
The plot was changed as well.
The opening cinematic was completelyremoved and replaced with some text explaining that Mario had a dreamabout a strange world known as Subcon that was cursed by the evil Wart.
After waking up, Mario and his friendshave a picnic at a nearby mountain when they stumble upona cave that leads to Subcon.
It's up to the four heroes to save the day.
The handy save feature fromDoki Doki Panic was removed entirely, as the game was convertedfrom a disk to a standard cartridge.
Nintendo could have added a save battery but instead decided to remove the requirement of beating the game with all four characters.
In Doki Doki Panic, you could onlychange characters between worlds.
Each world consisted of three levels.
With Super Mario Bros.
2, you now have the ability to changecharacters between each level.
One welcomed change is the ability to run, which was surprisinglyabsent from Doki Doki Panic.
Just like the original Super Mario Bros.
, you can now hold the Bbutton to run in Mario 2, which makes some areasof the game much easier.
Another change to make thegame more Mario-like was shrinking.
When you got hit in Doki Doki Panic, you simply lost a health bar.
In Mario 2, if you get down to one health, you'll shrink down, similar to the first game.
Nintendo also added a new bossknown as Clawgrip to World 5, as the original Doki Doki Panicfeatured a more difficult battle with a white Mouser enemy.
Those are probably the biggest changes, but there are a few small audioand visual changes as well.
Some animations were improved, such as the grass, cherries and waterfalls.
Several items were replaced withitems found in the Mario universe, like mushrooms and Koopa shells.
The bonus slot machine game after each level was also given a visual upgrade.
Overall, the two games are very similar, but Super Mario Bros.
2 doesfeel like the more polished version.
Nintendo kept quiet about the conversion ofDoki Doki Panic to Super Mario 2 for a few years.
Several magazines at the time did mention it, but most gamers were unaware.
The first official acknowledgement came in 1991 with the “Mario Mania” strategy guide, where Nintendo mentioned theswitch in a small blurb at the bottom.
In 1993, Nintendo released a compilationof Mario games on the Super Nintendo known as Super Mario All-Stars.
The game contained enhanced versionsof the first three Super Mario games, as well as a game that most had never heard of: Super Mario: The Lost Levels.
What was the “Lost Levels?” It was the Japanese Super Mario Bros.
2, the Famicom Disk System game thatNorth America and Europe never saw.
For many players, this was theirfirst experience with the game.
The realization that NorthAmerican and European gamers never got the original Super Mario Bros.
2 led some players to considertheir version an outlier.
Not a real Mario game.
But Super Mario Bros.
2 had aprofound effect on the series as a whole.
It sold over 10 million copies worldwide, making it the third bestselling NES game of all time.
Several characters that havebecome staples in the series first appeared in Super Mario 2, including Bob-ombs, Shy Guys and Birdo.
It was also the first timegamers could play as Toad and Princess Peach.
The game also establisheduniformed looks for Mario and Luigi.
Luigi was finally updated tostand out from his brother by being taller.
Super Mario Bros.
2proved to be so successful that in 1992, Nintendorereleased the game in Japan as “Super Mario USA.
” Ultimately, the decision to not bringthe Japanese Super Mario Bros.
2 to North America and Europe was a good one.
The difficulty and similarityto the first game just.
didn't make sense for thenewly revived video game industry.
If you want to play this game for yourself, you do have a few options.
You can, of course, play it on Super Mario All-Stars, or as an unlockable bonusin Super Mario Bros.
Deluxe for the Game Boy Color.
However, these versions are slightly modified to make the game a little easier.
So if you want the real deal original challenge, I suggest picking it up on theWii or Wii U Virtual Console.
As for the Western Super Mario Bros.
2, I remember playing it as a kid and.
not really noticing how different it was.
It just felt like a Mario game.
And to know that it wasdeveloped by the Mario team, well.
that just makes sense! Unfortunately, we may never seea rerelease of Doki Doki Panic.
Fuji Television holds therights to the characters, so if you want to play this game, you'll have to import it alongwith a Famicom Disk System.
But really, I think you'll be just fineplaying the Western Super Mario Bros.
It's a damn good game.
That's all for this episode of Gaming Historian.
Thanks for watching! [“Super Mario Bros.
2 Theme” plays].