Jump to content

MARIO BROS. - Diary of an Arcade Employee Podcast

The Professor

Recommended Posts





The Diary of an Arcade Employee Podcast is a weekly podcast that dives deep into Arcade Life and takes a look back at classic coin-op games and arcade memories of yesteryear! The podcast is hosted by The Retroist's Vic Sage along with his arcade co-worker Andy Pickle. 




Original Mario Bros. video arcade game



This week's episode is about Mario Bros., the 1983 platform game created by Shigeru Minamoto and released to arcades by Nintendo of America. In the game, Mario is portrayed as a plumber who, along with his younger brother Luigi, has to defeat creatures that have been coming from the sewers below. The gameplay focuses on Mario's extermination of them by flipping them on their backs and kicking them away. The original versions of Mario Bros. were received positively by critics and pointed Mario and friends along their path to cultural significance.





Mario Bros. features two plumbers, Mario and Luigi, chasing after strange creatures in the sewer pipes. The objective of the game is to defeat all of the enemies in each phase. The mechanics of Mario Bros. involve only running and jumping. Unlike future Mario games, players cannot jump on enemies and squash them, unless they were already turned on their back. Each phase is a series of platforms with pipes at each corner of the screen, along with an object called a  :pow: block in the center. Phases use wraparound, meaning that enemies and players that go off to one side will reappear on the opposite side.


The player gains points by defeating multiple enemies consecutively and can participate in a bonus round to gain more points. Enemies are defeated by kicking them over once they have been flipped on their back. This is accomplished by hitting the platform the enemy is on directly beneath them. If the player allows too much time to pass after doing this, the enemy will flip itself back over, changing in color and increasing speed. Each phase has a certain number of enemies, with the final enemy immediately changing color and increasing its speed.


There are four enemies: the :nintendo_mario_shellcreeper: Shellcreeper, which simply walks around; the :nintendo_mario_sidestepper: Sidestepper, which requires two hits to flip over; the :nintendo_mario_fighterfly: Fighter Fly, which moves by jumping and can only be flipped when it is touching a platform; and the :nintendo_mario_freezie: Slipice, which turns platforms into slippery ice. When bumped from below, the Slipice dies immediately instead of flipping over.  :nintendo_mario_fireball: Fireballs also appear on screen posing an additional hazard to our friendly plumbers.









The  :pow: block flips all enemies touching a platform or the floor when a player hits it from below. It can be used three times before it disappears. In the Super Mario Bros. 3 in-game Player-vs.-Player version of this minigame, each of the three uses causes the opponent to lose a card and all the enemies to be flipped over. Another feature in this small remake is that the pipes are straight, occasionally spitting out large fireballs at the two plumbers. Coins appear whenever enemies are defeated and may be collected for bonus points.


As the game progresses, elements are added to increase the difficulty. :nintendo_mario_fireball: Fireballs either bounce around the screen or travel directly from one side to the other, and icicles form under the platforms and fall loose. Bonus rounds give the players a chance to score extra points and lives by collecting :nintendo_mario_coin: coins without having to deal with enemies; the  :pow: block regenerates itself on each of these screens.



Mario Bros. arcade gameplay




Mario Bros. was created by Shigeru Miyamoto and Gunpei Yokoi, two of the lead developers for the video game Donkey Kong. In Donkey Kong, Mario dies if he falls too far. Yokoi suggested to Miyamoto that he should be able to fall from any height, which Miyamoto was not sure of, thinking that it would make it "not much of a game." He eventually agreed, thinking it would be okay for him to have some superhuman abilities. He designed a prototype that had Mario "jumping and bouncing around", which he was satisfied with. The element of combating enemies from below was introduced after Yokoi suggested it, observing that it would work since there were multiple floors. However, it proved to be too easy to eliminate enemies this way, which the developers fixed by requiring players to touch the enemies after they've been flipped to defeat them. This was also how they introduced the turtle as an enemy, which they conceived as an enemy that could only be hit from below.


Because of Mario's appearance in Donkey Kong with overalls, a hat, and a thick moustache, Shigeru Miyamoto thought that he should be a plumber as opposed to a carpenter, and designed this game to reflect that. Another contributing factor was the game's setting: it was a large network of giant pipes, so they felt a change in occupation was necessary for him.




Mario Bros. for Nintendo Entertainment System (1986)



A popular story of how Mario "went from Jumpman to Mario" is that an Italian-American landlord, Mario Segale, had barged in on Nintendo of America's staff to demand rent, and they decided to name Jumpman after him. Miyamoto also felt that the best setting for this game was New York because of its "labyrinthine subterranean network of sewage pipes." The pipes were inspired by several manga, which Miyamoto states feature waste grounds with pipes lying around. In this game, they were used in a way to allow the enemies to enter and exit the stage through them to avoid getting enemies piled up on the bottom of the stage. The green coloring of the pipes came from Miyamoto having a limited color palette and wanting to keep things colorful. He added that green was the best because it worked well when two shades of it were combined.


Mario Bros. is one of the first platform games ever created, along with Donkey Kong. It also introduced Mario's brother, Luigi, who was created for the multiplayer mode by doing a palette swap of Mario. The two-player mode and several aspects of gameplay were inspired by Joust. To date, Mario Bros. has been released for more than a dozen platforms.








Listen to the Diary of an Arcade Employee Podcast here:








You can also search iTunes for Diary of an Arcade Employee Podcast, or visit The Retroist here:




Here's what Vic Sage had to say about the episode:



Diary of an Arcade Employee Podcast – Episode 016 – Mario Bros.


View this episode at The Retroist


Welcome friends to the thirteenth episode of the Diary of An Arcade Employee podcast! Each show I will not only discuss a particular classic arcade game but share some behind the scenes information of what it’s like to work at a retro arcade. 


For this show I discuss Nintendo’s 1983 classic arcade game and the first step in a gaming dynasty with Mario Bros. I also share some of the more interesting history on the creation of the game as well as a few choice vintage home video game commercials for your listening pleasure.w.

If you have any suggestions for future games to cover or comments on the show itself you may email them to me at VicSage@Retroist.com. You can also contact me on Twitter and of course on Facebook. You can also keep up to date on what is going down at the Arkadia Retrocade by making sure to “Like” their Facebook Page.






Trivia: In 1984, Hudson Soft made two different games based on Mario Bros. The first was Mario Bros. Special (マリオブラザーズスペシャル Mario Burazāzu Supesharu?), which was a re-imagining of the original Mario Bros. with new phases, mechanics and gameplay. The second was Punch Ball Mario Bros. (パンチボールマリオブラザーズ Panchi Bōru Mario Burazāzu?), which featured a new gameplay mechanic involving punching small balls to stun enemies.[24] Both games were released for the PC-8801, FM-7, and X1 and have been described as average for the most part, neither the best or worst games in the series.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Probably my favorite game behind Xevious.


I already told this story on Noswear Gamer's 7800 GBG Podcast ep. 1, but summer of '85 on a family vacation to the lakes area in central MN, my cousin & I spent the week playing co-op Mario Bros. up at the lake resort's small lodge/store. Got pretty good at it if I do say so myself.


This particular one mustve had an alternate sound chip or whatever, because on every phase when there was only one pest remaining, it'd play "Can-Can" & always end it perfectly just as the kicked pest hit the water below. IIRR there was also different music during the short imtermissions that introduced each pest.

7800- 800XL- ColecoVision & mods.1&2- Flashback2- GBA SP- launch PS2- slim PS2- Wii- DSLite x2- DSi- slim PS3- Xevious

Link to comment
Share on other sites


This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

  • Create New...