id Software co-founder John Romero shares a video of a PC port of Super Mario Bros. 3, which he once pitched to Nintendo before being rejected and making Commander Keen instead.
The ’90s were a different time, and back then id Software weren’t known for their blood-riddled shooters like Quake or Doom. Before the studio was even founded, eventual id Software co-founders John Romero and John Carmack worked for a company named Softdisk, and the later eventually perfected a way to get smooth side-scrolling graphics on a PC interface while working there.
It was a huge breakthrough at the time, and the two employees – both fans of Nintendo – began modifying a game they had worked on called Dangerous Dave into a side-scrolling Mario clone entitled Dangerous Dave in Copyright Infringement.
The duo’s first move as a cohesive partnership was to build a potential PC Port of Super Mario Bros. 3 under the temporary company name of IFD and pitch the idea to Nintendo, who then infamously rejected the port, stating that they weren’t interested in expanding into the PC marketplace and that Mario titles were to be exclusive to the Nintendo platform.
Romero and Carmack would then go on to officially found id Software, and produce the cult-hit game Commander Keen. All of this has been public knowledge for some time, but Romero – perhaps feeling nostalgic on the 25th anniversary of Commander Keen – has now posted the video of his and Carmack’s Super Mario Bros. 3 pitch video for the first time:
Nowadays, id Software is all about bringing the gore, and the company is currently preparing to revitalize the Doom series with some truly bloody multiplayer. They also helped pitch in on the VATS combat system for Fallout 4, so it’s great to see that even if Nintendo didn’t want their help, other large companies would eventually extend an olive branch when it came to game development collaboration.
It’s clear that Romero holds no grudge with Nintendo, as Romero tweeted today that ‘id Software has always revered Nintendo.’, and that ‘their game designs were extremely influential and they saved the industry in 1985.’
It would have been a very different world if Nintendo had agreed to put Mario’s face into the PC marketplace, and we’ll never know how the gaming industry might have been changed, for better or worse, if such a thing had happened. Though id Software’s first real game looked perfectly functional, it’s likely that Nintendo’s stance was a smart one, as their Mario title exclusivity is one of the large reasons their consoles come off of store shelves.
What do you think about the id Software Super Mario Bros. 3 pitch video, Ranters?