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Lost Gaming Vault: Super Mario World 1989 Build



So you thought this series was dead? I was only just hibernating!


Super Mario World is the 4th game in the long-running Super Mario series and was the 1st one to be in 16-bit and also was the first game with everyone's favorite dinosaur, Yoshi. Now, to my knowledge; SMW doesn't have a lot of interesting prototypes, they usually have one or two differences, but nothing worth talking about. But I found this one interesting enough due to how different this is graphically. 


Now before I talk about the prototype, I have to take you back to 1987 where the gang at Nintendo was porting the NES game Super Mario Bros 3 to the (at the time) new project, the Super Famicom. This port had more detailed colors and sprites than the NES version and was used to experiment with the SNES, it's safe to assume that after the team was done messing around with the Mario 3 port (let's say late 88-early 89) work on SMW started.

Nintendo got a prototype of their new game made in late 1989 but wasn't shown to magazines until early 1990. As a matter of fact, besides a sprite sheet that was shown off in an interview in 2017, the only screenshots of this build are from magazine screenshots. speaking of screenshots, let's start looking at some! 

Now one of the first things you should notice are the goombas (which were replaced with galoombas for some reason), they look similar to the Mario 3 goombas (this will be a reoccurring theme in this one), the clouds have a weird donut shape, it was probably exclusive to the donut plains levels; small Mario also looks different, he kind of reminds me of the overworld sprite...
 Speaking of overworlds, the 1989 build has a completely different overworld the best picture I can find of it is the title screen photo, so we'll talk about that as well! 

Now this differs greatly from the final release. As you can see, the color of the title is blue (just like the letters on Mario 3's Japanese box art), the map is just one big mushroom island, which, according to The Cutting Room Floor, held 17 levels on it (compared to the final game's 72 levels) now how many of these 17 levels were playable is a mystery. The final game also has a mushroom island, but it's way smaller, and only had the first 6 (?) levels.
This screenshot especially shows how similar this build and SMB 3 were. Mario is wearing the raccoon suit and has the matching icon to boot. I don't know why they decided to replace the raccoon suit with the cape, maybe they wanted something more realistic? Also, those donut-shaped clouds appear in this screenshot too. 

Here's a screenshot of a very early design of the Banzai Bill. For some reason, they didn't bother drawing a mouth on it.


This screenshot shows Mario, with his Fire Flower power-up activated, jumping over a moving platform. If you look at the power-up window, you can see that the Fire Flower looks similar to the one in SMB3, also, the (?) block on the left is almost a carbon copy of the (?) block in SMB3.

The whereabouts of this build are unknown, but it's safe to assume it's in Nintendo's archives, My reasoning for this is the fact some of these sprites can be found on the SNES Burn-In Test Cart. This cart was a diagnostics cartridge used by the Nintendo World Class Service to determine what was wrong with your system. If you choose the burn-in test, the sprites for  Small Mario, Bullet Bill, Podoboo, Star, Mushroom, Fire Flower, and the word OBJTEST. But there are some sprites for both big and raccoon Mario as well. 
They couldn't have used the 1989 sprites if they lost the build.


Also, in 2017, during an interview with the game's Director, Takashi Tezuka, Yoshi's Island Artist Hisashi Nogami, and Pikmin Co-Director, Shigefumi Hino, Hino (who was a character designer for SMW) showed off some never before seen sprites from SMW dated November 29th, 1989. 

The most noticeable difference is the very early Yoshi sprite, he looks half baked.


Unfortunately, no footage of the 1989 build has resurfaced. Everything that I've shown off here is what we have today. Thank you for reading this entry of Lost Gaming Vault, if you have an idea for an entry, just comment it, and I will take a look.

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