You may recall a few months ago, when discussing various ways to play Darkwing Duck video games, a gent by the name of Jesus Lopez came up. A Lead Animator for WayForward, he presented what DuckTales Remastered-like remake of The Duck Knight’s Nintendo Entertainment System outing could look like.
As it turns out, that’s not all he’s been up to. As has been recently turned up, Lopez has another neat little side project going on.
Fans of Mario during the 80’s may remember a very different plumber than the one we see smashing other Nintendo characters or going on odysseys today. As the star of The Super Mario Bros. Super Show! (a part live-action, part animated show produced by DiC), our hero was voiced by none other than wrestling legend Captain Lou Albano, and had an insatiable hunger for any and every type of pasta imaginable, happily chasing it down with tomato sauce by the gallon.
It was a different time.
Nintendo never made a video game based on the popular cartoon (even after spinning off into The Adventures of Super Mario Bros. 3 on NBC Saturday mornings, the show continued in syndication and even received a notorious “Club Mario” update that replaced the live-action segments with different live-action segments), but that hasn’t stopped Lopez from trying his artistic hand at it in his spare time. The result is something rather remarkable, as we can see in this latest update:
The game (such as it is at the moment) uses the character models of Mario, Little Goomba, and Koopa Troopa from the cartoon show, which differ from most of Nintendo’s marketing materials of the time (though occasionally the cartoon version of Bowser, aka “King Koopa” as they called him, would creep out from time to time). The animations are original, though some (such as Mario shooting fireballs by pointing) are based on what’s seen in the show.
The stage itself is based on World 1-1 from the original Super Mario Bros. and sports background music from the show, while the setting itself is that of Pasta Land, which appeared twice over the course of the series (Episode #20 – “The Pied Koopa” and Episode #30 – “Mario and the Red Baron Koopa,” for those interested). The castle at the end is even based on one seen in the show’s intro:
While the software of the day would not have been able to replicate the details of the cartoon to such a degree as this demo, more modern titles such as Lopez’s body of work (including Shantae 1/2 Genie Hero, The Simpsons Tapped Out, and the aforementioned DuckTales Remastered) or even Nintendo’s own Wario Land: Shake It!! (which is actually more than a decade old now) show it could easily be done today. As it stands, a lot of fans have grown weary of the “new” look of 2D Mario in the New Super Mario Bros. series. Areas such as Painted Swampland in New Super Mario Bros. U being praised for how refreshingly distinct they are, while simultaneously being decried for their brevity.
Aside from a re-release of that game and the recent Super Mario Maker 2, Nintendo’s future plans for the style of Mario gameplay we fell in love with all the way back in 1985 (or thereabouts) remain unknown. The unlikelihood of them basing a new one on The Super Mario Bros. Super Show! is so high as to be astronomical, but nevertheless, wouldn’t it be nice to see something with this level of creativity injected into the series?
As far as this project is concerned, however, it seems that it will have to continue being admired from afar; while Lopez only says he won’t be “selling” the game and that it’s only a personal project to help keep his skills sharp, it seems unlikely that it will be released into the wild, and understandably so — if there’s one thing many a fan game creator has learned over the years, it’s that Nintendo’s lawyers aren’t to be trifled with.
With that said, if you’d like to see more of the project and how it’s come along since its early days a few years ago, here are the other videos Lopez has featured on his channel:
- Part 1. Super Mario Bros. super show video game – Art Animation
- Part 2. Super Mario Bros. super show video game.
- Super Mario/ Runaway Brain video game update.
- Super Mario Super Show Update!!! Princess Peach
SwankyBox also has a video with a clearer, direct-capture look at the stage as well, plus their own analysis: