“Super Mario” by Jeff Ryan

Book Notes

Tool: Feedback (even if you’re on the game design Mt. Rushmore) #

Miyamoto wanted Mario to control more like Ryu eventually would: 

Miyamoto wanted up on the directional pad to be the jump control, freeing A and B for actions. No, no, others said, jumping is too important to not be given its own button. His coworkers wore him down, and Miyamoto eventually agreed to make A the constant jump button, with B for fireballs when tapped, and running when held. By “losing” the argument, Miyamoto showed he would let the better idea win, even if it lost the daimyo a bit of face. Ironically, this commitment to quality gained him unparalleled face.

Eventually, of course, Street Fighter would influence Super Smash Bros. Then it would all come full circle with Ryu appearing in Super Smash Bros. 

But I mostly shoehorned the Street Fighter thing in here. The real lesson is to listen to teammates. It turned out fine. Maybe it actually didn’t matter and there’s some universe where Mario jumps when you press up on the directional pad.

Getting back into shoehorning fighting games in here… we’ve certainly seen the inverse: Hit Box controllers allow people to play fighting games with just buttons and no joystick. The directional controls are just mapped to the buttons. And it’s not just a gimmick. Some pros exclusively use a Hit Box.

Now to find a mod of Super Mario Bros. with up as jump…

Nintendo with the RKO out of nowhere #

In 1975, Universal had sued RKO, the original makers of King Kong. Universal, in a case-winning argument, had proved that King Kong was in public domain, since the movie was from 1933. Universal didn’t need to pay a dime to the “owners” of King Kong, because anyone could do whatever he wanted with King Kong. Kong was as unownable as Huck Finn. Then, Kirby asked for a summary dismissal of the suit. Granted.

Then he became the pink round hero described by Wikipedia as a “spherical pink protagonist”.

In any case, a great story about how the turn tables. Nintendo stood up to the bully in this case. Universal was opening cases against everyone that licensed Donkey Kong’s use in their own products. Universal said that Donkey Kong was a rip off of King Kong. Whether or not that was true, ultimately it didn’t matter because Universal didn’t have the rights in the first place.

Eventually, Nintendo becomes a bit of a bully themselves with how they handled publishing rights and limited cartridges. But that’s for later.

(Also later: Super Mario Bros. Movie distributed by… Universal. Not to mention the entire Super Nintendo World at Universal Studios.)