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Back in the late ’80s, Nintendo was a bit more lax with its properties than it is today. The likes of Donkey Kong and Mario Bros. made their way to systems like the Commodore 64 and Atari 2600, and even the original Super Mario Bros. saw a release on a few personal computers of the time.

In 1990 a scrappy group of developers banded together and starting working, unofficially, on a port of Super Mario Bros. 3 for PC. The idea for the project came about after one member created an efficient way to render scrolling graphics on PCs, but wasn’t given the chance to use it by their employers at the time; Softdisk.

One of their members, John Romero (a name that might sound familiar), has finally released some footage from the project, which you can watch below:

Super Mario Bros. 3 Demo (1990) from john romero on Vimeo.

As you can see, it’s definitely a pared down version of the NES original, with primitive sprites, distorted sounds and a total lack of music. Even still, it’s surprising just how much they managed to carry over, especially for a tech demo. Mario jumps on Goombas, grabs mushrooms, and can even take flight with the Raccoon Tail, although it acts more like an infinite jump.

It’s even rumored that this demo reached Shigeru Miyamoto himself, who was impressed by the project. Unfortunately, Nintendo had to decline, because at that point they were only releasing games for their own platforms.


This series of events ultimately led to the small group of developers founding their own company; id Software. They ended up using the scrolling technique in a game of their own design, Commander Keen, and with its success they went on to create massive hits like Wolfenstein 3D and Doom.

It just goes to show what a far-reaching impact Nintendo has had over the years!

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Written by Tom Brown

Whether it’s an exciting new entry in a series long established or a weird experiment meant only for the dedicated, Tom is eager to report on it. Rest assured, if Nintendo ever announces Elite Beat Agents 2, he’ll be there.