Through the looking glass: An early demo of a Super Mario Bros. 3 PC port from the team that went on to form id Software has made its way to the Strong National Museum of Play. While Nintendo never accepted the team’s offer to bring Mario to PC, it’s fun to imagine an alternate timeline where the two joined forces to bring Mario to desktop computers.
Before succeeding with franchises such as Doom and Quake, the team that would become id Software developed a proof-of-concept port of Super Mario Bros 3. for the PC. They went so far as to send the game to Nintendo in hopes of getting the green light to work on an official offer, but Nintendo declined.
While the story wasn’t exactly a secret, it wasn’t very well known either until John Romero shared a video of the demo on Twitter in 2015. Now, thanks to the Strong National Museum of Play, it will live indefinitely. .
– Andrew Borman (@ Borman18) July 13, 2021
Andrew Borman, the Museum’s curator of digital games, said Ars Technica via email that a game developer donated a demo of the SMB3 PC port. “They did not work in this field, instead of receiving [it] during their work, ”Borman said. “It was not something I expected to see in this donation, but it was extremely exciting, having seen the video that Romero shared in 2015,” he added.
Before testing the game, Borman made a copy of the original floppy disk and ran it in an emulator to compare it to Romero’s video.
“It’s an early demo, however, and it lacks many features and polish that would have been seen if the developers had been able to work with Nintendo on creating a full retail release,” Borman said.
The Museum has no plans yet to show the game to the public, but Borman said researchers and others with a relevant interest will be able to request it.