An unreleased demo of id Software's Super Mario Bros. 3 PC port has been donated to a museum

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At one point in time, there was a PC port of Nintendo's Super Mario Bros. 3. In 1990, id Software and John Carmack, who were a mere few years away from the stardom they'd reach from releasing Wolfenstein 3D and DOOM had been working on an MS-DOS version of the classic NES title in hopes of getting Nintendo's attention and eventual contract for a home computer port of the game. As we all well know, Nintendo rejected the offer, and Super Mario Bros. 3 stayed exclusive to Nintendo platforms. However, the only ones who'd ever had their hands on id's ill-fated MS-DOS demo had been those involved with the company itself.

At least, until this week. Video game preservation institution The Strong National Museum of Play now owns a rare copy of that demo, courtesy of an anonymous donation from "a game developer". The unfinished MS-DOS demo of Super Mario 3 was apparently included in a collection of other games, unknowingly. The museum's curator, Andrew Borman, has already backed up the floppy disk, in order to preserve the game digitally, and even used DOSBox to play up to level 1-4. Currently, Borman doesn't have any plans to display the game publically, though he hasn't ruled out potentially showing it off at a later date.

The Museum of Play will also ensure that this piece of history will be accessible to future generations of gaming historians. "Our preservation work focuses not only on the research needs of today but also how researchers decades from now, some who may not even be born yet, will access material," Borman said. "Proper climate-controlled storage helps to preserve those physical artifacts, especially when materials like plastic degrades over time. We are also building out our digital preservation capabilities, allowing us to preserve the many forms of media that we find, including the various cartridge and optical mediums.

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Xzi

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I'm glad Nintendo turned them down as they then went on to make Commander Keen, which I enjoyed a lot more on my 486 than I would've enjoyed a mediocre Mario port.
Crazy how so many seemingly "small" decisions shaped video game history as we know it. Imagine if Nintendo took iD up on the offer, ported all their games to PC up until about the mid-2000s when their console sales start flatlining, and then just transition to a multiplat developer/publisher role. Basically Sega and Nintendo switch places. :blink:
 

cearp

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had been working on an MS-DOS version of the classic NES title in hopes of getting Nintendo's attention
So was this an unofficial remake/clone, or an actual port that Nintendo gave permission (incl. source code) to id to develop but then decided against it?
 

tech3475

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Crazy how so many seemingly "small" decisions shaped video game history as we know it. Imagine if Nintendo took iD up on the offer, ported all their games to PC up until about the mid-2000s when their console sales start flatlining, and then just transition to a multiplat developer/publisher role. Basically Sega and Nintendo switch places. :blink:

Think about this, we may never have got Wolfenstein 3D and subsequently Doom and Quake with the id tech engines, the entire FPS genre would have been completely reshaped.

Remember as well, Goldsource is based off of id tech....Valve as we know it may not have come to be.
 
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SDA

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I seriously would have not played that port if it was ever released. The title screen is already awful, then let's not mention the rest of the game. Thank you Nintendo for taking that offer down.
 

lokomelo

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Crazy how so many seemingly "small" decisions shaped video game history as we know it. Imagine if Nintendo took iD up on the offer, ported all their games to PC up until about the mid-2000s when their console sales start flatlining, and then just transition to a multiplat developer/publisher role. Basically Sega and Nintendo switch places. :blink:

Yes, it is amazing... rumor says that Mario was once just a placeholder for Popeye, and Alex Kidd for Goku. Nintendo thought in the idea of using CDs for the Super Nintendo successor, and choose the worst name ever for the Wii successor.

And the list goes waaaay farther than that...

That occurrences is really what created the Video Game culture as we know it...
 

FAST6191

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Heh. Always wanted to see this one.

Others playing along. The PC was not always the unquestioned power champion of gaming, indeed quite the opposite back then with consoles and obviously arcade doing things it could not dream of.
This ID stuff was ID solving a fairly notable technical problems with scrolling games on the PC that consoles quite literally had the hardware to handle.

... all your history was at one point such a good show. The stuff relevant to this is all within the first 10 minutes.



I don't necessarily know that had Nintendo been interested that we would basically have had Rare all over again (Rare were also another small and technically proficient company that caught the eye of Nintendo to... we all know that story) or indeed missed out on Wolfenstein/Doom, but I can see it taking a few more years which might have been interesting for the history of censorship, as well as ID itself going by the talks above.
 

raxadian

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Interesting and nostalgic but the best SMB3 version was for Wii U (Yes really, it was the GBA version with all the e reader card stuff included).
 
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