Mario Bros. is a platform game published and developed for arcades by Nintendo in 1983. It was created by Shigeru Miyamoto.
In the game, Mario is portrayed as an Italian-American plumber who, along with his younger brother Luigi, has to defeat creatures that have been coming from the sewers below New York City. The gameplay focuses on Mario’s extermination of them by flipping them on their backs and kicking them away.
Mario Bros. was created by Shigeru Miyamoto and Gunpei Yokoi, two of the lead developers for the video game Donkey Kong. In Donkey Kong, Mario dies if he falls too far. Yokoi suggested to Miyamoto that he should be able to fall from any height, which Miyamoto was not sure of, thinking that it would make it “not much of a game.” He eventually agreed, thinking it would be okay for him to have some super-human abilities. He designed a prototype that had Mario “jumping and bouncing around”, which he was satisfied with. The element of combating enemies from below was introduced after Yokoi suggested it, observing that it would work since there were multiple floors. However, it proved to be too easy to eliminate enemies this way, which the developers fixed by requiring players to touch the enemies after they’ve been flipped to defeat them. This was also how they introduced the turtle as an enemy, which they conceived as an enemy that could only be hit from below. Because of Mario’s appearance in Donkey Kong with overalls, a hat, and a thick moustache, Shigeru Miyamoto thought that he should be a plumber as opposed to a carpenter, and designed this game to reflect that. Another contributing factor was the game’s setting: it was a large network of giant pipes, so they felt a change in occupation was necessary for him.
A popular story of how Mario went from Jumpman to Mario is that an Italian-American landlord, Mario Segale, had barged in on Nintendo of America’s staff to demand rent, and they decided to name Jumpman after him. Miyamoto also felt that the best setting for this game was New York because of its “labyrinthine subterranean network of sewage pipes.” The pipes were inspired by several manga, which Miyamoto states feature waste grounds with pipes lying around. In this game, they were used in a way to allow the enemies to enter and exit the stage through them to avoid getting enemies piled up on the bottom of the stage. The green coloring of the pipes, which Nintendo president Satoru Iwata calls an uncommon color, came from Miyamoto having a limited color palette and wanting to keep things colorful. He added that green was the best because it worked well when two shades of it were combined.
Mario Bros. is one of the first platform games ever created, along with Donkey Kong. It also introduced Mario’s brother, Luigi, who was created for the multiplayer mode by doing a palette swap of Mario. The two-player mode and several aspects of gameplay were inspired by an earlier video game called Joust. To date, Mario Bros. has been released for more than a dozen platforms. The first movement from Mozart’s Eine kleine Nachtmusik is used at the start of the game.