The Phenomenon of the Game "Super Mario Bros"


The world would never exist if it wasn't one specific game which popularity has helped to revolutionize the game market. This game became that recognizable that today we can also notice the note of this game in current pop culture. We talk about Super Mario Bros that was published on September 7th, 1985, on the console NES/Famicom. It was created (together) by Shigeru Miyamoto and Takashi Tezuka. The plot is set in the parallel universe, in which the king Koopa abducts a princess and keeps her prisoner. So our heroes (Mario Mario and Mario Luigi-two plumbers) come to princess's rescue. After racing through the whole Mushroom Kingdom (LSD, THC etc.) they reach the final, eighth castle, in which they save the Princess and kill the king Koopa in lava.

A lot of hacks and games, which are based on the title of the game Super Mario Bros, has come into being within almost three decades since the premiere of this platform game. These games was created by small studios which wanted to gain the popularity and recognizability at the cost of Mario's brothers. But only one game has become that much popular that equals the original one. The title of the game is “The Great Giana Sisters”. It was created in 1987 by Rainbow Arts. During the game we impersonate one of Giana sisters who is dreaming about the world that is full of monsters and other odd creatures. Our task is to race through 33th levels of the game (analogically as in Arkanoid) collecting diamonds that help our heroine to wake up from a nightmare.

In the beginning “The Great Giana Sisters” was published only for Commodore 64 as “Super Mario Bros” but it finally got ported on the other home computers. The popularity of Giana sisters caused that mass media and players noticed that The Great Giana Sisters game was plagiarism. Even the title pointed out that it was the clone – Super Mario Bros and The Great Giana Sisters. Comparing the first two levels of the games we can find that these games are identical. The Mario brothers and also the Giana sisters jump on the platforms, break bricks by using their heads and collect bonuses, coins and diamonds. Our heroes can jump on the heads of the opponents and squash them. The authors didn't try to hide that it was the adaptation of Super Mario Bros, to such an extent that on the box we could notice the inscription “The Brothers Are History”. Unfortunately, it was a failure because the Nintendo lawyers threatened Rainbow Arts with lawsuit, justifying that the games was too similar. And despite the great popularity of Giana sisters, the title has been withdrawn from the market and work on the second part of adventures of naughty Giana sisters had to be suspended.

But it didn't prevent subsequent edition of remakes and adaptations of the game with two plumbers. These remakes were published on the NES/Famicom and other platform games. Thanks to the great success of SMB, also other games which were based on similar solutions, have become as popular as Super Mario Bros and made the large group of platform games, in which the player moves from the left side of the screen to the right side, collects various items and jumps on top of enemies. Just like Mario brothers, The Great Giana Sisters has become so iconic that went through their own unofficial modifications and conversion to other platforms.

I am still waiting for Giana Sisters port on the NES. ;-]


Translated by Agata Gizka.