"Interviewer: Mario was big, so you couldn't see very far?
Miyamoto: Right. We could pull back for a broader view, but then Mario would be smaller. Then Nakago-san said, 'Wait a minute. Wouldn't it be fun to have a small Mario, too?'"
- Shigeru Miyamoto remembers how Mario became small.
As part of its ongoing efforts to promote its NES Mini 30-games-in-one console, Nintendo today published (in English) an interview conducted with company veterans Shigeru Miyamoto, Takashi Tezuka and Koji Kondo.
Their lengthy resumes at Nintendo include working together on the original Super Mario Bros., and in the course of their company-backed chat they share a few interesting details about how that seminal Mario game and others came together -- including the fact that Mario gained his now-iconic 'small Mario' form due to concerns over the game's view distance.
"I remember this clearly. Tezuka-san and Nakago-san and I were having a meeting, and we had the length of all the courses drawn up on a whiteboard. We were discussing whether there was any way to see farther ahead," said Miyamoto. "We could pull back for a broader view, but then Mario would be smaller. Then Nakago-san said, 'Wait a minute. Wouldn't it be fun to have a small Mario, too?'"
The question came up because, according to the interviewer, there has been at least one popular story that Mario got his small version when a bug during the game's development caused only the top half of the original 'big Mario' to appear on-screen. This story is "absolutely not true" according to Miyamoto, who goes on to note that the decision to make Mario small inspired a new mechanic that's become a core part of the now-classic game series.
"We decided that you'll lose a turn when the smaller Mario runs into an enemy, when big Mario runs into an enemy, he would just get smaller," said Miyamoto. "That would be a brand-new game mechanic, and we decided to go with it right away in that meeting."
For further comments from Miyamoto, Tezuke and Kondo -- including memories of where Mario got his raccoon tail and how Kondo scored the original Mario games -- check out the full interview.