Friday, December 02, 2011

Manual Stimulation: Super Mario Bros. (Famicom)

I'd be hard pressed to call Super Mario Bros.' instruction manual disappointing, but I'd definitely call it a bit underwhelming considering the status the game has achieved since its release in 1985.

Still, I think it's nice enough to highlight in one of these "Manual Stimulation" posts--thanks in large part to its not-at-all-stingy use of illustrations and sprite art.

You may want to skip past the next few scans (as always, click on them for a closer look) if all you're interested in are the above-mentioned illustrations and sprites, by the way, as Nintendo's designers take their sweet time getting to them.







In fact, the first one that's at all worth mentioning doesn't appear until the manual's seventh page. Sure, it's a wonky drawing showing regular Mario and super Mario both standing still and jumping, but it's better than a bunch of text, don't you think?



More wonky depictions of Mario appear on the manual's next two pages.



Oooh, now we're getting somewhere--sprites! Call me crazy if you want, but I've always been a sucker for sprites (yes, even black-and-white ones).





After going sprite-crazy for a few pages, Nintendo's designers offer up a drawing of what looks to be a Koopa telling readers to be quiet. Either that, or he's picking his nose. Assuming it's the former, I'm guessing he's telling us that we're about to hear some secrets about the game?



I know I haven't been all that impressed with the manual's illustrations so far, but I'm quite fond of the one on page 16, which shows what happens when Mario kicks a Koopa shell at a pipe. Mama mia!



See also: Previous 'Manual Stimulation' posts

20 comments:

Viewtiful_Justin said...

My favorite thing about that manual is and has always been the drawing of the whole of world 1. That little map makes me deliriously happy, for some reason.

And the English version is way better, because the actual descriptions of the baddies are so colorful and ridiculous in comparison to Mario lore today.

Famicom Freak said...

So beautiful so so beautiful! The manual is very similar to the American release too! ^_^

Bryan Ochalla said...

Oh, I was going to ask you how the Japanese version compares to the NA version, Justin! It's been so long since I've owned/seen it that I can't remember anything about it :(

Now I've got to find a scan of the NA on line somewhere. Must read those descriptions :)

Bryan Ochalla said...

I thought you might like this post, Famicom Freak! Glad to hear I was right :)

Kimimi said...

Thanks for sharing this, it's fascinating to see how far Mario's come :)

Bryan Ochalla said...

You're welcome, Kimimi! It is interesting to see his -- and the series' -- progression, isn't it? I can't wait to see what the manuals look like for Super Mario USA and Super Mario Bros. 3. Surely they're a bit more ... colorful?

Kimimi said...

I have the manual for Jp Mario 3 around here somewhere and it's a lot more colourful and more in line with what's expected of such a big series - it would be very interesting to see the evolution of the series through its manuals though :)

Bryan Ochalla said...

Did you just lay down a challenge, Kimimi? If so, I'm in! Of course, that'll mean me obtaining copies of SMB 2, SMB USA and SMB 3. Thankfully, all three of them are on my "buy as soon as possible" list :)

Kimimi said...

I would *love* to see you do that :D

Mark Ayala said...

From your scans of this and other Famicom instruction manuals, is it me, or does it look like the pixel art is done with Japanese grid paper and just penciled in? I love it though!

Bryan Ochalla said...

Kimimi: Well, like I said, I'll have to get the rest of the series' 8-bit games, but after I do that I'll certainly write up a post that compares and contrasts them in some way. Thanks for the idea!

Bryan Ochalla said...

That's an interesting idea, Mark! Unfortunately, I can't tell if that's the case or not. Regardless, I quite like the addition of the sprite/pixel art. In fact, I think it's my favorite thing about these early Famicom manuals :)

Motherplayer said...

Ohhhh I have to admit this was more of a step up than I expected for the manual, but still sadly its not much.

Bryan Ochalla said...

Hey there, Motherplayer! Yeah, it's definitely a step up from earlier Famicom releases like Donkey Kong and even Ice Climber, etc., but still not quite what I would have expected for such a monumental release.

Don't you wonder who is responsible for the illustrations? I'd love it if it were Miyamoto, but it's probably not...

Famicom Freak said...

I have a manual of Mario somewhere. I can scan it for you if you want! Let me know!

Bryan Ochalla said...

That's very nice of you, but let me search the Internet for it first, Famicom Freak. I don't want you to have to go to the trouble of scanning it if it's already out there somewhere (and I'm guessing it is)!

Viewtiful_Justin said...

Yeah, the cover is WAY different, but the contents look pretty much identical.

Bryan Ochalla said...

Interesting! I'll bet that was the case for a lot of early Famicom/NES releases (that they had the same or similar manuals), as Nintendo was hardly a proven commodity in the US at that point and likely put in little effort when it came to manuals, etc.

Sean said...

I like this one and its really cool to put scans of the whole manual up like that!

I have this one too. I bought a CIB Famicom a couple years ago and found this SMB manual tucked into the Famicom`s manual, which I thought was a great bonus.

I also find that image of what happens when Mario kicks a koopa shell at a pipe amusing!

Bryan Ochalla said...

Thanks, Sean! Yeah, some of the old Famicom and PC Engine manuals, especially, are pretty great.

This CIB Famicom you got a few years ago: It came with a copy of the SMB manual, but not the game? That's funny! I wonder of the seller just forgot it was in there?