Imagine an alternate reality where Mario is packing heat, Link looks like Wolverine and Halo games are all about strategy instead of shooting aliens in the face.
All those things were close to happening but were changed at some point, for better or for worse. You be the judge.
6Super Mario Bros. Was Almost a Shooting Game
The Game We Know:
If there's one thing Mario does well, it's stomping on shit. Even in his early games, jumping on or over things was always, well, pretty much the only thing he did. But that wasn't always the plan for our dear red-shirted plumber when he got his big NES debut.
Mario showed us how to cut corners. In honor of that, we're not writing a punchline.
But It Was Almost:
Mario was going to shoot the shit out of his enemies. Seriously. In some early design documents and test versions of Super Mario Bros., Mario was going to carry guns.
Oh, and he would also be able to punch and kick his enemies when he was empty-handed. Instead of stomping enemies' heads, he was gonna stomp their asses.
Turns out those Russian bootlegs had it right all along.
And yes, we said "guns," as in more than one: Mario was going to carry a "beam gun," which sounds kind of like what Samus uses in the Metroid games, but then he would also have a freaking rifle. Instead of fireballs, Mario was gonna roll like a gangster and spit out bullets.
"Is he ... is he whistling 'The Farmer in the Dell'?"
Some levels would even have Mario riding on a cloud and firing at enemies in what sounds a lot like the Mushroom Kingdom's version of a drive-by. Earlier in development, he was going to be "flying on a rocket," but clearly a cloud made more sense in that context.
Sweet revenge on that goddamn Lakitu.
Even the classic control scheme would have been different: Mario would jump by hitting the up arrow on the control pad, leaving the "A" button for attacks. All this changed when Nintendo decided to focus more on the jumping (and stomping) aspect, but some elements of these insane early versions did end up in the finished game. The guns became fire flowers, the cloud drive-bys eventually turned into bonus coin stages and Mario finally gained the ability to punch and kick enemies in Super Mario 64. Rifles can't be that far behind. After all, we got Super Mario Sunshine's water cannon ...
He can waterboard 50 Koopa Troopas a minute with this thing.
While it's probably for the best that they simplified the game, we can't help but wonder what a game starring a gritty, badass Mario would be like. He could even roam around an alternate world New York, with realistic Goombas and Koopas and ...