But It Was Almost:
Mario was going to shoot the s**t 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.