Graph paper: not just for algebra homework. Super Mario Bros., one of the best-selling video games of all time, owes its early design to a sheaf of graph paper.
In the video below, Mario creator Shigeru Miyamoto and a longtime designer of the game, Takashi Tezuka, discuss the early days of the game in advance of the release of Super Mario Maker, a game that allows you to create and play your own Mario levels.
“To design courses, we would actually draw them one at a time onto these sheets of graph paper," Tezuka explains in the video above. "We would then hand our drawings to the programmers who would code them into a build.”
An early design for a Mario course. Image Credit: Screenshot via YouTube
Mario’s grid-paper origins aren’t surprising given the game’s quadrilateral layout. All those floating bricks and blocky green pipes had to come from somewhere.