Those of you who were alive during the late '80s and early '90s may well have fond memories of the Super Mario Bros. Super Show, a cartoon production which dominated kid's TV during the early days of the Sega and Nintendo console war.
Eurogamer has been speaking to people associated not only with this and the other Super Mario cartoon shows, but also the Sonic the Hedgehog ones - amazingly, both were produced by the same company, DiC.
Reed Shelly - a creator and writer on the Mario and Sonic shows alongside his father, Bruce - describes the process of working on the shows:
He put up with me more than I put up with him. We sat across desks facing one another working 13 hours a day, through holidays and weekends. We kind of look at one another and...I think we both miss it to be honest. It was a fun time.
Phil Harnage - a writer on The Adventures of Sonic as well as The Super Mario Bros. Super Show, The Adventures of Super Mario Bros. 3 and Super Mario World - explains that having a link with the subject matter wasn't always a given, but effort had to be made:
I have never been very good at video games, but I did play Mario because the in-house producer was a fanatic and had a Nintendo [console] in his office. Mostly, I would sit and watch him because he was so good, and he would say there's that creature and this other creature you've got to watch out for. He taught me about the world. It was going to be different [from the games] yet it had to have all the familiar touchstones, like the Goombas, the fire plants...if we ever excused something from the game we heard about it, but Nintendo reviewed the scripts and they made sure that everything was good.
Harnage adds that Nintendo gave the team a surprising amount of freedom - something which clashes with the company's reputation as a control freak:
They were also kind of liberal in letting us do things that had never been in the game and there was no pushback. I think they liked it when we put Mario in the wild west, in the future and underwater. We would take a familiar fairy tale, legend or something the kids already knew and we would build up an episode around that and make it as fun as possible.
Given that we're getting Sonic and Mario movies soon - and Sonic has already had a successful recent TV show in the form of Sonic Boom - is there any scope for Mario to return to our small screens, perhaps in the same format as the DiC shows?
Shelly isn't so sure:
It feels like a time capsule to me. It's such a different world now and so different for kids. The shows were made for a different era.
We always looked at this and said, if you make seven million kids laugh, that must count towards something. And when I was a little older and doing more pre-school shows, like Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, I was a hero at my oldest daughter's pre-school.
Did you watch these shows as a child? Let us know your memories with a comment.
If only they were liberal with making them good.
@Savino Hah, I still can't get used to Mario not having a gruff, raspy voice.
Oh I remember those.
I've got them on my computer and my daughter watches them all the time. She loves the cartoon.
I wish that more of them were made.
Out of all the video game adaptation cartoons DiC made the Sonic the Hedgehog shows are the best ones specially Sonic the Hedgehog (1993 TV series) and The Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog. To me it seems that DiC shown more love to Sonic that any video game cartoons they had made.
I own all the old Nintendo shows. My favorites will always be Captain N and the 90s Mega Man shows. Mario and Zelda are good fun too.
edit yes Mega Man is Capcom, but c'mon, until Playstation and Saturn he might as well have been a Nintendo mascot. Mega Hi!
@LaytonPuzzle27 It takes a very special kind of crazy to come up with Sonic the blue hedgehog to have an obsession with chili dogs....
My favorite cartoon for a while when it came out. 4:00 was required viewing time for the Super Mario Bros. Super Show.
...no wonder I enjoyed these unironically...
Now if only Nintendo gave Intelligent Systems and AlphaDream freedom instead of limiting most of the characters to Toads...
I miss these. So bad it's good!
You just couldn’t get all the apostrophes right, could you (again)? It’s kids’ TV not kid’s TV. Otherwise it’s just for one kid... These people are supppsed to be good at English, no?
I watched both thanks to a starz tv channel. Sonic the hedgehog(i guess the oldest one) is one of the best shows I've ever seen based off video games. Its vintage animation looks like several american shows from that era but it has a high enough concentration of dark and seriousness tones that its beyond amazing to watch.
I like the mario show a little less but what's really cool about it is it is a decent telvision/game adaptation. Broswer's ship sails in the sky and not the water, something mario fans are accustomed to, power ups come out of the blocks, browser's kids are given screen time and fleshed out personalities, and the real earth exists in its true form in the show, mario's world exists in its form with its owns rules and physics as if it were some alternate dimension.(Not that I would want to see the real earth in a mario movie because I wouldn't)
The way they did show which worked well actually makes the live action movie make more sense kind of.
I never watched these as a kid but as an adult I saw Super Mario Bros 3 DVD set for super cheap and bought it on a whim. I did not think they were good but my kids couldn't get enough of them. The koopa kids have the most annoying voices and each episode has a song sung by the koopa kids. The songs are so bad they are comical.
Cartoons today are a bit rubbish compared to this classic.
Captain Lou Albano rules.
Also DiC’s good sonic show got a lot of help from the stories made by the Archie comics.
@BlueOcean Most, but not all of them.
Kind of liberal?
You don't say...
I did watch them and even as a kid, I remember having disappointment in how different the show was from the game. Although when my daughter and I pretend play Mario, I tend to default to Bowser's voice from these cartoons, lol.
I do remember being much more excited for the Zelda episodes (which I think only aired on Fridays). They felt closer to the source material than Mario did. Though looking back, great liberties were taken with that as well
Edit: Completely forgot Captain N. I loved the idea of al these characters from different franchises joining forces. And it was even more fun when other characters (like Link and Zelda) made appearances
I rather liked how absurd Super Mario Bros: Super Show was. Especially the live action segments.
I think a Mario animated film could be quite good if done right. I have faith.
"My favorite cartoon for a while when it came out. 4:00 was required viewing time for the Super Mario Bros. Super Show."
Did you mean 4:00 p.m. or 4:00 a.m.?
Bowser's Italian-food-centric alliterations when referring to the Mario Bros are the best. And Capn Lou 'doing the Mario' against a green screen backdrop.
I love those cartoons. They're fun, zany and quotable. Have all 3 box sets. Also Captain Lou Albano and Danny Wells were highly entertaining.
Also love some of the other old vg toons. Legend of Zelda, Mega Man, Captain N, both Sonics.
I like the episode where Bowser’s mom appears where Peach has to marry Bowser. She is an interesting character I wish she appeared in more episodes.
@Don. His mom is hilarious!
Hi ho Ostro awaay
@tourjeff my daughter loves them too. You can find the boxsets on amazon
Miserable manicotti! The Koopa's escaped into a warp zone!
I have sat through a decent chunk of the Mario one and I have to say - lacking any nostalgia - it is pretty bad. I have watched other cartoons from the same era and they're full of product placement, but they still tended to be good. This has the product placement - and many funny moments. But they are funny in the "so bad it is entertaining" way...
I used to watch them as a kid, just because I was a huge Nintendo fan. Those shows didn't age well but they're not bad to me. My son watches it on Netflix (or did...I'm not sure if the 'Super Show' is still there or not) and he liked them.
"Miserable manicotti! The Koopa's escaped into a warp zone!"
I had remembered hearing those statements together in an episode of "The Super Mario Bros. Super Show".
While alot of the episodes of the Super Show had little to do with Mario, there a few original episodes that were connected to the games, even the two using SMB1's storyline of turning toads and people into bricks/stones. and how they got into plumbering, the mushroom kingdom and a great episode where made the hard choice of instead going home to brooklyn they stay to continue fighting Koopa.
@Alikan I'd agree with you there. I always thought of him as a Nintendo character. Still do really... Most his games have been on Nintendo, especially in the beginning.
I watched the Super Show for a year I think, maybe less. It was around the same time as the original Zelda cartoons. I thought both were pretty good at the time, but they haven't aged well at all. By comparison, I still enjoy "The Wizard"...probably because the core story involves an autistic kid who's been severely traumatized, and my own history is fairly similar. I think too many people dismiss that film as a glorified Nintendo commercial, when there was an actual point to it.
DiC, that name alone is golden!
As a kid I loved this show! I know this show hasn’t aged well now but I still like it a lot. It’s a guilty pleasure.
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