It’s always interesting to see what might have been in the world of video games. Some of the most iconic characters of all time in some of the most iconic games in history looked a lot different in early design phases.
Take Mario, for example. The jumping plumber is arguably the most famous and instantly recognizable character in the history of video games. Since the original Donkey Kong, Mario’s look has stayed mostly the same. He wears red and blue, dons a red cap, and has a mustache. Aside from the ability to jump really high and grow with mushrooms, Mario’s look is one of the most known things about him.
Apparently, in one of his games, Mario almost changed that look completely.
Nintendo Metro, an online Nintendo leaker, shared some early sprites for Super Mario World recently that showcase the jumping plumber without his signature hat. This version of Mario was apparently on the drawing board but never made it into the final game.
— Nintendo Metro (@NintendoMetro) October 22, 2020
“Mario is hatless,” Nintendo Metro says in the tweet, “I repeat – hatless! At least in this #NintendoLeaks file. Also has Mario with his arm straight down, which does not happen in the final game.”
Aside from the arm being down, this version of Mario also has a cowlick in the front of his hair and eyebrows, which never made it into the actual Super Nintendo game.
Mario was not seen without his hat on until Super Mario 64 on the Nintendo 64, which came out a full six years after the release of Super Mario World. Mario 64 was the first 3D Mario game. It was also the first game where he spoke and could throw a punch.
Since then, Mario losing his hat has become a mechanic in many games. In Super Mario Sunshine, for instance, Mario takes constant damage if his hat is stolen by an enemy. Then you have Super Mario Odyssey, the most recent Mario adventure on the Nintendo Switch.
Mario’s hat is one of the key story elements driving the game. He loses the hat early on and gets a living replacement with eyes. The hat can be removed and thrown at enemies, landing on their heads and allowing Mario to take over their bodies and control their abilities.
Obviously, this isn’t news that’s going to shake the gaming world to its core, but Nintendo leaks remain one of the most incredible ways that we gather information about the history of some of the world’s most iconic video games.