Super Mario Creators When They Were Young

An old Nintendo picture book from Japan not only shows kids how Nintendo games are made, but we get to see a rare photo of a fresh-faced Shigeru Miyamoto.

FamiStars Image 1 [scanned by Chris Covell]

Everyone had to start from small beginnings, and I’m sure that around the late 1980s nobody with a lick of sense knew who Shigeru Miyamoto was, or that he created two games on the NES (Super Mario Bros./The Legend of Zelda) that had an immense impact on our modern day gaming landscape. Which is why it’s so amazing to see these types of pictures; it’s like a “Before They Where Stars – Gaming Edition” featuring a not-often seen glimpse at a young luminary before the eventual rise to household geeky name status.

These set of fascinating photos are actually from a vintage Japanese picture book called, The Stars of Famicom Games. It was published in 1989, and teaches kids how their favorite games get made, in this case, Super Mario Bros. 3: from idea, to programming, then manufacturing, and finally shipping. Here you not only see a bright-faced Miyamoto working behind his desk, perhaps tinkering on the next Mario adventure, but other soon to be big-names in the industry — oh hey! It’s Koji Kondo, farther of many memorable videogame tunes.

FamiStars Image 3 [scanned by Chris Covell]

FamiStars Image 2 [scanned by Chris Covell]

You’ll have to thank Chris Covell, an American transplant in Japan, for checking out the book at a local library and scanning the pages for us (he’s even nicely gone ahead and translated a good part of the Japanese text into English on his website, thanks Chris). There’s just so much juicy gaming-history nuggets in these pages. I mean, just look at the computers the Nintendo programers had to use on Super Mario Bros. 3; they looked super old even back then.

If you love flowcharts, and boy I know you do, one of my favorite sections to the Stars of Famicom book has a cartoony-looking one that basically outlines Nintendo’s own distribution process. Oh and look, an arrow pointing directly to a picture of New York City. See! Nintendo does really care about North America!

FamiStars Image 4 [scanned by Chris Covell]

What an awesome trip in the way-back machine. Here in the present though, we got other fine things to check out. Have you seen this top notch Lara Croft: Tomb Raider statue or this geeky Click Keypad Watch?