Nintendo's history could have been very different
id Software is known as the company that birthed Commander Keen, Wolfenstein 3D, DOOM and more. They’re the studio that really put the first-person shooter genre on the map, and the impact of their work is still felt to this day. That’s what makes it so crazy to know that they almost teamed up with Nintendo back in the day.
In an interview with Shacknews, former id Software dev John Romero talked about how the company got its start. It seems the inception came about through inspiration from Super Mario Bros. 3, as John Carmack and Tom Hall wanted to see if they could replicate the experience on a PC.
Carmack and Hall took Romero’s Dangerous Dave character and worked it into a clone of Super Mario Bros. 3. The goal was to see if they could replicate the smooth scrolling of Super Mario Bros. 3 in a PC platformer, and their experiment ended up being a success. This led the team to rebuilding Super Mario Bros. 3’s first level for play on PC.
We immediately made a Super Mario Bros. 3 demo for Nintendo. We did the full first level with all the characters in, all the animations, everything. We sent it off to Nintendo. At the same time, I was contacted by Scott Miller, and he wanted us to make a game. We decided to do it. That’s how id Software started.
Unfortunately, we’ll most likely never know what Nintendo did with the demo, or even what they thought of it. We also don’t hear why Romero and the gang sent off this demo to Nintendo, but one would think they were doing so to try and show Nintendo that Super Mario Bros. 3 could work on a PC, and they were the perfect team to do it.