• Wonder Effects in Super Mario Bros. Wonder are surreal additions that transform levels in zany ways.
  • Some scrapped Wonder Effects, like turning Mario into a retro-style sprite with a giant head, were not included due to visual appeal concerns.
  • Unused ideas for Wonder Effects influenced features like the Sound Off Badge.

The developers behind Super Mario Bros. Wonder recently shared some unused Wonder Effect designs at this year’s Game Developers Conference. The latest mainline Mario platformer launched on the Nintendo Switch in October to rave reviews and record-breaking sales figures, with many praising Super Mario Bros. Wonder for its colorful graphics and imaginative additions to the classic 2D Mario formula.

Some of the most prominent of these new additions are the Wonder Effects, which activate whenever the player collects a Wonder Seed and alter Super Mario Bros. Wonder’s levels in surreal ways. Each stage has a different Wonder Effect, with Mario’s classic green Warp Pipes rising and lowering as the player moves across them, Piranha Plants breaking into song, and Super Stars suddenly raining down from the sky being just a few of the zany effects players can come across.


After Super Mario Bros. Wonder, The Franchise Needs to Hop on One Industry Trend

With the success of Super Mario Bros. Wonder behind it, the franchise needs to consider embracing one industry trend in its next steps forward.

As it turns out, there are a few Wonder Effects that didn’t make it into Super Mario Bros. Wonder, and they might be even more bizarre than the ones that were included. The game’s developers were present at GDC 2024 (via The Gamer), and they spoke about some of the ideas that were ultimately left on the cutting room floor. According to sound director Koji Kondo, one of these unused Wonder Effects would have briefly turned Mario and the level around him into live-action versions, with Super Mario Bros. Wonder’s music and sound effects being hummed by the plumber himself.

Some Of Super Mario Bros. Wonder’s Strangest Ideas Didn’t Make The Cut

This wasn’t the only scrapped Wonder Effect idea shared at GDC. Another would have transformed Mario into a retro-style sprite inspired by the original NES Mario games, with his head growing to gigantic proportions. This would have made dodging enemies impossible, so the player would have had to simply charge their way through the level as blocks broke off Mario’s head with each foe he bumped into. The development team ultimately found that the effect of Mario losing his head ruined the feature’s visual appeal, hence why it was cut from Super Mario Bros. Wonder.

That isn’t to say that these ideas weren’t utilized to some capacity in Super Mario Bros. Wonder, as the scrapped live-action Wonder Effect did inspire the game’s unlockable Sound Off Badge, which turns off all sound and replaces it with noises from a random person. According to the developers at GDC 2024, there were over 2,000 ideas generated for Super Mario Bros. Wonder, so there are probably several more outlandish Wonder Effects that were left on the cutting room floor for one reason or another.

super mario bros wonder

Super Mario Bros. Wonder

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A return to the franchise’s 2D side-scrolling roots, Super Mario Bros. Wonder is a Nintendo Switch exclusive. Supporting up to four-player co-op and featuring playable characters like Princess Peach and Luigi, Super Mario Bros. Wonder revamps a classic formula with fresh twists, including a mechanic called Wonder Effects that cause stages to come alive.

October 20, 2023

Nintendo EPD




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