Cookies help us deliver our Services. By using our Services, you agree to our use of cookies. Learn More.

Super Mario World: A 1989 Map Prototype For The SNES Game Has Been Found

"Super Mario World" is rightfully considered one of the greatest games in the Mario franchise, particularly due to the way in which it expanded the scope of what fans believed possible for the series. Introducing Yoshi and dozens of colorful and imaginative levels, many of the franchise's hallmarks really started to solidify in this installment. The size of the game is still impressive to this day, which is why it's wild to discover that there are still alternate designs and unused concepts for the game we're only just learning about.

Back in 2020, Nintendo was the victim of a massive data leak, which has since been referred to as a "Gigaleak" by folks online. Hackers managed to get hold of years of backlogged information, including hardware schematics, game code, internal documents, and much more. Among these ill-gotten gains were incomplete and corrupted files for some of Nintendo's most beloved games, including "Super Mario World." Tech-savvy fans have spent the better part of three years trying to clean up this damaged code, and in early 2023, "SMW" superfan codfish1002 managed to retrieve the image of a lost world map from an early version of "Super Mario World." Here's what they found.

Super Mario World originally had a map similar to SMB3

As shared by video game archivist MrTalida on Twitter, codfish1002 managed to unscramble an image of a prototype map from early in the development of "Super Mario World." And as longtime fans of the series can probably tell right away, there are some clear similarities to the map from the preceding game in the series, "Super Mario Bros. 3." 

The most obvious comparison is the use of numbers for each level tile, rather than the glowing circles seen in the final version of "Super Mario World." The enemy castles also resemble the ones from "SMB3." But outside of that, it's surprising to see how many of the whimsical design elements from this prototype made it into the released game. The trees from the Forest of Illusion are already evident, as is the design team's habit of shaping anything and everything like a mushroom — including the island itself.

It should be noted that the recovered file consisted solely of this image, and there's apparently no data to indicate what would have been different about Map-B's levels, if anything. Still, this is a neat peek at the evolution of one of gaming's most recognizable world maps.