Retronauts Episode 450: Super Mario Bros (The 1993 movie)

Development hell makes World 8-4 look like a cakewalk

Video games made their commercial debut in the 1970s but achieved major cultural saturation in the 1980s. Tons of merchandise, pop songs, and children's cartoons soon followed. However, we had to wait until 1993 to finally see a video game character star in their own silver screen adaptation, with that honor going to the Mario brothers.

If you're doing the math, you'll note that 1993 was twelve years after Donkey Kong and eight years after Super Mario Bros. What took so long? The short answer is "Hollywood" and the long answer is this podcast.

Host Bob Mackey is joined this week by Retronaut emeritus Ray Barnholt and two experts from Super Mario Bros. The Movie Archive, Ryan Hoss and Steven Applebaum, to dive into the troubled production history of the first video game movie and do their collective best to explain what went wrong and why the film deserves better than to be treated as a punchline.

Description: In 1993, Hollywood did the seemingly impossible by releasing the first true video game adaptation: Super Mario Bros. And to put it simply, things didn't exactly go as planned. Thanks to studio meddling, fired directors, injured actors, and compromised visions, Super Mario Bros. lurched into theaters in May of 1993, and quickly retreated in shame when the general public didn't know what to make of it. But are there hidden gems lurking underneath this film's fungus-covered exterior? On this episode, join Bob Mackey, Ray Barnholt, and Ryan Hoss and Steven Applebaum of Super Mario Bros. The Movie Archive as the crew explores this fascinating mess of a motion picture. Listen in, and learn to embrace mustache-free Luigi!

Retronauts is a completely fan-funded operation. To support the show, and get exclusive episodes every month, please visit the official Retronauts Patreon.

MP3, 45 MB | 1:38:42 Direct download Retronauts on iTunes Retronauts at Libsyn

As with all of the episodes Bob produces, this week’s cover art is by Nick Daniel. Check out his Twitter, or patronize his Patreon!