It’s hard to imagine that, not very long ago, developers created video games with tools as rudimentary as a pencil and paper. But that’s exactly what happened in Japan, where the original Super Mario Bros. was designed entirely by hand.
In a video from 2015, Mario creator Shigeru Miyamoto and a longtime designer of the game, Takashi Tezuka, discuss the early days of the game in advance of the release of Super Mario Maker, a game that allows you to create and play your own Mario levels.
“Back in the day, we had to create everything by hand,” Tezuka explained via a translator. “To design courses, we would actually draw them one at a time on these sheets of graph paper. We’d then hand our drawings to the programmers, who would code them into a build.”