Wired Magazine reported this in 2013:

During a Q&A session, Satoru Iwata revealed why Nintendo’s newer games are easier. Nintendo conducted a test with many gamers and found that most of them were unable to finish the first level in the original Super Mario Bros.


"It may come as a shock to some of you that most gamers today can not finish the original Super Mario Brothers game on the Famicom."


"We watched the replay videos of how the gamers performed and saw that many did not understand simple concepts like bottomless pits. Around 70 percent died to the first Goomba. Another 50 percent died twice. Many thought the coins were enemies and tried to avoid them. Also, most of them did not use the run button. There were many other depressing things we noted but I can not remember them at the moment..."

Is there any truth to the claim?

  • Can you add a link to the report? – user22865 Nov 17 '16 at 9:16
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    This is kind of vague. Cannot complete it in their first game with losing 3 lives? Cannot solve it in a certain time frame? Cannot solve it before getting bored and starting up a better game? – Oddthinking Nov 17 '16 at 12:19
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    The section you show that Wired quoted says nothing about the first level. It just says "can not finish the original Super Mario Brothers game". Is there a bit you left out? – called2voyage Nov 17 '16 at 15:29
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    "Many thought the coins were enemies and tried to avoid them." I don't recall there being avoidable coins in the first level, except in the secret area, and I find it hard to believe that 'many' people found the secret area but didn't know what coins were. – DaaaahWhoosh Nov 17 '16 at 20:08
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    Wouldn't most such issues be resolved by reading the game manual? Or am I in the minority for actually looking at those when available before I play a game? Then again, I suppose most digitally-distributed games don't come with manuals anymore... – JAB Nov 18 '16 at 4:41

The Wired article links to a less-than-reliable source that appears to be a personal blog. That article links to a most reliable source, a transcript of Nintendo's 73rd annual stockholder meeting, in Japanese.

There are 16 answers in that meeting, and from pasting them into Google Translate (which does a surprisingly good job), this is what they discuss:

  1. The failure of the Wii U and rejuvenating Nintendo with new characters
  2. Increasing Nintendo's userbase by new controllers and devices
  3. An unannounced product similar to the Virtual Boy
  4. Some NFC-like feature in Wii remotes that was already on the DS
  5. Exchange rates and the financial future of Nintendo
  6. Lack of games for the Wii U
  7. Litigation-related losses
  8. Nintendo's console competitors and gender diversity
  9. The Wii Vitality Sensor
  10. General financial discussion involving revenues and foreign currency
  11. The difficulty of modern console game development
  12. Online multiplayer and networking in Nintendo games
  13. Diversification and shareholder benefits
  14. Some leak on the Internet that they don't want discussed
  15. Stereoscopic 3D
  16. More about shareholder benefits

Not one of the sixteen responses even mentions Super Mario Bros. (1985). This indicates that the blog article's author invented the passage, but does not prove that the majority of gamers today can or cannot complete the first level of Super Mario Bros.


It's simply lazy journalism on Wired's part. The blog they reference, p4rgaming.com, is clearly a 'joke' news site:



In addition, I read Japanese, and verified that the 'translation' is completely fabricated.

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    Can you back this up with a correct translation of the relevant parts (maybe through Google translate)? – user22865 Nov 21 '16 at 16:19
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    @JanDoggen My Japanese isn't great, but in a read of the Q/A session, there doesn't seem to me to be any "relevant parts". I didn't see any discussion of game difficulty at all, past or present. – Is Begot Nov 21 '16 at 18:57
  • Possibly the easiest way to confirm is to search for マリオ (Mario) - you will only see mentions of マリオカート (Mario Kart) and "New スーパーマリオブラザーズ U“ (New Super Mario Brothers U), no mention of the older Mario games at all. The p4rgaming.com author is relying on the fact that readers are unlikely to understand Japanese. – rjh Nov 28 '16 at 15:12
  • Interestingly, the domain name has now expired. – IronGopher Dec 9 '16 at 6:04

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