Nintendo CEO: 90 Percent of New Gamers Unable to Finish Level 1-1 in Original Super Mario Bros - HotHardware
Nintendo CEO: 90 Percent of New Gamers Unable to Finish Level 1-1 in Original Super Mario Bros

Nintendo CEO: 90 Percent of New Gamers Unable to Finish Level 1-1 in Original Super Mario Bros

Update 7/10: It has been brought to our attention that the source reference site's report for this story was actually based on a satire, not based on facts.  Rather than pulling the story down, we're alerting you to the fact that we were mislead (as were others). However, we will pose the question that seems to be driving a lot of debate: are games getting easier just for the sake of quick-fix game play?

During a Q&A at Nintendo’s recent shareholder’s meeting, Nintendo President and CEO Satoru Iwata said several things that are alternately painful, amazing, and sad in response to a question from a stockholder about how games seem to be getting easier, and how that may be contributing to the Wii U’s lackluster sales.

First of all, Iwata agreed that games have gotten easier, and he affirmed that the trend could be a reason that interest in the Wii U hasn’t been as strong as it could be. Still, he defended the company’s strategy for making games easier by revealing the results of gamer testing that Nintendo has conducted that demonstrates gamers’ decreasing ability to do well in games.

Wii U Controllers In Action

“It may come as a shock to some of you that most gamers today cannot finish the original Super Mario Brothers game on the Famicom,” he said. “We have conducted this test over the past few years to see how difficult we should make our games and have found that the number of people unable to finish the first level is steadily increasing.”

At this point, a whopping 90% of participants couldn’t finish the level. (We presume that means they used up their few available lives before having to restart the game.)

He also noted that most didn’t understand basic game mechanics such as the run button, or that coins are to be collected and aren’t enemies, or the concept of a bottomless pit. About 70% died at the first enemy, and half of those died at that same spot twice. (Twice! At the hands [or lack thereof] of the first Goomba!)

Super Mario Brothers Level 1-1
Watch out for those tricky, impossible-to-kill Goombas (Credit: TalesofGaming)

Participants said that they wanted the game to be easier, and that Mario should perhaps start the game with a sword or a gun. Some didn’t even realize that Super Mario Bros was an actual vintage game.

If we can put on our old fart hats for a moment: What on earth is wrong with kids today? Mario was a famously tough game to beat, for sure--saying that you beat Mario was a legitimate boast among the neighborhood youths--but not being able to finish off the first level is ridiculous, and suggesting that the game should be made easier instead of begging to try the level again is offensive to our sensibilities. (Now if someone would hand us a handkerchief to wipe the soup off our chins, we’d appreciate it.)

All joking aside, that’s a sad state of affairs for the gaming community in general and Nintendo specifically. Iwata, to his credit, sounds just as downcast about it as everyone else.

“As a stockholder, you should be relieved to know that our games are easier in order to attract a wider audience,” he told the crowd. “As a gamer, you might feel a little sad, and you should be. It is quite sad.” Indeed.
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noobz

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those people are probably hand picked noobs who never really played games I know some too, or girls

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I resent that SemHamblok, I'm a girl and I'm no noob. But I agree, whoever they signed up for this might not have known what they were getting themselves into.

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oh and before i forget @SemHamblok i think your statement about girls and gaming is kind of rude seeing as they could most likely beat you at any game you may play so watch out gamer girls gonna get ya hahaha

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I don't buy it.

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Seems too weird to be true.

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Theres no ****in way thats true unless your sampling people under 18.

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Hrm....

No, I think I do. I'm just not sure it means what he thinks it means.

Think about it. The first time you brought up a Nintendo, you died on World 1-1. Maybe you died to that Goomba. Because if you didn't read the instruction manual and just dived into the game, you have to figure everything out from scratch.

So you walk into the Goomba, die.

Next round, you try some buttons. One button doesn't seem to do anything. The other makes you jump.

You try to jump on the Goomba, misjudge, die.

Next round, you try to jump over the Goomba, hit a brick, die. But now you know the bricks explode.

New game.

"If bricks explode, I must be supposed to jump *into* Question bricks."

Hey! Something came out -- ***, the Goomba!

*die*

Etc.

Also, if you aren't familiar with the concept of points, you might wonder what collecting power-ups is for. SMB was written in a very different era, and it borrows conceits from that time period. You get points for breaking stuff. You get points for picking up random objects. But if you've only played modern games that don't use points or power ups, you have to learn that from scratch.

I expect people who have never played a side-scrolling platformer to suck at it. The bigger question is, how many people can't beat World 1-1 after 30-40 minutes of practice?

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Joel H is absolutely spot on. I first played this game as a 3or4 year old around '87. It was the first video game I ever played. If youve never played it before it takes some learning but even after 30-40 minutes I could even beat the first level.

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I hope your mentally challenged. Because what you said made no *** sense. First time anyone that plays Mario.. we try buttons first..A jump OK GOT IT. B run... OK GOT IT. Beating 1-1 world takes less that 10min for a beginner player.. where the hell you got the 30-40min... who the *** knows. Try to remember your childhood.. unless you had some issues with you god dam finger.. no way.. it takes that long..

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Games being too hard for people to play making the sales of the Wii U Stagnant?

More like, they gave us a console with the power of the last generation of consoles...What's good enough to run a simple Mario game isn't good enough to run a graphically intense game...

(Iwata) Don't try telling us that we're dumb and that's why your console isn't selling... Sounds the other way around to me.

And by the way...

I've beaten the original Super Mario Brothers... several times, and SMB : The Lost Levels on Super Mario All Stars for SNES...

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Christian Magee some andre stuff haha

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Lol guess 2 buttons and a cross pad throws a wrech into their gears

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lol how level 1-1 is sooo easy! you can speed run that thing and stay itty bitty the whole time :P

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"new gamers"

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that old stuff is HARD.

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Hahah! So true but my son can still kick my ass with a couple of those stupid thumbsticks.

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It's been heading that way for a long while now, not sure why they seem surprised. Gamers today are all about instant gratification and have no pride in a lengthy, troublesome accomplishment. I'd look to blame the investors looking for returns instead of the developers trying to make something good and worth while. Again, games used to come out every few years and they would be GREAT, have vast improvements.. it was around the same time releases became 'yearly releases' where the dumb down of in depth games went to the wayside.

Look what we can do! --VS-- Look how much money this makes in x days! These days the latter always wins, always.

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Old gamers can! B|

Hell i've played Mario for years! B|

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I've never felt so old.

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I've never felt so old.

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*shakes head*

This isn't about games being easy, it's about what people *expect* when they start a game. Let me give you an example.

Imagine you had never played anything but Super Mario brothers or other 2D, side-scrolling games. Then you sit down to Call of Duty.

"What? Look around? I don't even...woah. WOAH. I'm dizzy."

"There's more than one gun? How do I -- which one am I supposed to use?"

"Where's my power-up bar?"

"What's a saved game?"

"I can go BACKWARDS?"  

"Why can't I see behind me all the time?"

And on, and on, and on.

It's not about "good" vs. "bad." It's just a question of what you're familiar with and what you aren't.

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The article says they did a study, maybe 90% of new gamers are not able to complete 1-1 because they have steadily decreased the difficulty level of games. If games stayed as hard as they used to people would adapt and actually try and think and try and solve the conundrums poised by these games. I grew up playing mario on my super nintendo, it was always so fun that i could play for hours, now days ill be lucky if i can sit through 5 minutes of some of these newer games just because of how boring they become.

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Yea it seems to me that kids are getting better and better at video games not worse and worse.

Take League of Legends for example i have 3 younger brothers who have logged around 500 hours each on that game alone and they have played WOW and Starcraft over 100+ hours not to mention the diablo series....

This is really a flawed experiment/conclusion. older games aren't as familliar as newer games. i play mario or i did and if i started playing again i would probably die in the first level. it takes a while to remember the timing you learned.

Nintendo obviously hasn't been successful with their make game simpler strategy and it actually hurts their market. i have always played the games my brothers and those around me have played. in fact one core tenet of modern gaming is the ability to multiplayer and or discuss the outcome of a game with your friends and family. that's what makes a game truly addicting when everyone you know is playing it and they are each constantly trying to one up the other.

Its almost impossible to maintain unless you have a game that has depth and advancement opportunity static games die faster than evolving games. hence the major success of an MMORPG,

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Are they sampling people who have never played games before, ever, is that it? Are they sampling people that are incapable of learning. I remember when I started playing games and when I first started playing SMB, I sucked. I died a lot even in the first level and still will, but you get the hang of the mechanics and you learn to use them to your advantage.

All that said, I am terrible at platformers.

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