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How Nintendo made Super Mario Bros. Wonder so weird

The interview subjects in front of a backgrond reminiscent of Super Mario World
Super Mario Bros. Wonder director Shiro Mouri (left) and producer Takashi Tezuka (right). | Image: Cath Virginia / The Verge

Super Mario Bros. Wonder is a game filled with oddball ideas. Thanks to magical flowers that, once collected, introduce some unexpected new element, players experience everything from a bunch of Piranha Plants simultaneously bursting into song to Mario turning into a sentient pile of goo. It has so many ideas, in fact, that director Shiro Mouri wasn’t sure the team could pull it off. “At first when I heard that we’d be creating one wonder effect per course, and that all of the courses are going to have different wonder effects,” he tells The Verge, “I thought: ‘That’s stupid. That’s impossible.’”

As it turns out, the problem wasn’t so much coming up with ideas. The developers at Nintendo brainstormed a lot of potential powers — around…

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