A surprise finding on the disks of Darren Melbourne, with an unofficial and early Mario game from 1983 which has been lost for some time!
At the moment , we do not know for sure if this game actually got released – but Jeremy Thorne’s other game – Mario’s Brewery was released in 1983, without official Nintendo endorsement.
Thanks to a blog post here, we learn from the comments that Jeremy was just 14 when he wrote the game, and was part of a series of three titles, including Mario’s Brewery and Pubjumper Mario. They were written for 4K cartridges, hence were very simple affairs!
Firefighter Mario is a Vanguard clone, with Mario in a firetruck – having to put out fireball enemies, and then destroy a large flame on top of a building. The game scrolls in a variety of directions, just like Vanguard. It’s not the best game in the world, but for 1983 and 4K, you cannot really complain!
Hopefully Jeremy will get in touch some day – sadly Pubjumper Mario is still missing, but at least one more of the trio is now safe!
Contributions: Darren Melbourne
Jeremy Thorne speaks about his games via this blog post:
“Jeremy Thorne here. I definitely owe the C64 community an explanation for this awful game.
I was 14 in 1983, in high school and working in my spare time for a 2% royalty: I wrote cartridge games (in raw machine code) for a local shop with no QA or scruples. They wanted to capitalize very early on the lack of software for the C64 by churning out arcade knockoff cartridge games as quickly as they could manage. It worked. They sold several thousand of these!
FYI, on one other site some users complained about not knowing how to get to the next level. Jump on the switch. There are only two levels, though, since I was only given a 4K ROM to work with for the cartridge! So I was actually working not so much on a C-64 as a C-4.
I also wrote Pubjumper Mario (A “Popeye” knockoff, featuring a large bouncer in Bluto’s role) and Firefighter Mario (A “Vanguard” knockoff with Mario in a fire truck spraying water to put out fireball enemies.) I don’t know if anyone managed to save those. They were marginally better games, which isn’t saying much. I wonder if I have copies of those old cartridges sitting around anywhere…”