The National Strong Game Museum in Rochester, NY has received a PC port demo of Super Mario Bros. 3, developed in 1990 by the future founders of id Software.
In 1990, id Software co-founders Tom Hall and John Carmack, who were at the time at Softdisk, developed technology to allow smooth screen scrolling in all directions on EGA adapters.
Back then, the developers didn’t have the original graphics yet, so they copied the first level of Super Mario Bros. 3, but instead of Mario, they used the main character of the game Dangerous Dave, John Romero, which was published by Softdisk.
The project was later turned into a full-fledged demo, which was shown to Nintendo and proposed to develop a full-fledged PC port of Super Mario Bros. 3. However, the company refused.
In the same year, the founder of Apogee Software (3D Realms) Scott Miller contacted Romero, who offered to cooperate with the developers. The first game for the new publisher was Commander Keen in Invasion of the Vorticons, which used technology from the same demo.
Hall, Carmack, Romero, and artist Adrian Carmack soon left Softdisk to found id Software on February 1, 1991, and in 2015 John Romero posted a gameplay recording of a demo version of the PC port of Super Mario Bros. 3.
Strong museum curator Andrew Borman said the donation was made by a developer who received a demo while working. The demo also contains levels 1-4, according to Bormann. The curator noted that they do not plan to show the demo to museum visitors. Instead, it will be available upon request to researchers and other interested parties.