Interplay Founder on Creating Mario Teaches Typing


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“They loved it and it was a huge success.”

Back when inXile Entertainment founder Brian Fargo was still head of Interplay, he created Mario Teaches Typing for Nintendo, and has since shared with IGN what it was like working on the project.

On the latest episode of our monthly interview show IGN Unfiltered, Fargo discussed how the idea for the game came about. “At the time, Mavis Beacon Teaches Typing was the big hit,” he said, noting he knew its creator Les Crane, who, in addition to being a radio announcer and television talk show host, was the chairman of The Software Toolworks.

Fargo said he “had seen somewhere that over half the people were buying [Mavis Beacon Teaches Typing] to teach their kid to type,” and so he thought a game like it with Mario as the instructor would be a great idea.

“So I thought, ‘Well, a teacher… What’s more interesting than a teacher but Mario?’ So I went to Nintendo and pitched them and they loved it and it was a huge success,” Fargo said.

However, Crane wasn’t particularly happy about the game’s success. In fact, when Fargo went to one of Crane’s shows, he said Crane “was giving me the stink eye.” Fargo later called him up to find out what was wrong, only to learn that Crane was upset with him because of his work on Mario Teaches Typing, which was in direct competition with his educational software.

Fargo also revealed how one poorly-crafted Mario product from another company ended Interplay’s Mario game-making relationship with Nintendo. “We did Mario Teaches Typing and then we did Mario’s Game Gallery. [Shigeru] Miyamoto liked what we were doing and so everybody was happy, and then somebody else came out with some other Mario product that was not high quality,” he explained. “And so they came back and said, ‘No more with Mario.’ And we said, ‘Yeah, but you like us.’ And he said, ‘Brian, we do but… no more.'”

In addition to Mario Teaches Typing, its sequel, Mario’s Game Gallery and the recently released smartphone game Super Mario Run, there are several other titles that branched out beyond Nintendo’s own hardware. Check out  IGN’s list of 8 Mario games released on non-Nintendo platforms for a look at a few of these games.

For more fascinating stories from Fargo as a game designer during the days of Interplay, check out the second part of this month’s IGN Unfiltered interview, which goes live this week.

Alex Osborn is a freelance writer for IGN. You can follow him on Twitter and subscribe to his YouTube channel.


Source: IGN Video Games

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