In early 1990, an 11 year old Jason Venter sent Nintendo a design document proposing a new entry in the Super Mario Bros. franchise. Twenty-five years later he dug it out for us, along with the reply sent back to him from Nintendo of America HQ.
The adorably hand-made design document is 13 pages long, Venter tells us, and includes a hand-drawn map of a multi-world game, details for a potential controller set-up and gameplay, along with drawings of enemy type and characters.
"Bowser had an unknown brother," reads the synopsis for Super Mario Bros. 4 as proposed by the then-tweenager. "Bowser's brother took over Fantasy land with his tribe. Then he took the Princess. If Mario can rescue the princess, things will go back to normal."
"I've been a fan of Nintendo and its games for a long while, and this letter (partly) shows why," says Venter, originally posting a picture of Nintendo's letter on HonestGamers.com. "When I sent an unsolicited idea, the company didn't have to send a careful response, and didn't need to return my documents. Sending them through the paper shredder probably would have worked just as well.
"Instead, though, the company complimented me on my creativity and returned my plans so that I wouldn't have to feel my work was wasted....Still, I appreciate that Nintendo took me seriously and was so encouraging, even though what I received was likely just a form letter prepared in advance for just such an occasion."
You can look at the document sent to Nintendo in the gallery below, published with Venter's blessing.