Mario Takes America
A Toronto-based developer called Cigam approached Philips Media about making an edutainment game starring Mario. Impressed by their pitch, Philips immediately granted Cigam funds so they could begin to work on the project.
Footage was filmed, with some of the shots using vehicles such as helicopters, camera cars, and speedboats. The game was announced in an issue of the UK CD-i magazine, and early footage was shown at the New York CDi 3 conference and the 1994 Winter CES.
Though ambitious, development was difficult as the full-motion backgrounds taxed the capabilities of the CD-i, with the first programmer quitting early in development due to the CD-i's limited capabilities. Near the end of the development, the producer comissioned a "backup" game which replaced Mario with his original character, a rock & roll star named "Metal" and his roadie sidekick "Heavy". Another "backup" had Sonic the Hedgehog replacing Mario, which was produced without express permission from SEGA.
According to the UK CD-i magazine announcement, the game would have featured Mario using multiple vehicles (mentioning truck, train, car, aeroplane, helicopter, and a motorbike as being usable) during the game and that it would take place on Earth (in a manner not unlike Super Mario's Wacky Worlds, another canceled CD-i project) and more specifically, the United States of America. The plot of the game would have Mario arriving at New York and travelling across America in order to reach Hollywood to star in his own feature film.
A post made on the ASSEMbler Games forum made by a developer of the project sheds more light on the planned progression. According to him, the game would feature Mario traversing the New York skyline in an helicopter, the Niagara Falls upper rapids to Falls, the Niagara Gorge to a whirlpool, a car factory in Detroit, the Carlsbad Caverns, a space shuttle ride in Florida, Fort Knox, the Louisiana Bayou in a speedboat, a train fight atop a steam train in Texas, a highway motorcycle race in Monument Valley, a Neon Race in Las Vegas, and a car race in Los Angeles that takes place at night. The final sequence of the game would have taken place at Grauman's Theatre, in which Mario would have to defeat all of the enemies he encountered throughout the game.
The gameplay had a 2D sprite of Mario ("rendered as he was in the cartoons") superposed over full-motion video footage of the location. The gameplay would vary for each level - the New York sequence was a 2D sidescroller while the Texas train fight had Mario standing atop one of the cars and watch enemies climb the forward car.