Tech demo

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Not to be confused with vaporware, a commercial product which presumably started development but never got released.

A tech demo is a computer and video game industry term referring to short applications designed to gauge interest in an upcoming product and/or to demonstrate hardware-specific features. Tech demos have various levels of interactivity, ranging from real-time videos to short but fully playable demonstrations. Tech demos are rarely intended to be turned into fully fledged commercial products, though their ideas and concepts are sometimes reused.

Due to its status as Nintendo's flagship franchise, the Super Mario franchise has been the subject of or has been featured in many tech demos. The following is a list of them.

List of Super Mario-related tech demos[edit]

Game System Image Description
snd_test Super Nintendo Entertainment System snd_test screenshot Features a basic playable Super Mario game, among several other features. The Super Mario mode (and variations thereof) is selected by choosing options 11 through 14, which are all labeled blank in the selection menu.[1]
Mario Demo Virtual Boy Mariodemo.png An animation sequence to show off the console's stereoscopic 3D effect, featured at the Japanese Shoshinkai event on November 15 and 16, 1994. The sequence shows a rendered Mario under the Virtual Boy logo, which flies into the viewer letter by letter.[2] The render of Mario is actually a photograph of a statue which was used as part of Nintendo store displays in Japan.[3]
Unnamed Donkey Kong Country proof-of-concept N/A A short, side-scrolling, split-level demo with a jungle background with Donkey Kong walking/running/jumping and some rats (lifted from the Game Boy Battletoads game) running around him to test the capabilities of the Virtual Boy. The art was lifted from Donkey Kong Country which had already gone through some conversion for Donkey Kong Land. The proof-of-concept was misremembered as an attempt to port Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy's Kong Quest to the Virtual Boy.[4]
morphdemo Nintendo 64 Screenshot of the Nintendo 64 tech demo morphdemo A basic demo that shows a cube morphing to a sphere with artwork of Mario from Super Mario All-Stars.
puzzle Screenshot of the Nintendo 64 tech demo puzzle A slide puzzle featuring artwork of Donkey Kong and Diddy Kong from Donkey Kong Country.
spritemonkeyEX Screenshot of the Nintendo 64 tech demo spritemonkeyEX A basic demo that shows images that can be interacted with to showcase the console's ability to manipulate images. The first picture features artwork of Donkey Kong and Diddy Kong from Donkey Kong Country.
Wario Land II samples Game Boy Color The sample tech demo based on Wario Land II from the Game Boy Color development kit Two sample demos based on Wario Land II included in the Game Boy Color development kit, showing the system's ability to display different colors.[5]
Yoshi Demo Game Boy Advance Yoshi Demo Loosely based on Yoshi's Story, it is unknown if this demo was ever meant to be a full game.[6]
Mario Kart XXL Title screen of the tech demo Mario Kart XXL A playable Mario Kart demo developed by Denaris Entertainment Software made to showcase the Game Boy Advance's ability to render two separate background layers.[7]
Purple Yoshi tech demo Alleged screenshot or mockup of a Game Boy Advance tech demo featuring a Purple Yoshi targeting its tongue towards an enemy on the right. Along with a meter gauge on the lower left, a star icon to the lower right, and a timer on the upper left. A tech demo starring a Purple Yoshi. IGN Pocket posted a watermarked screenshot of a presumed tech demo featuring a Purple Yoshi in a forest in a behind-the-back perspective as blue and red spider-like creatures attacked them. No other information about this alleged tech demo arose.[8][9]
Super Mario 128 Nintendo GameCube Title screen of the unreleased game Super Mario 128. A series of experiments originally intended to be a sequel to Super Mario 64. Concepts from this demo were used in other projects, such as Pikmin and Super Mario Galaxy.[10]
NDDEMO PC Entrance.png A tech demo included in a revision of the GameCube Software Development Kit, created to show developers the graphical capabilities of the console.[11]
Luigi's Mansion A pre-release version of Luigi's Mansion. Luigi's Mansion was originally shown off at Space World 2000 as a tech demo designed to show off the graphical capabilities of the Nintendo GameCube.[12][13]
Mario Kart for Nintendo GameCube Mario Kart: Double Dash!! Early A seven-second clip featuring Mario and Luigi driving karts using Super Smash Bros. Melee models. It was most likely reworked into Mario Kart: Double Dash!!.
Diddy Kong Racing tech demos Nintendo DS The Diddy Kong Racing Nintendo DS tech demo developed by the Climax Group Two tech demos based on Diddy Kong Racing developed by the Climax Group in May 2004, featuring a playable Diddy Kong in Timber's Island. These demos are unrelated to Diddy Kong Racing DS.[14]
Balloon Trip Balloon Trip A Super Mario World 2: Yoshi's Island-themed minigame making use of the Nintendo DS's touchscreen and dual screen setup. It ended up forming the basis of Yoshi Touch & Go.[15]
Mario's Face Screenshot from the unreleased tech demo, Mario's Face A tech demo featuring Mario and Wario's heads that could be squeezed or stretched in various ways, similar to the title screen for Super Mario 64.[16]
DSpeak The DSpeak tech demo at Nintendo's E3 2005 booth A tech demo featured at E3 2005 which showcased the DS's wireless communication and microphone capabilities. Each DS system displayed Mario's or Wario's head on the top screen. Their mouths were synchronized to the input of the opposing DS.[17]
Koopa Troopa Forest Wii Koopa Troopa Forest, a prototype for the Wii A demo showcasing the various ways pointer controls can be utilized.[18]
Mario FPS Mario FPS, a prototype for 3D control on the Wii A demo which tests 3D movement using motion controls. It uses Delfino Plaza as its environment.[19]
New Super Mario Bros. Mii Wii U NSMBM Title Screen.jpg An experience tech demo loosely based on New Super Mario Bros. Wii appearing at E3 2011. The demo's primary purpose was to show off the "Off-TV Play" function of the Wii U. It served as the basis for New Super Mario Bros. U.
Chase Mii Chase Mii, a tech demo that would become Mario Chase. It features Miis in Super Mario-themed costumes playing a game similar to tag. A refined version of this demo appears in Nintendo Land under the name Mario Chase.
Shield Pose Chase Mii, a tech demo that would become the Game & Wario game Pirates. A rhythm-based minigame in which the player moves the GamePad around to block attacks. Initially developed as pre-installed software for the console,[20] the demo's scope was expanded and it was reworked as the Game & Wario minigame Pirates.
Measure Up Measure Up, a tech demo that would become the Game & Wario game Shutter. A minigame in which the player is instructed to draw geometrical shapes. It was released as the Game & Wario minigame Design.
Zapper tech demo Zapper, a Wii U tech demo that would become the Game & Wario game Shutter. A minigame in which the player moves the GamePad to shoot Miis.[21] It ended up being the basis of the Game & Wario minigame Shutter.
Mario vs. Donkey Kong Wii U demo A tech demo for a Mario vs. Donkey Kong game that would become Mario vs. Donkey Kong: Tipping Stars Developed with Nintendo Web Framework (a development environment based on WebKit), the Mario vs. Donkey Kong Wii U demo was shown at GDC 2014, used as a sample to show the potential of Nintendo Web Framework. Like previous installments in the series, the goal of each level is to guide the Mini Marios to the exit, creating paths through the positioning of platforms and other interactions with the setting made through the touch screen of the GamePad. The first stage shows some of the basic features of Nintendo Web Framework, and then after this stage is a bigger stage, which brings more complex lighting effects and animations.[22][23] This title was reworked into Mario vs. Donkey Kong: Tipping Stars.


  1. ^
  2. ^ PlanetVirtualBoy (June 28, 2010). Mario Demo at Shoshinkai 1994 (Virtual Boy). YouTube. Retrieved March 7, 2018.
  3. ^ (September 12, 2023). Gold Super Mario Statue. Retrieved January 28, 2024. (Archived January 27, 2024, 05:39:17 UTC via Wayback Machine.)
  4. ^ Cameron. "Red Dead Reflection". DK Vine. Retrieved October 16, 2020.
  5. ^ Borman (April 17, 2020). 'Wario' CGB Samples Found. Obscure Gamers. Retrieved January 20, 2023. (Archived January 20, 2023, 17:02:31 UTC via Wayback Machine.)
  6. ^ [1]
  7. ^ Hard4Games (October 15, 2022). FOUND! Mario Kart XXL - The Unreleased Demo!. YouTube. Retrieved April 12, 2024.
  8. ^ LSuperSonicQ (February 17, 2018). The Mystery of the Purple Yoshi Tech Demo (Game Boy Advance, 2000). YouTube. Retrieved February 18, 2018.
  9. ^ August 11, 2000. IGNboards – The Joint is Jumping. Archived February 9, 2002.
  10. ^ [2]
  11. ^ [3]
  12. ^ Nintendo Gamecube, SpaceWorld 2000. YouTube.
  13. ^ Space World 2000 GameCube Movie Reel. YouTube.
  14. ^ @forestillusion (February 20, 2022). Twitter. Retrieved April 30, 2023. (Archived January 19, 2023, 21:24:37 UTC via
  15. ^ [4]
  16. ^ [5]
  17. ^ Craig Harris. (May 18, 2005). E3 2005: DSpeak Impressions. IGN. Retrieved October 2, 2022.
  18. ^ orcastraw. (July 20, 2021). [6]. Twitter. Retrieved December 14, 2021.
  19. ^ orcastraw. (July 20, 2021). [7]. Twitter. Retrieved December 14, 2021.
  20. ^ Iwata Asks: Game & Wario
  21. ^ Wii U Demo Software (Pre-Release). nindb. Archived from the original on October 29, 2014, 05:10:21 UTC via Wayback Machine. Retrieved January 19, 2023.
  22. ^ Mario Vs. Donkey Kong Wii U Demo Playable at GDC - Mario Party Legacy
  23. ^ [8]