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Concept and creation
Goombas first appeared in the video game Super Mario Bros., and was the last enemy put into the game. People stated that the Koopa Troopa was too hard an enemy, so the designers decided to introduce the Goomba as a basic enemy. When they decided to do this, however, they had very little space left in the game. They used a single picture twice to make people think the Goombas are walking, rotating it back and forth, causing it to look lopsided as it walks and giving the motion the appearance of a trot. The Goomba's resemblance to the Super Mushroom forced designers to change what the Super Mushroom does and what it looks like. They used the Goomba's ability to be jumped on and defeated to teach players how to deal with enemies and to not fear the Super Mushroom. The Goombas are designed after a kind of mushroom called shiitake. Early pictures for the Super Mario Bros. film showed that the design of the Goombas were originally intended to be for Koopa Troopas, another kind of Mario enemy. A separate company from the primary makeup departments designed the Goombas in the film.
Reception and promotion
The Goomba has become an icon of the Mario series, both in its appearance and the concept of "stomping on them", often referenced as one of the key elements of the original Super Mario Bros. IGN editor Craig Harris described the Goomba as a "household name" along with Koopa Paratroopas and King Koopa. Video game musician and reviewer Tommy Tallarico commented that many new converts to gaming have "never even made Super Mario smoosh a Goomba". In a criticism of video game storytelling, Gamasutra editor Daniel Cook referenced Goombas being mushrooms, but also that it was a less important fact than them being squat, to-scale with the world, and able to be squashed. In an article discussing happiness in video games, Gamasutra editor Lorenzo Wang listed the sound the Goomba makes when it's squished as one of his pleasures. IGN editor Mark Birnhaum praised the sound effects of Super Mario Bros., giving similar praise to the sound of the Goomba being stomped on. It was compared to the Met enemy from the Mega Man series, calling them the "Goomba of the Mega Man series." Crave Online editor Joey Davidson described the Goomba as the series' "everyman", describing it as both defenseless and of little threat, listing such exceptions as the giant Goombas seen in Super Mario Galaxy. A common enemy in Braid has been compared to the Goomba, Gaming Age editor Dustin Chadwell calling it a "slightly skewed version of the Goomba. The Goombas were included in the Ice Capades show featuring characters from the Mario series.
The Super Mario Bros. film version of the Goomba has received negative reception. IGN editor Jesse Schedeen called Bowser and his Goombas the most screwed up part of the film, commenting that it would be difficult to create a live action version of the Goomba that deviates from the original version more than this. An Entertainment Weekly article called the design creepy, stating that its "foam-latex skin had to be baked for five hours at 200 degrees to achieve that lovely reptilian effect." The facial design of the character Venom in Spider-Man 3 was compared to the film version's of the Goomba by Crave Online, describing Venom's face as stupid, short, and rounded. Hal Hinson of the Washington Post called the Goombas "big dumb goons with shrunken little dino heads", yet also calling them the "best movie heavies since the flying monkeys in "The Wizard of Oz"".
Goomba plush toys have been created by Nintendo. In 1990, a few Mario characters became part of a series of McDonald's Happy Meal toys, as part of a way to promote the release of Super Mario Bros. 3. The Mario toy set featured Mario in his Raccoon form, Luigi, a Koopa Paratroopa, and a Goomba. A plush Goomba that plays the Goomba "defeat" noise as well as the Game Over tune at certain points was released.
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