#97 Super Mario Bros.

Posted: 7th December 2010 by Mulholland in Games
Tags: , , , ,

6th game played so far

Genre: Platformer
Platform: NES
Year of Release: 1985
Developer: Nintendo
Publisher: Nintendo

It may seem a little bit odd to cover another Mario already but there must be in excess of 20 different games (this could be an exaggeration) featuring this plumber so it’s a good idea to get a few out-of-the-way early.

I say get out-of-the-way but we are talking about the big daddy of them all, the title responsible for the renaissance of console gaming after the money pit that was the Atari E.T. game.

We all know the story about some fire-breathing turtle stealing a princess and then some Italian in a red hat goes off to save her, massacring the Goomba population of the Mushroom Kingdom as he goes along. Then again Super Mario Bros. sold over 40 million copies worldwide and is widely regarded as the most influential game in the history of the industry. However brief that history may be.

Our Playthrough

We decided that the most democratic way was for us to play through this was together using two player. I tried to go through it normally whilst Jeroen made heavy use of the warp pipe cheat. At least this way we get a good look at most of the worlds.

Our Thoughts

The first Mario platformer. Not first Mario game, thanks to the Donkey Kong series and Mario Bros. But the first proper platformer?

Well it definitely made side-scrolling platformers a household name. Not sure there were many before that attempted to do that. Yeah, none that I can think of right now to be sure, and it made Nintendo a household name.

Don’t forget that it saved home console gaming. It’s strange to think that we may not be sitting in a world of Wiis and PS3s if not for this game. I think there were many NES games responsible for it, not this one, but Super Mario Bros. is obviously most closely linked to the console, simply because you normally got the game when you got a NES.

True, and I think it was just able to take the world by storm because it flows naturally and just feels innovative. Unlike Duck HuntYou won’t understand Duck Hunt until you’ve used the light gun to try to shoot the dog laughing at you. I’ve played Point Blank and had similar experiences with various mini-games.


Of course let us not forget that this game originated all the Mario paraphernalia (minus Mario himself). Bowser, Peach, Toads, Goombas, Hammer Bros, Bullet Bills… I could go on. They are such parts of gaming culture that it’s like they’ve always been there. And even some that you keep remembering were in there already (for me at least), like the jellyfish.


As a game, it’s a good game. It’s hard to compare now, really, as the subsequent games improved on the formula, but the original is still fun to play. The graphics aren’t great, it might be lacking in variety, palette swaps may be everywhere. The challenge is there though. It’s unforgiving at times and extremely compelling, even if one level if just the photo-negative of another.

The challenge is there, and you can tell that’s what matters here. As well as the music; it may be crappy in quality, but they’re instantly recognisable. Well just 3-4 notes in and it feels homely. Like an old pair of slippers that you’ve perfectly broken in. Always a pleasure to slip in and out of. And I think that goes for the entire game.

Yeah, there are so many things other games have done better. But the game works, it’s solid, and it’s fun to just play, whether it’s the original NES version or one of the many remakes. And I suspect that, with the way it’s been everywhere, it’s the closest to a shared experience gamers around the world have.

That and Tetris. Yeah, but less face it – would you rather look at Russian buildings or eat a flower so you can start shooting fire (from your nose, if you look at the sprites used for it in this game). Both, then I’d be like Godzilla.

Anyway, I look forward to covering The Lost Levels in a month or so. And Lost Levels will be interesting. Possibly the best example of an early level pack. And a game not released outside Japan until the release of Super Mario All-Stars for the SNES. But more on that once we reach that game!

Final Thoughts

The word classic comes to mind, and I know it’s a word we’re going to use often, but it’s the best to describe why Super Mario Bros. deserves to be in here. Addictive, fun, instantly recognisable, and who hasn’t played it? Worth a look for everyone, not just for historical value, but to see how far you can get and how well you do. And to see why Goombas actually look like mushrooms.

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