49: Super Mario Bros.

Genre: Platformer

Developer: Nintendo
Publisher: Nintendo
Year: 1985

Basic Idea: Defeat Bowser and find the princess in another castle if you can manage to pluck yourself away the minus worlds.

Review: The game that put Nintendo on the map, this is one of the most distinct launch titles ever behind Tetris (Gameboy) and Wii Sports.  I remember this being the first NES game I played as well, and I promptly got killed by the first goomba.  At first I felt the game was too hard, but I quickly got over it and soon enough mastered the game, including accessing said minus worlds and getting crazy amounts of extra lives jumping on koopas.

I’ll still play it on occasion, but it only holds my attention for so long.  I dislike the fact that getting hit as Fire Mario turns you into small Mario.  I dislike the swimming levels.  And I dislike how samey Bowser is in each castle.  It is fun to kill him with fireballs and see what enemy he turns into.

Anyway, a solid game that hasn’t aged terribly well but made so cleanly that it can still be picked up and played today.

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14 thoughts on “49: Super Mario Bros.

  1. …why is this behind Wii Sports as a launch title?

    Anyway, this set a high bar for side-scrolling platformers at the time. There’s not a whole lot wrong with it (though I too dislike how Fire Mario turns into little Mario. If he goes up one by one, why does he lose two in that situation?

    I remember thinking this was hard – briefly. The first night we got our Nintendo I couldn’t pass 1-2. I probably beat it inside a week and proceeded to do so about eleventy thousand times.

    Also, I’ve played probably five minutes of Dragon Warrior – the entire series. I had Final Fantasy and I guess it was enough for me, because I almost never branched out.

    • By distinct I mean memorable and not better than. Wii Sports is not all that fantastic but nearly everyone knows it and it is the highest selling game of all time.

      • I’m not sure I’d say it’s more memorable. Super Mario Bros. would still have sold a crap-ton of units if it wasn’t packaged with the system (and indeed, it has done so on the Wii Virtual Console and in other places) but Wii Sports isn’t even the best Wii sports collection anymore. A few years from now, yeah, people will still know Wii sports, but not like they know SMB. Well, besides the younger generation, of course…

  2. The only problem (and I mean the only problem) with this game is that after playing 2 and 3 (and really, any of the characters in the rest of the series) there’s no need to play this one except for nostalgia. 2 and 3’s controls are so much more crisp, the level layout is superior, and the enemies are more interesting.

    This was a great, great game, and it opened the door to gaming. It’s just not a door I pass through very often anymore.

    • That pretty much sums it up for me. I tried playing the real Super Mario Bros. 2 (lost levels) when I got older, and it held no interest for me. it appeared to be more difficult, but had the exact same graphics and general gameplay so I was bored quickly.

      • I loved the Lost Levels. I loved how hard it was (and yes, it was way more difficult, which is why it was decided to turn Doki Doki Panic into SMB2 here rather than port it over). I don’t remember it well, though, since I only ever had it on a Mario collection on my SNES, and I don’t even know where my SNES is. This disturbs me greatly, as it was probably my all-time favorite system until at least PS2 or maybe PS3.

        • I’m with you on this. I played the Lost Levels obsessively. The one jump toward the end where you have to make a blind, jump all the way across the screen onto a piranha plant was a moment that I forgot about when compiling my top 50, beating it would’ve ranked.

          Linds and I dusted off the SNES for some simple Mario Kart last weekend. It’s ghetto as hell, but still incredibly fun.

          • Mario Kart, ghetto? Ha ha. My friends and I played battle mode obsessively.

            Guess I’ll have to dust off Lost Levels at some point.

          • Oh, I know what you’re saying. But at the time the technology was amazing. I feel the same way about playing Star Fox. It’s also funny that you say Mario Kart is ghetto in a post about SMB, a far inferior game graphically.

  3. …and what decent gamer among us can’t hum/whistle/skat the theme songs from beginning to end still?

    Let this be stuck in your heads for the rest of the day:

  4. Again, Beau, I thought this would be higher on your list. I enjoyed playing it, but my biggest complaint about that game was lack of a save feature. I never won the game because I couldn’t get through in one sitting–I was too busy being a mom whose children’s needs were more important than any Nintendo game. Okay, barf time! :} Also, I got very tired of playing the beginning levels over and over again. It would have been much nicer to pick up from your last saved level.

    • Very few games these days don’t allow saving, but the main reason is that most games are simply longer today. Super Mario Bros can be beat in about thirty to ninety minutes depending on the path you take, and if you can’t beat it in that amount of time, you’re probably running out of lives.

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