Super Mario Bros.

Here I go again playing some obscure game almost no one has heard of…

Review Date: February 4, 2021

Release Date: October 18, 1985

Platform: NES

Developer: Nintendo

Genre: Linear Platformer

Anecdotes: It’s autumn of 1985. My dad thought it would be a good idea to take 3rd grade me and my two younger brothers to Toys R Us to get a Nintendo. He bought us a Nintendo, which included this game, plus he bought Mach Rider. Because we were the first, people came over just to play this game. The cousins were over all the time until they got their own Nintendo. Even the only girl cousin our age joined in and she had no interest in gaming. Both houses looked for ways to record game footage as proof when someone finally beat 8-4. My parents admitted to playing the game while we were in school. Everyone loved this game, even people that didn’t normally play games. The game didn’t revive gaming alone, but it did do more than its fair share.

Super Mario Bros. is quite popular for speedrunners. Generally, there are two options: use the warps at 1-2 and 4-2 and only play 1-1, 1-2, 4-1, 4-2, and all of world 8, or play all 32 levels. They can run through levels like I’ve never seen and they do most of it as small Mario. They are quite amazing and I can not compete with that. Finding runs shouldn’t be too difficult on Twitch.

Description: At its simplest, you control Mario across 32 levels from left to right. Some levels can be skipped, but the object is to rescue Princess Toadstool (now officially known as Princess Peach, but I like calling her Toadstool) from Bowser. Each level is timed, but outside of 8-1, it rarely comes into play.

I turned this Bowser into a Goomba, leading to the shot below.
It sounds like Toad has no idea where Princess Toadstool is, either.

Positives: By far, my favorite part of this game was finding all of the surprises along the way: warp zones, rooms hidden in pipes, vines to the sky, hidden 1-ups, and what Bowser would turn into when he was killed by fire.

One surprise was when we first found Coin Heaven, a bonus area free of enemies.

The difficulty was fair, unlike Kaizo or Mario Maker levels, and the developers offered many ways of getting extra lives. With good timing at the end of 3-1, lives could be practically infinite.

With good timing and luck, Mario can get hundreds of lives.

Another great thing about Super Mario Bros. is the music. There isn’t a gamer out there that doesn’t know the overworld theme and most could hum every note of it. I really like the underground theme. It’s just the right pace. The star/Coin Heaven theme is all right and the underwater theme may be a bit of an earworm. Overall, though, it’s a good soundtrack.

This is one of three areas in the game that allows players to skip levels. The other two are accessed by having Mario go onto the ceiling in the underground levels and bypassing the exit pipe. This one is found by solving an invisible block puzzle.

Negatives: The ratchet scrolling makes even the slightest backtracking impossible. In some places, falling into a pit costs Mario his Super status and fireball ability, and there may not be any way to get it back for a few levels.

More screenshots:

Mario is just soaking in this whole experience.
Hey, there’s my buddy Lakitu! Can I borrow the Jugem Cloud?
Ah, yeah…my family grew to “love” the Hammer Brothers.
It’s SMB at night! Is the white color scheme snow?

Grade: A


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