i had to set aside my resolution to tone down on the number of sequels i’ve been playing temporarily in order to commemorate the 100th game i’ve completed since i started keeping track of my renewed gameplaying obsession a few years ago. to mark the occasion i decided to play through probably the most iconic video game of all time, the original super mario bros. for the NES.
i’d squeezed in a quick playthrough a while back, but for this occasion i sat down and played through both “quests” without warping. i was also going to try to do it all without any continues and without using the extra lives cheat in 3-1, but in the end i had to use the continue cheat after all. although i have world 8 pretty much completely memorized, i haven’t played world 7 as much as the rest of the game; but i was pleasantly surprised to find that the game wasn’t going to just be a mindless nostalgia trip.
what’s there to say about the game that hasn’t already been said? the game has been rightfully universally praised, and it’s easily one of the top landmarks of video game history; it’s hard to imagine its influence will ever be underestimated. even after countless playthroughs there’s no doubt that this game absolutely holds up and is as much fun as ever. the characters, pacing, powerups, design, music, graphics, gameplay, everything is just fantastic, with each world offering up surprises. from our modern-day persective and hundreds of mario games later it’s easy to take all of its innovations and wacky creativity for granted, and it’s only when we stop to think about how crazy the whole setup is (plumbers in the mushroom kingdom?) that we get a glimpse of how sad and dark a world without mario and company would be.
even after all this time i’m still noticing little details in the game. for example, a while back the good folk at gonintendo linked to a post that pointed out that the bushes are just the clouds colored green, and this playthrough i noticed that the flagpoles are different colors depending on the stage. and i haven’t even gotten into all the dumb stuff that people have found out about the game since it was released that have added to the game’s appeal, like the infamous minus world glitch, the jumping over the flagpole glitch, and the dancing on the ivy trick. (and i’m sure i’m not the only one who still makes the mario face out of the bricks in that one bonus room.)
[as a side note, i happened to be reading an old issue of nintendo power (feb 2006, vol. 200) and in it kazuaki morita, one of the programmers of the game, mentions that when they first heard about the infinite lives cheat he and miyamoto “thought the call was a hoax”, but that when they tested it out he had “a real scare”. he concludes by saying, “Fortunately, very fortunately, the ‘unlimited Mario’ cheat had a ton of PR value as word spread, because I sweated bullets over what might happen!” haha. awesome.]
although i’m keeping this post short, there’s nothing small about my love for this game. in looking over the many, many games i’ve played over the years, somehow the original super mario bros. still tops my list of all-time favorites, even after all these years. the world is forever indebted to the genius that is mario creator shigeru miyamoto and all the good folk at nintendo who worked on SMB and continue to give us great gaming experiences even now, a quarter of a century later. it’s because of them that i am and will always be a nintendo fanboy. here’s to another quarter of a century (and more) of great nintendo games! 🙂
whoo hoo! mario (and ‘uigi’s) super links!
– nice nostalgic review of the game at videogamecritic.net
– themushroomkingdom.net has a great site on the game including the text of the instruction manual and tons of useless factoids, like the number of goombas in the game (142).