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Super Mario Bros. (NES) artwork

Super Mario Bros. (NES) review


"You’ll find that every plat-former made since then has copied the formula of Super Mario Bros. to some extent. Characters collect items, find new ways to defeat enemies, and explore “levels’ of unique environments."



Super Mario Bros. has the word “Super” in it for a reason. It not only defines plat-formers, but sets the standard for them as well. Mario, the star of Donkey Kong fame went on to star in Donkey Kong Jr. where he played the non-playable villain of the game, then to Mario Bros., a beat-em up version of a plat forming game where he teamed up with his brother Luigi to rid the sewers of koopas, crabs, and flies. I guess they left Batman to take care of the sewer gators.

All these games were highly fun and addictive, but they also had one more thing in common. They all had single screens. Sure, the screens varied a bit, but you always felt stuck in one place. You couldn’t explore too far or even see half a dozen levels, but that’s when Super Mario Bros. came in to shake the world of plat-forming up.

Like Pitfall! before it, Super Mario Bros. featured multiple areas to explore, items to collect, and enemies to avoid. Unlike Pitfall!, the game featured only one screen, but that screen was a super long screen full of enemies, items, and extremely well-designed scenery.

Mario could travel through levels which scrolled with him instead of him constantly walking to the edge of the screen. He would come across items like coins, power-ups like Fire Flowers which would totally change the way the character played, and enemies which could be defeated unlike Pitfall!.

When Mario reached the end of the level, he would instantly be taken to a whole new level of adventure. Unique levels were not something generally seen in video games then. The colors changed in Ms. Pac-Man and the stages randomly switched in Berzerk, but no game had the variety of environments that Super Mario Bros. had.

The stages vary from day to night, from walks in the park to jumping off floating platforms to save your life. Every 4th level would feature a boss which could be defeated by hitting a switch or throwing fireballs. If a world was too difficult for you, you could find a hidden Warp Zone which may or may not give you the option of where you want to warp to.

This variety gave gamers a new reason to play Super Mario Bros. no matter how frustrating the game may be at times. It’s also this variety that makes Super Mario Bros. worth playing today.

You’ll find that every plat-former made since then has copied the formula of Super Mario Bros. to some extent. Characters collect items, find new ways to defeat enemies, and explore “levels’ of unique environments.

The graphics don’t hold up as much as the gameplay, but there is some charm in the simplicity of the character design and you have to respect the designers for such quality using early 8 bit graphics. The sound effects are much deeper in tones than the Atari 2600 and other previous game consoles. The music alone features songs that are easy to hum to and help make the experience enjoyable no matter what trials await you.

Super Mario Bros. may not be as played as much as its sequels, but you should at least play it to understand the basics of plat-form games in general if nothing else. I give this game two plumbers up.

You can play this game on NES, SNES (Super Mario All-Stars, Super Mario All-Stars/Super Mario World), GCN (Animal Crossing unlockable game), Wii (Super Mario All-Stars), Virtual Console, Gameboy Color (Super Mario Bros. DX), and Gameboy Advance (NES Classic Series: Super Maro Bros.)

Rating: 9/10

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Community review by japanaman (March 30, 2011)

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CoarseDragon posted April 01, 2011:

You want to use "platformer" in the review no hyphen or spaces.
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Masters posted April 01, 2011:

I thought that as well, but otherwise I enjoyed the review.

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