Retro Nintendo! - Super Mario Bros.

It’s-a me! Super Mario!

Originally released in 1985 for NES and Famicom, There is little doubt that Super Mario Bros. has an immense legacy. Mario is one of the oldest and most recognizable names in pop culture. It's one of the earliest titles in what would become one of the biggest and most well-known gaming franchises to ever exist. In fact, it’s considered one of the greatest games of all time and in the context of the time period in which it was released, it definitely is something special that earned that legacy without question. 

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Super Mario Bros. has players playing as, well, The Mario Bros. The gist is that Princess Toadstool(She wasn’t called Peach in the west until Yoshi’s Safari 8 years later) has been kidnapped by the evil Bowser and it's up to the Mario Bros to save her. Single-player just has the player as Mario with Luigi being playable in 2 player mode. Mario must make his way through the Mushroom Kingdom across 8 worlds, each divided into 4 stages in a sidescrolling adventure. At the end of each world is a castle stage where Mario confronts Bowser before moving on to the next in search of the princess. Platforms and blocks dot the levels requiring Mario to jump to clear obstacles and acquire power-ups such as a mushroom that makes Mario bigger and a fire flower that lets Mario shoot little fireballs. If he gets hit, he shrinks and loses the power-up. Another hit while small results in Mario losing a life. And lives aren’t easy to get, Mario only starts with 3 and gets extras via acquiring 100 coins across the various stages. It's simple and also pretty challenging. Oftentimes you’ll have to time your jumps carefully to navigate the platforms and also avoid the enemies which get increasingly more numerous. Goombas, Koopas, Piranha Plants and more stand in Marios way. Making it to the end of the game can take a little while and unless you know a certain button input(Or are playing on a modern device with the option of “save states”) you’ll have to start all the way from the beginning when that last life is lost. There’s no save option but I don’t fault the game for that. Game saves weren’t a common sight in those days and didn’t become standard practice until later. 

Visually, it's a colorful adventure with music that amazingly doesn’t become too repetitive. The soundtrack which includes the famous Mario theme was composed by Koji Kondo, a name Nintendo fans will surely recognize as this genius also gave us the Legend of Zelda soundtrack and some of the most iconic music in all of gaming.hyperchargeunboxed 2

Super Mario Bros. is frequently lauded as one of the greatest games of all time and I can see it. For its time, there really wasn’t anything like this. Mario came with a unique experience and one of the first real instances of noteworthy sound design in a game. The franchise would go on to become one of the biggest ever and would span countless sequels, spin-offs, and so much more that many would remember fondly. Bowser likewise would become one of the most memorable video game villains ever and would constantly make appearances across the franchise and beyond, even becoming playable in some cases. The regular enemies, the goombas, koopas, lakitus etc, are instantly recognizable minions. Some of my favorite characters in the franchise are koopas(Looking at you Koops). More than any of that, Mario came in at a time when the gaming industry was nearly done. It and the NES are credited as major reasons the great crash of ‘83 wasn’t the end of it all. It popularized the sidescrolling genre and no doubt served as inspiration for many many games since. Yes Mario is everywhere these days, but this review, the site that it's on and so much more probably wouldn’t exist if this plumber hadn’t gone out to save the day. An excellent game in its own right and one that is more than worthy of the legacy it created. 

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GF Retro Review Scores:

Gameplay: 4/5 - The platforming is fun but can feel a little cheap here and there. It’s still a fun time though

Visuals: 5/5 - While not as detailed as future installments, it's still good for its time. I can appreciate the little details in the different stages. Plus its colorful!

Sound: 5/5 - The soundtrack is fun and memorable. No wonder these tunes get remixed endlessly

Final: 5/5 - It's a fun experience and a game that was pretty much revolutionary for the time. I cannot overstate the significance of this particular game and how inconceivably different the world would be without it

About Author:
Nothing too special, just a gamer, reader and music lover from Kansas! I love writing and woodworking!
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