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Monday, September 5, 2011

Game 2 - Super Mario Brothers

System: Nintendo
Release date: 1985
Developer: Nintendo
Genre(s): Platforming
Series: Mario Brothers

For Starters:

      This game is a classic. It was THE game that defined Nintendo back in the mid-80's. Sadly it was not my first Nintendo experience, but it was the 2nd NES game I even played growing up.
      I am going to try and be honest with this, and try not to get too carried away. This isTHE classic NES game, that really put Nintendo on the map. Nintendo packaged their system with Super Mario Brothers, and in doing so,created an immiediate phenomenon. Super Mario Brothers was THE game to play when I was growing up. All the talk at school was about what level you got to, and if you used the warp zones. Weekends consisted of getting together with friends and playing Super Mario until the late hours.

      I did play the original Mario Brothers on the Atari, but I was still young enough when Idid, that I really didn't understand video games at the same level as I would later in life. It was one game of many that my brother had available on his old Atari 800 system, and not one of the ones I would play as frequently as Dig Dug or Joust, or Pharaoh's Curse. Unfortunately, I must confess, that even to this very day I have never beaten Super Mario Brothers. I remember watching all my friends beating it, by using the various warp zones within the game. I guess being a little bit of a perfectionist, even back then, I never really believed

in utilizing these warp zones. I was of the mind set that a game should be conquered one level at a time, in order. I did not believe in skipping levels, just to achieve victory. So while my friends would all skip to world 4, then 8, I would be back trudging through each world in sequence. My friends would beat the game, and then be done, and I would usually be somewhere in world 2 or 3. Even when I finally got a NES of my own, I would still revisit this game on my own, and try to beat it one world at a time. I could never do it. I will continue to try, and I know it will only be a matter of time, before I too can declare that I have defeated Bowser.

The Good:

    This game has everything a young eager gamer could want. Two player mode, chances to earn extra lives all throughout the game, warp zones, secrets, and  ample power ups. Anyone who has played this game more than a few times will quickly learn where to find the 1up mushrooms, that 100 coins will give you an extra life, and that repeadtedly bouncing a turtle shell against a nearby wall will eventually provide you with a butt-load of extra lives in a few moments time. Yes Super Mario Brothers provided the player a multitude of ways to earn extra lives.

    The goal of this game is to conquer 8 worlds, each with 4 levels, in order to rescue a princess being held hostage by a mutant turtle dragon named Bowser. Each level provides growth mushrooms, and fire flowers as power ups, however you must first get the growth mushroom before getting a fire flower. Fire flowers make life a hell of a lot easier as you work your way through each stage, allowing you to pummel the enemies with fireballs that kill in one shot! Without the fire flower, you have to rely on jumping on each enemy, squishing them flat. The only opponents that will not die by fire balls are the spiked turtles, buzzy beatles, or the bullet bills.....but that's why the invicibility star was created.
    The other secret, although kinda pointless, is to reach the end of each level, with the number displaying on the timer ending in a 1, 3, 6, or 9. This will of course cause the level to end with 1, 3, 6, or 9 fireworks erupting from the little castle.

The Bad:

    While there are numerous good points to this game, this game is not perfect, and does have it's flaws. While most of the enemies are easy enough, there are a few that are a pain in the ass to deal with. The most prevalent one in my mind is of course the Hammer Brothers. The bullet bills are also a pain in the ass, since they often times will come at you from different heights. You can duck one, only to be hit by a lower-flying one that comes in from the right slightly after. The Piranha Plants are also sometimes annoying in that they will sometimes pop out of the pipe when you are least expecting it. It also seems to happen whenever you are working your way through a board where thare are lots of pipes all in a row, and you are jumping from pipe-top to pipe-top.

    The game controls are pretty simple, but the ability to make jumps across higher or wider gaps can be difficult. World 6-3 for example, has multiple gaps, and platforms that will drop straight down when you jump on them. This makes advancing to the next platform difficult, since it's usually located at a higher spot on the screen. You really have to learn to master the "B-run" technique, in order to avoid falling to your death.

    Yes this game is the Nintendo Franchise game. It is a classic, that has seen it's progression on to each new console that Nintendo has released. Sadly enought though, the game is usually only replayable a few times before you do feel like it's been done to death. The sequels to this game (Super Mario 2 and Super Mario 3) did things differently enough that even to this day I find them highly re-playable. While Super Mario Brothers is a classic game, that does provide some nostalgia for a retro gamer, and may even provide a common thread amongst old school gamers and the younger generation gamers, it is still a game that, once beaten, often times finds itself placed up on shelf gathering dust, both literally, and figuratively.

Up next.......Excitebike (NES)