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Super Mario Bros. Review

Developer: Nintendo Publisher: Nintendo
Release Date: October 1, 1985 Also On: GBA

A game that started a revolution. It put a system, a company, and a character all on the video game map. Super Mario Bros. was the pinnacle of gaming for its time. It proved that gaming could and would survive after the video game crash of 1984. To put it bluntly, without Super Mario Bros., gaming today would be drastically different, if it existed at all.

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The graphics in this game are not much of anything by today’s standards, but they were leaps and bounds ahead of anything that had been seen before that point. No Atari 2600 game would have had any chance to compete with it. Sure, as the NES era went on, better and better graphics found their way onto the console, but little if anything on its level existed for the first year or so after it was released. Suffice it to say that although the graphics are bad compared to the system’s capabilities, they were excellent for the level of capability of the NES that was exploited at the time of the system’s release.

What can be said about the sound? The sound effects are simply the most archaic known versions of traditional 2D Mario game sounds such as jumping, landing on enemies, and throwing fireballs. The music is also relatively simplistic, but it is insanely addictive. Indeed, just about anybody who has ever played Super Mario Bros. can remember the overworld theme from the game, and not just because it has been used, either in a remixed or edited version in so many other Mario games. Considering how simple sound standards were for its day, Nintendo did very well by the sound for this game.

So far as gameplay, you’ve got all the basic Mario platformer stuff. This means running and jumping will rule the day, as well as throwing fireballs when you get a fire flower. There is no puzzle solving and no flying, but rather just a game of pure survival. Indeed, the entire game can be completed without ever collecting a powerup if one truly feels the need to challenge themself. Like Mario games, there are some pipes that Mario can go down, and there are some of the castles that require specific patterns to proceed, but it is more a matter of guessing if you don’t know them than puzzle solving, hence my statement that there is no puzzle solving. Essentially, in each level you try to get Mario from the beginning to the end without dying. That’s it. None of the collect-a-thons or puzzles of today’s games, yet the game loses none of its fun due to its simplicity.

Depending on whether you want to be at it for a couple hours or just half an hour, there are warp zones that can be utilized to get Mario through the game faster if the person wants to use them. Obviously, there is no save feature for this game. The concept of saving one’s game wasn’t introduced until Legend of Zelda and even then was used sparingly. About the only complaint that I have is that the same boss appears in every castle, with the only difference being that a second attack is added for the last three, but, for its era, even that one little thing is highly forgivable.

Anymore, a game this simple would be lambasted for its simplicity and short length and thus accused of having a low replay value, and, by current standards, the people doing the lambasting would have a reasonable point, but not with this game. This game is fun, not because of long length or complexity, but because it does what it does very well. It is well worth playing again and again, unlike many games.

If you are reading this, and you have never played this game, shame on you. If you have an NES and don’t have it, go to your local video game store or pawn shop and get it. You should be able to get it very cheap, since umpteen million of these were made and distributed with NESs back in the day. If you don’t have an NES, you’re not beyond hope. Versions of this game exist for the SNES (All-Stars), GBC (SMB Deluxe), GBA (NES Classics: Super Mario Bros.) or GCN (unlockable in Animal Crossing). Let me abridge the entire review here. GET THIS GAME!

Graphics: 9
Sound: 9
Gameplay: 10
Creativity: 9
Replay Value/Game Length: 9
Final: 9.3
Written by Martin Review Guide