There is not much left to say about this game. After the video game crash in the mid-1980’s, an unknown company called Nintendo better known for making playing cards released the Nintendo Entertainment System, and Super Mario Bros. was their debut game. Borrowing a bit from Atari’s Pitfall, it reminded us that crossing obstacles running left to right can be rewarding. Super Mario Bros. has scrolling so a level could be long and things would gracefully leave the screen on the left, and appear on the right.
SMB had a number of firsts. It taught us that a character’s jump could be a little floaty and that’s okay. It taught us what good underwater physics feels like. It taught us that we could warp to a later part of a level, or even warp to a later “World” in the game if you knew where to look.
The notion that eating a mushroom would make you larger is, as far as I’m aware, new to video games, but not new to literature. It was inspired by Alice in Wonderland. Other than grow large, you could eat a “Fire Flower” and shoot fireballs, or eat a Star and retain temporary invincibility. Later Mario games would give you other abilities, like the ability to fly, or turn into metal, but the aforementioned three things are all you get in SMB.
Series regulars are here, such as Bullet Bill, and the Hammer Brothers. Your main enemy is still the Goomba mushroom, and the Koopa turtles, which are to be jumped on. It’s silly that a plumbing pipe, which happens to be bright green, could be filled with plant life, but that’s where our friend the Pirhana Plant lives.
There are two ways to play, jump straight to the Warp Zones, and get to the last World, World 8, in two quick steps Or, you can play each level individually, and there are still Warp Pipes, that can advance you farther through the level. Something about NES’s added power over the Atari made this a more accessible kind of video game. No longer for basement dwellers, entire families could enjoy a game of Super Mario Brothers. Nintendo felt so strongly about building hardware for families, that in Japan, the NES is called the Famicom, short for Family Computer. Nintendo’s dream of family-friendly entertainment continued with the Wii, and continues to this day with the Nintendo Switch.
After Super Mario 64 changed what a Mario game is, there came to be so much demand for a 2D Mario game again that Nintendo created New Super Mario Bros. for Nintendo DS. There are now four games in this series. Not to mention SMB served as a blueprint for other companies entering the industry, as we’ve seen with Capcom’s Mega Man series and Konami’s Castlevania. I can’t help but give this game five stars for its influence and for reviving a struggling industry, but I feel like I could beat it blindfolded.