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Remembering Super Mario Bros.

by Justin Berube, Bryan Rose, and Donald Theriault - September 9, 2015, 9:19 am EDT
Total comments: 9

We share our thoughts and memories of Super Mario Bros. in honor of the 30th Anniversary of the game.

Super Mario Bros. turns 30 this month. The fact that we are still talking about this game and series after all these years is a testament to how significant it has been since the start. Throughout the course of the month we here at Nintendo World Report will be sharing our thoughts and memories of different games in the Super Mario Bros. series. Today we are discussing Super Mario Bros.

While the following comments are from our staff we encourage our readers to share their own thoughts in the Talkback section below. Happy 30th Anniversary Super Mario Bros.

Justin Berube, Features Editor

Super Mario Bros. was the game that made me a Nintendo fan all those years ago. It wasn't the first video game I played, but it was my first home console experience. I remember thinking it was amazing that I could control what was happening on the TV rather than just sitting and experiencing entertainment. It was as if I was given some sort of control for the first time ever.

Even though Super Mario Bros. did steal ideas from other games at the time, it managed to be revolutionary for combining the good ideas into one complete package. It was a leap for gaming and is arguably Nintendo's most important title ever released. So many different games owe credit to Super Mario Bros., and the game helped save and shape the video game industry.

I have so many memories of playing Super Mario Bros. One of my favorites is how I used to play this game with my father. Really, it's the only game I've ever gotten him to play. I remember talking to him about strategies and how to work our way to the end of the game. Eventually, we did beat it. I think my father threw in the towel shortly after though when we would play two player. I'd get to the last stage without even dying and then my discouraged father would start on stage 1-1 and die at the first Goomba. Sorry Dad, I'm still laughing.

It's probably for all these reasons that the original Super Mario Bros. is my favorite game of all time. It's my go to game when I have a bad day, or just want to burn some time. I love just rushing through the game since a skilled person can complete it in less than 10 minutes. What makes it better these days is that it's a game that is available on multiple Nintendo platforms, so it's hard to go without it.

So happy birthday Super Mario Bros. This year we both turn 30 and I'm happy to grow old with you.

Bryan Rose, Reviews Editor

I don't remember a whole lot about being four years old, but I do remember that all I asked for Christmas in 1990 was a NES. I think I might have liked the toy gun that came with it, I don't know. But I got the console with the Duck Hunt/Super Mario Bros. combo and it was all that I ever wanted in life as a kid. Super Mario Bros. got me into video games, and that's why I'm here 24 years later - because of this game alone.

Now granted, I wasn't GOOD at Super Mario Bros. For many years I never beat it. I learned where the warp pipes were and I even got good enough to make it to the third or fourth stage, but I was never good enough to actually beat the game. It wasn't until Super Mario Bros. Deluxe that I actually finished the original Super Mario Bros., mostly thanks to being able to save after every level. But no matter how many times I died, I had fun. The game had a goal and an ending, but like most Nintendo games of today, it wasn't necessarily about completing the story. It was about having a fun time, learning the mechanics of each stage, and using it to your advantage to clear the level. Gameplay was emphasized over story, and for me the gameplay was always my favorite thing about the original title. Today, I see it not being a hard game at all, but a rather simple game with some hard levels, but easy enough for anyone of any age to play and get into. That is what makes this game so special.

Also, 8-3 sucked. To this day the Hammer Bros. remains my least favorite enemy OF ALL TIME.

Donald Theriault, News Editor

When I got my NES, I had vague memories of playing Atari games and reading the manuals which pretty much told you everything about the game. So I was shocked when I saw my brother playing in world 4-2 when he managed to find the Warp Zone just by randomly jumping around.

Super Mario Bros was the first game that actually taught me that exploration was possible - I totally missed out on Atari's Adventure - and as a five year old, I wanted more of it. It took me until I was 14 to actually beat the game thanks to Super Mario All-Stars, but I'll always have that moment of my jaw dropping as Mario climbed a beanstalk to look back on.



Ian SaneSeptember 09, 2015

My memory of SMB is going to be kind of a downer.  To me it was "that old game".  I didn't have an NES when I was a kid and didn't really become aware of it until probably about 1987 or 88 through kids at school.  At that point many sidescrolling games that were clearly inspired by SMB had come out and made it look outdated in comparison (for example SMB has one boss that repeats while all the then current games had multiple unique bosses).  I missed that impact of seeing SMB as a big jump up from one screen high score games.  The idea of multiple scrolling levels was just what videogames were so I didn't see it as some big innovation.  SMB also was a pack-in which us kids saw as a sign of inferiority (basically if you still played Mario 1 it meant your parents were too cheap/poor to buy you another game) and it had the ultimate kiss of death - the old blocky style graphics on the cover.  We associated that with old ass games like Excitebike and Donkey Kong.  Once games like Zelda and Mega Man had come out we didn't bother with those "old" games (yeah when you're six a game that is like 18 months old seems ancient).

So any real appreciation I have for the game is in retrospect as I became more familiar with videogame history and realized SMB's massive importance.  Of course I would still rather play SMB3 or SMW.

NintendadSeptember 09, 2015

Being older than most of you guys, I have very vivid memories of this game. I got it for Christmas 1987 when I was 15 years old. While we had a Colecovision and Atari, this was the first time I had ever played an NES, and it blew me away. I didn't ask for it for Christmas and barely even knew about it. I just got lucky and this game turned me instantly into a Nintendo fan that nearly 30 years later has not faded.

I remember the bright, colorful, crisp graphics upon turning the game on. Remember, we were mostly used to Atari before this. The first time I jumped up and hit a block to see it explode into smaller pieces was amazing. I actually remember feeling stressed when I kept hitting a coin block and coins kept coming out. Do I keep getting coins while the timer ticks or should I just go? Relief set in when the game made the decision for me! The first time someone accidentally ducked while standing on a pipe left us all in astonishment when we discovered a room below. My dad would later yell at me when I made my little brother duck on all the pipes. Dad thought I was just messing with him since he saw nothing happening!

World 2-2, the first water level was incredibly difficult. At the end of the day my uncle had made it the farthest, level 2-4. We went to sleep thinking that castle was impossible!  Over the coming months I spent tons of hours on that game. I eventually got to where I could beat it playing through all 32 levels in about an hour. Once I even went through all 32 without dying! To me the game was perfect and I'd say it still holds up today better than most of the games of that period.

AlphaBeardSeptember 10, 2015

Just want to say that I had Super Mario Deluxe as well and to this day I have never beaten that game, all because of that final Hammer bro. I guess I will have to go back and finish it now I have it on 3DS.

azekeSeptember 11, 2015

Because of me growing up in post Soviet republic, we didn't had access to videogames until 90s.

I had some limited console experience with Dendy -- Famicom knock-off with a very limited library. No Zelda, no Mega Man, but some games here and there did made it here through pirates -- Contra, Adventure Island 1, DuckTales 1+2, Rescue Rangers 1+2, TMNT -- mostly it was either very early Famicom stuff or very late NES games, mostly licensed.

SMB was one of them. I remember beating it one night as a kid and being really proud of it. It was the first videogame i ever finished. The only other game i finished back then was Felix The Cat.

It took me yet around 20 years to get back to gaming through PC and then discover that console gaming still exists and not just a stupid dodgy little thing from my childhood.

Because SMB1 was the only Mario game i knew as a kid, it is the most iconic for me. It also made transition to New Super Mario Bros series smooth, because i wasn't expecting anything having never played 3 and World at the time and physics felt like just like SMB1.

ShyGuySeptember 11, 2015


I first played Super Mario Bros in the arcade, on a machine like the picture. The NES wasn't quite ubiquitous in the mid 80s just yet, and most of the local kids got their first taste putting in quarters. You know how games like GTA are praised for being huge and having tons of stuff to do? That was how Super Mario Bros was viewed. There were multiple levels! There were secrets in the levels! In 1-1 you could choose to go down the pipe to get coins or progress through the main game! It felt massive and deep back then compared to Asteroids and Space Invaders.

When I first touched the NES gamepad at a friend's house to play it I didn't like the gamepad. It felt too sensitive. I missed the arcade sticks of the Atari 2600.

I saved up my allowance money and bought an NES in, I think, 1987. I played through and finally saved the princess. Then I practiced until I could beat the game without any warp pipes. I think my final accomplishment was going into minus world.

One of the best, most influential, timeless games ever. 10/10

ThePermSeptember 11, 2015

We got out NES in '89. From our perspective it was a new thing. Though, I'd known about it for a bit.

My first experience with NES and Super Mario Bros was I went over to my friend David's house in Valdosta Ga. He showed my brother and I the game. I remember the little blue mushroom guys and the "powder boxes" that had mushrooms in it. They didn't let me play. It was fun to watch. I probably say it for the first time when I was 3 or 4 and got it when I was 5

Mop it upSeptember 17, 2015

We got our NES Action Set in Christmas of 1989 when I was 3 years of age, so it was the set that came with two controllers, the gun, and the SMB/DH combo cartridge. Oddly, I don't remember us paying much attention to Duck Hunt, so I don't think it's something that any of us really cared about. I didn't actually play myself though, and instead preferred to watch my older brother play, he was then 7. I'm pretty sure it wasn't until a while later, I think I was 5, that I actually tried it myself. When I finally did though, I knew most of the game from watching others play, and so I ended up making it all the way through and beating the game. In fact, I was the first one of us to do so.

Growing up, I continued to enjoy watching other people play games, and it was also a good way to learn some things about games, since different people approach games differently. That interest lessened as time went on, but I still don't mind it today.

It's interesting when I hear stories like Ian Sane's, because that was not my experience at all. We viewed systems before NES as being old and lame, but even in 1989 and 1990 kids still thought that the NES was awesome, regardless of when games were released on it. It wasn't until a few years into the 16-bit generation and kids started getting SNES and Genesis systems that we started viewing the NES as old, though I don't recall anyone thinking it was lame and still liked some of the games. We weren't ingrates and were very appreciative of the things we had.

Ian SaneSeptember 17, 2015

Quote from: Mop

It's interesting when I hear stories like Ian Sane's, because that was not my experience at all. We viewed systems before NES as being old and lame, but even in 1989 and 1990 kids still thought that the NES was awesome, regardless of when games were released on it. It wasn't until a few years into the 16-bit generation and kids started getting SNES and Genesis systems that we started viewing the NES as old, though I don't recall anyone thinking it was lame and still liked some of the games. We weren't ingrates and were very appreciative of the things we had.

Oh the NES was still seen as awesome until the SNES came out (though some people were getting on board the Genesis bandwagon and I knew one guy with a TurboGrafx-16).  It's the old style blocky graphics boxart games like SMB, Mario Bros, Duck Hunt, Donkey Kong that were seen as "old".  Like those games were passe and you were to play newer games like SMB2, Zelda, Castlevania, Mega Man, Ninja Gaiden, etc.

Although I grew out of it probably around grade 9, the general vibe I got from my classmates through elementary and high school was that anything older than two years was fucking old.  Hell I remember around 1996 a guy telling me that the Smashing Pumpkins song Bullet with Butterfly Wings was old while 1979 was not.  I pointed out they were on the SAME ALBUM.  His response "nah, 1979 is on disc 2".  Always remember that minors are STUPID.

LucarioSeptember 17, 2015

I grew up with a SNES as a kid in the 2000's mind you.
With SMB on all-stars after 3 it was my second most played game lost levels was too hard and 2 sucked and my copy of the game didn't have world. (I remember liking MK but looking back now at how bad it was)
with the Playstation I remember Crash Bandicoot (holy shit that was fun!) and being a Dragon with Spyro.

and then a got the giant ass DS
with Pokémon Ruby (my introduction) and MK DS and Mario party DS my first Mario party exp.
and then one of my favourite video game characters Lucario in Pokémon Diamond.

a PS2 was my second console (when the PS3 was coming out) remember spyro and tombraider not much else.

and then the motherload my own gaming laptop in 2009.
with the introduction of Steam I felt like the man with so many good and amazing games at my fingertips I soon found my love of Borderlands, Bioshock, counter-strike, team fortress, Half-life the list goes on.

the 3ds was my next console with MK7 (kinda disappointing)
but heaps of amazing games since (Kid Icarus and Fire Emblem for the win!)

and the new 3ds with xenoblade is the latest console.

But all this can be linked back to All-stars and this game (along with DK country) made me love hard platformers and gaming in general.

So, Thank you Nintendo.

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