Monday, August 10, 2015

Old School Lane's Mario Tribute: Super Mario Bros

In the next month, the Super Mario series will be celebrating its 30th anniversary. For many people my generation, it was one of the first games we've ever played. It was the our entry into the vast world of video games. It was family friendly with a simple premise, a classic style of gameplay, and colorful characters with quirky personalities. In honor of this occasion, I'll be looking back on the Super Mario franchise and see how big of a legacy they left in video games as well as how well they hold up today. Afterwards, there will be a Casual Chats podcast on the Mario franchise.

Now there are hundreds and hundreds of Mario games from the main games and the spin-off titles like the Mario RPG series, the Mario Kart series, the Mario Party series, the sports games involving the Mario characters, and the Super Smash Bros series. For this tribute, we'll be focusing on the main platforming games from Super Mario Bros to Super Mario 3D World. With introductions out of the way, let's-a-go to Super Mario Bros.

Super Mario Bros. debuted in Japan on September 13, 1985 on the Nintendo Famicon and later on in the U.S.A. and Europe. In the land of the Mushroom Kingdom, King Koopa (known as Bowser in the U.S.A.) kidnaps Princess Peach (kidnaps Princess Toadstool in the U.S.A. until the debut on Super Mario 64) and turns the majority of the Toads into blocks. It's up to a plumber named Mario to rescue her by going into 8 worlds to defeat the false Bowsers and free the Toads from the castle. The game was a side strolling platformer that had Mario run towards the end of the level while defeating Bowser's minions that consists of Goombas, Koopa Troopas, Lakitus, Hammer Bros, and Piranha Plants. Mario can stomp on most of his enemies with one hit to defeat them. But he also has the ability to gain powerups to make defeating them easier. One is the now iconic mushroom that makes him grow bigger. The other is the fire flower that can make him shoot fireballs from his hand. The final one is the star that can make Mario invincible for a short period of time. There's also the 1-Up mushroom that gives an additional life for Mario to continue the game and prolong the game being over after losing.

For today's standards, the plot is practically nonexistent. But back then, gameplay was the most important thing about video games. Stories were either left for the manuals, on the intro and ending of a game, or wasn't there at all. But here at Super Mario Bros., the story doesn't matter. If a game didn't play very well or wasn't fun to play, then it there was no point of playing it all. But what makes this game still relevant were the secrets. The most well known of them were jumping on the Koopa shell on the block to gain unlimited 1-Ups, running on top of the platforms on the underground levels to gain access to the hidden room with the 3 pipes to the later levels, and the minus world involving with doing a specific jump towards the 1st underground level and entering in the first pipe. Interesting to note that if you go a glitch involving with playing Super Mario Bros. and Tennis for the Famicon, then you can access over 250 minus worlds. To learn more about this, check out GameTrailers' video on the subject.

In my opinion, Super Mario Bros. is one of the most important games ever released and one that I highly recommend that you play. It was this game that brought gaming back after the crash of 1983 in which there was an abundance of mediocre video games released by Atari and their competitors. Without this portly plumber, video games wouldn't be the same. Heck, they may have not existed. But just because it's important to gaming doesn't mean much if the game doesn't hold up. So does Super Mario Bros. hold up? Fairly well. Even after 30 years later, Super Mario Bros. is still fun to play. Its simplicity makes it easy for anyone to get into, both young kids and casual gamers. But there are challenges for the more experience gamers such the neatly placed enemies, the pits, or being defeated by Bowser. Even the hardcore gamers who can beat Super Mario Bros. in their sleep, they have found ways to make the game fresh in their minds from speed running it to playing the game blindfolded. It's a timeless video game that's still relevant to gamers today and for good reason. Check it out, but most likely you've played it in someway, shape, or form.

That's all for now. Tune in next time as we take a look at the Japanese Super Mario Bros. 2. 

Hope to see you at Old School Lane soon. Thanks for reading.



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