Super Mario Bros. (NES/SNES) – Modern Sensibility – IMPLANTgames

There is a myth that every game from the 80’s
and 90’s was hard as hell, lacked continues, and used trial and error as the primary source
of difficulty. Some tell me this is just the “way it was”
back then, and classic games should be reviewed differently than modern games. Interestingly, I’m told modern games are
more accommodating to newer players and do a much better job appealing to a wider base
of skill levels, because beginners deserve to have fun too. In short, modern games should be reviewed
differently than classic games. Whenever I hear either of these viewpoints,
I can’t help but think of Super Mario Bros. The game’s importance and legacy has been
cemented into the history books, and long after we’re all gone, it is sure to be the
Citizen Kane of video games, so I certainly don’t want to rehash what has been covered
a million times since the advent of internet video. Yes, the designers did do an awesome job teaching
the player the mechanics of a brand new genre through clever design and excellent item placement. The first goomba teaches jumping, the question
blocks invite exploration, and brick-breaking is communicated to the player in a very obvious
way. The control mechanics are still used by platformers
to this very day. While I can’t say for certain Mario introduced
these platforming staples, it surely brought them into to the forefront of gaming. Jumping is no longer on a fixed arc, height
and distance are now controlled by the player. The main goal of the game is no longer achieving
a high score, but rather finishing the adventure. Collecting 100 widgets will reward an extra
life. The action takes place on a scrolling plane,
rather than a static screen. It was all revolutionary at the time, and
marks the beginning of modern gaming as we know it today. It truly is impressive. However there are other elements found in
Super Mario Bros. I find even more impressive. I’ve spent a lot of time these past few
years talking about controls, item and hazard placement, difficulty balance, boss battles,
and power-ups, in dozens of videos. My criticisms are often met with a strange
mix of attacks ranging from me not understanding how gaming was in the 80’s or 90’s, or
having my head stuck in the 80’s and 90’s and not appreciating how gaming has progressed. First, trial and error was not the primary
source of difficulty in many games. The first thing Super Mario Bros. does well
is always give the player a chance to dissect upcoming obstacles and determine a path forward. Enemies rarely move quickly, and patterns
are simple enough to discern. Level design works in the same way. Super Mario Bros. rarely requires blind jumps,
and when the game asks the player to perform a leap of faith, danger is never lurking on
the other side. Trial and error is thankfully absent. One thing that does feel dated though, is
the lack of continues. While I don’t have footage of a game over,
Super Mario Bros. does not feature a continue system. If a player runs out of lives, they must restart
at world 1-1. There is a cheat code to alleviate this issue,
holding A and pressing start at the title screen will allow a player to restart at the
world they left off, but this trick is not found in the instruction manual, so I would
consider it a cheat and not something an average player would be aware of. The trick is in The Official Nintendo Player’s
Guide though, on page 31. I find it interesting the designers were at
least thinking about unlimited continues and I would be curious to know why they didn’t
just make this a default option. Of course, when the game was re-released as
part of Super Mario All-Stars for the Super Nintendo in 1993, a battery-save feature was
added giving the player unlimited continues, along with the ability to shut off the console
and continue later on. Even as far back as 1993, continues and saving
was common in top-tier games. I will concede Super Mario Bros. is a short
game though, with the 32 levels taking less than an hour to complete for an average skilled
gamer. The lack of a continue system is a little
more forgivable in a short game, versus a multi-hour one. I also appreciate how the non-castle levels
all feature checkpoints. Yeah, despite each level being short, there
is a checkpoint halfway through, again reducing the amount of time a player spends rehashing
previously conquered obstacles. So, as far back as 1985 trial-and-error difficulty
is absent in a massively successful title, and the battery-backed save version of 1993
was also the second best selling game on the Super Nintendo. Clearly difficulty occurring through organic
means was rewarded with blockbuster sales. So what do I mean by organic difficulty? Well, there are two sources of challenge in
Super Mario Bros. Being a platformer, this means mastering jumps,
and dealing with enemies. Now, combat is admittedly not a focus of Super
Mario Bros. The early enemies like Goombas, Koopa Troopas,
Koopa Paratroopas and Piranha Plants can usually be avoided by jumping over them or running
under them. However one can also jump on them if they
so choose. Simple stuff. However in World 1-4, the player must contend
with the Fire Bar, lava bubbles, and Bowser’s fire attacks. These offer a contrast in enemy type, as they
cannot be defeated through any means, only avoided. This creates an almost sawtooth like difficulty
balance through the 8 worlds of the Mushroom Kingdom. After the World 1-4 spike in difficulty, World
2-1 takes it down a notch, offering a brief reprieve, but then ramping back up in the
next castle challenge. World 2-2 adds the infamous water stage to
the adventure. I’m not particularly fond of this level
trope, however it would be copied for at least the next decade before developers starting
experimenting with alternate control methods. Basically, tapping the action button will
cause Mario to rise and releasing it will cause him to descend. This works well enough, though I find the
slow movement does not always match the obstacles at hand. The squid-like Blooper enemy always gave me
problems as a kid. They seem to be programmed to match Mario’s
altitude, however their left and right movement appears to be random. This forces the player to actually anticipate
the enemy’s movement in order to pass by safely. Depending on the environmental blockages,
this is sometimes easier said than done. Cheep Cheeps are also introduced in World
2, though their underwater form is hardly threatening. Above the ground, their chaotic flight paths
can be tricky to avoid, and they come from below, rather than the side of the screen,
giving the player a new pattern to learn. World 3 keeps upping the ante with the Hammer
Bros. Though I do find it curious their initial
introduction features a Super Star power-up right before, which can be accessed by either
Mario or Super Mario thanks to thoughtful level design. Assuming a new player found the Super Star
in this conspicuous row of bricks, one could learn the Hammer Bros.’ erratic throwing
patterns and jumping behavior through the safety of invincibility. Speaking of items, this is another great form
of progression found in Super Mario Bros. The protagonist starts life as Mario, a mushroom
power-up transforms him into Super Mario, and the Fire Flower transforms him into Fire
Mario. Fire Mario is actually quite powerful, making
quick work of many of the lesser enemies in the game, but it isn’t game breaking. As the adventure unfolds, fewer and fewer
enemies can be harmed by the fireballs. This includes the Buzzy Beetle, whose hardshell
is immune. The same goes for Bullet Bills, who debut
in World 5. They too are immune to fireballs and must
either be avoided, or jumped on. Additionally, the Fire Flower offers Mario
no additional agility, meaning the core focus of the game, jumping and landing, is not made
easier. This is the kind of balance I look for with
items and power-ups. The Fire Flower is a two-step process to obtain,
and one must actively seek them out, they aren’t just lying around. Sometimes these are in question blocks, other
times hidden in unassuming bricks. And the player has to actively avoid hazards. One misstep will mean returning to Mario form. A seemingly fitting punishment for poor play. The same can be said for the Super Star. The temporary invincibility is extremely powerful,
but the player must still navigate platforms, and the power wears off relatively quickly,
making seeking them out rewarding, but not game-breaking. Even extra lives are often placed in difficult
spots, forcing a player to endure risk, to obtain a reward. In short, all of the power-ups achieve balance. But back to the difficulty progression. For the most part each world is more difficult
than the one preceding it. The player is tasked with making trickier
jumps, navigating denser enemy patterns, while power-ups are presented less frequently. It seems obvious now, but in the arcade games
prior to the NES, game difficulty was often increased by faster enemies and successive
loops of levels, and might even stop evolving completely at a certain point. Super Mario Bros. did experiment with flat-out
repeating levels though. World 5-3 is a repeat of 1-3, only Bullet
Bills are added to increase the challenge. World 5-4 is a repeat of 2-4, but with additional
firebars added to previously blank spaces. World 7-3 is a repeat of 2-3, but with added
Koopa Troopas and Paratroopas. 6-4 is like 1-4, and perhaps there are others
I’m missing. On one hand I can appreciate what the designers
were attempting to do, throwing a new challenge the player’s way while also providing them
with a familiar layout. However repeating the same level layout twice
certainly feels odd in 2018 and is a technique no longer used by game designers. It brings up a good debate about replay value
versus padding. The Sonic games of the 2000’s were probably
the worst offenders of padding out games. For some reason, Sonic Team and even Dimps
were afraid of a game being short, presumably fearing critics would fault the games for
having full retail prices despite containing only a few hours of gameplay. This resulted in games like Sonic Heroes having
to be repeated four times just to unlock the final boss. Same goes for the Sonic Advance titles. While it may have made some sort of sense
at the time, playing the games today is far more tedious than it should be. Super Mario Bros. certainly doesn’t pad
the adventure out like the aforementioned Sonic games, which is appreciated, but the
repeated layouts do age the game a bit. Now padding should not be mistaken for replay
value either. As the term replay implies, value is obtained
by replaying the game, meaning coming back for more. This is an area where Super Mario Bros. excels. First, there are the warp tunnels. At some point a player will realize they can
actually jump up into the area occupied the HUD. The 1-up Mushroom also offers a hint to this
area, which will eventually lead to the discovery of a warp room. Seeking these out will ultimately lead players
to a quick path through to the end of the game. A great bonus for those who keep replaying
the game. This of course leads to speed running. Super Mario Bros. is one of those games where
it felt like the designers meticulously placed every platform and enemy in anticipation of
the various routes and jumps a player might attempt. Assuring a mistimed enemy is never the punishment
for a perfect landing. But this is taken to the extreme with the
run button. Mario of course has two speeds, a brisk jog
when simply pressing the D-Pad in the appropriate direction, and a quick run when holding down
the action button. This allows for higher and longer leaps, further
multiplying the ways a player might traverse a level. Myself, I am not the speed running type. However even I can’t help but run during
World 2-3 or 4-1. This illustrates a few things to consider. First, the designers actually placed every
cheep cheep or spiney in a location the player could avoid when running flat out. Second it illustrates just how much control
the player has, not just in speed, but in the height. Mario is not a floaty character, and releasing
the jump button will send the hero downwards rather quickly. This gives the player another way to not only
land on tight platforms by adjusting speed, but also in adjusting mid-air trajectory on
the fly, which is amazing. I also love how Mario can carry momentum when
speeding off ledges, rather than dropping like a brick, again adding to the flow of
the levels. Second, the hitbox is incredibly forgiving. Brief brushes against enemies often won’t
result in touch damage, allowing for a little slop and working in conjunction with the need
and desire to keep moving forward. It always bugs me when later games feature
odd hitboxes and weird collision programming, because Nintendo already mastered this concept
way back in ‘85. But there are other things which do feel like
1985. The timer in the upper right, doesn’t fit
the game at all. For one, Super Mario Bros. is filled with
secrets and a player will naturally want to break every brick, check every pipe, and touch
every question block to see what lurks within. The timer takes this freedom and natural wonder
away from the player, for seemingly no other reason than this is how other games of the
time operated. The timer also works against the three different
mazes located in three different castles. Here, the player must choose a path and move
forward. If they select the wrong path, that portion
of the castle loops and they must choose a different one. However a player’s success is completely
random on their first playthrough, with no levels cues guiding one in the right direction. A chime was added in the All Stars version,
but as the player cannot backtrack in Super Mario Bros. 1, the chime offers nothing to
new players, as the new part of the level already clues one in, to their success. The timer also rushes the player through the
Hammer Bros. sections. The Hammer Bros. are easily the most difficult
obstacle found in the game. Their movement is random, with the hammer
chucking projectile being erratic, as well as their jumping. Now, only one of them is placed in a way where
the player’s success is based on luck or chance. The rest of the encounters are on flat ground,
matching Mario’s abilities. Mario’s acceleration is quick enough where
players can either just run under one and speed off, or get under the arc of destruction,
and safely avoid the projectile. In fact, I found a new appreciation for them
in World 7-3. This level contains two power-ups, allowing
a patient player to obtain both a mushroom, and a fire flower, for the final gauntlet
of Hammer Bros., which is thoughtful. However, on every single run I found myself
nearing the time limit while I followed the rules of the stage without dawdling. It really is an arbitrary inclusion adding
nothing to the experience. Also silly is the scoring system. This is again just a sign of the times. The player receives points for the most mundane
things, like breaking bricks. As the world is filled with bricks, and some
enemies respawn indefinitely, there is really no reason to even care about the score. If the game focused more on the scoring multiplier
of kicking the shell of a Koopa through a line of enemies, this may have been more interesting. Finally, the boss battles are weak. The Hammer Bros. really are the stars of the
show here, as Bowser offers virtually no challenge. He can be cheesed with fireballs. One can race under him or over him. And of course as the game has no knock-back
and a healthy invincibility period after being hit, simply running through him is a viable
strategy. One might discourage this sort of abuse, but
I play to win, not earn style points. Besides, this was offered as a legitimate
strategy in the previously mentioned player’s guide. Needless to say, while the castle stages are
a nice way to end each of the game’s worlds, the boss fight is most definitely… not. Moving on, the graphics of the NES original
are simplistic. On the small television sets of the 80’s
this wasn’t really noticeable. But on the massive displays of today, the
game does feel empty at times. Mario also looks strange when standing still,
with his body facing forward and his head to the side. However I should give a special shoutout to
the color palettes used on Mario and the enemies. Due to hardware limitations, sprites can only
contain three colors. But one would be hard pressed to even notice
this limitation thanks to clever art design. Empty backgrounds, odd sprites, and color
limitations are of course eliminated entirely with the All Stars version. As much as I want to be a purist, it would
be impossible to deny the game looks objectively better on the Super Nintendo. Background are far more detailed with multiple
scrolling layers and little negative space. Sprite work is improved with more colors,
helping Mario and his foes look more visually appealing. Animated lava and transparent water also bring
the overall presentation up a few notches. And man does Bowser look a ton better, with
animated arms, rather than a static monster moving about the screen. Flicker is also eliminated, which could occasionally
obscure projectile hazards in the original. Don’t get me wrong, I love the 8-bit aesthetic
of the original game, but the 16-bit graphics simply blow them out of the water. The same could be said for the music. Again I really dig the simple chiptunes found
in the NES cartridge, though there are really only four songs. The overworld theme, the underworld theme,
the underwater theme, and the castle theme. The All Stars version also expands upon the
original thanks to superior hardware and more space. The bonus areas and coin heavens future new
music, and the remaining four tracks are all greatly expanded with a much wider diversity
of instruments and effects like reverb. As for the melodies themselves, it is difficult
for me to discern if the music is as good as it is iconic. The music has been with me nearly my whole
life, so someone with less nostelgia would be better served analyzing if the music is
worthy of the praise it receives. One thing I do appreciate is how sound is
used to communicate off-screen action to the player. Sometimes an off-screen shell will richet
back to the player, however the player can still hear it, eliminating the surprise of
its speedy return. Off-screen Bullet Bills do the same thing,
giving an audio cue assuring a player is never caught by surprise mid-jump. I’ve also heard many say the controls were
tweaked in All Stars, but playing them back to back, every jump felt identical so I’m
not sure if there is any truth to this at all. The mid-air controls, both in terms of horizontal
adjustments, or vertical, felt exactly the same. I did feel like there was occasionally a bit
of lag causing me to race to my death instead of jump, but this very well could have been
fatigue, so who knows. I do find the additional momentum Mario maintains
when smashing bricks to be an odd change. In the original, a player could quickly decimate
a row of bricks and hitting one returned him to the ground. This flow is lost in the All Stars version. However this change did smooth out other areas,
so yeah. As I near the end of this video I should come
to some sort of conclusion. Super Mario Bros. is a ground breaking and
important title for sure. It represents a shift in game design from
the quarter munching arcade titles before it, and began the journey from video games
being a fad, to one of the biggest industries in popular culture. However I think it is also ok to acknowledge
it has aged, and I don’t just mean visually. The timer and score are relics of the past
and serve no purpose. The lack of continues in the NES version forces
players to restart after running out lives, instead of allowing a player to continue to
learn the hazard they were having trouble with. The repeated level layouts basically expand
the game out another world, but the game would work just as well if excluded. The boss battles are also lackluster, shallow,
and repetitive. On the flip side, if I were to explain game
mechanics and design decisions with phrases like good difficulty progression, unlimited
continues, balanced power-ups, forgiving collision, meaningful replay value and liberal checkpoints,
one might assume I’m describing some modern adventure. But I’m not, I’m describing a title released
in 1985. Now, I apologize for being a bit combative
in this video. But I must reject the notion that certain
design flaws should be forgiven in older games. I also reject the notion game-breaking power-ups
should be showered upon players in modern games. Good game design is timeless. It is ok to question surprise enemy placement. It is ok to criticize poor collision detection. It is ok to expect power-ups and items to
be balanced. No game, be it old or new, should somehow
be excused from critique based on the year it was released. This is a philosophy I just cannot get behind. For all of its shortcomings, of which there
are many, what I appreciate the most about Super Mario Bros. is just how modern it feels
today. The game isn’t hard by any stretch, but
outside of warp tubes, a player really does have to tackle the obstacles at hand. There are no crutches for newcomers to lean
on in the name of accessibility. The accessibility comes from tight controls,
thoughtful level design, and meticulous item placement. These are traits gamers of all skill levels
can appreciate. Super Mario Bros. doesn’t waste a players
time either, with plenty of checkpoints, and unlimited continues in the All Stars version. These are not game design decisions limited
to modern titles, but have been with console gaming for decades. And in this sense, I find Super Mario Bros.
to be rather remarkable. No nostalgia goggles are needed to enjoy it. One doesn’t have to make special excuses
about its age when reviewing it. Is Super Mario Bros. the best platformer ever
made? No, but it is still pretty damn good.


  • Joseph Freese

    This is a wonderful video. I appreciate it.

  • Luis Perez

    Next up is Mario Brothers 2 babyyyy, game of the year every year.

  • JV

    I'm amazed you didn't complain about how the optional Warp Zones ruin the game by allowing less-skilled players to skip worlds without penalty, or does that logic only apply to Tropical Freeze's shops? 😛

  • blackblitz

    Have to disagree about the hitboxes. I think it the enemies from touches you than you should take damage. Regardles that's just down to different preferences, good video overall

  • CreaTbJ !

    2:50 "[…]I don't have footage of a game over[…]".
     17:33 "[…]it is difficult to me to discern if the music is as good as it is iconic[…]"
     19:38 "[…]if I were to explain game mechanics and design decisions with phrases like 'good difficulty progression', 'unlimited continues', 'balanced power-ups', 'forgiving collision', 'meaningful replay value' and 'liberal checkpoints', one might asume I'm describing a modern adventure, but I'm not. I'm describing a title released in 1985[…]".

     Admittedly you've got some outstandingly eloquent and clever writing right there, specially in comparison to most "reviewers". Well, all this video was really smart actually. You've got some serious game reviewing knowledge, and I'm glad I finally see someone treating this game as it deserves.
     In respect of what you said about the music, although I'm not a person with high understanding of music theory, I saw some people talk about some of SMB1's music and get some interesting things to praise about it, so I would say it is a good OST for the overworld and underwater themes- I mean, who would have expected a freakin' waltz on an 8-bit game at that time?! However, and even though I consider the underground and castle themes to be succesful atmospheric tunes, they're just lackluster to listen on their own, being the reason why I consider this OST to be a merely good one. At least it had some memorable melodies. Even games today can't too often say that.
     I must also point out that I'm shocked about the fact that you didn't mention how little variety there is on level design. I'm not only talking graphics, I also mean that what you find on said levels and the ways you traverse them are almost all the same. From the relatively few levels that try to spice things up, the only remarkable ones are the castle levels, for their distinguishable hazards, that change the way you play by leaving you defenseless; and the cheep cheep bridge stage, even when that one can often be a bit unfair, because it really develops it's concept quite well, adding extra challenge all the way through. The underground stages don't really add too much. Even graphically they're just recolored overworld stages, tho I could say that there's at least a bigger emphasis on brick-breaking on these than in the overworld levels- but meh, it's still something minor. And the water level, even while smartly evolving on the jumping and greatly teaching you how the new system works through it's design, is just too much of a difficulty spike, being the total lack of power-ups the worst and most unforgiving part about it; and even when you get it down, it is still just dull: go down, then up, avoid the same, similarily placed enemies, blah, blah, blah.
     Well, sorry if my comment was too long and my english is not that good (I'm a spanish-speaker). Outstanding video as always!

  • Pompadour Pug

    My first games were a lot of platformers like Rayman 1 and Ghosts and Goblins so honestly my early gaming was trial by fire. It’s why I love games like DMC.

    Great video tho man; it’s always fun to reanalyse Super Mario Brothers

  • tupak303

    For some reason most kids back in the day were able to complete the original game, by discovering warp zones or just getting good at it. By doing so it is my strong belief that they picked up some important traits/skills such as discipline, perseverance, reflexes or resource management. On the other hand casual games intended for "beginners" are not much more than a waste of time, also they are contributing to general dumbing down of the population.

  • Fate For Windows

    Loved the video! Here are some fun facts I know about the game. They answer a few of the points in your video.

    – Lakitu's throwing arc actually suffers from a bug in both the original and All Stars. It's supposed to actually be a bit random and the Spiny Eggs are supposed to bounce off walls. Honestly I prefer it with the glitch but it does add a bit more challenge.
    – Yes, the overall physics in All Stars has been tweaked very slightly as TASes show. It's slightly more akin to the refined physics in Mario 3.
    – The All Stars brick physics weren't intentional; they accidentally set the thing to change Mario's Y speed incorrectly. In the original, the value is negative, but what broke it in All Stars is that they changed it to positive.

  • 8-BitPreston

    i still dont like the nes marios other than the world on snes but either way this was a fantastic review as usual

  • Guillermo Gazañol

    Mario is the best character ever

  • Guillermo Gazañol

    Do Sonic next

  • Same Name, Different Game

    The idea that old games should be graded on a curve is so frustrating. I feel like that's people saying that they have nostalgia for a thing, therefore it's good, and if you criticize it for being unbalanced or whatever, you should give old games a break, how dare you be critical. It's kind of exhausting, honestly.

  • L-Y3T

    2:53 YES IT DOES! Why does nobody know this?! (Edit: nevermind. He knows)

  • Juliusaurus

    I got a sense that a lot of this video was addressing the complaints you received on your Tropical Freeze video? Options aren't a bad thing, just because they exist doesn't mean they're for you or that you have to use them. It sounds like the comments got under your skin a bit, or else you wouldn't have been so angry about it at the end of this review… But Super Mario Bros. is a great game though, no doubt about it. But so is Tropical Freeze.

  • johneygd

    Omgs , i remember as a 10 year old kid how i beated supermariobros 1 for the first time in 1992, man i was just soo happy, i was yelling it loud that i beated it.
    Oh yeah 1992, what a time, when i was just such little beautyful most beloved boy to everyone, o,o,o.

  • Pat SG

    Great and fair review! I wonder if you will review Mario The Lost levels (for its cheap difficulty) and Mario 3 next (Great 4 hour game with no save feature on NES…).

  • Sonic Fan1579

    I really love how you review you actually make me wanna hear more of what you have to say!

  • FamilyTeamGaming

    Actually, here's what was "tweaked" in the physics of the All-Stars remake:
    The developers accidentally inverted the momentum multiplier for hitting blocks. In the original game, hitting a block bounces you down, while in All-Stars, you go right through a block. It was an accident, however, not an intentional change, fans have proved that it's a simple fix to restore the NES physics.
    I guess it's a bit worthy of note as well, but the All-Stars hitboxes are also not nearly as forgiving as the NES ones.


    Mushrooms in Mario= puberty in a nutshell

  • Super Two U

    Sonic Heroes does change the level layouts for each team enough to make each playthough unique. Way better than keeping the levels the same for each different team. It wouldn't be as fun imo if you could only play as Team Sonic.

  • ShogunGino

    According to one speedrunner who does the All Stars version of Lost Levels, he said that certain control tweaks exist and that hitboxes are modified for specific enemies between the NES and SNES versions.

  • Steven Mills

    I don't even like vode games

  • TvSonic Serbia

    They didn't add unlimited continues because they wanted you to really get good at the easy stuff first, and while you do that you'd eventually secrets and hidden warp pipes which would allow you to skip stuff you already mastered

  • Workingplayer53

    Firstly, thanks for making this review. It's always nice to hear and read what people think of a landmark video game like Super Mario Bros.
    Secondly, even if I like this video and I agree with most of your points I personally disagree with some of them. Some might think the score system is outdated and unnecessary but even after decades the score points are nice for people who like to get a higher score, even if you don't have to to beat the game. You imply that the time limit works against the exploration factor but I'd say it's more in line with the fast-paced design of the levels in general. I never got a time-out in any level in SMB1 even if I spent more time in a bonus room (like in those with a reverse C formed brickwall if you know what I mean). Lastly, even if I agree with your final thoughts that game flaws should be pointed out in any way possible, I do have to point out that context is still important for reviewing older media. One of the reasons SMB1 became so popular in the first place is because of how different it feels and plays compared to older and later games. Nintendo's design seems to hold up with it now in hindsight because after so many decades, developers tried out different formulas and people now seem to prefer SMB1's design over those from other platforming games. It's dangerous to say something is "objectively" improved because even if you think something is doesn't mean it actually is. To me it feels like it's become a buzzword like 'literally' that adds nothing to an argument but is used just because it sounds amazing.

    Anyway, nitpicks aside I enjoyed your review and even if I disagree on several points I enjoyed it nevertheless. Looking forward to new reviews of you in the future.

  • The REAL mike thegamerguy24

    @implantgames great video. I don't really think people just accept aspects of older games just because of the year its released (to some extent). I think its just based on the fact of the limitations of the hardware back then compared to now because some review games through a mindset of what gaming is like now and criticize things that were impossible to fix back then. This review though was not that at all. The criticisms you gave were very fair and valid like the time limit and score (cliche mechanics before 85) and repeating levels (because you showed more of how we evolved from that style of level progression later on in gaming as well as showing a more modern example (sonic games) of why the style doesn't really work with people) instead of acting like its automatically terrible (which you probably wouldn't do anyway). Keep up with the awesome work you do!

  • TvSonic Serbia

    Idk, the presenentation is much stronger in the original, it's got more style and punch, All Star is kinda plain.

  • wariolandgoldpiramid

    I wouldn't say that levels repeating in the SMB1 was a design choice.
    The cartridge has literally no free memory at all. It's not possible to even add a single ?-block.
    So I think they did just because of not having enought memory for 32 unique levels.

  • Casey Decker

    While you did have some good points about the "Sonic Advance" trilogy, I'm still able to enjoy playing the games because of them being the only 2D-style Sonic games at the time, and I have my reasons for liking the Sonic franchise to this day as well.

  • Gabriel Pescado

    Fantastic! Watching this review was a rush of nostalgia for me. It truly is one of my favorite games (though I could say that about most Mario sidescrollers, to be honest). I do agree with you that it's not the best 2D platformer ever made, or even the best 2D Mario game, but it's still loads of fun. It's kind of like how people claim Mario 64 is the best 3D platformer ever made. In both cases, neither is the best of their genre in my opinion, but they are by far the most influential of their genre. Both are still great games in their own right though. Another thing both games have in common is that I prefer their remakes: I would play the All-Stars remake over the original SMB, as I would the DS remake of Mario 64 over the original N64 version.
    An interesting point you brought up was the introduction of new enemies in later worlds. I actually never realized that Bullet Bills didn't show up before World 5. It reminds me of DKC, where Rambi the Rhino is such an iconic character that appears in the iconic first level that I've replayed hundreds of times. I was surprised when I found out earlier this year that Rambi the Rhino actually only appeared in three levels in the entire game. Goes to show how big an impression an element of game can have on the player when done right.
    This is a great study of how SMB set the standard for the 2D platforming genre, and the game itself should be "required reading" for anyone who truly wants to get into the platforming genre, as well as those who want to make their own platform games.

  • Creepsington

    SMB has a continue system, if you press start+a you start from the first level of the world you game over'd on

  • Ángel Solórzano

    I was wondering how your review of this game would be and I can't believe how good it is. Continue knocking it out of the park!

  • Peter Maasz

    May I ask how much time you usually need to play a game, take footage, write the script and edit the video?

  • thatwasprettyneat

    love your vids

  • Will Mistretta

    The hidden warp zones can be used to skip ahead to a chosen stage quite rapidly, which can also be considered an ad hoc continue feature of sorts.

  • Fredator

    It could be very interesting to review a very very modern platformer like "Astro Bot Rescue Mission", just to compare the evolution and see if a really new plateformer follows the rules

  • Jon Mahashintina

    "game breaking powerups" interesting segue into Super Mario World…

  • Nathan Church

    Can I just say this channel is supper underrated and deserves many more subscribers for the work you put in to these videos.

  • altron60

    I disagree with people that give old games a pass for being unfair as well. I loved the review and I was shocked someone could keep me thoroughly entertained for 20 min on smb 1. An amazing review man.

  • British Media Bully

    I love the original Super Mario Bros. Of the original NES trilogy. It's actually my favourite to speedrun as I love blazing through the levels and they can be finished quite quickly. With that said. I prefer the sequels. Super Mario Bros 2 is my favourite in terms of variety, replay value, level themes and length whilst Super Mario Bros 3 is my favourite in terms of control, level design, difficulty and presentation. I would say 2 & 3 are tied but I still love the original.

  • CodyPeacecraft

    Thanks a lot, Kris. Thisnis refreshing. I'm a guy who has basically run out of good content to watch on YouTube. You take me back to when I had a full catalogue of DidYouKnowGaming/Extra to watch. You make quality videos, man. I have been searching for this kind of content again, for a long time. So… Thanks again lol. I've told all of my friends about you, and shared your channel. Hope that makes you get recommended more by Almighty Algorithm.

  • VTRcomics

    "It's not a hard game by any stretch"

    I farmed almost 200 lives and game overed in world, stop rubbing it in

  • British Media Bully

    About the whole "retro games shouldn't have special excuses" argument. I for the most part agree. There are a lot of games in the 80s and 90s that are objectively flawed and it's quite annoying hearing people defend these games saying "it was part of the times". It doesn't necessarily excuse poor design choices like bad enemy placement and thoughtless level design.

    In all honesty, the best defense I could even make for these old games (which is only limited to games in the 80s) is that not every designer starts off making games on par with Nintendo in terms of quality and even Nintendo were still learning when they made games like Zelda 1 and Metroid. I can forgive Zelda 1 and Metroid to some extent since they were revolutionary titles that laid out the groundwork for future games of their respective genre. That doesn't mean they hold up today. For one thing, I love the original Metroid on the NES but I'm willing to admit that it's a very flawed game and I appreciate how it started a franchise and how later games in the series would improve and refine what worked and ditch the stuff that didn't work. I think the best we can do objectively is respect what the old games laid out for future generations to improve upon. There's still plenty I can still enjoy without nostalgia goggles like the Super Mario Bros trilogy, Sonic 3&K, Mega Man 4, Castlevania 3 and etc but plenty of these old games just simply don't hold up that well anymore.

    I learned this in quite an interesting way with my Nintendo 64 and GameCube. The Nintendo 64 was a revolutionary system with groundbreaking titles but the GameCube was a much better console as it took what worked with the Nintendo 64 and got rid of its serious weaknesses like poor framerate, dated controls, rubbish camera and blurry graphics. The Nintendo 64 wasn't bad but it's certainly one of my least favourite Nintendo consoles.

    I think that's all I can say for now. I hope you liked it by any means.

  • Matte Volto

    Whenever someone stops me from criticizing a game because "it came out in the eighties/ninties" I always answer with: "yes, but i am playing it now, in 2018, and this mechanic is, and has always been, a bad game design choice".
    Lovely review btw, you helped me understand why I love this game so much despite its age… although I will admit I often abuse of save states when I get a game over, I just can't stand the lack of continues lol!

  • Retro GP

    Great retro style review man!! This series is just perfection realized in many ways.

  • merlingt1

    For every good Super Mario bros or Megaman game that featured good design there were 10 others with horrible difficulty and design. Don't really understand the point you are trying to make by just showcasing one game as if that proves anything.

  • Gus Tziavelis

    console. not council.

  • Teemuslayer

    I'm gonna be the first one (?) to say that I find the All Stars versions to have A LOT worse art design. The backgrounds are too vibrant and use same palette as the character sprites, meaning they tend to blend in a bit too much. NES originals had nicely contrasting colors, further enhanced by the relatively simple backgrounds, which helped with the fast paced gameplay. The only exceptions are those night-time levels, where the dark BG helps Mario, enemies and the platforms to "pop out".
    Not only that, but the SNES version's art style changes alter the atmosphere and even STORY of the games; NES' SMB3 for example had this "stage play" theme going on, with literal bolted background props, backstage areas and stage curtains forming the levels. All that's practically gone in the SNES port.

  • Lat3ksi

    Now imagine a timer in Odyssey.

  • mikeonthecomputer

    I agree with you on score and time being a useless relic of arcade gaming. Super Mario Bros. 2 lacked either feature, and it was much nicer to just explore for that reason (the GBA version added back scoring, for whatever reason, I never cared for). It seems Nintendo doesn't ever really decide which way to go. Super Mario Bros. 3 added back score and the timer, Super Mario World maintained it, but Yoshi's Island (the prequel to SMW) removed them. Both features were largely absent on the 3D games, at least until 3D Land and 3D World added them back, and seems to be the current standard for Mario games.

    I would also like to add that limited lives make little sense outside the arcade environment, especially after save games have become a thing. Most Mario games are very lenient on giving out extra lives to players, making a game over extremely rare (practically have to purposefully get one). I would honestly just like to see all these features vanish, none of them are critical to making a Mario game fun, and, in the case of the timer and lives, can actually be detrimental to the fun.

  • Pavement Pounder

    I agree the timer was unnecessary but for the opposite reason: it was never an issue for me, even when playing 'slow.' You get oodles of time. I can imagine it being useful though if several kids are taking turns playing and one takes too long lol.

  • Mikael Bohlin

    I think the timer does serve a purpose, it gives replay value as you don't have time to check every brick to find where everything is, giving you surprises when you play it again and happen to find it. It also adds to the sense of excitement that you are running out of time and need to rush to the end, feeling as if you were chased, which should be seen as just another gameplay element which adds to the challenge of the game. The only point where I feel the timer is annoying is the castle areas which repeats, this is not actually the fault of the timer but they just shouldn't have been in the game at all. Anyway, that's my opinion 🙂

  • Christopher

    Wow I watched the making of Super Mario Bro by other people and on yours offers way different opinions. Its like you don't understand how it was made. Only got viewer because the title.

  • Matt

    It did have continues, but it was basically a cheat code.

  • dudujencarelli

    You could have mentioned the GBC Deluxe version and how playing certain levels on a smaller screen enhances the limitations of porting a console game to a portable device.

  • ghost245353

    3:00 mind blown

  • Metalwario64

    The momentum from hitting bricks in the All-Stars version is a programming oversight. Instead of making Mario move downward, the wrong value was mistakenly used which actually causes him to accelerate upwards slightly. Someone made a patch to apply to a ROM of the game to fix this issue.

  • Desertwhale

    Says that points are outdated and useless, and then does this 20:33.

  • Linart Muja

    The repeat of levels was done to save memory.

  • George Hanna

    I always felt that the timer was an important feature in SMB that added a little extra layer of tenseness and excitment to the gameplay. I agree somewhat with the score system although I don't think it's addition hurts the game at all.

  • Joseph Duncan

    "Game Breaking Powerups" and "No Infinite Continues"

    Must not have used the 1Up shell trick at World 3-1…

  • YourMomz07

    what?? Really – the 2nd half of Mario Galaxy 2 is repeats of previous levels just with different goals or 1 health bar or those annoying clones chasing you…

  • TheyCallMeBruce13

    The take that something wasn't part of the game if it didn't appear in the manual defies comprehension. SMB had continues, and everyone knew about them. Pretending it didn't because you had to hear about it from one of the 8 million available non-manual sources is silly, and you should stop.

    Also, while I agree that the score is pointless, I don't really understand that as a complaint. It has no impact on the game. It's just a fun extra thing, like collecting extra crap in a modern game.

    You're dead wrong on the timer. For one, the maze stages don't work without it. The idea that the maze stages are worse for having a timer is completely backwards.

  • MacGuffin

    What would you say is the best platformer?

  • TheHeartBreakKidLiesDownForAbsolutelyNobody 1980

    The NES version had 7 music tracks: what about the:invincibility theme, end of level theme, & the end of game theme?

  • Overbound Game Studio

    Repeated levels are no longer a technique used by modern game designers? Mario Galaxy 2 would like a word lolol.

  • we have to go back

    Which rayman was the footage from?

  • Treyworld

    20:22 – "It is okay to expect power-ups and items to be BALANCED."


  • John Hal

    Bloopers in the original Super Mario Bros. did in fact attempt to approach Mario’s height, but their horizontal movement was not random. There were actually two types of Blooper: one which would also try to match Mario’s x-coordinate position, and one that would move in the direction Mario was facing. The latter can be taken care of by facing left until it exits screen.

  • Cod4 Wii

    The game changer of games…

  • Jeremy Dixon

    The momentum change in the All-Stars version of the game is a bug. It's a flipped byte for the Y velocity that causes it. Instead of Mario being pushed down from the brick like the NES version he is instead pulled further up into the brick. Fixed in a ROM hack but you are stuck with it on original carts and hardware.

  • Amazing Andy

    I love these games but the repeating castle maze levels ruined the fun for me.

  • exxor9108

    3:00 I'm liking the video so far, but there IS a continue feature built in to the game, though I can forgive it not being included because its never explicitly told. When you get a game over, and you're bumped to the title screen, press and hold the A button when you press start. The game will allow you to start on the world you lost your last life on.

    Edit: I stand corrected, you did talk about it. lol My bad.

  • Diego Crusius

    theres a chance they were saving those previous memory bites by repeating levels with added elements

  • TheJadeFist

    I don't know about Mario's physics in All-Stars, but Luigi was given a higher jump in both SMB1 and Lost Levels.

  • Gazirra1

    The first person I ever saw beat this game was my then-50ish year-old grandpa. Good times

  • billny33

    10:27 might be the tightest escape from a death I've ever seen in this game.

  • billny33

    Ok so the narrator asks for someone else to judge the game's music, someone with less of a nostalgia filter. I'd like to take a crack at this. And yes, I have a lot to say about each of these. Perhaps I should make it into my own video but oh well. Here goes.

    When I was a 6-7 year old kid, I loved video games and their music and SMB1/Duck Hunt was my first game. I can still remember what tracks from what games I really loved then. I felt like a weirdo because nobody else seemed as openly enamored with game music then and I mostly had to keep this to myself. It wasn't until we all distanced ourselves from the 8 and 16 bit eras where a cultural appreciation for the music of these games really developed via nostalgia. So without further ado:

    Overworld theme: This is the most iconic track of any video game ever. And the reason why is that it's basically the first song from the first modern video game of a home console past a certain standard of quality. I just don't think the Atari 2600 as a console or any other systems of that era belong in the conversation of videogames. The NES was the beginning for so many of us. Novices, casual gamers, moms, girlfriends, grandparents, actual real-life plumbers all tried their hands at this along with the eventual hardcore gamers of future generations. And if you never were even good enough to beat a single level or try many games at all, you still tried your hand at level 1-1 and heard the music. Therefore it got parodies, tributes, homages, etc in popular media far more than any other track, hence iconic.
    But was it great? I don't think so. Good but not great. Here's why it's good. It's a surprisingly nuanced and complex tune for being so early in the NES' development. You might think you know where this track loops but it goes a lot farther in before looping than you may realize (1:28 long). It's actually quite hard to tell when the track has looped and when it still has more to go. It's not short and it's not a simple arrangement either. It's well thought out. I give it props for that. However…it's kinda stale. It's not spectacular and I don't think it would have been so memorable if it wasn't featuring as the opening level for THE Mario game. It's not beautiful, powerful or compelling. I wouldn't even call it that catchy if it wasn't so recycled by the culture. It's kind of relaxed and unmotivated sounding. It did however, set the tone for similar Mario overworld tracks in future games that were soft and light without being super driven. As a kid, I loved a lot of game music but this wasn't really on my list. I sort of just took it for granted. You know what Mario track I really fell in love with that I think danced circles around this? Overworld theme of Mario 2. It had a bounciness to it and a sweeter melody I could not get enough of. This one I didn't dislike but it was a little too plain for me to really love though.

    Underground theme – This was hip, it was cool and it fit the setting nicely. It's exactly what an underground theme should sound like. It was ominous without being scary. And it got some of the carryover iconic value that the 1-1 tune shared with the culture. Most people who recognize what 1-1's tune was also recognize this too. These are 1A and 1B in gaming's most recognizable with perhaps not even Zelda's grand overworld theme in between. But here's the problem with this one: it's wayyy too short, even for its time. It loops at just the 11 second mark. Especially after hearing how long the overworld theme went on. When you listen to this one it's like, hey what happened to the rest of it? Now this doesn't ruin the tune, it's still solid and serves its purpose well, but it could have been improved upon with a bridge or a second part to it, even if it was just 30 seconds before looping.

    Dungeon theme – When you are a kid and only a few 8-bit games existed that you know of, this music is…terrifying. It's the height of fear and danger and difficulty. Nothing chased you in this level except the music. You always felt compelled to run when hearing this because of its hyper fast pace, it just felt like you were running from something. From the moment it starts it lets you know your odds are bleak and a grizzly fate likely awaits you. It's a surprisingly dark and unsettling tone compared to the rest of the game. Musically it's quite messy. The sounds sort of conflict and step on each other a lot but it's sort of a beautiful chaotic orchestrated mess of fear and it works very well for a dungeon level with lava pits, random flames and an unsettling boss lurking at the end. I really liked this tune. It had a mystique to it, it put butterflies in your stomach and to this day I wonder how they came up with something so unique. Try humming it or reproducing the theme vocally. It's NOT EASY TO DO! So why was this not iconic too? Well for one, it's super repetitive and can get tiresome very quickly, especially if you don't appreciate the atmosphere being created. I timed it out, only 7 seconds before it loops. Not that you'll notice easily. Each of those 7 seconds kind of sounds the same from the others anyway. And when you get to 4-4, 7-4 and 8-4, dungeon levels that had puzzle and maze elements and dragged on forever, that repetitiveness really could wear you out and make you say 'ok enough already' (of course sometimes this led to the music speeding up when your timer goes under 100. At 1.25 speed the track hits a whole other level of terrifying and running feels mandatory! The scare factor ramps up and perhaps makes the track fresh again). Also, all the beginners who showed up to play 1-1 and 1-2 never played these dungeon levels frequently enough to remember it, let alone get it stuck in their head, so it didn't get the same pop culture tributes. It also lacks the charm of the first 2 tracks. Of course charm is not the goal here. But casual gamers prefer charming music. SMB1 was very big for casual gamers.

    Underwater theme – THIS WAS MY JAM! I couldn't wait to get to 2-2 because of the sweet and beautiful underwater theme. It was a hidden gem. It has this constant 1-2-3 timing signature running in the background as the main notes played over it that gave it a real composition type feel. It's rarity within the game made it more special and exciting to hear. It struck these sweet, pleasing notes that nothing else in the game comes close to. At that time, I thought it was a musical game-breaker, soothing and poetic. It underscored the newfound freedom you had to swim all over the screen. Visually with all the deep blues and greens and the pink corral reefs, the levels looked really nice and colorful and the different gameplay you had, using the entire screen to evade enemies in slow-mo was a great change. The music reminded you that this was the fun level. At 25 seconds, it's still not very long but it was long enough. I thought it was a shame this track got little recognition. Granted the praise I have lavished on this track may seem out of place considering it still pales in comparison to older music of so many franchises (to say nothing of the overworld to SMB2 that I mentioned earlier) But it was a real breath of fresh air at the time and I still think sounds more pleasant than any other track in this game.

    Overall I would say the soundtrack to SMB1 once you remove the iconic value/nostalgia goggles, does not hold up to the music to later NES games. It was a very good start to the system but I think developers quickly figured out all kinds of ways to improve upon it. The tracks here are not bad or lazy. They were good for their time but I think the music here got outshined by the game's sequels and other franchises cough cough Megaman cough that came after fairly quickly. Before I knew it 10 year old me got bored of this game musically and gameplay-wise. Either way, just like the prehistoric mosquito caught in the tree sap artifact from the movie Jurassic Park, the tracks in SMB 1-1 and 1-2 contained the DNA upon which most future gaming themes would emerge from. And like that artifact, they will forever be preserved in our collective memory.

  • dreamrealitysyndrome

    Wait Mario Bros had a cheat code?.

  • Classicos Nostalgicos

    I didnt know about choosing the world to start at.

  • ZipplyZane

    I don't understand your intro. SMB1 is harder than all of the more recent Mario games, and harder than most modern 2D platformers (except the ones specifically designed to be hard). It still has to be graded on a curve of what was available at the time to be seen for the masterpiece it was.

    Don't get me wrong. I love that you review these games with a modern interpretation. I know how well they were received back in the day–the fun of your channel is how new players would see them, rather than how they would be perceived back in the day.

    I actually suspect you may be running into the same issue the people who criticize you are. They played these older games and got good, and so it's hard for them to see how the game is actually as hard as it is to someone new.

  • Ray

    Your "Old School vs. New Games" arguments were fantastic!
    Good games have always been good games for good reasons.

  • Funkopedia

    I came to this revelation only yesterday, like 32 years after first playing this game: The repeating levels is the narrative equivalent of backtracking in a metroidvania, or revisiting a location in a modern open world game. All they're missing is a cutscene with Luigi telling him hey somebody back in 2-2 has a hint to where Toadstool is! Mario goes back and turns out they were tricked, it's an ambush!: there are twice as many bloobers and cheep cheeps as usual! Mario and Luigi fight it out and there's a chase scene on the long bridge that was 2-3!

  • Steven Sloan

    People were not given unlimited continues because in the 80's we did not need the everyone is a winner mentality. If you could not beat the game then you tried again and again until you could, it taught our generation the importance of perseverance and never giving up. The ideology that we put forth to today's youth that everyone is a winner may make them feel good now but it'll hurt them later in life when they realize that not everyone is a winner, upon having that knowledge thrust at them in adulthood some will not be able to cope and adjust to this as we are already seeing with some of the older teenagers.

  • That Channel

    The designers aren't always to blame for things like time limit, score etc. Publishers often pushed the designers to make the game as close to an arcade game as possible, since they were widely considered to be the pinnacle of gaming at the time and home ports sold by the bucketload. Indeed, it was difficult for designers to get publishers to take a chance on innovation – take "Elite" for example: the designers constantly had their pitch for the game rejected, with publishers insisting on them implementing arcade tropes like 3 lives and a high-score table.

    Besides, I never thought the time limit on SMB was bad design – it stops players from finding all the secrets too quickly (a big part of the fun and creator of playground gossip, necessary in the absence of the internet) and also stops cheating by spawning enemies individually. Even aiming for a high score adds replay value.

  • Emily Apricot

    Thanks for this in depth review. Just because people are familiar with a cultural icon, does not mean they know the finer details. Also, many times we like something without knowing why.

  • Emily Apricot

    I grew up with Mario games as well and definitely agree time limits in games that reward exploration are needless. I remember SMB 2 and Zelda had none, and I felt much more free. The only justification I could give is to assure that onlookers or people waiting for a turn could see an encouragement to keep the action going. A part of the times was limited consoles and TVs for many families, along with gaming being a state of the art technology, so gaming was often a social event. The score also helped competitive players determine a winner while taking turns.

  • John Grotegut

    Nearly all weaknesses in smb1 are actually examples of clever programming. smb1 is literally the biggest game possible on nes, unassisted. Why repeat levels? Saves memory. Why are enemies pallet swaps? Saves memory. Why is bowser the only boss? Saves memory. NES was built to play games like pacman, mario bros and ice climbers. Any game bigger than smb1 on nes had extra memory built into the cartrages. Really, its amazing what the nes was able to create late in its life cycle given that it was really just a garbage cart reader with all of the actual tech in the cartrages by that point.

  • WJR

    7-3? lmao thats 8-3 with the hammer bros

  • foxymetroid

    Fun fact: This game helped inspire Sonic's gameplay. When Sonic's creator would play Super Mario Bros., he would always try to get through the early levels as fast as he could so that he could get to the tougher levels quicker. When it came time to develop the original Sonic game, he built the game around going as fast as possible, since that's how he played Mario.

  • Kevin Cannon

    This game has a charm that you just don't see today

  • The Name's Christian

    I wish the controls were tweaked in All Stars. If anything feels just a smidge dated, it's the controls

  • Alex Noa

    lol, why didn't you just intentional record a game over? It'd have taken you five minutes tops to get to World two and then game over. Nice flex though.

  • Otaku

    I must disagree about not judging a game according to when it was released. I'd don't feel like straining my brain, but I imagine arguments can be made for the who, what, where, why, and how also mattering.

    It shouldn't be used to excuse bad games or diminish good games, however. Of course, when I'm evaluating a game, I'm not just talking about the general enjoyment factor. I'm a gamer geek, or at least I can fake being one. XP Knowing that a game was pushing hardware, innovated or popularized an idea, etc. may not actually make the game fun – though for me it can, because I'm weird like that – I find it can make a game more impressive.

    It usually doesn't sour a fun game, though, barring extenuating circumstances… like finding out some game I loved was actually a poorly executed clone of another game. The emphasis was intentional; it isn't that the game does something another game did, it is that the game does it incompetently and so one knows they not only could have done better, but they knew it could be done better as well. ^^'

  • Joseph Duncan

    Re-watched this.
    9:33 they were also attempting to conserve storage space. The entire game clocks in at only 32KB, which was about the limit that the original NES cartridges could hold.
    Obviously, they later added more onboard ROM, RAM, Memory Mappers and Battery Backups to push the system to do things it wasn't designed to.

  • bitwize

    You overlooked the main reason levels repeat in SMB: to save memory. ROM chips were precious in 1985, and SMB was already a bigger, more ambitious game than had ever come before. To keep costs down, they repeated a few levels allowing the game to take up less space. Assets were also reused with palette changes for this reason, like the clouds and bushes.

    SMB also had a curious relationship with power-ups that its successors lacked. The fire flower was a reward for overcoming the platform challenges and enemies without getting hit, and allowed Mario to power through many of the more annoying challenges like spinies, piranha plants, hammer bros and Bowser. Slipping up meant losing this power, a major setback even if you didn't lose a life. The game thus encouraged gitting gud early by making the late game easier as a reward for early mastery. SMB3 and World, by contrast, had levels with entire sections that could only be accessed with certain power-ups, so they made it possible to top up Mario's power before entering a level.

  • Ronald Maya

    Love your Mario reviews. Really hope you review all the Mario games up until Odyssey (and beyond)

  • YourTechGuy

    I challenge you to play Super Mario Bros 2:The Lost Levels

  • Jesse James

    I feel like games like this are all about the run, like seeing how far you can get each time. adding unlimited continues kind of loses the authentic experience.

  • leadbones

    Here is the thing. The video game industry and game design theory were in their infancy in the 80's. The generalizations people make about games from the 80's are always wrong, because pretty much all generalizations are wrong to some degree. There were a lot of bad design decisions made back then. It's easy to say that those decisions were often objectively bad. But everybody was experimenting. Not just the design philosophy, but the hardware limitations were constantly evolving. It isn't comparable to the environment games are developed in today. It simply isn't. Saying that none of this needs to be considered, and that all games need to be reviewed in a vaccuum in order to acheive objectivity is a mistake. It's like saying that rock music, objectively, could have gone straight from Elvis to Meshuggah, if only everybody didn't make so many bad decisions that weren't like the modern decisions, back in the 50's. The modern concessions simply wouldn't exist without all the trials, errors, and incremental steps in between. I'm not saying older games should be free from criticism. I'm just saying manage your expectations. Emerson Lake and Palmer is not, and could not possibly have been, Daft Punk.

  • Hector

    Unlimited continues in classic games are for PUSSIES.


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