Throwback Thursday - Super Mario All-Stars and Catching Up on Mario History
I only had the first Super Mario Bros. on the original Nintendo Entertainment System. Mario 2 and 3 never came my way, and inasmuch as I played 3 countless times at friends' homes, I was never die-hard into Mario until SNES. Yoshi was the game-changer. Also…cape.
So, when Super Mario All-stars came to that console, it was a great chance to pick up some classics I had missed. It should have been a top priority, but who had time for Mario when Final Fantasy III and Mortal Kombat were available?
(Editor's Note, most gamers did not have this conundrum and were able to enjoy all three of these classics in their time, we however as a populace did not make as many stop-motion animated videos as CJ did.)
So, even when this game landed, I was not into it. Then fifteen years down the line, I acquired my family's original SNES console and somehow-someway (Chris probably gave it to him) got a copy of Super Mario All-stars for the wife and I to play together.
And play we have!!!
For those unaware, the cartridge contains Super Mario Bros., Super Mario Bros. 2, Super Mario Bros. 3, and the infamously difficult Super Mario Bros: The Lost Levels. Of course, the games are updated from their original NES versions to show better off on a 16-bit processor and with improved sound, so they are more vibrant and detailed than the initial releases, but other than that the content is nearly identical. The Lost Levels is something of an urban legend considering that it was originally programmed to be Super Mario Bros. 2 but was deemed too difficult for players in the United States. To whoever made that call, good work. You were right. Even now, that game is a crazy challenge; I once overheard my nephew warp BACKWARD several worlds…this game would have broken American children).
(Editor's note – I continue to refuse to play The Lost Levels, I have never met someone who has vouched for its value and I love Super Mario Bros. 2 and do not want to “cheat” on it with this mistake of time)
Super Mario All-Stars is not only a value-packed cartridge but something of a partial history of the character. Granted, it does not include Mario’s Donkey Kong fighting days, but the rest of the icons of the 80’s Mario-verse are there. By playing through the cart, one will get a wonderful sense of what made this series so beloved and be introduced to many of Mario's most familiar and beloved foes: Bowser, Bullet Bill, Shy Guy, and the near-endless variety of Koopas, Goombas, and Hammer Brothers!
Admittedly, I still believe that Super Mario World for SNES is the best game in the series, but all of these NES games still hold up wonderfully. They are a ton of fun, even now. I suppose with the advent of the Mini-NES this fall, fewer people will need to hunt this cart for their collection, but for those who do, there's plenty to enjoy! --Old School C.J