There is just something about the original SUPER MARIO BROS

There was and is nothing like just starting the game, pouncing that first goomba and grabbing the mushroom, and then running through the board; all one direction, and only the five original score tracks (overworld, underworld, water world, star or sky coin bonus area, and castle), plus the little "victory" tunes after the flagpole or castle when clearing a board.

The original game had such a flow, and a basic form to it. The first world of every level was the basic over world or “field”. The second world was initially either an underworld or a water world accessed through a pipe at the beginning (and then later, an overworld with a whole bunch of pipes to try out). The third world was an “obstacle course” consisting of raised "T" shaped platforms and bluffs; or bridges over water with jumping fish, and the fourth one being the castle. This made it all the more interesting when you would stumble upon a little water world "out of place" as in the last castle, and in some pipes in overworld boards; or the hidden little section of overworld in 4-2 (with the "world-3ish" T platforms printed with mushroom patterns like the ones in 4-3, but over solid ground instead of open air) leading to the warp zone.


The Japanese “SMB2” (AKA “The Lost Levels”) basically kept the same form, adding stonework as ground paving, red piranha plants that came out regardless of whether you were standing on or next to the pipe, winds that blew, and high jump springs, with the possibility of going over the pole and finding an alternate exit (which sometimes was a backwards warp!) If you played through the 32 levels without warping or quitting, (culminating with a twin of Bowser in the middle of the last castle) then there was a special World 9 that was like a “silly level” (if you remember Marble Madness) with a defeated Bowser whom you can easily avoid, in, get this, an over world castle, which is "outside" in daylight and overworld backgrounds, but with castle style bricks, passages and music. (And also, level 3, not 4). The other 3 levels are submerged overworlds (i.e. water worlds with overworld features, such as bluffs, block pyramids, land enemies, and even the flagpole!) The last one had nothing but a sequence of blocks spelling out Japanese word "arigatou" (Thank You), and all the enemies parading across the floor, as you freely swim past them above (the exception being a "castle" style Podobo lavaball).
After that was four additional worlds: A-D (Hexadecimal for 10-13), which retained the basic form of the regular worlds. The very final castle, D-4 has a very "out of place" section of overworld followed by an underworld coin passage (8-4 also had an underwater section like SMB1. B-4 has a pipe to an overworld warp zone. Otherwise, castles were strictly dry, dark dungeons, which is what makes these exceptions so notable. In both cases, the underwater section differs from a regular water world by having "castle" style bricks, but colored green, the castle music, and fire bars). D-4 also has the second Bowser midway through the course. Other oddities in the game were squids that floated through the air.

Luigi also jumped higher, which was a feature included and expanded upon in the American SMB2, which was a completely different game franchise called "Doki Doki Panic" or "Dreamworld" that had been adapted to Mario, to replace 2J which had been deemed too hard for Americans.

This blog: actually claims that Doki Doki Panic was originally conceived as SMB2 after all, but this was scrapped; the reasons including the technical limitations of the NES system, making it difficult to produce a polished game featuring a vertical orientation and multiplayer features conceived for the project. The descriptions included a multiplayer feature where blocls are picked up and stacked higher for clmbing, causing the level to scroll upward. (This would finally be used on certain levels when multiplayer capability was finally added in the 2009 entry, below).
It was decided to add more Mario-like elements, such as horizontal levels (though many vertically oriented levels were retained in the final project and would spread to the rest of the series in various levels).
Eventually, the project was dusted off for a deal with Fuji Television who rquested it to be completed for them as a sort of promotional venue; and there changed into DDP, with Fuji's characters, and afterwards, of course, then readapted to SMB2 again for the US, when the Lost Levels that became SMB2 were declined for release there.

This would make sense. Like the old Mario Mania guide suggests it was "destined to become a Mario game", and it had Mario elements such as the starmen and POW blocks. Picking up the blocks and stacking them then became picking up enemies, or vegetables and throwing them.

several characters would become mainstays in the Mario universe (not just the SM series platformers, but also the "all star" sports, party etc. games that would follow).


The major permanent changes to the series began with SMB3, which introduced "world maps" that themselves could be like mini worlds at times. You started on this map instead of in a level, and then had to move across the map to a level and select it. (This really took away from the flow of the game). You sometimes had a choice of roads as to which board you would play next, (including ones you're already cleared) and could get tools like a pick axe to break through boulders blocking sections of the map, and it had its own pipe network.
You also had boats across a lake, and bridges that had to be unlocked, and even some that would automatically alternate between open and closed upon each return to the map. The warp was now a whistle which was stored as a powerup item, and when used, whisked you out of the world map you were on to an island with 3 roads with a choice of pipes leading to different worlds; with each road determined by which world you used the pipe in. This was a totally new idea, but nothing like finding a hidden vine or passage to a warp area located within the playing level.
The Hammer Brothers were now usually only located in the world map, in which they moved around. Plus, all of the little bonus rooms and even a special bonus ship that traveled across the map sometimes. These places are where the warp and many of the new powerup items were "won" at.

It also broke out of the old "four worlds to each level" mode, and went way beyond the 32 levels for the original (and 52 for 2J), to a total of 90. Not only were there up to 10 levels in some worlds, you had several levels which had no number designation, such as fortresses throughout the world with the mini-boss Boom Boom, and other levels such as "Desert", "Tower", and "Piranha Plant". The first seven worlds had "airship" levels instead of a castle leading to the world boss, who was one of Koopa's new kids or "Koopalings". You had all new over world score; the first one being reminiscent of the original, though it was a totally different tune.
You also had two different types of ground-level overworld; one being the standard block world, and the other consisting of rolling grassy hills (using a variation of the first tune). The underworlds were now multilevel earthen mazelike caves, instead of having block floors, walls and ceilings, like the original underworlds. The original underworld tune was retained, but set to a beat. The water worlds had totally different music, still “carnival-like”, but now with a “common time” (4/4) rhythm. The starman tune was the same, however, and now you did somersaults when running and then jumping to it. Castle music was also different, and to me, I miss the original, though this new piece was very good (fitting), and still very simple and “gamey”, though. And sky coin areas no longer used the “starman” piece, but rather now the same sleepy “otherworldly” piece used in warping.

You had little pools of water you could either wade or swim in, unlike full water worlds that could only be accessed from pipes. There were also waterfalls you could jump and swim through. In some of the regular water worlds, the sea floor drops out as you move further along, so there's no longer any bottom. You could also go backwards in a level, and there were right to left levels as well. Some overworlds even had parallel underworlds or water worlds beneath the ground, with multiple pipe entrances throughout the board. Several new characters were added, some being variations of original characters, but others totally new. The most famous which have become prominent fixtures in the later series are the ghosts (“Boo Buddies”) which chase after you when you are facing the other way, and the Thwomp rock traps that drop down in fortresses. The fire bars are replaced by “roto-discs” (an apparently electric disc that revolved about a central point, and the good thing about this is that you are completely safe from it within its radius of rotation). Only the Bob-Omb was imported from Dreamworld. The original characters (including Mario himself) were also slightly altered, and some levels scrolled automatically.

Holdovers from the drastically different SMB2(USA) were the "theming" of each world as a water world, ice world, etc, doors you enter by pressing up, platforms could now be jumped through from underneath, where in the first game and 2J, they were solid “ceilings” from below. Also picking up items and throwing them (though not the sole means of beating enemies as it was in SMB2), quicksand and horizontal levels, which in SMB2 were dug down through, but now were traversed by jumping to higher platforms, riding platforms, using pipes or falling from the top and grabbing midair coins.
All of this was nice in itself, but just took away from the form of the original game. Now, for instance, water levels would be found mostly in “the Water World” (3). There are only two other full water levels outside this (the “giant” version in 4-4; and 7-4), and other than that, some worlds having only water-filled sections.

What were nice additions that added to the game were the variety of powerups (especially the Hammer suit and frog suit), and that when you get hit in one of them, you revert back to Super Mario instead of little Mario, and if you hit one out of a block as Super Mario but then get hit and become little Mario, you still get that power, instead of just Super Mario (which was what would happen in the original if you grab a fire flower as little Mario). After becoming Super Mario, the next powerup block you hit would produce either a fire flower (as normal), or, more commonly, a leaf. This gives you a raccoon's ears and tail (which you can swat enemies and blocks with when hitting the fire button). After gaining some momentum in running, you can fly high for a while (with new hidden items and areas added for this). Any further powerups you gained would change you back and forth from raccoon to fire power, and if you grab the one you already have, it would be stored in a special menu along with ones you gain by other methods. There is also a "tanooki" suit (one of these "special" items won in bonus areas and such), which is similar, except you are completely furry now, and you can also turn to stone briefly to avoid enemies. Since "tanooki" is "raccoon" in Japanese, I imagine that was the true "raccoon suit", while the ears and tail only could be called a "partial" or "half" raccoon suit.
There were ice blocks which you could either pick up and throw, or melt with fire power. There were often coins inside of these, or they blocked passages.

Instead of a flagpole, you had a sudden change from day to darkness (with a jagged border in the sky, and backgrounds being black and white outlines of the normal ones), and a box flashing different items, which when you touch ends the level, transforming all enemies on the screen to collected coins, and gives you a "card", which helps you get a bonus later on. Also throughout the game are P switches, in which hidden items would appear briefly. You also had "out of place" things like a sun (which earlier chased you in the desert), appearing on the "night-time" scene of a World 8 level. You can bypass it by falling down a quicksand pit that is a hidden entrance to the underworld, rather than being deadly, like sinking into all other quicksand is. (The overworlds of 8 were the only "night" worlds in the game, where 3 and 6 of SMB and 2, 7, and C of 2J were night worlds. Since it is already dark, you cannot tell as quickly the goal is near. Most of the other World 8 levels consisted of a series of tanks firing Bob-Ombs and canonballs).


Super Mario World took all this even further, with all new sounds, graphics, character redrawing (this is where the upright Koopas were introduced, and the goombas, in their rare appearances looked like little Lemonheads, with no bodies; just feet attached to a small head), and much more complexity. The very first thing that stands out, are the diagonally oriented bluffs and platforms in both the playing field and background! Also, the most common "basic" enemies being these little dinosaurs instead of goombas. Goombas don't even "squish" anymore when you jump on them (You kick them out of the way, basically, and it's the dinosaurs that "squish", and with two jumps, now), and Koopa Troopas pop out of their shells instead of turning upside down. (There are even some walking around without shells!)
The new 16 bit sounds were supposed to be more realistic, but the coin, fireball and pipe sounds were actually far inferior to the cartoony originals, and basically destroyed the feel of the game. (And then, the older games were redone like this in “Super Mario Allstars”. Luckily, the characters weren't changed, though). “plik, plik, plik” instead of “bling, bling, bling”? (coins). “prik, prik, prik” instead of “blut, blut, blut”? (fire power). "blat, blat, blat" instead of "glug, glug, glug" (the realistic flushing sound for the pipes)? Come on, now! The sound of killing one enemy was pretty much the same, but then when it is a string of enemies are killed with one shell, or hopping from one to the other, the pitch of the “kill” sound goes up leading to the 1-up. That seemed like a logical idea, but the original "pluck, pluck, pluck" sound of multiple enemies being killed (same pitch) was another hallmark of the game to me. Even the crude bassy 8-bit sounds used for Mario hitting a ceiling or empty block, and a fireball hitting a wall, as well as the one used for the firing of a Bullet Bill were missed, as it wasn’t the same without them.

IIRC, all of the original tunes were gone, now. Overworld music was still a lively piece that evoked the original, but underworld music was now just a lower pitched, less lively variation of this. Castle music in particular now became an overdone “gothic” composition. And collecting of special large “dinosaur” coins became a new additional goal in the game. Nice, but to me it is a bit of a distraction from the overall flow. You could once again play a board you have cleared over, and sometimes this was necessary, as there were areas you could not enter, and you had to go ahead and get something else and then come back, and that was necessary to unlock something else later in the game. I specifically remember those colored pieces of missing ground you had to find switches for later on in the game.
The ghosts introduced in SMB3 now had their own levels (i.e. "houses"). Moving ceilings and spikes from SMB3, plus now moving walls and ramming pillars in the fortresses. That kind of stuff requires a bit more patience (waiting for them to move into the right position so you can pass or climb), and to me, interrupts the flow of the game. Castles in the original game had only jumping obstacles, and firebars and standard enemies. Occasionally, you would need to move in a particular sequence to get to the next area, and the only things needed to be timed were the fire bars and the lifts. Otherwise, it was just keep moving forward.

Several of the SMB2 (Dreamland) characters came back. Worlds were no longer numbered, but now named, (after dairy foods) and while levels were given numbers in the player guides, they were no longer known by numbers in the game. And then of course, there was Yoshi, the dinosaur you rode through much of the game, who has a sticky tongue like a frog. Total number of levels (including secret levels, Star road, etc) was 96, IIRC.
The one thing that seemed to be heading back in the right way was the goal post at the end of the level, which evoked the old flagpole. The bar actually moved up and down, so that you not only have to try to cross the goal as high as possible, but also get more stars if you break through the bar!

I originally enjoyed playing SMW, but by now, it was a completely different game than the old SMB. And SMW 2 was getting still further away, with Mario as a baby whom Yoshi (now the playing character) has to protect. When I would then play the old game, (long beaten) just for kicks, it still had something to it that was just missing in all of these newfangled games. To this day; I will still play SMB1 and run through and warp my way to the end, or focus on a particular world inbetween; and I'll play as much of 2J as I can pass, and some of 3, but when I even think of SM World, it's like too much to try to get back into.

Super Mario 64 and Sunshine finally introduced the 3D format I had long been hoping for, but from what I saw of them in the stores they too were vastly different, and lacked the flow even more. You could go off indefintely in any direction, so it was easy to be lost. I didn't even know where to head first. And you also had to go get keys from later boards and return to open up things. And they didn't seem to have much music, and whatever music it did have was very different from the catchy original score.


Next, about 10 years later, and just past the 20th anniversary of SMB, was the New Super Mario Bros for the Dual Screen (DS) handheld. I can say it basically looks like a new extension of Super Mario World, but with restoration of some of the basic original SMB elements such as certain sound effects (very important), the flagpole at end of the world, and the way you beat Koopa. (It's just a little too graphic in showing him burning in the lava). Riding of Yoshi has been dropped, and that is also good for restoring the feel of the older games. (I always preferred the rare Kuribo's shoe of SMB3 to Yoshi anyway). Though I still think the turtles walking upright messes up the look. Forgive me, but I'm just a SMB1/2J purist. The Dry Bones turtle skeletons look really creepy! That is good, but my issue is that they too walk upright, though since it is a different character than the Koopa Troopas, it is not as bad. You can still pick up shells again, though, and “dinosaur coins” are replaced by “star coins”.

The new overworld tunes are very cool and catchy, though they still differ alot from the original tune associated with the SMB overworld. The water world tune is different, but more closely resembles the original by its 3/4 time rhythm.
Backgrounds consist of distant huge pastel colored "mountains", which are basically domed cylinders (completely vertical "sides"). These replaced the little green hills and shrubs that were much closer to the foreground in the original. The new backgrounds were introduced in SMW (On levels where the backgrounds didn't follow the "diagonal" scheme of that game's graphics), and also appeared in the 16 bit "Super Mario Allstars" remakes of SMB2 and 3.
(SMB1 and Lost Levels retained the green hills in some places, though made to look more distant, and most backgrounds were just faded distant copies of the objects in the playing area (oval trees, castle walls, pipes, T-platforms, etc). The new backgrounds looked nice in their own right, but the original graphics were apart of the look of classic SMB).

The underworld has kept the original underworld tune, but added a beat to it, like SMB3. It also looks more like SMB3 and SMW, with sloping earth, etc. than the original. There too; I liked the original better. Starman invincibility music is a “tropical” steel drum version of the original. The castle music has still gone in the “gothic” direction, with an even more rich orchestation. It just isn’t a SMB castle without the original simple tune. It was spooky enough to give the desired effect. The “tower” music is more similar to SMB3, though (down to the drums), and the brief “string orchestra” part of it faintly evokes the original castle tune.
Also interesting are some vertically oriented towers in which lava slowly rises, and you have to outjump/outclimb it. I see that they have restored the SMB3 "battle with Boom-Boom" piece for Bowser, and added to it. And they've also brought back the ghosts and their houses, and several other characters from SMB3 and SMW, such as Thwomps, Spike Tops, Banzai Bill, the ramrods (now changed from carved stone in SMW into metallic "pistons") and moving walls in the castle, etc. And I see a few Dreamworld characters like Pokey, and Tweeter. Then it seems to have more sharks in the water than cheep-cheeps, and many other new characters, such as a giant eel as tall as the screen coming up behind you. The only other character I liked besides the original villains (and their SMB3 variants, such as Giant versions, Koopalings, etc) was the Bob-omb.

And you can swing across ropes (a-la Jungle King; remember that?), and climb across too, and they brought back the two sided fences from SMW. That was a nice idea, but to me also interrupts the flow of the game. The original was purely running, jumping and swimming, with climbing only up short vines. SMB3 and SMW added flying, but that still kept with the flow. (Flying in this game seems to be replaced by the things that propel you into the air and you fall back softly twirling). It also has a huge tornado in the desert, (like SMB3) and also now a vortex in a water world, which also interrupts the flow. In the water, it appears wearing a shell helps you swim. This was taken from SMW (where you carried it), and basically replaced the frog suit from SMB3.
Also I hear that it too has almost 100 levels. And then there's the world map (which is the only 3D section of the game. Does look very nice, though). Warping is done by opening up a road on the world map leading to a “cannon” which fires you to the new world when you select it from the map, and then upon entering a “level” containing only the cannon, climb into it like a pipe. A little better than the warp whistle, but since it is still based on the world map, and not hidden in playing levels, still not as good as the original. However, what some levels do have are alternate exits, which open up the paths to the canon, or bypasses/shortcuts across the map, or sometimes, extra toad houses.


The following SMB game is Super Mario Galaxy, released for the Wii system. This completely changes every aspect of the game, as now you are in space, and being propelled on to little planetoids, whose surfaces are of course, spherical (you can run, circling the globe, and it's funny as the direction you are looking actually changes). This is to take advantage of the wireless "Wiimote" controller. Some of these "worlds" (quite literal, now) are hollow, and do not have complete surfaces; revealing a black hole in the center as the gravity source. So now, falling off of the playing field has you getting sucked into this spherical hole instead of a presumed "bottomless pit".
Otherwise; it is basically like SM64 and Sunshine. The graphics are greatly improved, with higher resolution and the tacky polygonal makeup that caracterized 64 not as obvious.



What I do like about NSMB, which add and does not take away from the magic of Mario:
•the rich graphics and colors
•floating embers out of the lava pools
•Rubbery and even swaying "world-3" style "T" platforms
•A powerup that comes out of a block after all of the coins are knocked out, and several multicoin blocks all next to each other that you can quickly bounce into on the rubbery platform.
•Pipes that fire you into the air
•the power stomp used to crush through bricks
•The wall jump, where you can jump higher by bouncing off a wall
•The giant Mario that crashes through bricks, pipes, etc, and the tiny Mario that can squeeze through smaller spaces
•The "progress meter" showing where exactly you are in the level.

The final castle of a game always has new ideas. In SMB3, you had a “front-back” fortress accessed by various doors, and you had to remember where you were, and which direction you were heading. Not to be outdone, this new game is concluded by a flippable castle, where the whole room rotates vertically upon hitting a special block, and only Mario and nearby Thwomp remain in the same position. You then have to make your way through an upside down room, remembering the direction you are heading into, and the doors can only accessed when they are upright. (The rockets from the old SMB3 airships have been imported as well). After that, you have a good old fashioned 7-4 style platform sequence maze, before encountering a revived Koopa with blue guided fireballs. (And having to fight his new son at the same time).

With the original (and all important) sound effects for grabbing a coin, shooting fireballs and entering a pipe/powering down restored to SMB1-3; and some of the other trappings of SMW removed, like Yoshi, I would say this game was the logical followup to SMB3. This is really what should have been released in the place of SMB4/SMW, or between 3 and World.

There are still other features of SMW that I feel are unneccessary and going too far that have been retained in the new game:

From SMB2USA (Dreamland): vertical levels (though I like the idea of the rising lava in 4-Tower and 8-6), doors entered by pressing up (including to the boss rooms in the castles, even though the old “bridge” where you battle Koopa is restored), several of the characters brought over, themed worlds.
From SMB3: various new characters (ghosts, etc), moving walls in castles, world map concept and map-based warping and Hammer Bros.; cavelike underworlds, even solid ground “field” over worlds are generally rolling grass plains, so many levels in each world, with multiple “towers”/(fortresses with sub-bosses) and Toad houses, platforms that travel on variously curved tracks, self-scrolling levels.
Good things: variety of powerups, and you revert to Super Mario when hit, and little Mario can still gain the full power directly when the item has already been released. I still wish they would have retained the Hammer suit.
From SMW: those upright Koopas! Just takes away from the look. They’re supposed to be regular turtles. To me, that was one of the signature images of the game. Hammer Bros. are supposed to be the ones who have “evolved” (Mario Mania guide) to walk on twos! Other main pet peeve is the spiked ramrod pillars in the castle. The goombas don’t look as bad as in SMW, but I like the original look (now, they wobble as they walk). Collecting of special coins becoming a main goal in the game. Then you have those triskelion platforms (those plus the upright Koopas are so reminiscent of SMW. All that’s missing is the honky-tonk music used on “obstacle course” levels in that game). Characters like Spike Top and Wiggler also are too distinctively SMW to me. Also, the use of “gothic” style castle music.

I know, as others have said, that "they have to tweak it up and add new things so it's not the same old thing". But of course, they could always keep making the complicated games and adding more stuff to them. Plus the spinoffs, third party RPG's, etc. But they could also make more simpler ones at the same time, just for old times sake.

I am so glad the basic sounds have been restored! With the coin, they have compromised, and use the original sound for collection, and retain the “muted” SMW coin sound for when you shoot an enemy and it turns into a coin. Some other sounds have been retained, like jumping (ugh!), (and of course the star coin --a sound I still associate with the old SMB-influenced Arcade game “Rastan” from back in the days of the old Arcade version of SMB). When multiple enemies are killed (as with a shell), the pitch of the “kill” sound goes up until the 1-up is gained.


Months after plans for NSMB's followup began surfacing online, and only when I get a Nintendo newsletter about its release just the week before, I find out about New Super Mario Mario Bros Wii. It seems like it would be just a version of the DS-based NSMB for the Wii system, but instead, it is an all new game. Basically similar to NSMB, with the same style of graphics, music, character design, level construction, features & layouts, and 3D world maps with cannon warps. There do seem to be less new characters, though. However, Yoshi is back, to be ridden and swallow things (though only in six levels--one for each world except 5 and 8--marked below by "(Y)"; great compromise!) The big addition is the up to four player multiplayer feature, harking back to the Mario Party and Smash series, and even the old Mario Bros. Also brought back from that game is the POW block. So it's Mario, Luigi, and now two Toads, yellow and blue (basically replacing Wario and Waluigi). People wonder why they didn't think of at least one other character besides a second Toad. It couldn't be the princess again, like in SMB2USA, because the Koopas have captured her yet again!

The seven Koopalings have been brought back, in addition to Bowser Jr. as their boss, under Bowser senior, who appears at the very end. The doom ships from SMB3 are also back, as are the Ghost Houses, a tower and a castle to each world, the themed worlds, and more than four levels to a world. Gone is the progress meter, used on the second screen of the DS. Also gone is the giant mushroom, but the mini mushroom is still there, and new additions are an ice flower, giving you ice power similar to fire power. Frozen enemies turn into blocks of ice you can pick up or jump on; most of them temporarily, though you can smash them with the ground pound destroying the enemy. Other powerups are a propeller suit (the game's entry in flying capability), and a penguin suit that gives you ice power along with the ability to slide (like the shall suit on the DS) and more easily walk on ice and swim in water (sort of like the old frog suit). You can ride other players, carry/be carried by them, and in the mini-games, take their powerups, coins, and otherwise cooperate or compete.

The internet was conspicuously absent of any readily found information about what happens when players are "left behind", and I got the info from the salespeople at the Nintendoworld store and added it to Wikipedia, and then hunted down as many online sources as I could find. On some levels, the view will pan out a bit so that the player[s] in the rear will still be in view. If he still doesn't catch up, he is then dragged by the edge of the screen, until he moves forward faster or is killed by a fall or other object. On vertically oriented levels, being left below the screen was said to result in death. This is one example of when voluntary encasing by a bubble that is possible is useful, as the bubble will float, following the other players. When one player is killed, he also reappears in a bubble and floats along until someone frees him. If one player enters a pipe, climbs a vine, grabs the flagpole at the end of the world, etc. without the others, the scene will change after a few seconds (to give them a chance to catch up) to where the leading player went, and the other[s] will then appear there. On the world map, the Mario player is the one who chooses the world. Also, if you lose eight times on a world, you can have an "auto-player" feature ("Super Guide") that will play for you (using Luigi), and you can cut back in any time. However, you don't keep anything you gained with Super Guide, even if you take control again in the middle of it. (You can advance beyond the level on the world map, but the level is still registered as not completed).
We at the last minute decided to get the Wii, and of course, the new Mario game, for ourselves for Christmas (Since we could get it through Dell).

Overall, the entire theme of this game is rotation. From the very start, you have rotating mounds of ground (which often contain pipes and hide another new feature, secret openings or passages that only become visible when you get near them.
Towers and castles even have entire concrete structures rotating, swinging platforms, plus ghost houses and some other levels having moving brick or [?] blocks, and the obstacle course levels having swinging sets of coins and blocks, rotating squares that serve as platforms, including as lifts on tracks you must hop on and even ride. Some even have the bricks/blocks rotating with them.

Thus the game is in some ways less like the original than NSMBDS, but in some ways is more like the original, such as not having so many new (post-SMW) characters. Like the eels and sharks in the water worlds are thankfully gone, and the levels are more like the original with mostly variations of the original fish and squids. Also not having as many levels. (The largest world is 8, having 8 levels in addition to the tower, airship and castle. Most other worlds have only 7 levels. 3 is the smallest with only 6. Gone are the the lettered extra worlds (-A, -B, etc) the DS game had.
The goombas have been improved, nearly to their original appearance, though with the mouth included. The original goombas had no mouths drawn, and it seems they underwent all that distortion in the succeeding games as mouths (with bottom fangs) were squeezed in, beginning with SMB3, and they tried to readjust the shape of the head. Now, they finally got the shape right.

One Coin battle mode level is just like classic SMB1 underworld. It begins with the original Mario Bros platforms (in the grayish green brick). When you clean out that area, you enter a pipe leading to a typical rightward scrolling underworld with no backgrounds, and just the bricks. (The DS may have had something like this as well).

The endless fields of "muncher" plants that seemed so prominent in SMB3 and World (You had to either use the Kuribo's shoe or Yoshi to walk over them) are now relegated to bonus world 9-7, where they start out frozen in ice, and the fire plants fireballs melt them out. Also gone are tornadoes in the desert and whirlpools in the water.

Other comparisons:
•Coin sound has become more muted (heading toward SMW) again.
•Entering a pipe is still the original sound, however, being damaged (powered down) reverts to the SMW sound. (I had always thought that would be a good compromise). Entering a pipe under water is a very deep sound.
•The multiple enemy being killed sound without the increasing pitch can be heard when rolling spiked balls kill enemies.

Other features:
•Clouds/fog, which are blown away by the spin jump. These often conceal things. On one level, there are these little creatures blowing thick fog at you.

•Various oddities from earlier games, such as the platform sequence maze (this time in World 2 castle) and a quicksand pit that is a secret entrance to the underworld.

•8-6 is like its numerical counterpart on the DS: an erupting volcano interior which has rising lava. In this new game, it rises faster, and the obstacles can be hard as you scramble upward. (On the DS, you're spat out of a volcano at the top by a pipe, while in this one, you go out a normal pipe; which is very hard to get to, as you can only reach it from another one of those swinging objects!) Then, a section of the final castle has the opposite of this, where the lava is draining, and the platforms you hop on begin descending faster than the lava. In 8-1, you have to outrun a violent volcanic cloud coming from behind (in addition to all the volcanic boulders raining down).

•The desert world (2), which has its own overworld score has the same rhythm, but the actual tune has been changed. The world 3 map has the same "jingle bells" as DS World 5, but a different tune.

•Ghost house music is a cartooney "spooky halloween night" style tune. (The DS version was still similar to SMW that had a lesser "Halloween (movie theme)" style score). One house even has swarms of mice. When you hit one, the others run away, but then join other groups and swarm you (with the ghosts still overhead). The best way to take care of them is to freeze one, and then push the ice block to wipe all the rest out.

•Tower music is like a cross between the already similar DS and SMB3, and Castle music is an all new "gothic" organ piece.

•Many boss battles are still the SMB3 tune, but now done in "funky" Clavinet.

•On the DS, snow could be deep, and slow you down, as well as snow falling off of the branches of trees. This has been omitted in the Wii game, even though the graphics for the snowy levels looks the same. 9-3 introduces guided Bullet Bills!

•The winged flying blocks on the world maps (from SMW; indicating a special item added to levels already cleared) are replaced by a toad who screams "Help Me", who pops out of a [?] block at the beginning, and you then have to carry him to the flagpole. (He can take one hit, in which he shrinks into "little" form like Mario, and another hit, or falling into any deadly thing kills him). All this usually gives you is some extra powerup items.

•Some levels are incredibly hard, with multple challenges at once (like one tower with a flimsy, slow lift you move by tilting, that quickly becomes filled with Bob-ombs. The thing about this one is that it does come back for you if you jump or fall off, though). People had complained that the DS game was too easy, and now they have made this one extra hard.

•At the end, Koopa eventually grows to almost as big as the screen, and the only way to get away from him is to dodge his extra large fireballs as they blow holes through the wall (watch out, as they can also blow the floor from under you!)

Unfortunately, there was deemed to be not enough memory for internet playability. That would have been cool, as I would definitely play it with my brother, if we both got Wii's, and it would be like old days on the NES or SNES! I remember some game we used to play with multiplayer (perhaps Contra), and you had to keep up. So this would be the ultimate cross of Mario Bros and SMB. Still wish it were more like the original, though.

New Super Mario Bros DS and Wii level types (Towers, Ghost Houses, Airships and Castles omitted):

1-1 overworld
1-2 underworld
1-3 obstacle course [i.e. mushroom platforms
1-4 overworld/water world
1-5 obstacle course
1-6 overworld
2-1 overworld
2-2 overworld (more flat)
2-3 underworld
2-A obstacles over water (railing platforms)
2-4 overworld and underworld with water borne section
2-5 overworld (with SMB3 metal squares)
2-6 obstacle course (self-scrolling)
3-1 water world
3-A water borne overworld
3-2 obstacle course
3-3 water world
3-B overworld (pipes)
3-C obstacle course (railing platforms leaping fish out of water)
4-1 overworld (purple water)
4-2 obstacle course
4-3 water world
4-4 overworld
4-A obstacle course (purple water, swing ropes, solid ground islands, triskelion platforms)
4-5 underworld obstacle course (mushroom platforms)
4-6 Dorrie ride in purple water (overworld)
5-1 overworld (snow)
5-2 underworld (ice)
5-A obstacle course (expandable mushroom platforms)
5-3 overworld (ice)
5-B overworld (ice)
5-C underworld
5-4 obstacle course (mushroom platforms)
6-1 overworld (rock ledges)
6-A overworld (quicksand, tornado)
6-2 overworld (rising tides)
6-3 overworld
6-4 overworld (rock ledges, firebars)
6-5 water world (with vortex)
6-B overworld (ice, swinging poles)
6-6 overworld (vertical)
7-1 overworld (track platforms)
7-2 overworld (vertical, floating platform)
7-3 overworld (wiggler ride)
7-4 obstacle course (mushroom platforms, vertical: spin blocks)
7-5 overworld
7-6 obstacle course (mushroom platforms)
7-A underworld pipe maze
7-7 obstacle course (track platform)
8-1 overworld
8-2 underworld (vertical sections with switch activated rising water)
8-3 water world (vetical then horizontal)
8-4 overworld
8-5 overworld (lava/tilting platforms, balanced rock platforms)
8-6 erupting volcano (vertical)
8-7 overworld (with rock ledge section)
8-8 overworld (raining volcanic debris)

1-1 overworld
1-2 underworld
1-3 overworld (Y)
1-4 water world
1-5 obstacle course
1-6 overworld
2-1 overworld (flat, with blocks)
2-2 overworld (rolling hills) 2-3 underworld
2-4 overworld (hills and blocks)
2-5 overworld (with SMB3 metal squares) (Y)
2-6 obstacle course
3-1 overworld (ice)
3-2 overworld (snow) (Y)
3-3 underworld
3-4 overworld (snow and ice)
3-5 obstacle course (vertical)
4-1 overworld (water filled)
4-2 flying fish (obstacle course music)
4-3 overworld (water filled)
4-4 water world
4-5 overworld (shallow water) (Y)
5-1 overworld (clear water)
5-2 underworld [with brief overworld in beginning]
5-3 overworld (purple water)
5-4 overworld
5-5 sky platforms, riding on Jumbo Rays
6-1 overworld (rock ledges)
6-2 underworld (shallow water)
6-3 underworld (water-fill switches)
6-4 sky platforms (including in cave section) (Y)
6-5 overworld (Porcupuffer attack)
6-6 underworld (water raft)
7-1 overworld (rotating squares)
7-2 overworld (floating water bubbles)
7-3 obstacle course
7-4 overworld (pipes/obstacle course)
7-5 overworld (with in cave section)
7-6 overworld (large gaps, parabeetles) (Y)
8-1 overworld
8-2 underworld (brief overworld in beginning)
8-3 overworld (lava swells)
8-4 underworld (water filled)
8-5 obstacle course
8-6 erupting volcano (vertical)
8-7 underworld skeleton rollercoaster


Next in line was a second Super Mario Galaxy! Right after finally beating NSMBW, I decided to get this one. At first, with the "Virtual Console" feature of the Wii, I considered "catching up" on all the games missed since SM64. I even got the game guides for them on Amazon. The 3D play is a very different experience from the linear 2D worlds, and it's hard to even see what is what in the guides. We decided to just get the latest one.
So this is my first 3D Mario! (14 years after 64 and RPG were released). It appears to have a bit more of the classic characters that the first Galaxy, and the Koopa Troopas (in their rare appearances) are finally on all fours again. Yet they have mean looking faces. (I heard this was all first done on the first Galaxy game). There are also a few [?] and brick blocks here occasionally. Those to me are what make a Mario game.

The most interesting thing I have seen is the water world (such as Cosmic cove). It was the first time I have ever even seen a 3D underwater level. I always did wonder how the controls would work in one. It takes getting used to, as the thumb pad on the nunchuck is used to move up and down as well as sideways, and the Z button to dive when you're on the surface. There is also an air meter, which makes sense. In all the 2D games, Mario could stay underwater indefinitely, except for the regular level time limit; and I always noted that as unrealistic. Now, he has to come up for air, or pop bubbles to replenish the air. The water, again, looks so real. (Except for the waterfalls, which are just typical 2D looking streaks of white. That seems to be something that still needs improvement in 3D computer animation). There is also a switch to freeze the surface of the water.
On other levels, you leave footprints in snow or sand (they soon disappear). You can roll huge snowballs, and you even have a lava world with islands of ice in it! (And a switch that turns it completely to ice!)

Yoshi is again featured, and now, you have to use the pointer to aim what his tongue will grab. It also maintains the variety of powerups from the first game, such as a Boo or Spring suit, and you can also turn into a rolling rock!

The "Supermassive Galaxy" has giant versions of SMB1 elements such as pipes and goombas, and even a giant gold coin, which is actually a rotating wall you have to bounce off of to get to the top of a series of giant pipes.
There are short sections of 2D action, but still with the 3D backgrounds, and sometimes it switches to a downward view (so that he can move "left and right" as well as forward and backward, but left/right is really up/down on the screen). There are also sections of changing gravity, denoted by pastel colors and arrows in the backgrounds.

Other things I liked were the basic one direction in levels like on the 2D games (like on the narrow cylindrical planets where you move pretty much in one direction, or the strings of little planetoids), and it was basically like the "limited 3D playable field" I have always suggested.
From what I saw of 64, it was hard to know where to begin to go or what to even do to advance to the next level, and that seemed to take something away from the classic Mario format of moving toward the flagpole. It looked like you could get lost on those worlds. For that reason, it seemed a bit too slow paced, while this game seems to flow more naturally!

What I had always wanted to see, is something with the simplicity of the original game, left-to right movement, clear one level, then immediately begin the next, warp zones hidden in the levels themselves, basic core of villains and obstacles, but with a limited playable 3rd dimension, perhaps like the world maps in NSMB. That would be enough to keep it from being the same old thing. (The new SMB, is 3D graphics with 2D gameplay; the diametric opposite of third party RPG game Paper Mario which was 3D gameplay with 2D characters). Super Paper Mario (also a third party title) has the basic idea, in the 3D mode you can play as Mario. (It also has the giant Mario from NSMB, plus the other playable characters of Luigi, Princess, and even Bowser, who are in their original 8 bit form in this blown up mode!) There are other features like "playable" backgrounds, accessed through pipes, which lead to special houses where you gain items.

I had liked the crisp 16-bit raster 3D graphics of the original Super Mario Kart over the later "polygon"-based 64-bit graphics of later games. It was that game in which I got my first 3D fix with Mario. But it was a racing game rather than a regular action platformer, of course. It still was nice to for the first time see the 3D version of the Mario universe. Donkey Kong Jr. was even brought back, meeting Mario for the first time since Jr's debut 10 years earlier.

On a side-note, later, they would completely mess up the Donkey Kong canon. A whole new Donkey Kong series would begin around the same time as SM64, and shortly afterward, he would be given a little sidekick. Instead of simply making him Junior, the sidekick was named "Diddy", and then later, you being hearing that "Donkey Kong" in this series is really Junior, or even Junior's son! Yet they began appearing in the various "Nintendo allstars" games with Mario & Co. who were still the same age as they always were! Another character, an old figure called "Cranky Kong", was said to be the original Donkey Kong! (He is said to long for the days of "the old video games". I would make Cranky the ape from Crazy Climber, which was sort of like the predecessor to Donkey Kong).

Even more along the lines of what I’ve always wanted to see is Nicksmade’s fan-game “Super Mario Bros. 2.5” (available at which is basically the original graphics embedded in a 5 block wide 3D field (but you and the enemies are still confined to the middle line of blocks, so it is still 2D action). Characters and bushes are the old 2D sprites, but all the blocks and other background items have gone from 2D squares to 3D cubes (with the now visible horizontal surface of them, or “floor”, and the left and right sides being the same as the side facing you --e.g, the question marks on the coin blocks, the cracks in the ground, even the bricks on the castle, which now has a balcony going around it where each floor is narrower than the one below it; though you can’t touch any of it since it is still background). The pipe is a hollow cylinder with a dark octagonal opening on top. You can even rotate the viewing angle a bit!
However, the game is very limited, with no powerups, vines, secret rooms in the pipes, etc. and basically plays in slow motion, (making some long jumps incredibly hard) but if Nintendo could make this with all the features active, and the 3rd dimension accessible, that would be my dream game. For now, Super Paper Mario comes the closest.

Another nice 3D version, (but in which action was still confined to 2D) was something where someone had somehow copied graphcs and music from Sunshine, and made a little "video" clip out of it they posted on YouTube, but was since taken down. It was overworld, and had Mario walking along a path worn into a grassy ground, and then jumping on some Koopa Troopas and platforms suspended over water, before it abruptly ended.

What would have been nice to do with the more-than-four-levels-to-a-world concept is to fix levels 5 and up to particular settings as well. Like level 1 would be the overworld, level 2 the underworld, level 3 the high bluff/T platform world, and then level four could be the water world, 5 could be the bridge over the flying fish world, there could be overworlds and underworlds with rolling hills, etc. and then the final one would be the castle, of course. Each world then could have each type of level, instead of alternating.
Plus add in the variety of powerups from SMB3, plus some of the new things added for more recent games.

So in 2011, Super Mario 3D Land is announced at the spring industry shows, for the 3DS. (It originally was to be called "Super Mario 3DS"). Sharing more than a name with an earlier classic, the logo produced for the game featured a familiar tail sticking out from behind.

Yep, it's the racoon tail from SMB3! And now, not only does it power Mario, but also nearly every villain as well (goombas, Bullet Bills, Thwomps, and even Koopa himself in some places)!

The story is that a bunch of super leaves were blown (from a tree) across the Mushroom Kingdom, and both Mario and his enemies can capture them.

For Mario, the power only comes in full "tanooki suit" form (rather than just the ears and tail), though it behaves more like the less furry version in SMB3. It doesn't fly, but does slow down the descent from jumps. (Where in SMB3, it was the tail that moved when descending, this version works more like the propellor powers, where the legs are running in midair, and makes a similar "tweettweettweet..." noise). A special version of the suit, from a special leaf, is needed to be able to turn to stone. (now done by a ground pound).
And of course, swatting things with the tail. But again; watch out, as many enemies can now do this as well.

Other powerups are boomerangs (which can be used to grab hard to reach items), the fire flower returning to its original function (lasts until you get hit or grab another power), and replacing flying; the propeller block returns!

Mario starts off in Super form, and when reduced to little Mario, also loses his hat. (No "health" meter).

The biggest feature is that while it's 3D (and the graphics closely resemble the Galaxy games), it is layed out in a more linear "side-scrolling" format, with the goal being reaching a flagpole, usually at the right end of the level. So it's basically the "2D world with a limited playable 3D" I had been waiting 22 years for! (Some levels run along the depth dimension, and there are different angles of view).
In fact, I even believe the flagpoles were overdone a bit, as they are in castles and airships as well. (Where special worlds like those would end when you just defeat the boss. Now you still have to travel a distance to reach the pole).

It is also more block-based (including even the underworld, and features more familiar enemies (The by now typical SMB 1 through World universe) instead of introducing so many new ones. (The Koopa turtles are upright again, but they dont even seem to appear that often).
There are even some long "triple-blocks" that release three coins at once when hit.

It does to some extent resemble the SMB 2.5 mentioned above; especially the flagpole area on one level (2-3), which uses the same sort of graphics for the flagpole step blocks and little castle bricks, but now with depth; and also the mountains and clouds in the backgrounds. (The game otherwise uses 16-bit and later type backgrounds). You can even enter the doorway of this castle to find a 1-up. Several platforms on this level are huge sprites of the original SMB characters or items. It's also like a "regular sized" version of the Supermassive Galaxy.
The new dimension is also used for many other hidden items, like behind waterfalls, or little single block sections of otherwise unbreakable walls that you can break through with the tail, or by the other powered Marios doing a new crouch-walk or jump/roll move. (Also used to enter already open little-Mario sized spaces).

Walking on tight ropes is easier than what I would have feared. The game is gracious as to lining you up properly with them on the ends, and you have to make a concerted effort to go off of them sideways.

Water levels are nice, and I find a bit easier to negotiate than in Galaxy2. Of course, it's now based on the timer, and not an air meter. THe playing area is bound by solid walls, like in the earlier 3D games, so there is no longer the coral background. (I wondered how 3D water worlds would limit movement in all directions, since gravity-controlled worlds can obviously use pits, walls, etc. They could have used glass walls to still have nice aquatic backgrounds, then).

There are world maps, but these are not as prominent as in earlier games. You just select the world from them. Each of the eight regular and special worlds has generally five to six levels, (with the exception of regular world 8, which has multiple castles).
All but the final boss level (castle or more commonly, airship) are numbered. The underboss of airships is now Boom-Boom, and in some, he has a new female companion (who is hard to get away from the way her shell comes right after you).
There is also no sort of warp feature at all. You just unlock each level and world as you clear the previous one, and when you enter the Special realm, each world is also connected directly to its regular couterpart by a pipe at the beginning of the map, and all of its levels are accessible except the final ship of castle, which requires increasing numbers of star coins to unlock. Special 8 is the exception, where each level requires ten more medals than the last one to open. There is also an "8 Crown", which requires every star medal in the game, plus reaching to top of ever flagpole as both Mario and Luigi (who is unlocked when you clear Special 1 Castle).

Levels also have timers like the original, but there are plenty of extend-time clocks (Like in Galaxy2). Many "special" worlds start with only 30 seconds, and you have to either grab the clocks, or defeat enemies, to keep extending the time.

Ever since the original Super Mario Kart (the very first venture into the 3D version of the Mario universe, though not in platformer form), I had wanted to have a platformer like that where you could kick Koopa shells in any direction, and they could ricochet diagonally, as well as straight forward, sideways, etc., and now we have this (though the Koopa Troopas are so rare; only on a few levels, and Paratroopas are basically replaced by paragoombas).
And firebars that rotate horizontally. (It was when I used to dodge sprinkler systems on lawns that rotated like that, that reminded me of the firebars, and really helped kick off my desire to see a 3D Mario. I had hoped the original "SMB3" I heard was in the works in early '89 would be it. Who would know I had to wait for what is basically SMB11, though SM64 and SMRPG would be the first forms of this. They just didn't have the same feel).

What was also really nice was the more even division between the regular worlds and special worlds. So you could have a lot of fun breezing through the regular worlds and have the sense of accomplishment of "saving the Princess" before it got too hard. (For me, it's hard to fully enjoy a game where it's really hard to get to the final Castle; the last two for me being NSMBW and SMG2, because I just like the sense of finishing, and then afterward I can take it easy advancing in the special worlds, or revisiting the earlier worlds to get the star coins, or just for fun or whatever).

So I think this is the format they should go with on future entries of the franchise. Why do you really need 2D play anymore? This is just like it, but with more "depth", quite literally. And yet pretty much the same in gameplay and graphics as the other 3D games: 64, Sunshine and the Galaxy's.

And from what I've seen in Mario forum discussions, it seems everyone really likes it. I don't even see the complaints that it's too easy, quite the same as I did with NSMBWDS (which they really made up for with NSMBW and the Galaxy's). It starts out easy, but then makes up for it in the special worlds. The best of both worlds, and something for everyone. (Including even us folks with poor dexterity).

So again, they really have a winner here, and should stick with this.

There was also a "New Super Mario Bros Mii" demonstrated at one of the shows. This one is like NSMBW, but allows you to play using your Mii's. (which are colored according to the player. 1. Mario colors, 2 Luigi colors, 3 Wario, 4. Waliugi). This, however, was said to not be a full production game, but rather just a demonstrator for the new "Wii U" system, whose controllers have their own screens, so you can play without the TV even being on.

It seem Mario went on another roll, with rapid new releases, though now reverting back to the old 2D format.

New Super Mario Bros 2 is the followup on the 3DS to the first of the “New” series, and pays homage to both SMB3 and SMW.

•The Raccoon suit is now just the tail and ears again.
•The original sound of gaining the power is back (but the sound and animation of flying with it are the same as 3DL, which takes from the propeller power of SMBW; i.e. the legs move instead of the tail).
•Colored large square blocks that serve as platforms
•Bouncy musical note blocks
•Donut drops act like they did originally. You can touch it and it will stay if you get off of it quickly, where in 3DL, if you touch it, it goes down no matter what.
•There are also longer versions of them, and icy ones too.
•Warp canons are now special levels using the abstract backgrounds from the SMB3 end of level area or night worlds, but colored dark blue rather than black (and the ground is the same as well). The Cannon fires you to the right, and you cannot control your speed, as you run through regular overworld type obstacles.
•Notably absent are any airships. The closest thing to an airship is 5A, which is an automatically scrolling world you ride a platform shaped like a ship through, rather that the world being the ship.

•The Reznor battles at the end of towers.
•Some World 4 (Ice world) levels use the diagonally patterned backgrounds

All the other features from these two games that have carried over to all “New” games.

Also carried over from 3DL are the triple-length coin blocks.

Music follows that of NSMBWii. Also has POW blocks.

Some new variations of enemies are “Dry Bones” Goombas and plants.

It's pretty easy, with six regular worlds and three special worlds, plus special levels in a world when you grab a flagpole with a certain number of time left.

A new idea for the final boss battles (6 Castle, and Star Castle, with Dry Bowser): the Koopalings fly the background in the Clown Car from SMW. It flashes, turning Mario to stone, so that if you're on a snake block or donut drop, you can't move, and fall into the lava. (the eyes blink four times letting you know when it will do this). You have to get beind walls in te foreground to avoid the flash.
This actually ultilizes the third dimension! (Of course, it's only the enemies, not the player who has access to it)
This ends with Bowser in the background swiping at you in a room of rising lava, and you have to jump from lift to lift as his hand destroys them.
It also at first does the “psyche” effect gag, where you are led to think you are saving the princess the original way, but then her cage is snatched and Bowser is resurrected to giant size for the final battle, in which he swipes at the rising platforms you're on, and you have to jump back and forth between them to avoid being knocked into the rising lava, until you reach the platform at the top, where the princess and the switch to send him falling are.

The biggest new feature of the game is its radical coin focus. The ultimate goal is one million coins, and to aid you along in this:
•10-coin blocks, when hit in time to give you all ten coins, turn into a new powerup; a block worn on the head, that gives you coins as you run or bounce around, until it's given you 100.
•Gold rings that turn all enemies gold, and they give you more coins either when you kill them, os some just leave a trail of coins. Lakitus, Hammer/Boomerang/Fire Brothers and fire plants throw coins intead of their usual weapons
•Gold Flower, whose gold fireballs turns breakable blocks to coins, and seems to have a bigger reach in killing enemies.
•Gold mushrooms, which are worth 50 coins each.
•Special blocks alternating between 5, 10, 30 or 50 coins. (Spits out 5 regular coins, but other demoninations consist of larger coins). •When you save the princess, and the credits play, you can guide Mario (carrying the princess) and collect the coins that enter the screen from all different directions and configurations. (You can get over 200 this way).

A great idea was the addition of the "DLC" (DownLoadable Content) expansion packs. It took me about a few weeks to save the princess and play through Special world (as it usually does), but the Coin Rush extended the fun and new exploration. Each pack contains 3 levels; the first one I got had three random potluck levels from one of three different parts of the game (two regular boards and a tower or castle). Time starts at 100 or 50, and you have to run through collecting the clocks to extend time, as you collect as many coins as possible. Two other packs introduce all new worlds, with a lot of coins, and one of the packs has a lot of 50-coin gold mushrooms.
I finally reached the million coin mark on 12-22-12, just after three months of getting the game.
Later on, they came out with their final two packs: "Mystery Adventures", which has a lot of secret passages; precisely what made Mario so great in the first polace, and "the Impossible Pack", which I knew not to even try; it's sort of like what the "Perfect Run" was to SMG2. Imagine having no powerups, and you've already lost the Super Mario power you started with, and having to do stuff like wall jumps amidst firebars!

As soon as this game was announced, you also began hearing about the next one after it, for the next velsion of the Wii, New Super Mario Bros Wii U, which was the outcome of the "New Super Mario Bros Mii" project.

Its controllers have their own little screens. You can even use them to add little platforms (adorned with playing card suits) in midair. The game is also said to be in High Definition.

This game pays even more homage to SMW:
•Baby Yoshis you feed and become baloons, plus adult Yoshi to ride
•Diagonal rock backgrounds, but unlike NSMB2, these look different (3D, more jagged)
•Some diagonal pipes (including some that change their angle)
•Named worlds

The new powerup is an acorn mushroom that turns you into Flying Squirrel Mario.

•Four player capability, this time in addition the the Marios or Toads, you can play as your own Miis
•Ice Power

This time, instead of taking the Princess to his own castle, Koopa captures her castle. In the level, Bowser Jr. rides the clown car above you, ramming it into the platforms you're running on, causing them to either drop or ripple. Same fake "traditional Boswer fight on the bridge to the switch" psyche that leads to the real fight when Magikoopa sprinkes magic dust on him to make him giant; but this time it's done behind Mario's back, as he runs toward the princess. Now, you face Boswer like in the traditional battle, but have to wait for Bowser Jr. to try to pound you with the clown car, then you jump on him, kicking him out and taking control of the car (similar to what we do with Lakitu in his cloud in these games), and then commandeer it to pound Bowser's head. He then turns into a bouncing shell that comes after you, (like The Koopalings did; but keep in mind, this is giant, now, but there is a lot of scrolling space in the battle room, unlike the previous games), and you have to repeat it two more times, with huge fireballs he has spat into the air raining down, and Bob-Ombs tossed by Jr. Pretty interesting!

Just a year after this was released, we got the next 3D game for the Wii U, Super Mario 3D World. This is basically 3D Land expanded for the home console, with (for the first time for a 3D Mario platformer) four player function added, reviving the old SMB2(USA) lineup of Mario, Luigi, the Princess and Toad (but a blue-spotted one instead of red).

So finally, it’s not the same “the princess is kidnapped” theme. Now, Bowser kidnaps seven "sprixies" (these new little characters that have been appearing in the games) instead.
The "psyche-out" effect of this game is that after you rescue all of them, when finishing the 7th World castle, the standard dropped-into-the-void Bowser rises back up and takes them all in a bottle to the 8th World.
After finishing that, you board a rocket ship for the four special worlds, which are a lot like "Galaxy" (many of the levels harder versions of earlier ones). One even has a speed run where you must chase the flagpole. The big new powerup now is CAT Mario! (And the game’s logo shows a cat tail sticking out, replacing the raccoon tail!) It’s gained from a bell mushroom knocked out of blocks. Cat Mario can climb walls (to a certain length), and climb to the top of the flagpole if he jumped onto it further down. Other features:
•Like 3DL, the new power is available to enemies at times, so you have Cat Goomba's, Cat Bullet Bills, and a final battle with a Cat Bower, or "Meowser", who climbs up the walls after you, and can scratch at you through walls.
ť•Shadow underworlds (one was in the store demo) where you see only your 2D shadows on the wall, though the third dimension is still there. At one point, they psyche you out with the shadow of a flat Bowser sign.
•The rounder non-squishable goombas from SMW have been brought back and split off into a separate character, now named "Galoomba", to distinguish from regular goombas. You have to jump on them first to immobilize them, before destroying them with the second touch.
•Various underbosses, including Boom Boom and a new purple snakelike character. Once again, a flagpole for even boss battles and castles.
•Clear pipes (some of them having coins and enemies running through them). You can even navigate forks in the pipes, and they are shown going under lava.
•Clear blocks that are invisible until you point to them with the remote
•Throwable snowballs
•Snowman Pokeys
•An orange dinosaur you ride over water surfaces on
•Green stars are what's collected in the levels.
•Ice sections with skates you ride in like little buggies
•Mini "Toad" games where you have to navigate a Galaxy-like floating world without jumping ability, to get the green stars
•Goomba costume, which causes enemies not to recognize you. (Including a Bowser searchlight in one of the castles that triggers guided Bullet Bills)
•Double cherries, which double the player. This can be repeated so that you have multiple copies of the player running around (perhaps the final fruition of that old "Mario 128" idea?)
•Flashlight helmets you wear in ghost houses. The light kills the ghosts after awhile!
•Canon head box, which shoots canons, but can also damage other players.
•A "potted piranha plant" you can pick up and use to eat other enemies or reach items
•Return of the Mega size power, Tanooki suit, boomerang suit, propeller hat and Coin head box
•Spiked piranha plants (that the first shots push back into the pipe), and square spiked frames that flip across the ground. Instead of the pillars (by now known as "skewers"), there are stationary or floating detached block-like objects with spikes in an underwater castle.
•Water areas (which are usually just sections of worlds) are still bound by walls.
•A train ride replaces airships or battle tank processions.
•And all the typical “NSMB age” and 3D Mario features, plus all-new characters. (Still stick with the upright koopas, even though the Galaxy games this one is related to had them back on all fours).
•Uses the standard 3D world map, but now you can actually run all across it off the paths between levels.
•Stunning graphics (like water) and colors. Bowser's final lair is an LED covered Vegas-like amusement park. So LED lit graphics are a theme throught the game leading up to this
•On the flipside, there is also a nearly black&white ghost level.
•Improved lava graphics (including even blue lava). No rising lava level like the NSMB games, but one where it does rise and drop a bit.
•Forest worlds with the purple water from the NSMB games now adapted to 3D. The ground and atmosphere dark, like you're in a real forest or jungle with a lot of overbrush. Night world Mushroom-1 has has this effect as well. One special world level is a sunset version of an earlier level.

So once again, the thing about the original SMB and SMB2J was its flow, consistent rightward progression throughout game; running, jumping, etc. clear one level go straight to next, a lot of hidden items and blocks and pipes to try out, but not too complex, and simple sound effects and gameplay. This, if you think back (esp. those old enough to have played it when it first came out), is what made it so good and memorable in the first place. It was actually not the first such long, multiworld scrolling platformer, as PacLand came out over a year earlier. But it was way too hard (hopping on moving logs, incredibly hard to jump across lakes, etc), and even later, more advanced Mario games were more playable than that. Ghosts -n- Goblins was before it too, I think, but still harder in places. Super Mario Bros was 'just right' in playability, yet maintaining a decent amount of challenge that was fun even if it was frustrating at times, and that's what made it take off. Nintendo had found the perfect formula. They have added so much to the series over the years, but there is still nothing like the original one. It is such a classic.

Here, you can even find maps of the entire game, either world by world, or all 32 worlds pasted together and compacted to fit on the computer screen as wallpaper: Albert Ian SMB maps

Original "panorama" of the game (basically the whole game in a nutshell in one single publicity drawing; always loved that):

From Super Mario 3:


Some trivia: The Arcade version

Those of us who became familiar with SMB through the arcade version, rather than the NES home platform, had to come up with our own "generic" names for the enemies. We did not have the game's guide that came out with the cartridge, so we knew nothing of the whole plot, either. I remember first reading of all of that when my brother got an NES 2 years after its release, and reading of "the Mushroom Kingdom" and the name "Koopa", referring to the "tribe of turtles" and their King for the first time; having never realized that there had been such a developed storyline behind the game.
To arcade players, it was just like any other coinop game where you had the basic instructions, and you knew the objective of the game, and fought whatever enemies came your way, and tried to get as far as you could. I had no idea even how long it was. When you got through the first level, I expected it to repeat, but maybe faster, like other games previously. But instead, it just kept on going, to 1-2, to 1-3, 1-4, and there, you defeat what looks like the final boss; but you are told that the princess is in another castle; and the game continued on. There really was no other game like it before. (At least Ghost n Goblins gave you a progress map of the whole game).
In the game booklets, even the power up items were really said to be "Mushroom Kingdom inhabitants" turned into "horsehare plants" (IIRC) or blocks by the Koopas; and who gave Mario their powers in gratitude for being "freed".

Here are the generic terms used in the arcades:

"Little Goombas" (the evil mushroom men who first approach you in the very beginning of the game) we knew because that was printed on the brief instruction card on the game machine's cabinet. For the rest of them:
•Koopa Troopas were simply "turtles", of course. One time; I heard the winged paratroopas called "birds".
•Piranha Plants were just "venus flytraps", or "plants" for short.
•Cheep-Cheep was of course just "fish"
•"Bloober" (as originally called in the NES version, then subsequently changed to "Blooper") was just "squid".
•The Buzzy Beetles; IIRC some called "armadillo"
•Bullet Bills were "missiles". We did not realize that this was actually a "character", and not just an "object". (Same with starman)
•Podobo also we did not realize was supposed to be a character, so it was just a "lava ball" (which it's gone to in modern games!)
•Lakitu was "cloud man"
•Spiny was probably just "those spiked things"
•Hammer Brothers were "Those NINJAS". "Evolving from the evil Koopa Troopas to walk upright" (Mario Mania), these are the original "mutant ninja turtles"!
•Bowser was "THE DRAGON".
•the Princess was just "the princess" of course. We did not know the name "Toadstool", and the current name "Peach" came more recently anyway.

Other details about the arcade version, is that it has many hidden 1-ups removed, and obstacles like extra pits added. The biggest addition was that it contains six levels imported from SMB2J*. These were those particularly hard levels unlike any other in the game.
The original NES had some levels repeat, with an easier version with some obstacles removed (fire bars in the castle, less enemies, etc) earlier on, and then the later full version. 1-3 was the easier version of 5-3; 1-4 was the easier version of 6-4, 2-2/2-3 were the easier version of 7-2/7-3; 2-4 was the easier version of 5-4.

In the arcade version, all of the easier versions are replaced by the harder version to make way for the new levels:

1-4 is replaced by 1-4 of 2J.

5-3 is bumped back to 1-3 so that 6-3 could take its place, and level 4-3 from 2J is then moved to 6-3. This is the board with the extremely long jumps to the platforms, and in one case, you have to hop onto a parakoopa next to the bluff (when it's at the right height) to reach the platform. This is all then made worse by the Bullet Bills around the middle of the course which come from off to the right of the screen (no cannons seen!) so they can come at you at any height, and you can't tell where until it's basically too late! This then makes you afraid to jump onto (incredibly hard to reach as it is) weight lifts, dropping platforms and a higher bluff (that makes it easier to jump to the next obstacles). So you basicaly end up losing all your lives in this section by not jumping hard enough to reach the next platform. If you get past all of that, you have to do a running jump onto two single blocks (replacing the whole pyramid) to get to the flagpole, which has no ground before it.
This level is where most games end; and also in the arcade version, you can only warp up to 6, not 8 like in the NES, so this is a formidable barrier. No way around it! Since 6 is a night world in both SMB(NES) and SMB1A, yet 4 is a day world in all three games (including 2J), the level is converted from a grassy daytime scene to a white-grounded night scene.

6-4 is moved to 2-4 and replaced by 5-4 from 2J, which also has a lot of long, hard jumps (and some tricky small ones), and an extra long firebar. So even if you get past 6-3 in the arcade, then you have to deal with this, which is just as hard.

Fish worlds 2-2/2-3 are replaced by 7-2/7-3, whose slots are filled by 6-2/6-3 of 2J. These are fish worlds which are much harder and longer, with -2 having almost no floor, with stretches of low hanging reef; and -3 being an extra long bridge (with lots of gaps) and more flying fish (with flying Koopas thrown in) than ever.

However; all of this was only a small sample of SMB2J, and hence, why they thought it was too hard for us!

Also, 3-2 is replaced with 2J's 2-2, which is similar, but with more obstacles such as open gaps. This is the level with the floating pipe towards the end, that you have to use hidden blocks to reach in order to make the jump across the wide gap. Since World 3 of 1A and World 2 of 2J were both night worlds, the level is night in both games.

4-4 and 5-4 are also swapped in the arcade version.

NES SMBArcade version SMBimported Famicom SMB2J level*
1-3eliminated (was easy version of later world 5-3 which moves here)
1-4eliminated (was easy version of later world 6-4 which moves to 2-4)1-4 (remains 1-4)
2-2eliminated (was easy version of later world 7-2 which moves here)
2-3eliminated (was easy version of later world 7-3 which moves here)
2-4eliminated (was easy version of later world 5-4 which moves to 4-4)
3-2eliminated (harder version of this level, 2J world 2-2 moves here)2-2 (becomes new 3-2)
4-45-4 (swap)
5-31-3 (to make way for 6-3)
5-44-4 (swap)
6-35-3 (to make way for 2J level)4-3 (becomes new 6-3; changed from day to night)
6-42-4 (to make way for 2J level)5-4 (becomes new 6-4)
7-22-2 (to make way for 2J level)6-2 (becomes new 7-2)
7-32-3 (to make way for 2J level)6-3 (becomes new 7-3)

I was so used to the arcade version, this NES order just didn't seem right, and I always wanted them to release the arcade version for the home. I had no idea of a separate SMB2 in Japan until the Mario Mania SMW guide came out and mentioned it with a couple of screenshots. Then, it was finally released in the US under the name "the Lost Levels", but redone in 16 bit for the Super NES, with SMW sound effects and graphics!
(Now, it has finally been released in its original form, as a downloadable "virtual console" game for the Wii. It had also been emulated for the PC, and another modified version was unlockable in "Super Mario Deluxe" for the DS. Still would be nice if they released the arcade combo for home consoles!)

*(Some sources claim the arcade version came first, and that the levels were then reused on 2J. However, some of them are so difficult, and seem to have been made for 2J which has many other levels with similar difficulty, and don't fit in with the first game. (They presumably would have just converted the graphics and other elements back to the original to make them fit in visually). It seems like they were testing us out with this taste of the game that was otherwise deemed too hard. So if we wouldn't waste the money on cartridges of the whole thing, we would perhaps blow a lot of quarters in the arcade when reaching these levels they snuck in! It also exposed people like me to the game, who did not yet have an NES).

7-4 (the platform sequence maze) is nearly identical to the NES version (there are small lava pits where there were troughs at the end), but the patterns required to pass the banks of platforms are completely different. (For the first bank, you take the top platform and then drop back down to the middle to access the top, instead of taking the middle, and then the top path, and for the second bank, you take the more difficult low path to the single block island in the lava under the firebar instead of the high path over it all, and then it's almost the opposite of the simpler NES version).
In other words for those unfamiliar with it, on this level, you have to jump and run on particular platforms in a particular order, else, when you run past the area, you will notice the same set of platforms, and it will keep repeating until you get it right. NES 4-4/Arcade 5-4, and 2J's 3-4 and 6-4 have these too (plus, again, 2-Castle in NSMBW, and in a short section of the final castle in NSMBDS).
8-4 in all three "original-engine" games has the same effect, but with particular pipes you have to go down, instead of platform sequences. 2J overworlds 5-3, 7-2 and 8-2 also have points where you have to use a pipe or vine or the board will recycle.

This was one of the most intriguing aspects of the game. I could imagine playing this for the first time, and not having seen someone else play it first, like I did, and wondering what is going on. The first time I saw someone play 7-4 in the arcade, he kept running through it and running out of time, and it seemed like it had no end.
Click to Enlarge


Super Mario Bros numerical canon

There are different ideas as to which "number" SMB game we are "up to". It is widely known that SMW was SMB4. After that, people lost count, as many third party games based on Mario came out (such as the 3D Super Mario RPG which came out for the SNES right around the same time SM64 debuted for the N64), and then the new 3D Mario games, the "Smash" and "Party" series, the Wario spinoffs, and new "Kart" games. (I never got an N64, GameCube, or DS, so other than trying these things out in stores, I basically fell behind in the Mario series).
I would say that the "official" number would consist of first-party multi-world platformers that are not spinoffs (such as SMW2, basically).
-1: Donkey Kong (arcade, 1981-2)
0: Mario Bros. (arcade, 1983)
1: Super Mario Bros (NES, 1985)
1A: VS. Super Mario Bros (Arcade version, 1986; includes 2J levels)
2J: Super Mario Bros 2 (Japanese, 1986, aka "the Lost Levels")
2A: Super Mario Bros 2 (USA, 1988; originally Japanese "Doki Doki Panic" or "Dreamland")
3: Super Mario Bros 3 (NES, 1990; previously, arcade "Playchoice 10" machine, 1989, Famicom, 1988)
4: Super Mario World (SNES, 1991, Super Famicom, 1990)
5: Super Mario 64 (Nintendo 64, 1996)
6: Super Mario Sunshine (Game Cube, 2002)
7: New Super Mario Bros (DS, 2006)
8: Super Mario Galaxy (Wii, 2007)
9: New super Mario Bros Wii (Wii, 2009)
10: Super Mario Galaxy 2 (Wii, 2010) 11: Super Mario 3D Land (3DS, 2011)
12: New Super Mario Bros 2 (3DS, 2012) 13: New Super Mario Bros Wii U (2012) 14: Super Mario 3D World (Wii U, 2013)

The Super Mario Land series gets left out, because it was strictly for the Game Boy, and released as a totally separate series from the NES and Super NES games 1 through 4 it was released in the midst of (So additional numbers would be out of place anyway). Game Boy back then was still the old black & yellow screen, so was very different, and the game even had a different princess and boss. This may put New Super Mario Bros in question also, since it was released specifically for the DS (Game Boy's ultimate successor in the handheld field), but by now, the handheld and home console platforms have clearly moved closer together, with full color and full graphics games, and NSMB is clearly tied to the SMB line of games in its obvious retro format. So it was a true "SMB7".
Many seem to believe the 3D series should be left out, but they were a logical extension of the Mario franchise, and still keep in with the same basic format.

This ordering of the series is further supported by the Official Mario 25th Anniversary video that was released in Sept. '10, with the same ten entries (With SMB2USA representing #2, of course):


The cartoon versions of the game were also the best cartoon adaptations of a video game. They used the original music and sound effects, where Hanna Barbera's Pac Man, and Ruby Spears' Saturday Supercade, had to create new music and substitute the closest sound effects they could find from their libraries. They also messed things up, like the PacMan cartoon basically mixing up Blinky and Clyde's roles, and Ruby Spears making most of their game based shows "Scooby Doo" type mysteries.

DiC's first Mario show basically mixed SMB1 and SMB2 (Dreamland) together, with a greater emphasis on Dreamland characters (But with the boss always being Koopa, and Dreamland's Wart never appearing). They should have just divided it and made some of them about SMB1 (Mushroom Kingdom), and the others, SMB2 (Dreamland).

The Mario wiki suggests that the cartoon "King Koopa" was actually based on Wart! (which would answer why Wart never appeared in the cartoon. It suggests the character was essentially a merger of the two!)
That makes sense, as the cartoon Koopa has that all green snout and smaller teeth (which to me, resembles an alligator) all other drawings of him (including the earlier anime show), as well as the game sprites, has the lighter area around his mouth. Plus also, the crown, which Wart wears, and Koopa wears only in the cartoon (and comic).
And I think I can remember Koopa in the cartoon firing some sort of wand or staff on occasions, which would also be like Wart. (Thought that for some reason looke a bit out of character).

Speaking of the comic, you can even see here, in a comic that has both of them appear together, how much they actually resemble each other (even the teeth): In both that and another one called Cloud Nine, it comments how he resembles a crocodile, which is again, what Koopa also resembles in those drawings.

Where the NES player guides used the name "Bowser", with his title "king of the Koopas"; in the cartoon, he is called "King Koopa". Cheep-Cheeps are called "Trouter", which was the name of a small Dreamland character they were apparently merged with here. I always thought "cheep-cheep" was silly (they're fish; not birds!) so "Trouter" was actually a better name for them.
(There was an earlier Super Mario anime movie released in Japan only, and rare even over there, that was based solely on SMB1 and truer to the game).

In the Super Mario 3 adaptation, "Bowser Koopa" is sometimes used (like a first and last name), but the names of his Koopalings have been changed. In the player guides, they are named after real life personalities, but in the cartoon, they are changed basically to nicknames. Ludwig Von Koopa becomes "Kooky Von Koopa"; Morton Koopa Jr. becomes "Big Mouth"; Roy Koopa becomes "Bully", Wendy O Koopa becomes "Kootie Pie"; Iggy, Lemmy and Larry I always got mixed up, but the other three were "Cheatsie", "Hip" and "Hop" in the cartoon.
At the beginning of each episode, the title screen used actual an screenshot of the world map (with the moving Hammer Bros even) as the background!

The Super Mario World version was the weakest, revolving around a bunch of human cavemen, none of whom were in the game! The most prevalent was Oogtar, a young "valley dude" type, who from what I have seen, appears to be hated by fans; sort of the Scrappy Doo of the Mario cartoons! I find him to be funny at times, though, especially the way he freaks out. Like the time Hip and Hop went to school, pretending to reform themselves, but then begin misbehaving and getting Oogtar framed for their mischief. (The princess had even given opposing parents a speech about how they always complain about the Koopas, yet now that they try to "improve themselves", they're against it. A Powerpuff Girls episode about the Gangrene Gang being sent to school, is strikingly similar to this story! In both cases, they begin little acts of mischief the teacher misses, framing the good guys, but then suddenly unleash a torrent of mayhem, such as the Koopalings' fireballs or Gangrene's dodgeball). Another funny story is the one where Koopa sells fast food, which begins changing the people into chicken-like creatures he then plans to feed to his dinosaurs. The first episode featured "Mama Fireplant", which rather than an actual character in the game, was a definite drawing upon of Little Shop of Horrors. In the series, Toad (the original "mushroom retainer", made regular character) was replaced by Yoshi, the new companion to the Marios.
Overall, all three series were almost like watching the game at times.

Super Mario Bros. Super Show raps

It's the Mario Brothers, and plumbing's the game
We're not like the others who get all the fame
When your sink is in trouble you can call us on the double
We're faster than the others you'll be hooked on the Brothers!
{"Swing your arms from side to side -- just like that" theme}

YO! You're in for a treat; hang on to your seat
Get ready for adventure and remarkable feats
You'll see Koopas and troopas; the Princess and the others;
Join the action with the plumbers; you'll be hooked on the brothers
{rest of SMB theme}

[Episode theme]
It's the Mario Brothers and plumbing's the game
Found a secret warp zone while working on the drain
Give the Princess a hand; in the Mushroom land
You're bound to discover you'll be hooked on the brothers

Evil Koopa and his troopas are up to misbehavior
They kidnapped the Princess; Mushroom land needs saving
Abusing, confusing; ev'rybody shall discover
You can't help BUT be hooked on the brothers.

Cognitive Confessions:

Why I'm so into this, and nitpicky about elements of the game:

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