Thursday, June 6, 2013

How Does "Classic Mario" Hold Up Today?

It feels like console wars in the world of video games are at an all-time high these days. While I have my preference and reasoning for those preferences, I don't particularly care to join into these "wars" and fight with people about it. But when I was a kid, at a mere single-digit age, I was unknowingly taking part in console wars on the school playground. A lot of kids would be talking about their Nintendo's while I would refer to them as "lame" because I loved my Sega Genesis. Not because I was an informed consumer, but merely because that's the system that my parents bought me. I was 3 years old when I played my first Sonic the Hedgehog video game, and last week, 20 years later at the age of 23, I finally played my first Mario game.

Over the years, I've heard some people say that franchises like Sonic and Mario only still thrive because they became so famous in the earlier days of video games. These people also suggested that by modern day standards both old and new games alike for these franchises are average at best and they would never succeed if they were introduced to the market today. Well, upon purchasing the original NES' Super Mario Bros. game on my 3DS' Virtual Console, I was interested to test that theory.

When I first started playing Super Mario Bros., I felt right at home. A classic platformer where you run around, collect gold circular objects, and jump on the enemies to defeat them. Overall, it felt a lot like I was playing my favorite Sonic games. The only thing that I really needed to get used to in Mario was the fact that the coins are not used as an energy source like the rings are in Sonic. In other words, during the first 10 or 15 minutes of playing, I'd get a little overzealous and mistime jumps onto enemies or even run into them all together. But that was certainly an error that I quickly corrected. The controls were actually surprisingly smooth for not only a game from 1985, but the first in the series. The aforementioned mistimed jumped were entirely my own fault and not the fault of the controls. Very impressive for a game that's almost 30 years old.

The various challenges in the levels were also greatly enjoyed by me. Each level had its own unique format that really kept me as a first time player from having any feeling of easiness within the game. To be honest, the use of the 3DS' "Restore Point" is the only reason that I was able to beat the game so quickly. Super Mario Bros. provided me with enough challenge and fun that I purchased Super Mario Land 2 for my Virtual Console as well.

The music in the game was also very enjoyable. I love the sound of classic video game music because it not only fits the mood of whatever level or scenario that you're in, but it also has a real fun charm to it. That's what video games should be like in my eyes and Super Mario Bros. certainly delivers in that aspect. Hell, even the fact that Mario's power-up where he shoots fireballs is simply called, "Fire Mario", just beams fun. If that form were created today in a more modern game like Halo, it would probably be called "Omega Mario" or "Alpha Mario." Mainstream video games these days are way too serious for my taste with their overuse of graphic violence and their insanely cliched cinematic musical scores. I had such a fun time playing both Mario games that I purchased and I really look forward to continuing my Mario video game adventures.

On a side note, one funny thing that I did think of though is the fact that during the original Super Mario Bros. game, Mario and Luigi didn't really look much different from each other, nor did they have different personalities since there's not really any dialogue in the game. Yet I can still imagine kids of both the 8-Bit and 16-Bit Eras fighting over who would be Mario and claiming that Luigi is "lame" despite the fact that Luigi was merely a green colored Mario at the time.

Well, that's it for this Blog entry. Next week you can look forward to some type of update and/or report about me and Michelle's weekend at AnimeNEXT 2013. I am unsure right now if that update will be a written Blog entry, a Vlog, or a Podcast. But regardless, you can expect it to be posted here.


  1. I grew up on Mario with Super Mario World for the Super Nintendo and I never played these two until now. Even though I found myself feeling a little bias while playing the older games they still were a challenge in their own right like the rest of the Mario games I've played. Glad you enjoyed Mario. The gameplay, the style, the simplistic yet fun concept, there's really not much to dislike about these games.

  2. I grew up playing both Mario and Sonic from their very first games on the NES and Genesis respectively, so I never understood the concept of "console wars" as a kid. "Why does one have to be better than the other. I like both."

    And even today, though it's been years since I even bothered purchasing a console (I stopped at PS2 and GameCube) and I do most of my gaming on my PC now, I never engage in these "console vs PC" arguments I keep seeing around the internet.

    As for the old Mario games, I think they absolutely hold up their value. Personal preferences aside, I think all of them are still very playable and accessible to the average gamer even today. And I think you proved that, given this was your very first time playing the first Super Mario Bros. almost 30 years after its original release.
    I purchased this game myself recently so I could play it again on my 3DS, and I must say that they did a very good job keeping everything in tact. The physics, the graphics, etc. It plays exactly the same as it did back then, so I can gladly say that you played it the way it was originally intended. =)

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