Mario Bros. is a game that never won me over as a kid. Getting ready to play it again for the podcast, I thought to myself that once you play Super Mario Bros. you can't really go back to a time where they were just regular plumbers. And that opinion held a lot of truth for the first 30 minutes of my play through. It was only once I invited Sam to play with me, that I really understood the dynamics of the gameplay. It makes a lot of sense to call this game MARIO BROS. It's not called MARIO, it's all about the brothers, the two-player, and the competition.
No longer is the game just about knocking down enemies and kicking them off the stage. Now it's all about the competition and cooperation of you and the other player as the Mario Bros. to make things work. High scores require awareness of your enemies, your opponent, and your location. This new life in MARIO BROS. made me see the charm in the original game and to be honest, I even enjoy the single player a little more now.
I see Mario Bros. as the intermediate stage in Nintendo's quest to perfect the mechanics that would become the gold standard for platforming in Super Mario Bros. It only occupies one screen, but the layout and aesthetic of this screen has become iconic in it's own right. I was only able to play it in the single player mode, which was fun, but not enough to keep me hooked. My fellow NEStagliacasters can give a better account of the multiplayer, which it would seem is the superior mode to experience the game.
I had fun playing Mario Bros. It’s particularly interesting to see this chapter in the evolution of Mario. It starts to feel closer to the Super Mario games but just isn’t there yet. Particularly in the way the controls feel. The jump doesn’t hold a candle to the kind of jumping we are used to from Super Mario.I was mostly interested in playing this because I had always enjoyed the mini game in Super Mario Brothers 3 which was based off of this. It is clear that they made major improvements to the look and feel in the SMB 3 version. If you really want to play this game, I recommend just picking up a copy of Super Mario Brothers 3, that way you can play a more polished iteration of Mario Bros as well as all of Super Mario Bros. 3.