In this episode of NEStalgia, we take our longest jump into an NES game yet with the genre and system defining game that saved a medium: Super Mario Bros.
SUPER MARIO BROS.
Is It Still Fun?
I worry for the day when specifically children no longer find Super Mario Bros. fun. There is a timeless quality of exploration, wonder, and challenge packed alongside simple and thoughtful controls that allows Super Mario Bros. to still shine today. Obviously gaming has come a long way since Super Mario Bros. in more ways than just graphics, but it would be foolish to say to say that every AAA release today is better than Super Mario Bros. The game is carefully planned to continue to innovate and introduce new concepts to the platforming genre on every single level. Stomping on a goomba, axing a bridge, and finding a warp zone are all still fun to this day
Is It Still Playable?
Yes. The genius in Super Mario Bros. is all about the design of the jump. Depending on how far you have ran, how hard you push 'A', and what direction you're tilting your D-Pad at any particular point all play a part in the length and trajectory of Mario's jump. It's such a satisfying jump that the games that came before it (like Ice Climber and Donkey Kong) just couldn't get quite right. Super Mario Bros. might be a bit frustrating with it's life system and later dungeons, but the game is by no means impossible by today's standards.
Is It Still Important?
This is a rare case where this game will never not be important to the medium. Similar to how people talk about Citizen Kane in the film industry, Super Mario Bros. is very well regarded today because of all the ways it changed the industry. Going back to play it now, you might have criticism about the jump, the life system, the timer, and the number of levels, but you'll also need to remind that many of the gameplay elements of Super Mario Bros. were presented for the first time on this release. More so, this game takes many elements that define a good game and makes them work in harmony. That's where the Citizen Kane parallel begins, they might be harder to watch or play today, but their impact and contributions are undeniable for the time.
You already know it. Super Mario Bros. is essential not just for the NES library, but gaming as a whole.