News Article

Super Mario Bros. 3 Turns Twenty

Posted by Corbie Dillard

One of the greatest games ever celebrates a milestone.

For those unaware, today marks the 20th anniversary of the release of Super Mario Bros. 3 in North America. Having sold over 18 million copies worldwide, it still stands as one of the best-selling video games of all time - and that's not even accounting for the various remakes and re-releases of the game that have been released over the years.

After a two-year development period, Super Mario Bros. 3 was released in Japan in October of 1988 to rave reviews and massive sales. The game was originally scheduled to be released in North America in the same year, but a serious shortage of ROM chips caused a rather lengthy 16 month delay. While this was certainly not good news for gamers anxious to get their hands on the newest Super Mario Bros. release, it did give Nintendo a chance to do some creative marketing and advertising using one of the longest video game commercials in history.

The 1989 movie The Wizard has long been called basically a 90 minute promo for Nintendo products, namely Super Mario Bros. 3. While the movie was panned for the most part, it represents a milestone for American game fans as it was their first opportunity to really see Super Mario Bros. 3 in action before its upcoming release two months later in February.

As a gamer, who could forget the immortal words of the Video Game Armageddon announcer Steven Grives as he announced "So I give you - Super Mario Bros. 3!" as the game popped up on the playing screens for all to see. That's the moment when the hype train officially pulled out of the station and anticipation for the upcoming release of the game reached an all-new height.

Very few games in the history of video gaming have experienced the type of pre-release anticipation that Super Mario Bros. 3 enjoyed. The year and a half delay of the game's release in North America due to a shortage of ROM chips might have caused gamers a long wait to finally play the third installment of the Super Mario Bros. series, but it also managed to generate enough excitement to make the game one of the biggest selling video games in history.

So here we sit, 20 years to the day of the game's American release and the game is still just as fresh and fun as it ever was. Many of the ideas introduced in the game have gone on to become staples of the series, some even making an appearance in this past year's hit release of New Super Mario Bros. Wii.

In the end, what more can you say about a game as legendary and revered as Super Mario Bros. 3 that hasn't already been said many times over. As the great Lucas Barton might say, "We love Super Mario Bros. 3. It's so bad."

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User Comments (68)

DazzaAdmin

#2

Dazza said:

Has it really been 20 years already? Man I feel old :-p

Loving The Wizard reference Corbs, nice work

DamoAdmin

#3

Damo said:

The Wizard is still the best movie in the history of mankind if you ask me.

CorbsAdmin

#4

Corbs said:

I even put on the movie while I worked on this. Sort of inspiration, so-to-speak. :)

CorbsAdmin

#8

Corbs said:

I still want to know how he knew where the magic whistle was when this was a game he'd never, ever, EVER played before. I smell a conspiracy! :D

PopeReal

#16

PopeReal said:

My uncle bought me and my little brother each our own copy back in the day. I have no idea why.

LinktotheFuture

#18

LinktotheFuture said:

Amazing game. I remember having to pay $90 bucks for it at Sears because that was the only place I could find it, but it was worth every penny.

MasterGraveheart

#26

MasterGraveheart said:

Happy birthday, Super Mario Bros. 3! Thanks for always being one of the three best games ever made (along with Ocarina of Time and Super Metroid).

sonic_brawler95

#28

sonic_brawler95 said:

Happy Birthday SMB3, one of the greatest platformers ever created! I think I may play this on the virtual consle all night to celebrate. ;)

super-nintendo

#30

super-nintendo said:

Happy Birthday to my favorite game of all time. My nostalgia for SMB3 is just so awesome, words can't describe. :)

OverlordMao

#31

OverlordMao said:

Yeah, that game is pretty annoying IMO. I keep losing all my lives to the stupidest pits that are EVERYWHERE in the later levels.

nasachi

#32

nasachi said:

happy birthday to one of the best games i've ever played and to one of those games only nintendo can do when looking at the gameplay, leveldesign and attention to detail :)

dizzy_boy

#33

dizzy_boy said:

mario 3 is great. i loved this through to the marrow when i was a kid.
if you csn complete every level on mario 3, without using the warp whistles, the stage skipping cloud, or the p wing, you can be called HARDCORE.
also, it has to be played through in one sitting, because mario 3 has no memory back up, and no passwords.
the vc version effectively has a save point when you go back to the wii menu, so that doesn`t count.

theblackdragonAdmin

#34

theblackdragon said:

@my_point_is: i dunno about you, but when we were in the middle of a NES game back in the day and wanted to do something else, we just left it on and turned the TV off or changed the channel. that's just like the VC 'save point' IMO; it just holds your place until you get back to it. it's not a stable save point to return to whenever you die or anything. :3

Yosher

#35

Yosher said:

Ah, Super Mario Bros. 3... I remember playing this at my aunt's when I didn't even have a console of my own yet, on the NES. Later on, I'd get it for my own, on the SNES in Mario All-Stars. I got some good memories with this game. Happy Birthday Super Mario Bros. 3!

metaknave

#36

metaknave said:

Happy aniversary, SMB 3! ...Wait, isn't this the game that desynced my Wiimotes on VC? Who cares, I liked it.

WanderFan91

#38

WanderFan91 said:

Happy birthday, Super Mario Bros. 3. :)
I remember watching The Wizard, at least, the middle and end portions of it. I only saw it once when I still lived in Italy (it was on a TV channel). :)
At the time, I had no idea that the movie came before the game in the US; I thought it was vice versa (I grew up playing the SNES Super Mario All-Stars version at my American cousins' house).

JoeDiddley

#41

JoeDiddley said:

I never saw the Wizard, but I remember getting this game when I was 8. I'm sure I was much better at games back then!

Devastator

#42

Devastator said:

I liked this alot. I downloaded it as soon as it came out for the VC. My only problem is that after Nintendo made this Super Mario, they started limting the amount of power-ups mario could get in the later games. There has been some new items they have come up with that were cool, but only having 2 or 3 in one game. That sucks. My favorite power-ups have been the Hammer brother suit, that bear who could turn to stone, and the propeler hat in New super mario brothers wii.

Rhansley64

#45

Rhansley64 said:

Happy Birthday to the greatest achievement in gaming History also known as Super Mario Bros 3.

astarisborn94

#46

astarisborn94 said:

I personally think this game is severely overrated, no offense. It's still a good game, but not what I call fantastic. Neverthless, happy 20th birthday to Super Mario Bros. 3!

CorbsAdmin

#47

Corbs said:

Everyone is entitled to their opinion. I'm the same way about Super Smash Bros. I can't stand the games. Different strokes for different folks. :)

RedYoshi999

#49

RedYoshi999 said:

Happy Birthday SMB3!!! I'm going to try to beat World 8 today in honour of it. How awesome would it be to beat the game for the first time on its 20th b'day!

EDIT: Guess what? I did it! I beat World 8 and finished off Bowser!! This is such an awesome game even after 20 years.

cheetahman91

#50

cheetahman91 said:

I think I'll save my celebrating when Super Mario World and Sonic the Hedgehog turn 20 next year. Nevertheless, happy birthday Super Mario Brothers. 3. :)

#51

said:

wow..I was twelve on that time...o_o

Happy birthday SMB3!! cheers

Donatello

#52

Donatello said:

Wicked article. I love SMB 3...BUT i still prefer SMB2. it's so bizzare, weird, dreamy and just flat out different from the rest.

And Corbie? you dont like SSB eh? it's my favorute fighting franchise besides Street Fighter. once you master the controls, there's tons of skill. it's the ultimate acrobatic fighter ;p Brawl and Melee are fantastic, while the first is crap in comparison.

And as for the Wizard.lol love it. I have it on DVD....you gotta love Lucas. "I love the power glove, it's so bad" or everytime the Wizard says says "Californiaaa"lol and who can forget that creepy perverted sounding Armagedon Game show host? ;p Such a great movie back in the day. everytime i think of SMB3 or the Power Glove, i think of The Wizard

CorbsAdmin

#53

Corbs said:

I tend to prefer deeper fighting games like Garou: Mark of the Wolves and the Virtual Fighter series.

Nintendophile

#57

Nintendophile said:

It's three in the morning here, but that still counts as the night of SMB3's birthday, right? If I whip through it real fast, I could beat it before the sun comes up, in honor of all those late-night gaming sessions of my youth. HAPPY BIRTHDAY, Super Mario Bros. 3! You always were and always will be my favorite!

WanderFan91

#59

WanderFan91 said:

It's fun to know where the secret items are located; but it's even more fun trying to beat the game without using them much. ;)

vonboysp

#66

vonboysp said:

holy crap.

i was like 8 months old when the game came out, so i don't remember much :b

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