Super Mario Bros. 3 Turns Twenty

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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