European gamers have to wait a few weeks longer yet, but lucky Japanese 3DS owners should have already received their free download codes for this fondly-remembered port of a gaming legend.
First impressions of Super Mario Deluxe aren't, however, particularly good – the VS. game mode and print options simply don’t work. This is to be expected of course; Nintendo isn’t known for doing much to its Virtual Console releases other than making sure they’re available for sale, but it would have been nice to “print” those lovely gallery images onto SD card or share them on Miiverse; it’s hard to shake the feeling that if Sega and M2 had handled this port — like those 3D Classic downloads — we’d all be enjoying wireless multiplayer Mario at this point.
Being a Game Boy Color port brings an unavoidable problem of its own too – the smaller screen resolution of Nintendo's older handheld means your field of vision is greatly reduced, and for those of us who don’t have each level seared onto our minds (or those of us who have simply forgotten, the game is almost thirty years old at this point) there are a fair few blind leaps of faith and enemies that appear to drop from the sky — gamers playing the NES original would be able to see the ground below or platforms above without any issues.
This was completely acceptable at the time – we had proper portable Mario! With extras! The Game Boy Color simply couldn’t do any better, and we didn’t expect it to. But that was a long time ago - Nintendo handhelds now come with autostereoscopic 3D screens and NES emulation is just a WiFi connection and £4.50 / €4.99 / $4.99 away, so this kind of issue just isn’t something we expect to deal with in our ports these days.
It’s not all doom and gloom though - ultimately it’s still a good port of one of the most important games of all time, and the extras — including additional challenges — are still a lot of fun and add replayability to a well-worn classic. The problem is that a NES-perfect port of Super Mario Bros. is already available on the 3DS, and Nintendo’s reluctance to do more with its own Virtual Console games means that a lot of the things that really made this iteration stand out as unique are either inaccessible or feel a little neutered.
Does that matter to you? Do you think Nintendo need to make sure there's some support for these older features or are you grateful just for the chance to experience these older classics? Let us known in the comments section below.