Review: Super Mario Bros. (NES)

A timeless classic

This game needs no introduction, this was really where it all began with our favourite Italian plumber. Having been originally bundled free with the NES console in 1985 Super Mario Bros. Proved to be a killer app at the time helping to shift millions of consoles. There have since been many imitators but none have quite captured the original Mario magic except perhaps the excellent sequels of course!

Players negotiate 8 challenging worlds, stomping on enemies as they pass through, and battling Bowser at the end of each. It was so frustrating on my first run through the game when that silly little Princess never seemed to be able to stay put in one place. She was always one step ahead…

Reaching the end of each level is a pleasurable experience, as the controls are extremely tight and rarely let the player down. In the second stage it is imperative to be absolutely pixel-perfect in jumping from one narrow ledge to another - and with the proper skill, this is easily accomplished. While there may be several times where Mario ends up in a bottomless pit, for the most part, the controls do as they're told and are dead-on.

The graphics are unavoidably outdated, as over the course of 22 years graphics have undergone tremendous improvements. Yet at the time, it was beautiful. The colors were bright and crisp, there was never any slowdown, and the animations were quirky and inspired. The sound effects are absolutely unforgettable, from the stomping on Goombas' heads to the sweet tune of coins being pumped out of bricks. And how can we forget one of the game's greatest legacies - the Super Mario theme? The game immersed the player more than ever before, and really demonstrated what games are supposed to be; original, and fun.

Conclusion

Dozens if not hundreds of imitators have tried to improve or revolutionize the formula that Nintendo spawned back in 1985; some have failed, while others have come close. Even with the most successful of these attempts, coming back to play Super Mario Bros. is still just as much fun as ever, and truly makes you appreciate how games were designed in the past – and how they should always be made in the future. 500 Wii points is an absolute no-brainer. This adventure is an absolute must for any gamer’s Virtual Console collection.

Note for PAL users: It seems that this version of Super Mario Bros runs faster than the original PAL version. It is mostly likely the "Speed Corrected" version found on the Duck Hunt cart.