The Super Mario Land games on the GameBoy were always something of black sheep among the rest if the Super Mario canon. The games experimented with different themes and felt very weird for lack of a better word, but nonetheless were solid games within their own right. While the first game was a decidedly simple affair, Super Mario Land 2: 6 Golden Coins was much closer to a traditional Mario game, albeit with certain characteristics that set it apart from the rest of the series.
An interview from 1992 that appeared in the Super Mario Land 2's original strategy guide was recently translated from Japanese and it naturally has some fascinating trivia and backstory on the quirky portable game. Super Mario Land 2 took some heat for being a relatively easy experience, but it seems that the game was actually quite difficult prior to its final testing. Takahiro Harada -- the main programmer -- explained that the original game was too difficult for the play testers, requiring the development team to dial things back more:
Definitely the 2-3 months after we finished the test version. We'd all been playing the game since the beginning, so naturally we'd got very good at it. As we got further along, we had started to wonder if it was way too easy. But then we finished the test version and let playtesters give it a go, and… they couldn't get anywhere! (laughs) They said it was way too hard. All the little adjustments and fine-tuning after that was the hardest part.
Another interesting statement was related to how the team made certain to tailor a game that played to the strengths of the Game Boy. Initially, the game resembled and sounded more like Super Mario World, but the developers chose to take it in its own direction because they didn't want players to be reminded of the fact they were playing on inferior hardware. Kazumi Totaka -- the game's composer -- put it like this:
Well, if you take the sound effect when Mario turns into Super Mario as an example, up to midway into the development, we used the same sound effect there that the Super Famicom used. However, using that sound effect on the Game Boy gave a weird, overlapping impression of Super Mario World. We were afraid the player would become negatively conscious of the fact that he was playing on a small screen, that there was no sprite scaling with this hardware, etc. For that reason, we chose a lot of different sound effects from the other Mario games.
For further reading, check out the full interview here; it's short, but sweet.
What do you think? Do you wish the game was more difficult? Woukd you have been pleased with a more Super Mario World-like final product? Drop us a comment in the section below.