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Classic Games (Games) Nintendo Games

25 Years of Super Mario Bros. 190

Posted by Soulskill
from the don't-let-him-get-into-the-birthday-beer dept.
harrymcc writes "On September 13th 1985, Nintendo released Super Mario Bros. for the Famicom (NES) in Japan. It went on to become the best-selling video game of all time, a title it only recently lost. Over at Technologizer, Benj Edwards is celebrating the anniversary with a look at some of the weirdest variations, spinoffs, and tributes the game has inspired over the years, from edibles to art projects." The Guardian's games blog adds a bunch of Mario-related trivia, and CVG attempts to explain the history of Mario games. Nintendo is capitalizing on the anniversary by announcing an upcoming collection of classic Mario games (Japanese site, English explanation) that have been ported to the Wii.
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25 Years of Super Mario Bros.

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  • Twenty-five years? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by MyLongNickName (822545) on Monday September 13, 2010 @04:17PM (#33565254) Journal

    Twenty-five years? Really? Damn... I'm old.

    • by Pojut (1027544)

      The original is still a tough as nails game. There are plenty of harder Mario games out there, but Super Mario Bros. is still crazy brutal.

      • by Hatta (162192) on Monday September 13, 2010 @04:42PM (#33565522) Journal

        It's not as hard as you remember it. Anyone with a little aptitude and practice can beat SMB. Compared to other games on the NES (Ninja Gaiden, Castlevania, etc) it's a walk in the park.

        • by Pojut (1027544)

          Never said it was the most difficult game, just still difficult.

          I'd also like to point out that the two games you mentioned (Ninja Gaiden and Castlevania) were notorious for knocking you back when you got hit...the cause of the vast majority of deaths associated with both of those games :-)

          • by jandrese (485)
            Also, because unlike Mario, Ninja Gaiden started you out with fairly high difficulty. There were boxers on the very first level where if you mistimed your sword swing even a little bit (easy, because the sword was very short), then they could stunlock and kill you. Level 1, first stage. That's how you tell your players that you're not screwing around.
            • by mattack2 (1165421)

              I think the Mega Man games also "tell your players that you're not screwing around." I have only played them on the PS2 collection, but the first one is very difficult (I haven't even gotten to the later ones).

              • by Tetsujin (103070)

                I think the Mega Man games also "tell your players that you're not screwing around." I have only played them on the PS2 collection, but the first one is very difficult (I haven't even gotten to the later ones).

                I think the first Rockman was a little less forgiving than the sequels. It was certainly a lot less polished overall. Then again, it could just be that since I started the series with Rockman 2, it may be that I think the first game is harder just because I haven't played it as much.

                • by Sancho (17056) *

                  I started with Mega Man, and I agree. Try playing them one right after the other, and you'll notice that the controls tightened up significantly with the sequel--which is a huge improvement and makes the platformer much easier.

                  • by mattack2 (1165421)

                    I guess I should try the subsequent ones again. I think I misspoke earlier.. I think the first one is the only one I played significantly, but I at least played one or two others for a few minutes, and they seemed at first to be just as difficult.

        • Zelda: The Adventure of Link I dare you name a harder game than that.
          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by ProppaT (557551)

            The Adventure of Link wasn't all that hard, honestly.

            You want difficult? Play Battletoads. I think that's the game that invented controller throwing.

            • LOL I remember that one, stupid game. I still find Zelda harder :)

              I also had Snake: Rattle&Roll. I was never able to reach the last stage and I consider myself a pretty good gamer. Then some months ago I saw a youtube video where someone beats it in 11 minutes. I hated each and every minute of it, that game was a bit of a child trauma for me haha.
            • by mirix (1649853)

              I'm rather surprised I didn't break any of my controllers or TV after playing that dirty bugger.

              I did have a friend that claimed to be able to beat it. Forget if I ever witnessed anyone do it, though.

          • by Sancho (17056) *

            Easy. Superman 64.

          • by Khashishi (775369)

            Battletoads

          • by Globe199 (442245)

            I'll second this. Good lord, I remember spending hours and hours getting thru Death Mountain to find the hammer. Then fighting, fighting, fighting thru that awful path that led to the final palace. Then trying in vain to beat that god damn blue/red Thunderbird (and failing, until 2002 when I could use an emulator and cheat codes). I finally got to see the ending, which was lame, but at least I finished the game.

            I'll also second the comments about Ninja Gaiden, which, come to think of it, was much harder

            • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

              Old 8 and 16 bits games beat the crap out of most recent games when it comes to difficulty. Nowdays it seems it's all about eye candy (cough cough I'm looking at you FFXIII), but the games never last more than 20-30 hours unless they're mmorpgs or really good rpgs/adventure games. And even then they're rather easy and you go through content without much problems. Kids and teenager gamers have no idea what they missed.
              • by Sancho (17056) * on Monday September 13, 2010 @06:08PM (#33566460) Homepage

                Interestingly, I think a lot of the old 8- and 16-bit games were difficult because of poor programming. Bad collision-detection and poor controls are high on the list of what made a lot of games hard. Super Mario Bros. head pretty bad controls--far from the worst on the NES, but probably the worst out of the entire series.

                Then you have bad design patterns that were repeated over and over throughout the industry--enemies that respawn if a particular tile goes offscreen, being knocked back uncontrollably by enemies (often into pits), enemies which simply can't be avoided or killed no matter what you try... It's really a combination of these three which made Ninja Gaiden (and many other games) super hard. Difficulty without frustration is hard to achieve, but modern games do better at it.

                Of course, death and repetition are what made games last any reasonable amount of time in the early NES days. Before you had passwords and saves, forcing you to master every level to get to the end was part of the experience. That's not universally true--some games like Metroid had an explorative element that extended playing time.

                • Yeah I guess what you say is true. But there are still a lot of inherent difficulty in old games that isn't related to poor programming/designing/other, but just pure, raw difficulty. I remember some Megaman (Rockman for the purists) games, where you had to actually jump in the last pixel of the platform you were in, because the jump wasn't long enough to reach the next one if you didn't do it. I guess you master it through trial/error and lots of repetitions, but isn't everything in life like that? Maybe I
                • by teslar (706653) on Tuesday September 14, 2010 @04:26AM (#33570734)

                  being knocked back uncontrollably by enemies (often into pits)

                  What, as opposed to being knocked very uncontrollably onto a health pack? Why would an enemy want to do that? Surely knocking you into pits or at least making sure you lose control is pretty high up on the enemy's to-do list, so while I agree with the rest of what you say, this is a strange criticism.

                  You should also add bad English to the list of things that make some games difficult. What were supposed to be helpful hints become mere cryptic messages. I'm looking at you, original Zelda.
                  Then there were things that simply made no sense. Why could the blue candle only be lit once per screen, forcing you to exit and re-enter it until you've checked every damn bush (or several of them at once, but still) for something shiny? Things like that just made the game longer not by making it harder but simply by increasing the legwork you had to do. I think those were the things I hated most. Bad controls and so on, I could live with - eventually, you learned how to master them. You figured out what the actual collision detection was rather than what it should have been. You understood where a particular enemy would throw you and could use it to your advantage if the guy was really unavoidable. But spending 5 mins on burning bushes just cos the blue candle is rubbish? Please.

          • Zelda: The Adventure of Link I dare you name a harder game than that.

            Not NES era, but close: Tetris The Grand Master 3: Terror-Instinct. Fast forward to 5:00 [youtube.com]. Or try reaching level 30 on the official Tetris game for NES.

          • by Tetsujin (103070)

            Zelda: The Adventure of Link

            I dare you name a harder game than that.

            You know what I found really hard in that game?

            One of the towns you can access at the very beginning of the game, there's a kid who tells you to go West. He tells you this even if you haven't been to the first castle yet - which is really annoying because you need to beat the first castle in order to get the jump boots you'll need if you go West...

            I spent some time this year replaying Zelda II from the beginning. I made it to the final palace but I haven't beaten the game (in this run) yet. I got frustra

    • by commodore64_love (1445365) on Monday September 13, 2010 @04:39PM (#33565490) Journal

      You think that's old? It's been 33 years since I first laid hands on an Atari console (still one of my favorite machines) with its Commodore-produced 6502 CPU and TIA sound/graphics chip (with an amazing 30x20 resolution).

      The Famicom was released in 1983 so we're talking about 27 year old technology! Its contemporaries were the Intellivision, Colecovision, Atari 5200 SuperSystem, Apple IIc/e, and C=64. (The Mac and Amiga didn't even exist yet.) Ancient, old, ancient technology. But hella fun.

      • by mattack2 (1165421)

        Are you talking about the 2600? The 2600 uses a 6507, not a 6502. Also, was its production outsourced to Commodore? I have never heard that and don't see confirmation in a brief skim of the wikipedia article.

        • by theaveng (1243528) on Monday September 13, 2010 @06:26PM (#33566638)

          The 2600 uses a 6507, not a 6502

          You are correct but it's the same difference really. Just as my 386SX laptop is still a 386, just minus some data lines. Or a 486SX4 is 486 but clocked three times faster. It's the same basic CPU, and yes Commodore owned the company (MOS) that made the 650x, 850x, and 65816. They basically got their PET, VIC20, C64, C128, Plus/4 and other computer CPUs for free (at cost).

          • by mattack2 (1165421)

            WDC made/makes the 65816, not MOS.

            You're right, I hadn't realized that Commodore bought MOS (in 1976). ...and I realize I'm nitpicking about 6502 vs 6507, but for something like the Atari 2600, it makes a difference since the added limitations (smaller address space, no interrupts) are significant.

      • by theaveng (1243528)

        The Famicom was released in 1983 so we're talking about 27 year old technology! Its contemporaries were the Intellivision, Colecovision, Atari 5200 SuperSystem, Apple IIc/e, and C=64.

        I would have modded this +1 Informative myself.
        Or interesting. Or insightful. Definitely not "troll" Mr. Moderator.

  • by RyuuzakiTetsuya (195424) <taiki@co[ ]et ['x.n' in gap]> on Monday September 13, 2010 @04:18PM (#33565262)

    it's just a Wii port of Mario All Stars that came out in the US for SNES, same graphics and all.

    The booklet and the soundtrack seem interesting packins though.

    • by eln (21727)
      The included games (other than possibly Lost Levels) are also already available on the Wii's Virtual Console for about 5 bucks each. I guess this could be an interesting collector's item for Mario enthusiasts, but for the average schmo just looking for a trip down memory lane, the virtual console route seems like a cheaper and easier way to get these particular games.
      • The package is 2,500 yen, which is about 5 bucks a game with a 5 buck CD and booklet.

        Plus SM All Stars isn't on Wii Virtual Console either.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by AndrewNeo (979708)

        There is a difference though, where the games on VC are NES games, and Super Mario All Stars is an SNES game. The graphics and sound are a higher quality.

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by bonch (38532)

          The All-Stars version of Super Mario Bros. has inaccurate physics when jumping and breaking a brick, unfortunately. Mario keeps rising in altitude instead of immediately falling down, which sounds minor but affects you if you're used to running and hitting bricks without stopping like in the original.

          For years, I thought I was the only one who ever noticed this, but I see that it's mentioned at TMK [themushroomkingdom.net].

          • by Waffle Iron (339739) on Monday September 13, 2010 @05:49PM (#33566236)

            The All-Stars version of Super Mario Bros. has inaccurate physics when jumping and breaking a brick

            I think that *all* Mario games have inaccurate physics when jumping and breaking a brick. If they used accurate physics, Mario would fall to the ground unconscious immediately after whacking his head.

            • With accurate physics, the blocks wouldn't be floating in the first place.
            • by Tetsujin (103070)

              The All-Stars version of Super Mario Bros. has inaccurate physics when jumping and breaking a brick

              I think that *all* Mario games have inaccurate physics when jumping and breaking a brick. If they used accurate physics, Mario would fall to the ground unconscious immediately after whacking his head.

              First, Mario punches the bricks with his fist when he jumps.
              Second, he's saying that All Stars' version of Super Mario Brothers is an incorrect reproduction of the original game. Basically when you jump up and break a block, you keep moving up instead of getting bounced back down. It's kind of an annoying bug once you notice it. But yeah, his word choice was incorrect. :)

              Personally I think the NES games didn't look so great on the SNES, particularly the first two. (Super Mario 1 and the game that was re

  • And today is also... (Score:4, Informative)

    by The MAZZTer (911996) <megazzt.gmail@com> on Monday September 13, 2010 @04:23PM (#33565324) Homepage
    Programmers' Day [wikipedia.org], the 256th day of the year. Quite a coincidence.
  • by Monkey (16966) on Monday September 13, 2010 @04:26PM (#33565344)

    For anyone wondering, the "best-selling video game of all time" is Wii Sports.

    • by hansamurai (907719) <hansamurai@gmail.com> on Monday September 13, 2010 @04:54PM (#33565666) Homepage Journal

      If we're including pack-in games (which Wii Sports is in North America, but not in Japan), then wouldn't Solitaire be the best selling game of all time? It was "sold" with hundreds of millions of copies of Windows.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by The MAZZTer (911996)
      What if we don't count bundles but only stand-alone sales?
      • What if we don't count bundles but only stand-alone sales?

        What if people bought the system because they wanted that game?

      • by lgw (121541)

        If we don't count bundled games, I suspect Bejeweled wins with >50 million units.

        If we do count bundled games, I suspect the games bundled with Windows XP win.

      • by vux984 (928602)

        What if we don't count bundles but only stand-alone sales?

        You can't really.

        Many of the best selling games sales numbers have been boosted due to being part of bundles for at least part of their run. Around here Halo 3:ODST, and Forza 3 were part of an xbox bundle a while ago. Today Futureshop is advertising a barebones xbox, and an xbox with 2 wireless controllers and a hard drive bundled with Halo:Reach. When it was launched in Brazil, you could ONLY get the Premium package with Perfect Dark 0, Kameo:EoP,

      • by Monkey (16966) on Monday September 13, 2010 @05:32PM (#33566052)

        Not counting console bundled games like #1 Wii Sports (41.65m) #2 SMB (40.24m),and #4 Tetris ( bundled with original Gameboy, 30.26m), #5 Duck Hunt (included in the NES bundle that came with the orange gun, 28.31m), you might be surprised to find out that Pokemon games are the top contenders with the #3 overall spot held by Pokémon Red, Green, and Blue (31.38m) and #6 Pokémon Gold and Silver (23.11m).

        Some other titles are #7 Nintendogs (21.60m), #8 Super Mario World (bundled with the SNES, 20.61m) and #9 Wii Play (20.30m).

        • by Jiro (131519)

          I think for bundles the question is whether someone is likely to buy it for the bundled items rather than the game. Therefore, Wii Play shouldn't count since a lot of people buy it mainly for the remote and don't want the game. On the other hand, the Halo bundles mentioned above pretty much all go to people who would be buying Halo anyway if there was no bundle.

          If you go by the Wikipedia article and ignore this sort of bundle the top games are Nintendogs (23.26M), Wii Fit (22.61M), Mario Cart Wii (22.55M)

  • ..... I'm talking about the 8-bit 6502 of course. ;-) Okay yes it was second-sourced but Commodore still made money off the patent/license times 50 millions NESes sold. They also made-out well on the 16-bit 6502 variant inside the Super Nintendo
    .

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      I thought the 6502 was a Motorola reference design?

      • by jandrese (485)
        Motorola charged too much for the chip, that's why Commodore released a (nearly) pin compatible replacement for much cheaper and made a killing.
    • by mattack2 (1165421)

      ..... I'm talking about the 8-bit 6502 of course. ;-) Okay yes it was second-sourced but Commodore still made money off the patent/license times 50 millions NESes sold. They also made-out well on the 16-bit 6502 variant inside the Super Nintendo

      Umm, Ricoh made the Ricoh 5A22 for the Super Nintendo, which is a variant of the WDC 65c816.

  • by Itninja (937614) on Monday September 13, 2010 @04:43PM (#33565540) Homepage
    I warped to World 8 and for me it's only been like 5 years.
  • So they are offering the first 4 Super Mario Bros games on one disc for around $30. The same 4 games can be purchased for your Wii through the virtual console for $5 each - totaling $20. I guess if the disc, manual, and soundtrack are worth another $10 to you, then go for it. Otherwise just buy the ones you want (or all 4 of them) as downloads and enjoy the savings.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      So they are offering the first 4 Super Mario Bros games on one disc for around $30. The same 4 games can be purchased for your Wii through the virtual console for $5 each - totaling $20.

      The disc has the Super Mario All Stars (16-bit) versions of the games. Unless SMAS is on the SNES Virtual Console, you're not getting the same games, you're getting the versions with much better graphics and sound.

      On an un-related note, I worked at Funcoland back when the original Playstation and N64 came out. We dealt primarily with used games and we could not keep Super Mario All Stars in stock to save our lives. They'd actually pay up to $30 in store credit to get that collection and nobody wanted to

      • by Joe Tie. (567096)
        I will never understand why something like mario all stars wasn't more popular among game companies. There's so many old nes properties that were fun, loved by everyone, and could have gotten a huge benefit from a graphical makeover and collection. You'd even see things like the mega man collection for the mega drive, or the snes ninja gaiden collection. But they'd miss the opportunity and make only the most minor of graphic upgrades.
        • I will never understand why something like mario all stars wasn't more popular among game companies. There's so many old nes properties that were fun, loved by everyone, and could have gotten a huge benefit from a graphical makeover and collection. You'd even see things like the mega man collection for the mega drive, or the snes ninja gaiden collection. But they'd miss the opportunity and make only the most minor of graphic upgrades.

          You mean like Battletoads? [battletoadspreorder.com]
          Br

        • I will never understand why something like mario all stars wasn't more popular among game companies. There's so many old nes properties that were fun, loved by everyone, and could have gotten a huge benefit from a graphical makeover and collection. You'd even see things like the mega man collection for the mega drive, or the snes ninja gaiden collection. But they'd miss the opportunity and make only the most minor of graphic upgrades.

          One problem with this approach is that, in terms of development, QA, and (to some extent) art resources, you're basically remaking the entire game. You have to rewrite all the software, redraw all the sprites, rearrange the music, and make sure it all works right in the end. If you're going to do all that, why not make a new game featuring the popular old character instead?

          Look at Super Mario All Stars, for instance. You'd think it would be pretty hard to screw that up, right? And yet, they did... Some

        • by mattack2 (1165421)

          But I suspect that the (majority of the) people who would want such a collection wouldn't *want* "graphic upgrades". They'd want the games as they originally came out (at least optionally).

          I've bought various game collections (e.g. for PS2), sometimes even of games I hadn't played previously (e.g. Mega Man), and I'd want the original game.

          (It's similar to people not wanting DVD releases that have changed music (too may to mention), the various Star Wars re-releases, etc. At least supposedly some of the St

  • by pandrijeczko (588093) on Monday September 13, 2010 @05:46PM (#33566186)

    ...that of course being Miner Willie from the ZX Spectrum classics Manic Miner & Jet Set Willy.

    I'm not criticising anyone's love of the Mario franchise of games but having gamed for 30-odd years from the ZX Spectrum through the Commodore Amiga and now to PCs, I think I've only ever played one Mario game for a short period of time on a friend's NES.

    So my platform gaming heroes were Zool, Superfrog, Manic Miner and Wally Week (from Automania & Pyjamarama).

  • by Digital Vomit (891734) on Monday September 13, 2010 @06:01PM (#33566376) Homepage Journal
    Here's what the Super Mario collection *should* be:
    • Super Mario Bros
    • Super Mario Bros 2 (US)
    • Super Mario Bros 2 (Japan)
    • Super Mario Bros 3
    • Super Mario All-Stars
    • Super Mario World
    • Super Mario 64

    Price: $20

    That's the bare minimum acceptable product celebrating the 25th anniversary of Super Mario Bros.

    For a few dollars more they could include the various GameBoy incarnations of Super Mario Bros, and maybe throw in the old Mario Bros for good measure.

    Twenty-five years and all they do is re-release Super Mario All Stars? Please.


    Of course, most of these games (along with their source) should belong to the Public Domain by now, but that's another story.

    • Wasn't super mario brothers all stars just another collection of previous games?

      I remember it containing
      • Super Mario Bros
      • Super Mario Bros 2 (US)
      • Super Mario Bros 2 (Japan)
      • Super Mario Bros 3
  • I don't really like the fact SM Allstars is on this disc instead of the originals. It's kinda like playing Doom1 on the Crysis engine... takes away the magic in some way.
  • There are some pages in Nintendo's Super Mario 25th Anniversary Campaign web site [nintendo.co.jp] that might be of more interest to gamers. One that caught my eye was an interview with Miyamoto Shigeru [nintendo.co.jp]. I'll do my best to translate it here. It's remarkably long, so please excuse me for making multiple posts (and doing so slowly).

    Introduction
    Iwata: Hello everyone. I'm Iwata for Nintendo.
    Today is the 25th anniversary to the day of September 13th, 1985 when the first generation of Super Mario Brothers for the Famil
    • At Nintendo we're commemorating "Super Mario 25th Anniversary" with a promotion, but at the same time we're planning to release "The CEO Asks" pertaining to Super Mario's history in several installments.

      Obviously, we thought to start by bringing to all of you word from the parent who gave birth to Super Mario, Miyamoto Shigeru, but thus far Mr. Miyamoto has appeared in "The CEO Asks" as a guest more than anyone else, and to me, who has asked Mr. Miyamoto the same questions many times, the more I thought abo

  • In recognition of the anniversary, it would be great if Nintendo promised to stop making any more Mario Party games. And Mario sports games too.

    Or, failing that, at least made all their staff Do the Mario [youtube.com].

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