A little over thirty years ago, Nintendo unleashed a game that revolutionised the industry. Not only did this game offer innovation the likes of which gamers of the era had been craving for years, but it is credited by many as being one of the reasons why the industry as a whole was able to recover from the crash of 1983 – at least in North America – and it still stands today as one of the purest slices of platforming heaven to this day.
It is hard to overstate exactly how influential Super Mario Bros. was. In the years that followed there would be a slew of imitators. Some of these, such as Sonic the Hedgehog, went on to carve their own niches into the industry. Most others fell by the wayside or experienced five minutes in the sun only to be forgotten forever.
However, Nintendo’s lovingly crafted platformer has always endured, so what better time than on the year of the games thirtieth anniversary to have another look at it and see if it stands the test of time?
Anybody who is expecting the graphics offered up by the NES to compete with anything from the last twenty years or more is pretty foolish, but it is still astonishing to see just how well Super Mario Bros. holds up in this regard.
The limitations of the console notwithstanding, each level of the game feels colourful and vibrant, offering an art style that almost feels timeless, particularly with so many modern Indie games looking to emulate the graphics of the past.
We could go on and on about the music that Super Mario Bros. contains. But instead of doing that, just give this a listen:
We all know that tune and it is absolutely timeless. It’s a retro gaming classic, hell it’s even a modern gaming classic. This one tune is more memorable than 95% of the big-budget orchestral scores offered by many modern games. It is as much of a joy to listen to today as it was thirty years ago.
Now we come to the meat and potatoes of the game. It was the revolutionary scrolling platforming that pulled in so many gamers back in the day, but today it is the wonderful sense of nostalgia offered up by the many classic levels of Super Mario Bros. that make it such a joy to play.
All you need is a controller with a couple of buttons and you have a game that holds up today as well as it ever did. The levels are excellently designed, the controls are perfectly responsive and everything comes together into a beautifully successful package that is easy to learn but so very hard to truly master.
The Final Word
Super Mario Bros. is as great now as it ever was. It is the game that gave the world the scrolling 2D platformer formula and it can be argued that none outside of its own franchise has ever bettered it. Simply put, this is a must-have in any serious gamers collection.
Lee Price is a freelance writer and general miscreant who enjoys video games, movies and making dreary situations better by adding copious amounts of alcohol. Follow him on Twitter @Mr_Lee2112 to read his random musings.