Dear God, there are five of these games in one! Five! I can barely review a single game, let alone five! For those of you who were like me and didn’t know what you were getting into when you first picked up Super Mario All-Stars/Super Mario World, this is what you’re getting:
Super Mario Bros.
Super Mario Bros. 2
Super Mario Bros. 3
Super Mario World
Super Mario The Lost Levels
It’s hard enough as is to review Mario at all, what with the hirsute little plumber and his exploits so entwined with the public consciousness already, but when you’re staring in the face of five of these games, each significant and entertaining in its own right, the task seems so insurmountable that you begin rambling about the process of writing the review in some kind of meta-appeal to people’s sympathies for the difficulty of the task instead of approaching the thing like a real writer and talking about the merits of each game. Then you consider abandoning the task entirely to go downstairs and get more beer, because I’m sure that’ll help. (Update: once you’ve had a couple of beers you remember you’re not even a real writer so the pressure is totally off!)
I guess our only hope (see how I’m including you so you feel like were in this together? We’re pals, aren’t we?) is to break it down and say a few things about each game. Let’s do this sloppy thing:
Here’s where it all started. This is the genesis. Not the Sega Genesis, but, like, the genesis of video gaming or something. When I was a kid, this was the game. Sure, it was bundled with Duck Hunt, but aside from mashing that plastic gun against the screen so that damn dog didn’t laugh at you, who really gave a shit about Duck Hunt? No, it was the oft-subterranean adventures of Mario Mario that first graced almost everyone’s Nintendo. This was the game that came with the system, so of course you’d play it. You’d play it for hours and hours, timing each jump, cursing the goombas (not racist), and feeling as the neurons in your brain slowly accepted the musical score that would forever burn its way into your subconsciousness, ready to be called to the surface with a tiny bit of humming and a wave of nostalgia. This game was fun. Frustrating fun, but fun. The version that comes along with Super Mario All-Stars has updated graphics and sound, but this just kind of makes me miss the old version because I’m weird.
People seem to hate this game for some reason, but it might actually be my favourite entry in the series. From Luigi’s spastic legs to the buoyant vagina of Princess Peach, each character felt different in play, and the levels and enemies were so batfuck crazy that they made me feel as if there was a Japanese game designer I’d really get along well with. We’d be friends and drink potions to get into the shadow realm and choke frogs with vegetables. That’d be so cool. Sure, the game ended much in the same way as St. Elsewhere, thereby invalidating everything that happened and causing people to cry like a bunch of bitches, but so what? The journey was fun and the destination sucked a little bit. That’s life.
Even though I’ve played Super Mario Bros. 3 quite a few times, with the exception of the Lost Levels, it’s the one I’m least familiar with since I never owned it. However, even I know that it offers a whole bunch of fairly innovative concepts: you have your tanuki suit, your frog suit, your raccoon suit and your lawsuit. It was great. Even greater was the fact that this game featured prominently in the blockbuster crime drama, the Wizard, starring the ever-charming Fred Savage. And holy shit! Tobey Maguire was in there too? Hot damn. Fuckin’ Spider-Man.
Who can forget the drool-inducing appeal of this game and the Power Glove? The Power Glove actually kind of sucked, but this game sure didn’t. I wonder if the Power Glove was ever used as a sex toy? My guess is DEFINITELY.
I remember this game all too well. My family took a trip to the US to do some shopping, and we stopped in an electronics store where I saw the SNES for the first time. Little did I know then that many years later I would develop an intimate hatred of the system, but at that moment, I was amazed. This game was so vibrant, so smooth. It was like seeing a video game for the very first time, and I wanted it. I wanted it so much. But, alas, my family was little more than a traveling pack of hobos, and we couldn’t afford the SNES, Super Mario World, electricity, or teeth. Months later we managed to steal enough organs to afford it, and although it never seemed to live up to my initial impressions, Super Mario World was—and is—a fantastic game.
Super Mario Bros. The Lost Levels bills itself like some kind of weird mustachey porn: “Unreleased in Europe!” Well, who cares? I don’t live in Europe, I live in Canada, which is kind of like Europe except colder and less stylish and bigger, like your fat and distant aunt. This game is pretty much the same as the revamped version of Super Mario Bros., except the levels are different. I guess when I said that each of these games was “significant and entertaining in its own right,” I forgot about this game. It’s kind of boring, in my opinion. I think these levels could have stayed lost and everyone would have been okay with it except the person who’ll take exception to me writing that and call me gay or something. To reiterate: blowing you for money doesn’t make me gay, it makes me a fiscal opportunist.
In conclusion, dah dah dah dah-dat dah!
P.S. If you finish reading this review and your IQ drops by a number ending in 1, 3, or 6, look out the window and get treated to a sweet fireworks display!