Super Mario Bros. 2

super-mario-bros2

Essentially a hard version of the original Super Mario Bros. with new levels and new challenges, Super Mario Bros. 2 was released exclusively to the Disk System for the specific purpose to push sales of nintendo’s add-on disk drive.

Super Mario Bros. 2

Japanese Title: スーパーマリオブラザーズ 2
Release Date: June 3, 1986
Publisher: Nintendo
Developer: Nintendo R&D4


Genre: Action Platformer
Product Code: FMC-SMB
Disk Format: Single-sided
Notable Credits: Produced by Shigeru Miyamoto.  Directed by Takashi Tezuka. Music Composed by Koji Kondo.

There is no question that the original Super Mario Bros. changed the face of the video game industry as a whole, and its lasting innovation is still felt in gaming today. A sequel was a forgone conclusion; the only question was just exactly  what a sequel to Super Mario Bros. would look like.

Nintendo had made sequels before, but they were sequels to arcade games; and those sequels where both refinements and subtitle variations on the predessors look and play mechanics. It stands to reason, then, that Nintendo would take the same approach for its first console video game sequel.

Less a true follow-up, a more a ‘hard mode’ version of the original, Super Mario Bros. 2 took all the game play mechanics that made the first game a success and supplanted them into some insanely difficult and increasingly unfair level design choices. Super Mario Bros. 2 is less a game experience then a celebration of frustration that rewards determination and stellar hand-eye coordination.

The visuals in Super Mario Bros. 2 did get a slight upgrade, with more sprite detail sprinkled throughout the massive game world.

Compared to the original Super Mario Bros.’ 8 worlds consisting of 4 stages a piece, SMB 2 has an additional 9th world only excessable if the game is completed using no warp zones. If you some how managed to complete the entire game 8 times in a row you access worlds A through D, which amount to the most difficult and obtuse stages in video game history.

Interestly, Super Mario Bros. 2 eliminates the originals two player mode in favour of allowing you to play as Mario or Luigi in standard one player mode. While Mario controls just as he did in the original, Luigi plays much more loosely with big floaty jumps and slick movement physics. The option of playing as Luigi makes the game slightly tougher overall, adding yet another layer of optional challenge.

Nintendo of America famously judged Super Mario Bros. 2 to be ‘too difficult’ for North American instead retooled and unrelated Disk System game called Yume Kojo: Doki Doki Panic for release as Super Mario Bros.2 outside of Japan. An interesting aside, Mario’s creator Shigeru Miyamoto actual had more a more hands-on position in the development of Doki Doki Panic than he did with the Japanese Super Mario Bros. 2, making the former closer to a Mario game than most give it credit for.

Unlike so many of Nintendo of America’s questionable decisions in this era, this is one that actually turned out to be spot-on; Super Mario Bros, 2 is too difficult to be enjoyable to anyone except masochists and players who have squeezed every drop out of Super Marios Bros. and are thirsty for more.

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About Nathan White

Recovering artist, handsome devil, amateur appreciator of 8 and 16 bit Japanese video games and whole hearted archivist of Disk System World.
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