First Impressions: Super Mario Bros.

Some games are destined to become classics. After a few sleepless nights I can safely say that Nintendo’s Super Mario Bros. is one of those. It takes everything we’ve grown to love about Nintendo’s arcade and Game & Watch games, throws in a pinch of Pitfall-styled adventure and then takes everything up to a notch.


The player takes control of Mario (and his brother Luigi in multiplayer mode), a character familiar from the Donkey Kong arcade game. The goal of the game is to save the princess, who has been kidnapped by a fire-breathing monster, Bowser. The variety of level design is impressive: before the rescue mission is over, the player will have to make their way through green fields, dark basements, and even underwater levels.

Super Mario Bros. truly has a way of sucking the player in. The weird and wacky world and fearsome enemies (a man surfing on a cloud and throwing spiny eggs at the player and a turtle-like creature with a seemingly endless arsenal of hammers for starters) make putting down the controller next to impossible. Surprisingly enough, the music is also very catchy, the main title being most likely the single most memorable tune in video game history so far. This is nothing like the non-musical bleeps and bloops of the Atari-era.

The learning curve of Super Mario Bros. is not very steep. However, the game is also extremely difficult to master. Due to hidden shortcuts and bonus levels, there are in fact many ways to complete the game. In addition, the unlockable harder difficulty (available after completing the game once) makes sure that the replay value is absolutely fantastic – it seems safe to say that you will quite likely be playing this one for years to come.

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