Super Mario Bros. is such an important game, I’m not even sure if I’m doing it any justice whatsoever by writing an article on it. What can be said about the game that hasn’t been said already? Super Mario Bros. is so legendary, immortal, and groundbreaking that I can’t go into a serious analysis of the game aging. This is going to be a more lighthearted look on how the first Super Mario game has aged.
So the gameplay of Super Mario Bros. is incredibly simple. Move Mario to the right across the level, avoiding enemies and hazards. There are platforms to jump on, coins and powerups to collect, and 1-ups to obtain. Collecting 100 coins gives Mario a 1-up, along with rare 1-up mushrooms found in levels. There are a total of 32 levels in Super Mario Bros., taking place on grasslands, in bodies of water, underground, and in castles. These levels only take one to two minutes to beat, and aren’t too challenging, but the later levels can get a bit annoying. The enemies in Super Mario Bros. consist of Koopa Troopas, Goombas, Lakitus, Bloopers, Cheep Cheeps, Hammer Bros., and Bullet Bills. These enemy types are now iconic and still exist in current Mario games. The main villain is Bowser, known in this game as King Koopa, who has kidnapped Princess Peach, known as Princess Toadstool in this game. These levels are all fun to beat and Super Mario Bros. isn’t too long, beatable in less than an hour. The gameplay is fun, but it isn’t perfect. The hit detection is weird, as sometimes I can go right through an enemy without taking damage. Along with this, the level design, while solid, is very samey. Many levels feel exactly the same, which is partly a graphical issue, which we’ll address later. Besides the sameyness and hit detection, Super Mario Bros. has fine gameplay.
The controls in Super Mario Bros. are basic platformer controls. Hold B to run and press A to Jump while moving with the DPad. These controls work, but are a little awkward today. This is partly because once you move right, you can’t move back to the left, as the screen follows Mario. If I need to stop and do something in the level and went a little too far for comfort, it’s very difficult to do the thing I need to do. Mario feels very precise, which was groundbreaking in an era of stiff controls, and besides the issues I mentioned, the controls are fine.
The music and graphics are the simplest aspects of the game. The music is iconic, but there are only five songs in the entire game, and the quality is 8-bit, making them sound incredibly old. The graphics are as 8-bit as 8-bit comes. There are very few different textures and graphics in the game, and the bushes are the same as the clouds. The pixels that make up each model are countable. The music and graphics are the most aged aspects of the game.
Super Mario Bros. is arguably the most important video game ever made, but in 2018, the only reason to play it is to witness the history. Sure the game can be fun, but there are other platformers that are better. Super Mario Bros. has not aged well, but is worth playing if you want to witness history.