(Nintendo, October 1985)

Back in 1981, Shigeru Miyamoto's Mario made his debut in Nintendo's run-a-way hit Donkey Kong! Unfortunately, the big ape Donkey Kong was the true star and even though Mario was technically the hero, he still felt like the secondary character. Mario and his brother Luigi did get their own game a few years ago in Mario Bros but it wasn't nearly as successful as Donkey Kong was. It wasn't till Mario starred in another game called Super Mario Brothers for the Nintendo Entertainment System when the Mario Brothers started to become a household name. After years of waiting, now I decided to name it Game of the Month so I can finally tell you why this game won millions of gamers over and why it is so important to this industry. Let’s take a look at one of the most popular video games of all time!

The story in SMB is quite a simple one: you help one of two skilled plumbers (Mario or Luigi) on a mission to rescue the Princess of the
Mushroom Kingdom (Princess Peach) from the evil King of the Koopas (Bowser). King Bowser is actually a giant dragon/turtle creature that leads an army of evil mushrooms, turtles, fish, and more weirdoes. If you wish to ever see this Princess you'll have get through his minions and many obstacles in order to finally have a final showdown with Bowser himself. OK, the story is pretty far-fetched that's for sure. How Mario and Luigi got into this strange fantasy world I don't know but when the game is this good, who cares?

What makes this title so different from the older Mario games he starred in before is that your hero isn't confined to just single screen now. The Mario Brothers now have to run across up 32 long levels filled with various enemies and pitfalls to reach the special flag at the of the sub stages. At the end of each world you have to go through one of Bowser's castles to see if the Princess is there. All this adds a cool adventure aspect to the game play but just remember that time is limited so you have to keep on moving too.

Although fighting through 32 levels can be a daunting task at first, this game comes with a cool new power up system to help makes things a little easier. Imagine going from being a puny little guy into a giant that twice your normal size thanks to the power of the Magic Mushroom. "They don't call this game Super Mario Bros. for nothing!" Becoming big is cool but if you can stay in your giant form for a bit then also have the chance to get the Power Flower, a interesting power up that lets you shoot fireballs! Another cool thing that SMB has is that it comes loaded with secrets. The game is also filled with tons of cool Easter Eggs like warp zones and invisible blocks plus there are even special glitches that Nintendo didn't even know about like the turtle trick that can get you multiple lives and there is another that can take you to a hidden world that never ends (a.k.a. the Minus world).

Super Mario Bros. not only has ground breaking game play but the game was a step forward for graphics too. The colourful graphics were much better then the other launch NES titles plus Mario and Luigi may look the same but they have good animations too. The game also has several fun loving soundtracks and there are sound effects for almost anything. Even fireballs have their own sound, and there is cool little 'bop' when you squash a Goomba. The game may not look or sound like much today but in 1985 this was top of the line.

For those of you that don't have a old NES system, this excellent game is also part of the Super Mario All Stars Collection found on the Super Nintendo and is also hidden very well in the game Animal Crossing for the GameCube. There is also a great remake that can be found on the Gameboy Color called Super Mario Brothers DX. That game features the same great game found on the NES plus it also has an all new two player game, new challenge missions, GB Camera options, and it even has a built in calendar. Unfortunately, you can forget about that Classic NES re-issue SMB on the Gameboy Advance though. You are basically paying 20 bucks for the same game that would normally sell for under a couple of bucks. Nintendo is just trying to milk more money out of you.

If you're an advanced gamer too then there is a chance you played Super Mario Bros. to death back in the 80's just like me? The game had cool power ups, it had tons of cool and challenging levels, and the game was the perfect mix of both action and adventure. If you haven't already played this awesome before then the great news is that you can buy the game mega cheap because it is such a common title. There is still a reason why so many love this ground breaking title and that's the reason why it changed how we play video games today!



overall rating: 81/100
Find Super Mario Bros. on eBay here!

For 1 or 2 players
graphics: 6/10
sound: 7/10
gameplay: 8/10
replay: 8/10

(Ryan Genno) 2004