It's been 25 years to the day since Super Mario Brothers came out for the Nintendo Entertainment System. Not only is this milestone guaranteed to make old people feel ancient, it's also the perfect time to reflect on the impact Mario's intitial platform journey had on us.
Talking about the effect of this title on the gaming art form is a little like talking about Elvis Presely's influence on Rock and Roll. The two are so intricately entwined, it's impossible to seperate them or even imagine what the genre would be like without the influence. Rather than continue on this high-minded track, and try to detail the broader importance of this game, I've asked various G4-ians to give me their personal memories of this title. It's really important to people, like the first great book you read or your favorite movie.
Check it out, under the cut.
My dad is not the most technologically savvy guy in the world. He’s not a Luddite, but he’s sort of old fashioned and he really didn’t understand the appeal of videogames early on. I begged for an NES forever and finally, he broke down and reluctantly bought me one. When we got it, we hooked it up and I put in the only game I had: the famed Super Mario Bros./Duck Hunt combo. He still didn’t seem very impressed, but started asking me some questions about SMB as I was playing it and seemed strangely mesmerized by what was going on. Fast forward to around 3 am that night. Blurry eyed, I hear something coming from downstairs, so I stumble out of bed to find my dad sitting Indian style in front of the television with a controller in his hand. I’ll never forget it. He was waiting for both my mom and me to head to bed before giving it a go, and he couldn’t put it down. After that, my dad and I used to spend hours (and I mean HOURS) playing Mario Bros together. Just goes to show that the little Italian plumber can win the hearts and minds of just about anyone.
--Dana Vinson, Reviews Editor
Super Mario Bros came out 25 years ago, and as I am 22, I was only an Oocyte when the game was released. My first experience playing the game was when I was 20. A friend was making fun of me for never having played, so I caved to peer pressure. After about 15 minutes and 8 lives I gave up because it was too hard and Goombas are cheaters. Koopas are cheaters too. They just don't make games like that anymore, and thank god for that because I sucked. Super Mario 64 for life!
--Nikole Zivalich, Social Media Coordinator
When I was a sophomore in college, the first purchase I made for my new apartment was a brand spanking new NES, which came, of course, with Super Mario Bros. and Duck Hunt. We literally spent six months playing Mario. Everyone that came to my apartment was completely blown away by the level of competence in the game. However, there were the odd occasions, especially after wearing out the buttons on the controllers a little bit, where we would SWEAR we pressed the “A” button, got no response, and slid into the pit of death. These occasions elicited screams, and eventually ended with us being pissed off at Nintendo, for some reason. Out of this was born the idea that we’d send angry letters to Japan saying, “Dear Nintendo, I pressed the button. You owe me one jump. Sincerely, Mike.” That phrase has stuck for the past twenty years, and, every time I see Mario, it’s all I can think of.
--Mike D'Alonzo, Manager -- New Media and Editorial
Super Mario Brothers is full of *ssholes. Those gaddampt hammer throwing douchebagels, that jerk in the clouds throwing out orange, spiky deathballs, squids trying to kill me when I just wanted to swim around – This game cornered the market on murderous jackholes. Speaking of swimming, how are you going to have a rotating, flame bar underwater? What about Bullet Bills? Screw those guys. I didn't do nothin' to 'em, and the effers are trying to kill me. And don’t get me started about platforms that are spaced too far apart, and spiky shells, and dying when you have the damn fire-flower and shrinking to a tiny size to face a bunch of jerks with no powers at all. Screw this game! I hate it! (But knowning how to get the warp zones is pretty sweet.)
--Stephen Johnson, Lead Editor, TheFeed
Growing up, I remember a period of time between moving out of one house and into another where myself and my parents had to stay with relatives for about a month. It was a cold, Massachusetts winter in a fairly insulated community without many children or much to do outdoors. My parents, feeling bad that I had so little entertainment, bought me my first NES and a copy of Mario. Not only was it a very successful manipulation of parental guilt, but it was ultimately the beginning of my love for gaming.
--Chris Monfette, Previews Editor
If I wasn't already a video game addict due to Ultima on the PC and Intellivision's Frog Bog, the NES and Super Mario Bros would seal my fate. My friends and I played so much Super Mario Bros. that we invented and re-invented lyrics to the various themes for months, most of which dealt with whatever junk food we were eating that day. Years later, whenever I hear the Underworld music from the game, I can't help but get hungry as it makes me hear in my head these three words repeating over and over: "Lays Potato Chips."
--Eric Eckstein, Editorial Director
Seeing as I was just two-and-a-half years old when Super Mario Bros. released, I didn’t actually play the game until three years after it came out when I got the NES Action Set (console, two controllers, light gun, and the Super Mario Bros./Duck Hunt cartridge) for Christmas. So I never knew the game as a standalone title, which is a little odd thinking back on it, but that didn’t stop me from playing the hell out of it. I mean, I was five years old, so I was obviously powerless to avoid the allure and brilliance of the game’s simple yet exceedingly skillful design (not to mention the mind-burrowing soundtrack that never seemed to fit with the “Princess kidnapped, possibly assaulted by evil dinosaur" narrative). Here are few random thoughts that come to mind when I think about Super Mario Bros.: Mario’s swimming animation was hilarious; those orange, spiky bastards terrified me but not as much as the dude chucking them from his cloud; spinning fireball rods work underwater?!?
Side note: Super Mario Bros. is my fiancé’s favorite game of all time, and when I asked her to share her thoughts on the big 25th anniversary, here’s what she had to say: “I got it for my sixth birthday, and my two best friends and I had a sleepover and played it until we passed out basically.” I know. I’m a lucky, lucky man.
--Jake Gaskill, Writer, TheFeed
Feel free to add your own memories in the comment section below!