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Super Mario Bros (NES)

(Not sure if this counts as patient and not just retro but to me it's all the same, games are games)

On my quest to finish all mainline Mario games it was time to finally tackle Super Mario Bros once and for all. I must say I'm terrible at these kinds of games, I've played SMB plenty before but never got far past world 6 or 7.


The game is just delightful. The levels are cleverly designed to teach the mechanics and then gradually introducing new challenges or combining familiar ones. Earlier challenges or bits of level design return later with interesting twists.

Later games have a theme for every world but I appreciated the variety of the mixed environments in this instalment. The use of colour palette variations was plenty to give the later levels a different feel.

Unfortunately (for me) there's no real substitute for 'git gud' to finish the last world. 8-3 especially was tough and I got game over a few times in 8-4 before figuring out the correct route. For me the trick to finishing well was practising 8-1 and 8-2 a bit to get and keep the flower going into 8-3 to deal with the hammer bros, although I got better at dealing with them as small Mario too.

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I probably wouldn't have persisted at trying over and over if not for all the secrets and shortcuts in the game to make repeated runs easier. In a way this is a roguelite where the meta advancement is me levelling up by learning the game better (rather than just getting more skilled at the platforming). Note that I did find about A+Start but in the end it was worth taking the warp route for the extra lives and flower.


What's nice about the classic Mario games is that they're available everywhere. I own a PAL NES with the game but have also played it on the 3DS, Wii, Wii U, Switch and PC. There's also the All Stars version which looks and sounds nicer but the gameplay wasn't quite the same.

The Wii U version wasn't very good at all. Odd colours and input lag. The others were fine and I didn't have any issues playing on LCD screens vs. a CRT.

These NES games have aged well with their 2D graphics and 50/60 fps gameplay, esp. compared to the PS1/N64 generation graphics which now look very dated or the PS3 framerate issues.


I have now finished SMB 1, Mario Land 1 & 2, 64, Sunshine, Galaxy, NSMB 1 & Wii, 3D World and Odyssey. Galaxy remains my favourite but really they're all stellar in their on ways.

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The games that remain are SMB 2 USA & 3, Lost Levels, World, Galaxy 2, 3D Land, NSMB 2 & U, NSLB U and Bowser's Fury. I've played some of Lost Levels which is challenging in a fun way, but I'll probably play something else for a while since I also intend to finish the Doom, Zelda and Metroid series.


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