Welcome to the NEScyclopedia. Every week I will be looking at a different NES game in my collection. Some will be well known and familiar to almost anyone, regardless of whether you are a gamer or not whereas others will be less known or more overlooked hidden gems. I’ll be giving my honest opinion on everything NES and will be sharing my passion for one of my favourite systems.
Super Mario Bros is pretty much the game that goes hand in hand with the NES. It sold an impressive 40 million copies on the NES alone and is still the best selling game in the franchise and one of the best selling games of all time even now. For the handful of people who haven’t heard of or played Super Mario Bros, this game as near to a perfect platformer as possible and it basically brought the game industry back from the brink at the time.
The game is simple to grasp and is the basis for almost all the platformers on the NES and its influence is still seen in modern games. You get limited options for dispatching enemies as your most available attack is jumping on top of your foes. Helpfully, some of your enemies, Koopas, become weapons when you jump on them allowing you to take out more of them in one go. Grabbing a mushroom makes you large and allows you to be hit without dying. The best power up and weapon is by far the fire flower which allows Mario or Luigi to inexplicably cast fire to dispatch foes. Sure, it doesn’t really make sense but it doesn’t need to.
As with all NES games there’s obviously limitations for not just the graphics but also for how much the developers could do with the soundtracks. This leads to the composers having to create something special in order to create a memorable soundtrack. Luckily for Nintendo they had Koji Kondo on hand who is behind some of the best pieces of music in Nintendo’s catalogue. Koji managed to create one of the most memorable melodies in gaming. It fits perfectly with the rest of the game with its simplicity being one of the best qualities and a big part of what helps to make it such a great soundtrack.
Your ultimate goal is to rescue Princess Toadstool (who we all know better now as Princess Peach), who has been captured by Bowser and is mostly in another castle. Why Bowser has so many castles and how he managed to even build them with his army of turtles and disturbing living mushroom-like creatures is a whole different question. Bowser himself is a huge spiky turtle and the only way to beat him is by destroying him with fire or dropping by him into the lava pit beneath the bridge he stands on. This doesn’t provide much of a challenge but it does make you feel fantastic seeing his death as you finally rescue the princess.
In case it wasn’t going to be obvious, I’d definitely recommend this game. It’s one of the most important games to Nintendo’s legacy and indeed the gaming industry as a whole, which has become a juggernaut. If you’ve got a NES then chances are you already own it but if not then grab it. Or grab one of its many ports. Most of them are pretty decent but none of them will have quite the same magic as the NES version does. It’s safe to say this game is a classic and with it still being so enjoyable over a quarter of a century since its release I can’t see any reason for gamers to stop revisiting this any time soon.