The Retrospective: Super Mario Bros. 2 (USA)

Nintendo takes a regional risk, and the payoff is legendary.


Developer: Nintendo R&D4

Publisher: Nintendo

Genre: Platformer

Release date: October 9 1988 (US)

Hmm, what can I say about Super Mario Bros. 2 that a lot of us old school gamers haven’t said before? It was a radical departure from its first incarnation and one that was completely unexpected since it was nothing like the first game, considering how different the mechanics are to its predecessor. Super Mario Bros. 2 (SMB2) for a while was considered the black sheep of the series since it looked and played so differently. But lets get down to the categories to better understand what I’m trying to say and maybe you can see why I feel the difference between the games were quite a shock to me.



(Story from Instruction Booklet)


One night, Mario had a strange dream. He found himself climbing a long staircase leading up to a mysterious door. Opening the door, Mario’s eyes fell upon an incredible world unlike anything he’d ever seen. A quiet voice spoke to Mario, saying,

“Welcome to Subcon, the land of dreams. Our once-beautiful world now suffers at the hands of the evil Wart. Please help us! Only you can free us from his tyranny. Oh, and remember one thing: Wart hates vegetables.”

However, before Mario could figure out what was happening, he suddenly awoke on his bed and realized that it was all a dream. The next day, while heading out to a picnic with his Brother Luigi, Princess Toadstool and Toad, Mario told the tale of his strange dream. Hearing this was quite a shock to his friends, who all had the very same dream the night before.

Upon arriving at their picnic spot, the group noticed a small cave. Inside was a long staircase that led up to a door. At the top, the four friends opened the door and stood shocked by what they saw. It was Subcon – the world of their dreams!


Super_Mario_Bros_2_boxbackIn 1987, Nintendo of America got its first look at the Japanese version of (the real) Super Mario Bros. 2 Nintendo of America believed that Super Mario Bros. 2, which was a  more or less altered version of the first Super Mario Bros. game with a ridiculous increase in difficulty level, would not be a commercial success in the United States and elsewhere in the world. Having to deal with this, Nintendo ported Yume Kojo: Doki Doki Panic and modified it to feature Mario and his friends as playable characters. The game would later be released in Japan while they waited for Super Mario Bros.3 under the name “Super Mario USA”.

FUN FACT:Super Mario Bros. 2 started out as a prototype Mario-style platform game developed by Kensuke Tanabe, a developer for Nintendo. The prototype game emphasized vertically scrolling levels and throwing blocks. It was originally intended to be a two player co-op game, allowing players to toss each other around. However, the technical limitations of the NES system made it difficult to produce a polished game with these elements.”


The player takes on the roles of the four protagonists of the game: Mario, Luigi, Toad, and Princess Toadstool. All four characters can run, jump, and climb ladders or vines, but each character had unique attributes that causes them to be controlled differently. The player chooses a character right before the start of each level. As opposed to the original Super Mario Bros., which only moved from left to right, The player can move either left or right, as well as vertically in waterfall, cloud, and cave levels throughout the game. Unlike other prior Mario games, enemies can not be defeated by jumping on them; but you can stand on, ride on, and jump from the enemies. Instead, the character has to pick up and throw objects at the enemies, or throw the enemies towards the enemies, to defeat them.

FINAL THOUGHTSSmb2_comparison

As a kid I never really put much thought about this game since was really never meant to be a true sequel to the original Super Mario Bros. I didn’t even know of its history till I read about it in an issue of Nintendo power magazine back in the 90’s with me only finding out the full details about the time YouTube users pieced together the entire history for us. Yes it was thought by many to be the one that seemed the most out of place in the series but it was an amazing game with great game-play and music. Did I also mention that it had a much better ending than the first? Of course it did, but you will have to see it for yourself cause at the end of the day, life can truly be just a dream.




Oh, and in case you’re wondering: Here’s how the game looked and played.

Enjoy fellow gamers!

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Soto the Brain

Born and bread during the NES age I never would have guessed that I'd still be playing video games in this day and age but as luck would have it (thank god) I still do and always will. I can talk for hours (and I have) about gaming but I'm pretty sure anyone here could but you will find that my geekdom will stretch far beyond the norm and my knowledge is ever expanding and always fresh. So I say to all welcome and as always LIVE LONG AND GAME ON!

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