Mario-thon 2012 was a great success! Well… somewhat.
My friends Robot Cousin, Zom-Ben and I got together over the weekend to sit down and play the original Super Mario Bros. games for NES. No ROM’s, no cheats, no warps; just a full-on assault on every stage in the three games we grew up playing more than any others.
The idea looked great on paper, but we quickly found out that this wouldn’t be a stroll in the park. We had our keesters handed to us on a silver platter by SMB1, giving up at World 8 before deciding we should probably move on to a new game due to time constraints. SMB2 was kind enough to grant us plenty of slot game cherries (and 5UP’s) to finish the game, and the evening wore on too late for us to give SMB3 an honest shot.
Mario-thon will happen again. We will prevail. I also believe we should look into hooking up a Super Game Boy to play the following series.
Where Super Mario Land felt an awful lot like Super Mario Bros., Super Mario Land 2 is a tremendous upgrade that ranks right up there with my favourite Mario games of all time. Gone are the oddities from the original’s Sarasaland setting, replaced by a more familiar re-imagining of the Mushroom Kingdom. Evil Twin Wario, a new character they made a huge deal about at release time, has taken over the Kingdom (re-dubbed Mario Land) while the famous plumber was out and about in Sarasaland. Mario can tackle each world in any order he wants before tackling Wario’s Castle, giving the game a Mega Man-ish vibe. It’s bloody brilliant!
I seem to be going back to Christmas memories a fair amount lately, but that’s more or less just coincidence… for this game, I’m not sure if I recieved it shortly after it came out for the Christmas of ’92, or if it was later. Either way, here’s the most vivid memory I have.
For Christmas of ’93, I had asked for a Sega Game Gear, and I was convinced I was getting one. There were boxes under the Christmas tree that seemed to be the right size, so I sized up boxes under the tree to determine which one it could be. I needed to know, because by the time Christmas Eve rolled around, I wanted my one present opened that night to be the Game Gear.
By December 24th, I evidently couldn’t contain my excitement.
After going to church that night, the plan was to go socializing with some family friends. Once there, I’d be able to open my “preview gift”. Needing to make sure the gift I chose was the Game Gear, I started making a small tear in the side of the gift I thought it would be. I had to be subtle, and I couldn’t make much noise doing it, but I would have to make a very tiny re-sealable flap, just so that it wouldn’t be obvious I was peeking.
Once I was satisfied with what little I saw of the box – it looked like some kind of bulky gaming device – I grabbed it, and headed to church.
I never enjoyed Christmas Eve mass that much. Not only did I always find going to church excruciatingly boring (sitting, standing, sitting, standing… for 45 minutes), but doing it on the eve of the most exciting day of the year was downright painful. I mean, all the other Sundays I was made to go, I knew there were games, sometimes rented (!!!) games at home waiting to be played. But Christmas Eve, it was like saying “OK, well, we know you’re excited, and you’d probably rather go to bed and let tomorrow morning get here sooner… but hold that thought. You need to go do something you hate, first.”
Anyhow, church seemed to take forever that night, but it eventually ended. I sat in the back seat of the car on the way to our friends’ place, and I continued to try and peek behind that ripped flap on the gift wrapping. I couldn’t see anything anyway, and I even leaned over to try and get the moonlight to shine on it. There wasn’t a cloud in the sky, and the moon was ridiculously bright. Not quite bright enough, however. I would have to just grin and bear it until my folks said I could open my present.
The time finally came, and I got to open my brand new… Game Genie for Game Boy. Ah… no wonder my mom told me to bring my Game Boy to kill time.
I was far from disappointed, so I popped in Super Mario Land 2: 6 Golden Coins and attempted to make my way through Wario’s Castle… I’d made it there a few times before, but never all the way through it. The Game Genie changed that, however.
This game was a bit easier to fudge together to make a movie. With 8-bit games, you kinda have to take what little the game has to offer to make an honest storytelling flick out of it. With Super Mario Land 2, there’s more eye candy. More to look at = more fun. Usually.