My Mario Memories - Super Mario Bros 2

My Mario Memories - Super Mario Bros 2

My Mario Memories. Hmmm. What’s the first thing that comes to mind when you think of Mario? Stomping your first Goomba on World 1-1 on the original? Looking into the distance on Bob-omb Battlefield and realising that mountain is where you were headed? Or perhaps a summer vacation on Isle Delfino, perhaps blasting between planets in either of the Galaxy games? 

Super Mario Bros 2

For me, it’s a bit different. It involves turnips and magic potions. You see, I was a Mega Drive kid. When I got mine with Aladdin and Sonic one Christmas, I was the picture of happiness. But I’ve always been intrigued by what I don’t have. To this day I’ve never owned a single PlayStation product, yet I’ve glanced longingly at PSP’s, played through the entirety of Metal Gear Solid 4 on a friend's PS3 and always wondered, would life be simpler in Sony’s ecosystem of consoles. Alas, I’m still undecided on that, but as happy as I was with my Mega Drive, the allure of the NES, and more pertinently my friends NES’s always piqued my interest. 

Vivid memories of standing at the back of a room with about ten other boys as one went on to complete Mega Man 2, cheering and whooping as he took down Dr. Willy, replaced with sadness as Mega Man’s helmet lay on the floor, still linger in my mind. I don’t have any memories like that regarding Super Mario Bros. In fact, I think the first time I played it was on the GBA. Shocker. 

Super Mario Bros 2However I clearly remember the excitement at the launch of Super Mario Bros 2, and the subsequent thrill of being invited over to my best friend’s house to play it with him the Friday he got it after school. He only lived two doors down, no organising or planning required on the parent’s behalf, just ship me off and get some peace and quiet for the evening. 

So the first time I played a Mario game, it was in an adventure in a land called Subcon, with Bowser nowhere to be seen and the main antagonist a since criminally underused toad called Wart. The reason Super Mario Bros 2 is considered the ‘unloved step-child’ of the Mario series is, well, it was never meant to be a Mario game. While Japan got the bolt hard Super Mario Bros. The Lost Levels (as their Super Mario Bros 2) that game was deemed too hard for the Western audience and another game, Doki Doki Panic, was reskinned and rebranded as Super Mario Bros USA and Super Mario Bros 2 in America and Europe respectively.

Apart from the potions and plucking things from the ground to throw at enemies instead of jumping on their heads, one thing I feel often gets over looked in this game is the fact you have four playable characters to choose from, each with unique abilities. On the NES, that’s impressive. And it established the characteristics for Luigi, Peach and Toad that still stand today, and were seen in Super Mario 3D World on the Wii U.

Super Mario Bros 2Birdo was another character that saw his/her/its debut in the game, and has since gone on to become a staple of the party and sports games. Mouser appeared, the scary faces that followed you as soon you picked up one of their keys…there is a whole host of ideas which, by Super Mario Bros 3, had been completely discarded.

For me, it’s more about the excitement and possibilities, the place I was at in my young life and the idea of being there for a brand new game that makes me look back fondly on this game. Hand-on-heart, I know it’s not as good as other Mario games. My favourite is Super Mario 64, I love replaying through Super Mario Bros, and I’ve even attempted the Lost Levels on numerous occasions and been embarrassingly unsuccessful at them.

But this game convinced me to buy a GBA on launch. Some 10 years after my initial experiences, I bought a NES for £10 that was so old and useless I had to hit the top of it to get it to get the cartridges to work. What games did I get for it? Only one. This one. I ploughed away at it, using all the characters, working out the quickest ways through levels and where best to use my potions to get 1Ups and mushrooms. 

This is my comfort game, my go to when I’m feeling the need for a boost and a little pick me up. And because it’s so alien to the rest of the Mario series, it always feel fresh, exciting and, I don’t know, kind of mine.

Super Mario Bros 2

What do you think of Super Mario Bros 2?  Let us know in the My Mario Memories thread in our forum or using the comments section below.

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