Super Mario Bros. celebrates its 35th anniversary

Super Mario Bros. celebrates its 35th anniversary

This story was originally published in the first edition of The Lion’s Tale (October 6, 2020).

From the lush green hills and white mountains of the Mushroom Kingdom, across the seas to the tropical beaches of Isle Delfino and the paper streets of Rogueport, up to the great expanse of space, setting sail aboard the Comet Observatory, Mario “Jumpman” Mario has had a fair bout with baddies across all sorts of worlds and levels, bouncing from the heads of Koopas and Goombas all the way to Bowser’s doorstep. He’s seen the cut-throat competition of kart racing, the colorfully-casted chaos of ultimate brawling, the grime and grit of all sorts of sports, and the friendship-destroying, unfair madness that are party games, all while facing up against speedy blue hedgehogs, crazy orange bandicoots, and so many other gaming icons. And now here he is, 35 years of wahoo-ing and yipee-ing to the fronts of box art and the tops of polls. “We look forward to everyone joining us on a Mario journey 35 years in the making,” Nintendo of America President Doug Bowser remarked. Earlier this September, to celebrate the plumber’s 35th anniversary on gaming screens across the world, Nintendo pulled together a new video presentation to help detail the several games and products coming to shelves the rest of this year and next. “We are marking this significant milestone with a wide variety of games and experiences that all generations of Mario fans, from here to the Mushroom Kingdom, can enjoy together.” 

Though some elements of the presentation leaked beforehand, there was still plenty never uncovered by fans that left them surprised. One of the most intriguing being the reveal of Mario Kart Live: Home Circuit, coming October 16th, which brings the speed and fun of Mario Kart into the physical world, where players can craft tracks in their own home and set racers, like Mario and Luigi, to drift and soar across the carpet and over furniture. For fans of the popular 3D Land and 3D World games, Nintendo set up something for you too, presenting Super Mario 3D World + Bowser’s Fury, coming out February 12th, 2021, an enhanced remake of the originally Wii U title, coming to the Switch, with new co-op gameplay for both online and local multiplayer, along with additional content in the form of the Bowser’s Fury, details on all the mayhem to be unleashed there said to be coming soon. Other titles such as Super Mario Bros. 35, Super Mario All-Stars, Game & Watch: Super Mario Bros., board games such as the Monopoly Super Mario Celebration and Jenga Super Mario coming from Hasbro to retailers worldwide, and a LEGO Nintendo Entertainment System set displaying the plumber hopping around World 1-1 of his original game. 

But the title that really stole the spotlight forthe whole event, unfortunately leaked and speculated before it’s official announcement, was Super Mario 3D All-Stars, Nintendo Switch remasters of fan favorite titles: Super Mario 64, Super Mario Sunshine, and Super Mario Galaxy. Released not too long ago, on September 18th, the collection, which optimizes the three games for modern consoles, upgrading the controls for better use on the Switch. The collection was met with as much love as the original titles on their home consoles have nowadays, but is unfortunately only available up till March 31st, 2021, so if you’re out to replay these classics, best to get them now before it’s too late. 

The much beloved Super Mario 64 was welcomed with open arms, not seeing too many tweeks or changes beside controls and graphics, retaining the same 4:3 ratio and classic polygons of the original 1996 release. The lack of changes works in this title’s favor, many fans pleased that the game wasn’t completely reworked for modern Mario, glad to see the Nintendo 64 classic return in true form. Many were honest though with the strange juxtaposition of seeing the other two titles run so smoothly in an HD revisioning, while Mario 64 was left to bring the 90s with them. As for Super Mario Sunshine, it’s clear this game was the one most worked on, the ratio expanding and the graphics ramped up to compensate for Gamecube limitations. Fans fell in love again with the vibrant colors, seaside beauty and paint-covered energy first given to us back in 2002, though fans seemed split on the returning difficulty, many also discovering that with their nostalgia, also returned their frustration towards some particular levels and aspects of the controls. But the award for arguably the best game in the whole collection goes to Super Mario Galaxy, which carries the same star powered awe of the Wii title, bringing fans back to the orchestral beauty, mesmerizing art of space and the breath-taking, astronomically surreal feelings of loneliness and “quiet sadness of Super Mario Galaxy” as described by Jacob Geller in a video essay on the game, released before the titles port to the Switch. Though controls are hacky and a tad awkward to get used to, due to the original game being centered around the motion controls of the Wii, the game plays just as wonderful as it does on its home console. The only downside to the collection is in terms of content, Ollie Barder of Forbes describing that “this All Stars collection does feel a bit phoned in at times and rather bare bones. Especially, as apart from the three games you only get their soundtracks and nothing else in the way of extras.” Just before remarking how “Nintendo could have done a lot more here in terms of technical improvements for each of the games included.” Regardless, the collection does allow people nowadays to revisit childhood games and fully introduce themselves to titles they may never have had the opportunity to play in the first place. If you miss these titles, as plenty and plenty have as well, it’s worth adding these stars to your collection.