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The Game that Started it All - SMB

Updated on February 7, 2015

The Game That Started It All - Super Mario Bros

Super Mario Bros. The original game that launched the Nintendo Entertainment System. This page is all about exploring the ideas behind the game, and some of the tricks and glitches that have been exploited over the years.

...That Started What?

What do I mean by the "Game that Started it All"?

Certainly, Super Mario Bros was not the first video game, nor was it the original introduction of the character Mario - that was Donkey Kong in 1981.

No, what I mean is that Super Mario Bros started a revolution. It began the standard of platform gaming that we know so well today. It introduced the characters, enemies, and Mushroom Kingdom that us Mario fans are all too familiar with. But most importantly, it single-handedly revived a market that was almost ready to die.

This page is not to inform you, not to blabber on about the instruction-book-basics that most of you already know. This page is to celebrate a milestone game for what it was, how it impacted a generation, and how it continues to thrive today.

There'll be more to add as time goes on, so keep checking back!

What Made it So Great?

It's not that often that something has this much impact. You can whistle the classic SMB theme in any public area, and chances are people will recognize it - in fact, someone may even join you. If the pixellated Mario seen here were graffitied on a wall, most passersby would instantly recognize him. The game was once the best selling video game of all time, at over 40 million sales (But recently succeeded by Wii Sports. Though, if the Virtual Console version were included, it would far surpass this).

So, how did this one, seemingly simple game have such a strong effect? Though the sound, graphics, gameplay and features are far behind the times and technology, it still remains symbolic of an era in gaming history, and still remains close in the hearts of a generation. In fact, most anyone within that generation can recall their very first time seeing and playing Super Mario Bros. Though some may have seen the game as boring, or too simple, others could see magic. There is something special and almost unworldly about starting up this game, being presented with world 1-1. It could be the music, the bright colours. the way everything flowed - but whatever it was, it kept players coming back for more.

Nintendo had stumbled upon a masterpiece. Their young designer Shigeru Miyamoto had already created a game aimed at North American audiences, introducing Mario in the process, but he and his team wanted to expand on this idea. What they came up with was a hugely creative, innovative new game that took the industry by storm. The precise controls, popularization of side-scrolling, and general fun and challenge of Super Mario Bros is what made it so great when it came out, and what has made it stand the test of time.

From here on, let's have a look at some of the unique things that make Super Mario Bros so memorable...

Rogues' Gallery

One of the things, of course, that the original Super Mario Bros established was the series' staple enemies. These dozen creatures, along with their leader, were all reused multiple times in later games. Though each ones of these villains have appeared in different forms and variations, these were the basics making up Bowser's army.

Just like Mario, all of these creatures have come a long way. Some have developed personalities, have appeared in Mario Bros cartoons, and some have even developed their own fan base, complete with original characters based on these species. All in all, Miyamoto and his team came up with a creative and unique cast of unforgettable enemies that Mario has fought time and time again.

Now, let's have a look at some of the glitches you can find in SMB...

Picture (c) G Lacharity

Mario and enemies (c) Nintendo

#1: Minus World - Likely the most well known SMB glitch of all...

Here it is, the infamous Minus World glitch.

It occurs by making Mario get pulled backward through the wall just before the Warp Zone in 1-2, hitting the back of his head against the last block. You go into the first pipe before activating the "Welcome to Warp Zone" text, and it causes a memory disruption; you'll warp to an infinitely looping version of World 2-2, dubbed "World -1" (hence "Minus World"). Of course, there is no special purpose to this little world of wonder, but it's still one of the best known memory exploiting glitches of the NES era. Give it a try if you haven't already!

#2: Small Fire Mario - Try playing through the game like this!

Another great trick to use on your friends! Well, at least it was 20 years ago. Now, it's still fun to try out if you haven't done it already. Have the sprites for Small Mario and Super Mario switch. Mario starts out big, then becomes small when he gets a Mushroom. Then, after getting a Fire Flower, he remains small!

This is done in any Bowser castle level - except 8-4, for obvious reasons. You must get to Bowser as Super or Fire Mario, jump over/run under him, then. timing your jump, land on both Bowser and the axe at the same time. If done correctly, you'll begin the next level as Super Mario... but you aren't!

Some people have played the game so many times, it seems like a breeze to get from 1-1 to 8-4. Others struggle to make it through the first castle. So, where do you stand?

POLL: How Many Times Have You Beaten SMB?

See results

The Speedrun

Speaking of beating the game, just how fast do you think you could do it? Here is a speedrun of the game, finished in just five and a half minutes. Does anyone think they can top that??

What is Your Opinion?

Isn't the first Mario game simply the best one?

Anything to Say?

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    • profile image

      JoshK47 5 years ago

      Thanks for bringing back awesome memories! :)

    • profile image

      anonymous 7 years ago

      Very nicely done, great lens especially for a first one.

    • scribibler profile image

      scribibler 7 years ago

      Nice lens! Thanks for checking mine out too.

    • Kiwisoutback profile image

      Kiwisoutback 7 years ago from Massachusetts

      Thanks for the lensroll! I haven't played this game in a long time. I'll have to download it on the Wii Virtual Console to refresh my memory.

    • ajgodinho profile image

      Anthony Godinho 7 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      Welcome to Squidoo...good start so far...wishing you the best! :)