Ah, the summer of 2007. The very first iPhone had just been announced, Gordon Brown became Prime Minister, and Remy the Rat had just lit up our screens in Ratatouille. The world was confusing but my nine-year-old self had no idea of those things because I had a new videogame. New Super Mario Bros had just arrived in the post from eBay. I had received a Nintendo DS Lite the Christmas before – after leaving multiple hints around the house – and was ready to try a new type of game: the platformer. Thus began my love for a franchise that spans almost three decades and over 200 games.
Disclaimer: This isn’t really a review of New Super Mario Bros, this is more of an insight into the impact it had on me and why I think its the pinnacle of platform gaming.
Make Retro New
So, in 2006, New Super Mario Bros was a return to the classic Mario style. After Mario 64, the games had become much more experimental with the realms of 3D. This game was much more of a classic platformer, but used elements of the 3D graphics to create awesome levels. Some even believe the game reinvigorated the 2D platformer thanks to its massive popularity. And oh, was it popular! The game sold almost half a million units in its first day in Japan, and continued to sell steadily for years after. By the time they stopped making the console, New Super Mario Bros had sold over 30 million copies making it the most successful DS game and the 16th best-selling game of all time (February 2021).
As a kid I didn’t know any of this stuff, but it obviously made an impact because I played the game again and again. There was always new stuff to find like hidden level stages or shortcuts through the map. There was a plot, but it was simple and never distracted from the ultimate goal: to jump on enemies, collect coins, and try to find the mega-mushroom so you could Hulk-out.
I also slowly began to realise just how popular the plumber brothers were in the wider world. Its a great community that is willing to spend their time making the franchise even better. For example, the people who restored the Super Mario World soundtrack and then just put it up on the internet for all to appreciate (I’m listening now as I write this in fact).
All Good Things Must Come To An End
But things must change, no matter how much you try to stop them. So Super Mario Bros taught me a new lesson: the pitfalls of consumerism. By the time New Super Mario Bros 2 came out, my little old Nintendo DS Lite was defunct. The Nintendo 3DS was the new deal, promising bigger and better but at a cost. Which meant, just like the gold coins on the cover, New Super Mario Bros 2 was completely unattainable.
There was no way I was having a conversation about this with my parents. A games console was a game console and mine still worked. Why should I have to buy a new one to get the latest games? So Super Mario taught me about the cost of technology and the fact that, eventually, everything upgrades. Whether you can follow suit is another matter.
Start A New Game
All that said, I still love Super Mario and love hearing about the latest updates and releases. Although nowadays, the price tags tend to keep me as an interested bystander. I miss the days of the simple platformer, rather than gimmicks and multiplayer which seems to be the way things have gone in the long run. Also, forking out £100 for Home Circuit is just a bit too much for me despite my interest in the game, particularly as I don’t have the nice open floor plan routes to optimise the game mechanics. Instead, once I’ve actually found it amid the packing boxes, I’m going to charge up the old DS and start a new save game.
If you have a Nintendo Switch then you can get the latest Super Mario Bros. game here.
That’s all from me for today. Is Super Mario your favourite franchise? Which game do you love the most?Let us know in the comments.