Remembering…Super Mario Bros. 2

Over the coming days, weeks, and months I plan to keep you all entertained with short articles like this one about some of my fondest memories with certain classic titles. The games I decide to talk about will be completely random or fan requested. In this case, Steven asked me to write a little something on next week’s Wii U Virtual Console release of Super Mario Bros. 2 (hitting May 16th, alongside the SNES gem Super Ghouls’n Ghosts). Instead of just coming up with any old article, I figured I’d actually start a new series, because I know he’ll be asking me to do this again in the future.


So let’s take a trip down memory lane and remember Super Mario Bros. 2. It was originally released on the Nintendo Entertainment System way back in October 1988! My goodness has it really been that long?! This game holds a weird place in my gaming past because back then my older brother and I used to play all our games together, and I was easily influenced by how he felt about the games we were playing. I honestly can’t even remember when we first played this one, but I remember him disliking it because of how vastly different it was to the original. That said, he certainly enjoyed using Luigi with his insane jump.

Funny thing about this game is that it took me years to actually beat. I only completed this one much later on, years into the SNES’ lifespan. I found it to be the toughest game in the original Mario Bros. Series, and I was never a huge fan of the picking up of veggies and throwing them at baddies. I much preferred just jumping on their heads and being done with it. Something with it just never clicked with me for one reason or another.

As I got older and revisited the game, my feelings towards it changed. First off I learned that it wasn’t the real Super Mario Bros. 2 that Japan received, which peaked my interest even further. Here’s a very quick look at Doki Doki Panic, which was a Famicom Disk game released in October 1987.

Pretty insane, wouldn’t you say? Anyways, with this new knowledge I went back and finished off the original NES version and appreciated what Nintendo did. Nintendo of America felt that if they released the true version of Super Mario Bros. 2 people would feel it was a simple rehash, because in all honesty it really was. Here’s a quick look at the true version released exclusively in Japan until it was enhanced for worldwide release in Super Mario All-Stars.

That looks identical to the original, although much, much harder. The version we received is much more refined, polished, and all around better than Doki Doki Panic. I was super pleased to have gone back and finished the NES version, right before the All-Stars release happened on the SNES. I came to love all the new enemies, the new bosses, and the overall theme of the game. Being able to play as multiple characters was also something that’s never really been revisited to the same degree, and it’s something I’d love to see make a return.

I revisited the game again when it was released on All-Stars, and as a launch title for the Game Boy Advance, titled Super Mario Advance. This was the best version released, as it featured all the improvements made to the Super Mario All-Stars version, but also added some nice new elements too. The core gameplay remained the same, and I found myself easily finishing the game within an hour or two of unboxing my shiny new system.

It’s funny when I look back that this was the one and only Mario game I didn’t immediately like when I first played it. It took many months and years for me to understand why Nintendo made the changes they did. With the game hitting the Wii U Virtual Console next week, I will upgrade my Wii version for a buck, just so I have an excuse to relive the magic one more time.

So what’s your story with Super Mario Bros. 2? Do you have fond memories of this one as a child? Were you introduced to it via Super Mario All-Stars, or Super Mario Advance? I want this to be a successful series of articles so let’s get the conversation going!

6 thoughts on “Remembering…Super Mario Bros. 2”

  1. I remember Mario Bros. 2 fondly from my childhood days. Despite being totally weird, I liked it because it characterized Mario, Luigi, Princess, and Toad. It always bothered me that Mario and Luigi were palette swaps in Mario 3 and World when their official artwork showed otherwise. Mario Bros. 2 was the first game to truly showcase that. It’s a very simple thing, but made a world of a difference for me.

    What really got me into Mario Bros. 2 was its exploration oriented gameplay. You can go back and forth in a stage. But yeah it was damn difficult. I think I beat the original using warps. When the All Stars version came up, I tore through the levels due to the save system, but I didn’t truly appreciate it until I got my hands on the GBA version. I really wish they can re-release it because they really made it a fun game.

    Even afterI learned that Mario Bros. 2 was a copy of Doki Doki Panic and we didn’t get the true sequel, I wasn’t bothered. The Lost Levels disn’t really impress me in All-Stars because it was more of the same.

  2. Yeah Ahmed, which is why I became fascinated with this game later on. I was very underwhelmed when I first learned of the “true” version of SMB2. I mean it’s basically world 9-1 of SMB, which is both cool and a little disappointing, depending on how you look at it. It’s funny how time changes us though. Like I said, I was disappointed when they changed the gameplay back in 88, but later learned to really love the game. It has become a classic, and for very good reason. It holds up remarkably well even after all these years.

    As for the GBA version, I hope Nintendo gets around to releasing all their classic games via the Virtual Console on both the 3DS and the Wii U. It seems like such a goldmine they’re just sitting on for some reason, as I mentioned in that other article.

  3. Im confident that if Nintendo released the real version here, the series would be dead today in north america. It was simply almost the exact same game, but harder. Still a fun game, but not spectacular.

  4. Super Mario Bros 2 is one of my favourites. I like it even more then the original, I think. For so many reasons. Firstly, it’s the first game I ever saw my dad complete. He wasn’t really a gamer, yet he completed it on the NES which was no easy task thanks to the lack of a save system. Secondly, this game had an amazing and magical world. It was crazy. For some reason, I could pluck a vegetable out of the ground and boom, suddenly I’m in a rocketship. There were whales and stuff, where you had to jump on their tales to move along or wait for their water to jump at just the right time. There was also a Dark world where if you would drop this potion at the right spot, you’d find secrets. The game would also scare me or stress me rather. I’m sure it will be like World in the sense that when I play this again, I’ll find it easier then it used to be. But still, those damm masks that would chase you everytime you took a key (I think it was a key) was heart-pomping. Love those sequences. The stages were so diverse too. Love the instants were you have to jump from bird to bird to reach the end. Classic. Plus, those birdo fights! Man I love those! So many different types…. and the bosses too. Man this game is awesome. I remember that mouse with the bombs… and the music. I just can’t find anything not to love about this game. Best final boss too in the entire series.

    Also, this is not very original I know, I’ve always been a big fan of Luigi. This is HIS game. Nobody uses Mario in SMB2. Nobody. I will ocasionally use Peach but most of the time, I’m a luigi guy in SMB2, Was a blast to actually have 4 different ways to play the game, even though I always used the same character.

    Then All-Stars came along and completly upgraded this game and added a save system. I had to beat it again. Super Mario Advance arrived, added some collectables and a few new features and sealed the deal. In all, Super Mario Bros 2 is a magical crazy game that only the 80s could deliver.

    1. Thanks for sharing Steven, that was a much better comment! It’s funny how certain games touch people differently based on how they experienced them. You’re so right about Mario in SMB2, no one used him. I used to switch it up between Luigi, Toad and the Princess, but more often than not I’d go back to Luigi. Funny that.

      I hope you guys enjoy this series as I have two more installments already written and on the site. They’re set to be published over the next two days, one per day. So long as I know which VC games are scheduled to hit in advance I plan to keep pumping out these articles so we can relive our childhoods, and just talk about some classic games. Makes for some excellent conversation :)

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