Super Mario Bros. turned 25 years old today.
I first played this NES masterpiece when I was about six years old — around late 1986 or early 1987. I remember visiting the house of my brother's friend, venturing upstairs and seeing a futuristic grey box attached to his TV set. There, on the screen, unfolded an astoundingly magical, enchanting, mysterious, and captivating world of mushrooms, flying turtles, and flowers that imbued your character with the power of fire.
What enchanted me the most (aside from the fantastically whimsical setting) was the fact that Nintendo had packed the game with secrets like invisible blocks, hidden extra men, and — my god — warp zones. Us kids had even heard rumors of the Minus World, which prompted joyful quests to uncover every mystery of the game.
Before the NES, video games to me meant Atari 800 and 2600, which I had seen my older brother playing throughout my early youth. I loved them, sure, but Super Mario Bros. simply blew my mind. It was nothing, and I mean nothing, like that which had come before. SMB elevated video games to an entirely new plane of existence in terms of its worldview and philosophy of play. For the first time, I truly felt like I was visiting another land — and living out an alternate life — in a video game.
For folks born after 1990 or so, what I've written above may seem like a load of hyper-inflated flowery language. But it's very hard to exaggerate the impact that Super Mario Bros. — a game that sold 40 million copies — had on the video game industry, on the cultural world at large, and on the lives of an entire generation. It was that important.
You Tell Me
So now I turn to you. What are your memories of Super Mario Bros.? When did you first play the game and how did you feel about it?