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The first game in the Super Mario Bros series.
After appearing in Donkey Kong and Mario Bros, the Mario brothers moved on to the game that set loads of standards. Not just for platform games, but just about any genre that used conventions established in this game.
Really, the importance of this game can be easy to underestimate by today's standards. There simply weren't games like it. "Golden Age" games were more simple, and had fallen out of favor in the US due to the The Great Video Game Crash of 1983, and games on PCs were more complex, which meant they didn't have the accessibility or mass appeal.
This game hit that sweet spot in the middle. It was simple enough that it could attain mass appeal, yet it also exhibited enough depth to be stimulating for more devoted gamers. Some might dismiss its sales due to being bundled, but it was sold separately in Japan, and was still a smash hit. This game helped sell the NES to a game-weary audience, and elevated Nintendo to the top of the gaming companies.
And this of course had loads of sequels and follow-ups in the Super Mario Bros. series, as well as loads of imitators.
The original game was remade with SNES graphics along with the other NES titles in Super Mario All-Stars. There was also a Game Boy Color version called Super Mario Bros. Deluxe. This included a challenge mode where you had to get a high score, collect 5 red coins, and find the Yoshi egg in each stage; a two-player race mode; badges and other images awarded for achievements; a high-score table; extra utilities and printables; a hidden "You vs. Boo" mode (a one-player version of the two-player game); and a hidden conversion of Super Mario Bros.: The Lost Levels.
Super Mario Bros. is the Trope Namer for:
- The Goomba
- Goomba Stomp
- Minus World
- The Spiny
- Warp Zone
- Your Princess Is in Another Castle (even if those aren't exactly the right words you're familiar with)
It also provides examples of:
- Actually a Doombot: The first seven "Bowsers" are actually enemies somehow in disguise as him. Flinging fireballs at the fake Bowsers will reveal their true forms.
- All There in the Manual / Early Installment Weirdness: The Koopa are a clan of sorcerers who have brought the Mushroom Kingdom to ruin by transforming its citizens into the bricks you break (and thus the items are "gifts" from the transformed citizens to help you) and various other background objects. The only one who can break this curse is Princess Pea..., er "Toadstool", which is why Bowser has kidnapped her. This bit of lore was dropped in later games.
- Alternate Company Equivalent: The Great Giana Sisters; so much that Nintendo sued.
- Animated Adaptation: The Super Mario Bros Super Show adapts both this and Super Mario Bros. 2
- Also, the anime movie The Great Mission to Save Princess Peach.
- Art Evolution: According to this Iwata Asks, Miyamoto utilised external illustrators to flesh out his rough pencil sketches since Donkey Kong. When it came time to do this game's (Japanese) package illustration, Miyamoto had to do the art himself, since there was no time left for him to hire a mainstream artist. This was the result. It was Yoichi Kotabe who fleshed out the designs of the characters since then. Notable mention goes to Bowser. Miyamoto himself was aiming for the appearance of an ox for Bowser's design, even though he's supposed to be a turtle. Upon reflection on this, Miyamoto remarked, "I'd been drawing something completely incomprehensible - a turtle's body with an ox's head!" In a Mythology Gag, Midbus, Bowser's rival from Mario & Luigi: Bowser's Inside Story, more closely resembles an ox, with some boar characteristics thrown in.
- Artifact Title: Although Super Mario Bros. has more elaborate play mechanics and greater production values than the original Mario Bros., it lacked its predecessor's 2-Player co-op mode (which was that game's big selling point). Since the 2-Player mode in this game is that of the alternating type, it reduces Luigi's role to a mere afterthought (since there's no point of having a separate Player 2 character if the players have to take turns anyway). The Japanese sequel would try to justify Luigi's inclusion by removing the 2-Player mode and turning Luigi into an alternate character with different characteristics, while the 2-Player mode in Super Mario Bros 3 is designed around the fact that both players can split the stages among themselves or even compete against each other in a Mario Bros.-style minigame.
- The Artifact: Mario and Luigi being plumbers and travelling through pipes. This made sense in Mario Bros, which was set in New York's sewers; not so much in the Mushroom Kingdom. However, it became an integral part of the gameplay and setting, and its incongruous nature helped create the series' World of Chaos reputation.
- Ascended Glitch: The 10-coins blocks were reportedly a programming error that was left in because they liked it.
- Attract Mode: It features one, and the computer's one of the worst Mario players ever.
- Bald of Evil: Bowser. Averted in both the original artwork and the Super Mario All-Stars remake.
- Big Bad: Bowser.
- Bottomless Pits: Everywhere.
- Bubbly Clouds: The "Coin Heaven" bonus areas.
- Cheated Angle: In the original game, the Mario Bros. always have their head to the side they're walking towards, even when they aren't moving and the rest of their body is facing the screen. The only time they ever fully face the viewer is if they're dying.
- Chekhov's Gunman: See Gameplay and Story Segregation below.
- Color Coded for Your Convenience: Red mushrooms (extra hit point) vs. green (1-Up), red Koopas (they patrol specific areas) vs. green (they come straight at you). Oddly subverted in the Goombas, whose color-coding only matches the level.
- Color-Coded Multiplayer: There's no difference between Mario and Luigi in terms of playability.
- Easter Egg: If you wait long enough on the title screen, then a brief demo will start to play.
- Also, run out of time as Fiery Mario.
- Elite Mook: Hammer Brothers.
- Endless Game: Famous for averting it, although technically, you can play the levels again after the ending.
- Every Ten Thousand Points / Law of One Hundred: 100 coins equal a One Up.
- Excuse Plot
- Deliberately Monochrome: World 6-3, is either this, or simply a representation of snow.
- Fireballs: From the Fire Flower, of course.
- Flying Seafood Special: Cheep-Cheeps, which jump out of the water and into the air.
- Gameplay and Story Segregation: There is actually only one Buzzy Beetle that can be killed with fireballs in this game. Guess where it can only be found!
- It's inside a Bowser costume.
- Guide Dang It: Each x-1 level has a hidden One Up Mushroom in it. Besides the one in 1-1, they only appear if you've gotten all the coins in the previous x-3 level or used a Warp Pipe (e.g. to get the one in 2-1, you need to get all the coins in 1-3).
- Hard Mode Filler: Some of the later stages.
- Infinite One Ups: Line a Koopa shell just right against a staircase at the end of 3-1, and your jumps will turn into a chain reaction, triggering loads of points followed by One Ups.
- In Name Only: Aside from the presence of Mario, Luigi, turtle enemies, and coins, Super Mario Bros really doesn't have anything to do with Mario Bros, although it does have some similar elements (you can still attack enemies from below when they are on brick platforms).
- Invincibility Power-Up: The Starman and its famous jingle debut here.
- Level 1 Music Represents
- The overworld theme has become the iconic theme of the Mario series.
- Subverted in the All-Stars version though, which uses an arrangement of the underwater level theme as the title theme.
- Marathon Level: Level 8-1 is looooooooooooong. Even harder than making all of the tricky jumps is reaching the end before time runs out!
- Market-Based Title: Subverted. Copyrights documents (and at least one brochure for the arcade version) suggest that Nintendo originally considered renaming the game Mario's Adventure for the American market, but they decided to keep the original name instead.
- Nintendo Hard: Although at the lower end compared to other infamously hard games.
- One Up: Trope Maker. The green One Up Mushrooms have appeared in almost every other Mario game since.
- Pac-Man Fever: Lots of sound effects from this game have turned up in children's TV shows, particularly in scenes set at arcades (there were arcade cabinet versions of the game, but it's unlikely any of those writers knew that).
- Palette Swap: Not just with enemies; the bushes and clouds use the same sprites.
- Backgrounds, too; Worlds 3 and 6 apparently take place at night.
- Platform Game: Trope Maker and Trope Codifier for many platform tropes.
- Ratchet Scrolling / When All Else Fails Go Right
- Save the Princess: And she's in another castle.
- Super Drowning Skills / Super Not-Drowning Skills: Yes, both of them. If you're underwater, nothing aside from the standard timer can stop you from staying under for as long as you want. On the other hand, falling into a pit filled with water doesn't even slow your fall.
- This Was His True Form: If defeated with fireballs rather than being thrown into the lava, the Bowsers of Worlds 1-7 are revealed to be simple minor enemies which have taken Bowser's form, likely using more of that Koopa Clan magic you only ever hear about in the manual.
- Timed Mission
- Updated Rerelease: DX on the Game Boy Color, which also had Super Mario Bros.: The Lost Levels as Unlockable Content.