Wednesday, December 24, 2014

FORWARD: "Classic Mario Retrospective"

Once upon a time, there was a very small boy whose father got a Nintendo Entertainment System on Christmas during that era when the 80's were transitioning into the 90's. One of the games his father played the most on it was called Super Mario Bros. His next-door neighbors (a pair of teenage sisters) also came over and played the NES a lot. They even got a sequel to that game: Super Mario Bros. 3 and played the heck out of it.

During the Christmas of 1991, his grandfather got a Super NES (for reasons that aren't exactly clear even to this day) with its flagship Mario title: Super Mario World.

Despite his fascination with the games, the little boy was too afraid them for himself. He could allow himself to watch.

One day, when he was about five years of age, he watched his father play SMB1 when the man had to go into the next room to answer a phone call. He did not hit pause. Worried about the timer running down, the little kid took the NES controller and tried to complete the level for his father. The exact details of the incident are fuzzy, but that's how it happened.

That boy was me, DLAbaoaqu. He would go on to become a gamer and a huge Mario fan. I wish to make peace with the fanatic I was back in the early half of the 90's. What better way to do that than to cover the early part history of the Mario franchise and my own impressions of the games?


Again, I was a huge Mario fan (you could even go as far as to say "borderline fanboy") back in the day. 

That's one reason I want to do this. Another's because I haven't seen coverage of the franchise's history that sufficiently met my standards. Want something done? Do it yourself.

I wanted to go back to the games of that era and before and talk about them in as much detail I can muster. The behind-the-scenes stuff at Nintendo, my own experiences with the games, the good, the bad, the underrated, and the stuff that tends to fall by the wayside... but we're only going as far as Super Mario RPG.


Going back to the aforementioned fandom, RPG was probably the last really big game before the Nintendo 64 and Playstation 1 came along and gave gaming a monumental push into 3D. RPG (and to a lesser extent Tetris Attack) was probably the last console-based Mario game I'd play in years. I did get an N64 eventually, but had a lot of difficulty trying to adjust to the 3D gameplay. I wouldn't go back to console gaming until the Wii came out. During that time, the fervor of my childhood obsession with Mario kinda died down a bit.

I eventually played some of the latter Mario games as they came out on the Game Boy Advance, Wii, and Virtual Console. Paper Mario and Super Paper Mario were great, New Super Mario Bros. Wii was good as well, but Super Mario 64 hasn't aged well at all for my money.

So no, it's not so much that a jaded outlook on life makes me think that the N64 killed Mario (like some Sonic fanboys claim that leaving Sega hardware and a supporting cast killed Sonic).

Besides, given the amount of games that the franchise churns out, this is as good a stopping point if any. Mario Maker's going to come out next year and if I kept going, I'd be at it until I'm sixty-five (if I can live that long).

With those questions out of the way, let's go over some rules.

RULE #1: Games only

Mario memorabilia has come and gone over the years: coloring books, clothes, macaroni and cheese, cereal, soft drinks, shampoo, McDonald's toys, gummy snacks, pinball machines, the list goes on! There was even a Mario ceiling fan!

It's as if somebody at Nintendo saw Spaceballs and wanted to emulate Yogurt!

We are not going to focus on swag.

There have been four cartoons based on Mario as well: Ruby-Spears' Donkey Kong (where Mario is played by Peter "Optimus Prime" Cullen), the Super Mario Bros. Super Show (covering SMB1 and SMB2), The Adventures of Super Mario Bros. 3 (makes me think of an SMB3 cartidge running around fighting monsters and looking for lost treasure), and Super Mario World (which DiC gave zero effort into making).

We will not focus on the cartoons and especially not this:

Can we get a RiffTrax on this?
Here we go!

Admit it: when you think "Mario", you think of the games over everything else.

RULE #2: No fan games/hacks

The games I am looking at had to have been made by Nintendo or by third parties (such as Hudson) that were authorized by them. Obscure stuff like SMB Special and Undake 30 Same Game will be featured on this list along with the classic NES trilogy.

Sorry, kids. No Fortran this trip...
...but these two will make the cut! 

RULE #3: Nothing after 1996 will be covered... except as reference!

Remember, the cut-off point will be Super Mario RPG. Super Mario 64, Luigi's Mansion, Super Mario Sunshine, Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door and a host of others will not be discussed in detail (if any)... unless I find a connection between a game I'm covering and a latter one.

And that's about all I can think of to say. One final note, though: it will be a video series and I will be using my voice. If you can't stand the way I sound, you don't have to force yourself to watch it. I just didn't think text would be enough this time around. It will be captioned, just in case.

I hope you will enjoy it when it's ready and I'll see you down the pipe!

Any other questions will be answered if asked, as long as it is related to the subject.

I'm DLAbaoaqu. Full-on!

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