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Showing posts from May, 2024

Super Mario Land: A short, oddball entry

Super Mario Land was a Game Boy launch title, but not the pack-in game. That honor went to Tetris. Tetris is an incredible game with perennial appeal, and it propelled the Game Boy's explosive success. Super Mario Land is not as impressive but still fun. Super Mario Land is a bit odd. It doesn't feel like other Mario games. Only four of the classic enemies appear: Bullet Bills, Piranha Plants, Goombas, and Koopa Troopas. Even the koopas behave differently: their shells can't be kicked and instead explode like bombs. Most of the enemies are assorted creatures, like spiders, robots, ghosts, and Moai heads. The Fighter Flies from the original Mario Bros. arcade game also appear. The Super Mushroom, coins, and Super Star appear, as well as question blocks. The Fire Flower, however, has been replaced by a similar flower power-up. It lets Mario throw a bouncing ball. It ricochets off walls like an old screen saver, and only one can be on screen at a time. Weird! Extra-life mushr

Super Mario Bros. Deluxe: 25th anniversary

A quarter century ago, Nintendo went back to the fountainhead with Super Mario Bros. Deluxe, which brought the original Super Mario Bros. to the recently released Game Boy Color. While playing SMB on a handheld device was a novelty, the game is unfortunately hampered by the Game Boy's small screen. The GBC was powerful enough to recreate the NES in a handheld form. However, in order to recreate the game perfectly without using shrunk-down sprites (as was done for Super Mario Land), only a portion of the screen can be displayed at once. A "block" in SMB is sixteen pixels a side. The Game Boy screen can show only ten such blocks horizontally at once, and the height is nine blocks, with the top half of the top row being covered by your score, coins, and time remaining. The NES outputted sixteen blocks wide by thirteen high. This means in SMB Deluxe you can see only 40% of what the NES showed! The other 60% is offscreen. As a result, the game looks zoomed in. Enemies, coins,