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January 23, 2006

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SMB2, All Jazzed Out

Best ever. Adrian H has recorded a gypsy jazz version of the Super Mario Bros. 2 main theme, and it’s crazy delicious, much like the game itself.

SMB2 was the unsung Super Mario Bros. game, and I could never figure out why. The feminist in me always appreciated that the Princess in SMB2 was finally given some agency beyond being the helpless, fainting damsel in distress that drives the plot in most Mario games. And she had the power of levitation, which was much cooler than Mario’s janky raccoon tail in SMB3. (Although his cape in Super Mario World was excellent.) The game also had a very cool, cute, recognizably Japanese aesthetic about it. And something about plucking and chucking vegetables was oddly comforting. Two thumbs up, to the game, and its gypsy jazz revival.

Posted January 23, 2006 at 9:22 | Comments (7) | Permasnark
File under: Briefly Noted, Gleeful Miscellany, Video Games


SMB2 was definitely the best one out there. Granted I never had a NES as a child, but did acquire a SNES when it first came out, I played it obsessively at a friend's house. Video game music remakes top the cake.

If I recall correctly, SMB2 as we know it was originally US-only, and Japan's version of it was much more similar to SMB1 -- just way more difficult. Japan's version of SMB2 later got released in America as "Super Mario Bros.: The Lost Levels," which was included in the "Super Mario All Stars" compilation game for Super NES. I've heard it was decided the Japanese SMB2 was *too difficult* for the American market, so Nintendo kept it only in Japan and repurposed an existing Japanese game, "Doki Doki Panic," into SMB2 for America.

Ah, Wikipedia comes to the rescue:

I've played the "real" Super Mario Bros. 2 (The Lost Levels) and can vouch for the fact that it's really tough.

Adrian's track is indeed awesome, but yes, exactly: SMB2 cannot be "the unsung Super Mario Bros." game as it is NOT ACTUALLY A MARIO GAME.

And what is this, Thompson? You question the power of the raccoon tail in the same breath??

(In other news, the Wikipedia entry on Mario is amazing.)

OK, I revise my comments to indicate that Doki Doki Panic kicked the ass of the Mario Bros. franchise, with its feminist sensibilities and its cool Japanese look and its vegetable-chucking. (Although I hold that to call it "not a Mario game," repurposed though it may be, is pedantic, and I chuck vegetables at you.) And I would take Peach's SMB2-era levitation powers over Mario's stupid raccoon tail anyday. Heck, I'd take Toad's SMB2-era leaping powers over Mario's ghetto-pelt. (Note again this offer does not extend to Caped Mario, who is awesome.)

Regarding cool suits: I submit underrated Hammer Mario for your consideration.

I concede the point re: the Mario-ness of SMB2, as many of its strange, strange creatures were fully embraced by later Mario games.

However, turnips are still whack. I twirl my raccoon tail at you.

I played SMB and SMB2 today for the first time in a long while. SMB2 does indeed rock (as does Mr. Holovaty's inspired gypsy-jazz take). And the Princess is totally the best character. The only really wack character in that game is Mario. What is he good for, really? And maybe Mario's irrelevance is what really gets the SMB2 haters upset.

I have only one beef: even if they repurposed SMB2 fo American use, why is the B button used to jump and the A button to grab and throw? By all Mario logic the A button should be the jump button and the B button the throw button, as it is in SMB. Makes no sense at all.

Also, while I had the NES out, I had to confirm: Metroid? Still totally awesome.

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