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Gaming History You Should Know: The Story of Super Mario Bros 2 July 16, 2015

Posted by Maniac in Gaming History You Should Know, Uncategorized.
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I make it no secret that the first video game I’ve ever played was Super Mario Bros on the Nintendo Entertainment System. Really, do I need to say anything about this game?  It is one of the greatest games ever made, has one of the most iconic theme songs that even non gamers can hum to themselves, and was responsible for resurrecting the entire video game industry in the US.

While I enjoyed the game a ton, I have to admit I never picked up a copy of its western sequel, Super Mario Bros 2.  In fact, I can’t really remember many of my friends talking about that game at school, nor do I remember a lot of my friends admitting to playing it. What I do remember is a phenomenal reception for the release of the third Mario title, Super Mario Bros 3, and I got my parents to get me my own copy of that game after I played it at a cousin’s house.

When I finally did play Super Mario Bros 2 at a friend’s house, I was extremely disappointed.  It felt nothing like a Mario title. Years later while I was watching a documentary about the Super Mario franchise on G4 (back when it was a legitimate video game centric channel) I found out the reason why the game was so different was because the version of SMB2 released in the west wasn’t a Super Mario game at all, but a Japanese game which came to the west with Mario characters swapped into it.  It turned out the original game released in Japan as Super Mario Bros 2 was deemed too difficult for a western release, and Nintendo decided it would not be a good idea to release it outside of Japan, despite it being a true Super Mario sequel.

Years later, the west would finally get the original Super Mario Bros 2 released on the SNES as part of the Super Mario All Stars compilation game, where it was titled The Lost Levels and released with updated graphics. It wouldn’t be until some time after Nintendo launched the Virtual Console digital download service for the original SMB2 to get a western release with its original graphics.

Why did Nintendo make the decision not to release Super Mario Bros 2 in the west and instead take an unrelated game and release it over in the west with Mario characters?  Well, I know someone who has that answer. The Gaming Historian is a YouTube content creator with an amazing channel focusing on obscure gaming information.

If you ever wanted to know what the full story was about this game, give this great video a watch.