In honor of today’s release of the Super Mario All-Stars Collection (look for my review tomorrow on 1UP, I think?), I’ve broken from the linear posting of GameSpite Quarterly 6 articles and jumped ahead to this tribute to Super Mario Bros. 2. The American one, mind you.
Would you like to know a secret? I like Super Mario Bros. 2 a lot more than I do Super Mario Bros. 3. Not to denigrate Mario 3 by any means — I fully recognize what a brilliant, beautifully crafted work it is. It’s a masterpiece by any reckoning, and it’s fun to play. I just think that Mario 2 is more fun to play. But that shouldn’t surprise you; I think by now we’ve firmly established the fact that I prefer more open-ended games that allow for some degree of exploration and freedom without the incessant hand of a stage timer pressing firmly against the small of your back. Mario 2 introduced that to the Mario series; Super Mario World struck a balance between the two extremes, which is why it’s such a fantastic game.
Of all the NES Mario games, this is the one I return to the most. And this is my apologia for Mario 2. I pity anyone who doesn’t enjoy this game, because, well, that’s pitiable.