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Having made an impressive entrance into many lives in the form of Super Mario Brothers, Nintendo had that difficult subsequent outing to deal with. Super Mario Brothers 2 side stepped the comparisons with the previous games by creating a new experience. But I couldn't help feeling it lost some of the magic along the way. This was something of a time out for Mario lovers.
Mario changed my life and I awaited eagerly the second game in the series. Now the Japanese (the lucky ones) got a direct sequel that consisted of essentially more of the same. That in my opinion was not a bad thing. Us Westerners eventually came to know it as Mario: The lost Levels which was released as part of a compilation set in the mid 90ís.
So instead of an actual sequel we got Super Mario Brothers 2 which was a completely different type of game. In fact it was a different game that they hijacked and inserted Mario characters into! In 1989 I eagerly awaited the Christmas pressie of this fine game and when it arrived I was ecstatic.
I, a red blooded male was choosing to play the princess in a Mario game.
By this point I had acquired a NES and currently had two games. Duck hunt where you shot ducks on the screen with a light gun - great fun the first few times but even as a child ultimately boring - and the original Super Mario Brothers. I was more than ready for this game but what I got was something completely unexpected.
Now I could play one of 4 characters each with their own special abilities, and as much as I was loyal to Mario I found myself drawn to the princess as her special ability (floating) was by far the best to have. I, a red blooded male was choosing to play the princess in a Mario game. This was wrong on every level. I was the rescuer in the first game and now I'm playing the rescued. As a child this confused me greatly.
So unexpectedly Super Mario Brothers 2 became my first disappointing moment in gaming.
I played it and enjoyed it. Its puzzles were not too hard. but hard enough to frustrate at points and although I completed it I didn't have that same sense of elation as when I completed its predecessor. The wow factor had gone and that was the first dose of cold hard reality I got as an early gamer. I needed to pick my games carefully. I only got one a year (maybe two with a trade in) so I had to make it count. This trend has become more and more dominant as time has gone on and lazy sequels and plain bad games are now everywhere. But with so many games like this now I should be thankful that this one even though it wasn't what I expected was by no means a bad game or even a n average game. It was a good game, it just wasn't a great one.
So unexpectedly Super Mario Brothers 2 became my first disappointing moment in gaming. Looking back I realise that this game served as a stepping stone towards the later Mario releases. But at the time that was no solace for the loss of my first true video gaming love. He would return and I would rediscover my enjoyment of the series, but that, as they say, is another story.
With so many different perspectives it can be hard to know where to start - a little like walking into a crowded pub. Sorry about that.
But so far we've not found a way to streamline our review output - there's basically too much of it. So, rather than dilute things for newcomers we have decided to live with the hubbub while helping new readers find the columnists they will enjoy.
Our columnists each focus on a particular perspective and fall into one of the following types of gamers: