Super Mario Bros. 3

In the world of Super Mario Bros. for the NES console, the third and final sticks out to most as one of their all time favorite games, I am no exception. When Super Mario Bros. 3 hit the market it hit with a huge backing of products, a cartoon series and a game to backup all the hype! This game was also in a movie called The Wizard starring Fred Savage, before it was even released in the US. Who doesn’t remember rushing to the toy store to purchase this game when you first seen it on tv? Well, I didn’t because I was still stuck with an Atari 2600 but that’s neither here nor there for this review.

For many people this game is special for many reasons, this game is special to me for more than just one reason but most importantly it lead us back into the true world of the Super Mario Brothers after we were lead astray in Super Mario Bros. 2. The graphics were enhanced beyond our wildest imagination, the worlds seem to come alive as they never had before, the controls were fluid and very responsive and don’t forget all the awesome suits Mario got to wear in this game! This time Mario could fly as a raccoon, swim as a frog, turn into a statue while wearing the Tanooki suit, hop into a boot, throw hammers or even simply throw fireballs as he did back in the first Super Mario Bros.

Instead of the original black label or the moderately colored blue on Super Mario 2, Super Mario 3 was a bold yellow! The worlds were brightly colored as well and everything came to life in a new manner. This time Mario and Luigi were on a mission to save the Mushroom Kingdom from Bowser by defeating his Koopalings and restoring power to each world’s King. Each world has it’s own theme and inside each world it is broken down into numerous levels, more so than the previous games. After restoring power through 7 worlds they must defeat Bowser himself to save Princess Toadstool.

Inside each level there were many mysteries to find, 1ups, hidden coins in the sky, hidden power ups, etc. To finish each level you had to jump through a rotating symbol of either a Mushroom, Invincibility Star or Fire Flower and after you had collected 3 symbols you got various 1ups based on what you had collected. Spread out through the worlds were Toad’s House, in which you could pick a chest and it would give you a power up. Matchups where you would have to match 3 pieces of a symbol to get 1ups. There were card games where you had to match cards to gain extra power ups and also there were Hammer Brother battles to gain even more power ups! It seems as if Nintendo really wanted us to beat this game! Although it was the last for the NES console it has lived on in many remakes; Super Mario All-stars and even a version for the Gameboy Advance titled “Super Mario Advance 4, Super Mario Bros. 3“. Super Mario Brothers 3 lives well beyond it’s days as just an NES game and still to this day is as challenging and clever as the day you brought it home.

Posted August 21st, 2010

Doki Doki Mario

Quick! What game is this?

Doki Doki Panic

You’re both right and wrong. The screen shot is from a game only released in Japan by the name of Doki Doki Panic. After Super Mario Bros. 2 came out in Japan, they felt the game was too hard for American gamers so they decided to retool Doki Doki Panic into a Mario game. It is exactly the same game, just with a few things taken from earlier Mario games. The characters were turned into characters from the Mario series, turtle shells replaced creepy things with a face, life hearts were turned into mushrooms, etc. The one change I don’t get, they changed a lamp into a beaker with strange red liquid. The beaker isn’t anything from Mario games.

Compairing Games

I won’t turn this article into a comparison like so many people before me. Because it’s the exact same game with some graphical changes, I’m going to review both versions of the game. At the same time.

Before I got my own NES in the early 90s, my friend had an NES and Mario 1 and 3. I was at his house almost every day playing them. I became a huge fan. I always wondered why he never had Mario 2. I asked him a few times, each time he said it was dumb. When I got my NES for one of my birthdays, my mom took me to a movie rental place to rent games for my new toy. The first game I picked up was Mario 2. I understand why my friend didn’t like the game. It was so different from the other Mario games I almost didn’t recognize it. While it’s my least favorite Mario game, it’s still a game I love to play.

Here's a Bonus Comic.

Almost every enemy can be picked up and thrown. Every character has their own strengths. Mario/Imajin is average in everything. Luigi/Mama is the highest jumper. Princess Toadstool/Lina can float for a short time when jumping. Toad/Papa can pick things up or dig the fastest. The red potions open doors to a negative world where vegetables are coins. You can go inside vases to get things like keys.

Some things I love about the game are the shortcuts. In one place you can bypass about half the level to get to Birdo by jumping a waterfall and going left instead of right. Another level you can go under some quicksand and skip the whole level. Of course there are the warps. There are places where you use a beaker and go inside a vase and it skips levels.

If you can find either Doki Doki Panic (you will need the Famicom Disk System for this one) or Mario 2, you will have an entertaining and different style of playing from any other Mario game out there. You will want to keep playing until you beat Wart at the end. Plus, Princess Peach doesn’t get to kick some bad guy butt again until Super Princess Peach on the Nintendo DS. It’s worth playing even if it’s just for that reason.

Oh, and one more thing about Birdo… He’s confused. He thinks he’s a girl.

Posted August 19th, 2010

Baseball and NES

In the days of the NES, baseball games were never in short supply. There was RBI Baseball which had a sequel or 3, Bases Loaded which also had a few sequels, Base Wars, Baseball Simulator 1.000, Baseball Stars, Bad News Baseball, Nintendo made their own simply titled “Baseball“and there was even Bo Jackson’s Baseball, along with a slew of other versions of the exact same thing but my personal favorite without a doubt was LJN’s MLB! The object of the game was to play baseball and enjoy it, yet sometimes these games made that a hard fought match.

While the standard games let you pick your team and opponent, most only offering fictional teams, some offered a little more in depth customizing such as selecting your line up, standard game, All-star game or skip straight to a World Series match. Some games made you pitch first, some allowed you to bat first, it was all luck of the draw and the game developer’s choice. Some gave you short chubby 8-bit caricatures of what could possibly be humans while others gave you taller, leaner version of 8-bit humanity (or in the case of Base Wars, ROBOTS!).

Some offered view points that made no sense what so ever such as Bases Loaded, which was always from the pitching mound, while others gave you a show from behind home plate, which personally I think made it easier to control the pitches over the plate. All in all the idea was to win! All of them were straight forward, if you’ve played baseball in your life then you understood your mission. As a pitcher you try to make sure the batter doesn’t hit the ball, while as the batter you try to connect with the ball yet not swing wildly at anything that the pitchers lets fly.

All the baseball games did the same job, you played baseball, yet they all did it in their own fashion. So, whatever your favorite NES baseball game is, there are a lot more out there you might want to give a try, you just never know what one may do better than the other.

Posted August 17th, 2010

We now have forums

Forums Screenshot

We’ve had a poll up since we launched the site. The poll was asking if we should have forums. You guys have spoken. We now have forums.

Over the next few days we will be doing some minor tweaks to the forum. If you find any errors, let us know.

Posted August 17th, 2010

NES 72 pin connector Fact or Fiction?

Plastic and metal, no magic here.

We’ve all seen the overwhelming amounts of tutorials to help you change your crusty worn out 72 pin connector for that old NES, not to mention the copious amounts of retailers willing to sell you the new 72 pin connector. But is it just a farce or are there real benefits to doing this simple “upgrade”? It was 7 years ago when I dusted off my original Nintendo Entertainment System and as always the games were temperamental, giving me the standard light display show on my television or teasing me with a alphabet riddled title screen. I did the standard blowing inside the game and cotton swab soaked in rubbing alcohol, jamming it into the game and rubbing it down like a lottery ticket watching as the cotton turned from a pure white to a greenish black.

I also own a console cleaner which I used as well to make sure the system itself was clean and prepared for vintage gaming goodness. After the 5 minute cleaning the game and system both lit up and the television was flashing nothing more than the title screen of my favorite NES title. Overjoyed I spent hours playing that game until it was time to take a rest. Upon awaking the next day I tried to fire up the NES once more and to my dismay the system hadn’t had it’s cup of coffee that morning and again refused to work. The internet is filled with wondrous things so I did a search for how to fix this and immediately I was bombarded with the notion that I could change out the 72 pin connector and my wildest fantasy would come true! My NES would NEVER give me that light show ever again! My games would always work like they were suppose to! Woodland creatures would bow to my will and do my bidding…ok well you get the point. After searching into the difficulty of installation and finding the least expensive replacement, my order was placed and now it was time to wait!

Once I received it in the mail it seemed so simple to just open the NES and change them out, yet right away I noticed that the old connector didn’t look anywhere near as bad as I was being told it would from the internet. Infact, if I hadn’t kept track of which were which I might not have known which one was brand new and which was the old one. I decided to install the new one in hopes it was something beyond what my eyes could see that was holding me back from sweet, sweet NES bliss. I managed to get the new one installed and packed the old one away for the fun of it and tested the system. I was amazed! The brand new 72 pin connector worked beautifully, as if my NES were brand new and I was back in 1985 (where I would have been 2) all my games were cleaned and worked great! The system started up like clockwork I was excited that I would never see that light show ever agai…what? Flashing screen? AARRRGGHHH!!!!! Just a few short weeks later the brand new 72 pin connector didn’t make good on it’s promises, it had lied to me and went the way of the old connector. Now the only different between the 2 connectors was the new one was extremely stiff so pushing in and pulling out games became a finger hurting experience, even today this NES still continues to hurt my fingers pushing in and pulling out games.

I now own 2 NES decks, the one still has the same “brand new” connector and the second one is unmolested and I can honestly say I enjoy the untouched NES much more than I enjoy the one I changed the connector out in. I never noticed just how painful it was to change out a game in that system until I acquired the system that was already broken in. I’m sure there are some who have had success in their connector swap and likewise I’m sure many would agree with me that it was a waste of money. I personally believe nothing will help keep your system running the way it was meant to more so than cleaning your games properly. If you blow into them (I’m guilty of this as well!) you shoot spit down on the contacts inside and I’m sure that can speed up a corrosion process. Let’s face it, the NES is closed up pretty well so most of the dirt that gets inside is through the games you insert into it. If you clean your games properly, the inside connector shouldn’t have any reason to fail you.

Posted August 4th, 2010