Almost everyone knows what Super Mario Bros is. I feel like a fool just writing about it, but I couldn't resist writing about it. Super Mario Bros is the game which single-handedly saved gaming. As a result Mario is the most recognizable character in gaming.
Any student of gaming knows that in the early 80's there was giant video game crash because you were getting mediocre games. For a time people believed gaming was only a fad and that it would die. When a game called ET was rushed through production in hopes that it would sell off the popularity of the film. The game was so bad it's often labeled as the worst game ever made. So much so that eventually the game was recalled, the copies crushed and buried. In the end ET takes a large chunk of responsibility for the crash.
In 1985, however, a man named Shigeru Miyamoto came up with idea for a game console called the Ninendo. Launching with it was a game called Super Mario Bros. As a result of Miyamoto's efforts, gaming has lasted for a long time and Miyamoto is often considered the most influential man in all of gaming. While we've certainly gone well and above Super Mario Bros in the past 25 years, it still stands that Super Mario Bros is one of the most influential games ever made. Everything from it's simple gameplay to its signature music track are memorable to gamers of all breeds to this very day. The game has also been reissued more times than anyone can count. There is, of course, the original NES release and the one packed with Duck Hunt. Then there's the reissue on the Super Nintendo, the Gameboy Color and eventually the Gameboy Advance. Did I mention you can also find it on the Wii's virtual console? In short, if you haven't played this game (either for nostalgia or educational purposes) then you have no excuse. The game is pretty much everywhere.
It doesn't hurt to talk about the game once more. It's one of the simplest and easiest games to play. In the game you play as Mario on a quest to save Princess Toadstool. The game has a total of thirty two levels that span across eight worlds. There are four levels in each world. Every level is a side scrolling level in which you basically go running and jumping. You stomp on your enemies (or bump them from below) while you run through each level bumping blocks to collect coins or collecting mushrooms to make Mario big as you make you way to the flag at the end of each level. The game is by no means complex, but it is simple and fun. You can also collect the fire flower to shoot fireballs.
You'll also come across castle levels at the end of each world, two in particular that are actually puzzles. At the end of each castle level you'll face King Koopa, grab the axe to destroy the bridge (or use fireballs to destroy him) only to discover: "Sorry Mario, but our Princess is in another castle." That taunting line that has become symbolic to gamers everywhere.
It doesn't sound like a whole lot. Especially with the complexity of games today, but Super Mario Bros pioneered what eventually became so common in modern gaming. Take for example uncovering invisible blocks or alternate pathways throughout the levels. Super Mario Bros started this... other games such as Metroid and The Legend of Zelda, simply evolved on this. While you certainly couldn't do then what you can do now, people need to realize that the secrets which one could uncover in Super Mario Bros probably taught us the most important thing of all when it comes to game... to explore. And ganing has been as much about exploration as much as it is about having fun ever since. Simply put, Super Mario Bros is one of the greatest for more than just being a nifty peace of history.
To this day, Super Mario Bros is still an addictive endeavor for many gamers. It's a short experience but it oozes with replay value. Beyond that, Super Mario Bros. is accessible to everyone. Anyone who's anyone can play Super Mario Bros, regardless of your skill level. Think of it as Wii Sports but far better. If you know those who are having a hard time with gaming because games in this day and age are too complex, Super Mario Bros is a great game to start them off with. Anyone can pick up and play, and they're sure to have fun.
In the realm of gaming, Super Mario Bros has already survived the test of time for the simple fact that even those who no longer play it speak of it fondly. Even those who are just now getting into gaming speak of it fondly. It doesn't have the same flashy awesome graphics of todays games, but expecting it to is like expecting a movie made in 1939 to look like a game made in 2009. You'd never knock a movie made in 1939 for not having awesome CGI effects... so don't knock a game made in 1985 because it doesn't look like a game made in 2009. This is an 8-bit NES game, not Uncharted 2. Comparing the two is both stupid and ignorant. So for the graphics junkies, stuff your snobbiness in a sack.
Of course, most of you have no doubt played the original Super Mario Bros. It's iconic for a reason and has lasted through the years as a result. Part of it is because it is accessible to everyone, but the other comes from it being such a creative game for its time--and even now. It's also just an incredibly well designed game. It has earned its legacy by being a game for everyone.