Tag Archives: Super Mario Bros 3

Games Completed in 2011, #26 – Super Mario Land

I’m scrunched up in the backseat of a loaded minivan on my way to Walt Disney World. It’s hot and uncomfortable, unpredictably bumpy; something’s jabbing into my ankle, a part of the seatbelt clicker, and there’s only so many ways for a little boy to twist and turn to avoid burning exposed skin on lava-hot plastic. The cup holder next to me is full of lollipop sticks and wrappers, most red- or orange-flavored, their savory candy heads long devoured. My mom is driving, excitement keeping her foot pressed to the pedal; there might be others in the car, but most of this is fuzzy because what I really remember most is the GameBoy gripped tightly in my sweaty hands, my time-passing device. See, I’m piloting an airplane and submarine with amazing skill, murdering everything in my path, all for a princess, a taste of freedom. I’m nine or ten years old, and I’m playing Super Mario Land for the very first time.

The second time I’m playing Super Mario Land? It’s twenty years later, and everything is different. I’m married. I’m a corporate zombie. I’ve gone through high school and college and emerged with very few friends. I’ve tried a number of different, creative ventures, failing all more or less equally. I’ve become even more responsible than I ever believed possible, taking care of everything I want to take care of by myself, because I have to. I’m motherless and crazy sad and grasping for happy straws. But some things are the same. It’s still Mario, tiny, jumpy plumber extraordinaire, and it’s a game still being played on a handheld except I’m in a comfy armchair and not on my back, seatbelt clickers stabbing me with glee. The Nintendo 3DS does a decent job of emulating Super Mario Land, and I do welcome that with the new system, one can save their progress any time they want. Back in the day, if you wanted to complete Mario’s quest and rescue the princess, you had to do it in one large gulp. Which I believe I did do.

Like Super Marios Bros 2, Super Mario Landdoes not feature Bowser as a main villain. Instead, we have the alien Tatanga, who has gone ahead and captured Princess Daisy. To save her, Mario will have to travel across the Kingdoms of Sarasaland, which is basically four worlds with their own themes. And they are…drum roll…

  • Birabuto Kingdom – Desert theme, taking place inside pyramids and so on.
  • Muda Kingdom – Water-themed levels, including an underwater stage where Mario pilots a submarine.
  • Easton Kingdom – Easter Island-themed kingdom, with some underground levels.
  • Chai Kingdom – Asian-themed kingdom, with the final level taking place in the sky.

The game’s easy. I don’t remember it being quite so easy, but then again, as I’m sure many have discovered over time, a lot of levels from Super Mario Bros 3 felt really long and challenging once, and it was always sad to discover how actually short they are and easy to skip through. Even those dancing ninja enemies in Chai Kingdom (seriously, like chai tea?) that liked to hop about were easy to avoid or take down once their pattern became obvious; I remember them giving me a lot of grief as a young plumber. The only trouble I still had many years later were the bosses, piloting plane Mario or submarine Mario to safety.

Super Mario Land was a nice trip down Memory Lane. Unfortunately, it’s not a very long or challenging game, but at least I can always boot it up again and find myself back in that minivan, back on the road, back elsewhere.

Excellent memory is Mario’s greatest power-up

Got the yellowing, but still lovely SNES all set up last night, which meant that, naturally, Tara and I played some Super Mario Bros. 3 for a bit. Well, more like an hour and change. Because that’s just what happens. Time flies when you’re stomping goombas, opening item chests, and…playing that memory card mini-game that randomly appears on the overworld maps.

Remember that? You only got two chances to guess, and if both were wrong, well, that was your opportunity swarted. Good luck remembering what cards you flipped and where they were on the playing grid because the next time that mini-game might show up could be much later on. I used to scribble notes down on paper as a kid, crudely drawn diagrams and other rushed recreations, but I really don’t think I ever got to complete the full memory card game before.

Until last night, that is.

Only took three instances to clear the board, too. And for some reason, I really thought you got something special for doing that. A warp whistle, perhaps? I had no idea that you were already gaining items in the process. No idea. Like, if you flip the 20 coins card and match it with another 20 coins card…well, you got 20 coins for that. I was really hoping for an explosion of 1ups at the end of the whole thing. But it ended without a bang, and it was back to tackling level after level for the two of us.

In this time of the Internet, no secret is truly secret for long, no mystery still a mystery. It’s easy enough to look up the answers to all the memory card games online, but that totally ruins the fun. And I never had such an oppurtunity as a little kid on Christmas morning just plowing through the game in a fever of excitement and joy. I just had me and my brain full of Other Things to remember; it was hard going, and I probably only ever matched one or two cards, not even realizing that those items in my inventory were from there. Oh well. Now I know, and knowing is half the battle. We stopped somewhere around World 5, no skipping either, each with about 20+ extra lives already.

Mario’s closet is brimming with awesome

The kick-ass artwork above comes from Albino Raven. Love it. If only my closet was this cool. Sadly, I basically wear the same seven button-down shirts over and over…though buried deep in the back, I think, is a hand-me-down Raccoon Suit.

Weekend gaming, mostly in Super Mario Bros 3’s Water World


The Girlfriend visited for the weekend, and inevitably we dusted off the SNES to play some old-school games like Super Mario Kart, Super Mario World, and Super Mario All-Stars. See a theme? Hint: fat plumbers.

Anyways, after desperately jumping and swimming our way through Super Mario Bros 3‘s Water World, a world we hate with a passion, we realized we missed the chance to skip all that bullshit, and thanks to the Internet, we even found out about another opportunity to get a secret warp whistle back in World 2. This one involved using a hammer to break a rock and then travel through a tree. Amazing. So we restarted, did our thing, and hopped to World 5, where we climbed into the clouds and then called it quits after too much dying.

For a game released in 1988, Super Mario Bros 3 still manages to surprise me now and again.

Also, the Tanooki Suit is overrated. Someone had to say it eventually, and that someone is me.