My relationship with the Mario franchise has been a rocky one. Early games like Super Mario Bros 1-3, Super Mario World, and Super Mario 64 turned out to be some of the most troublesome games I’ve yet to own, with the latter two taking literally YEARS to beat, while the original trio has yet to be conquered and likely never will be. I have also found myself to be rather indifferent to the New Super Mario Bros games on the Wii and Wii U. I have a feeling my lukewarm attitude towards these games stemmed from the fact that I had been hurt by the famous mustachioed plumber just a few times too many.
Well, with my recent conquest of Super Mario World, the tide has begun to change, particularly in regards to New Super Mario Bros for the Wii U. Despite the game’s high ratings, I had remained for many years quite unimpressed. As was the case with a good deal of my Mario-related endeavors, I had been revisiting this game off and on for the span of…let’s just say I had reached the Meringue Clouds about three years ago. (I remember because this is the world I was working on when I first got my cat, Elsa.) It was all thanks to this game’s absolute refusal to be completed that I grew to resent this newer installment in the Mario series. My time with the game was usually characterized by great unhappiness and frustration as I struggled my way stage by stage through the game’s many worlds until I had finally reached the first level of Peach’s Castle, where I, inevitably, gave up once more when repeatedly failing at avoiding lava and falling meteors began to grow tiresome.
And then, Super Mario World happened. Not so very long ago, Mother Duck and I beat the game, unlocking nearly every secret route in the process because, heck, why not. That was when I began to feel a renewed sense of confidence in myself and my platforming skills. If I could beat that SNES classic (albeit, with help), did that mean I could also beat Mario’s side-scrolling Wii U excursion?
The short answer: yes.
You see, a day came where I sat down in front of the TV, determination gleaming in my eyes. And I began to tackle one stage after another. And it wasn’t aggravating, like it so often was. It was actually…fun? What, I was having fun with a Mario game? Ha, I must be dreaming! But no, before I knew it, I had reached the final encounter with Bowser. And it was easy! I rarely ever feel that way when playing a Mario game, particularly those of the side-scrolling variety. But yes, the battle was so simple, I even messed up quite badly, only to still win on my first try.
And now, I’m working my way through the game’s levels once more, in an effort to collect all of the Star Coins so that I may explore the secret stages of Superstar Road. To be honest, I don’t plan to collect all of the Star Coins, as I know I will be unable to do so. Even so, it can’t hurt to at least try and see just how far I can get. Thus far, I’ve already collected every Star Coin in Acorn Plains and have gotten straight to work on Layer Cake Desert.
Is it just me, or is the name of that second world a bit wordy? What next? Wood-Grilled Salmon with a Side of Rice Pilaf Ocean? Nah, now that’s a bit too ridiculous….
Getting straight to the point, I have developed a new appreciation for the Super Mario Bros series, particularly the side-scrollers that used to be the bane of my existence. (I realize the earlier-cited Super Mario 64 was not a side-scroller, but rather, an open world platformer, but it was still quite brutal for me.) During my many years as a gamer, I had never been the biggest Mario fan. Yes, I know it sounds crazy that a gamer such as myself, who grew up with Nintendo, mind you, wasn’t particularly thrilled with one of the most famous gaming mascots of all time. But now that I’ve seen that the Mario franchise doesn’t have to be all pain and woe (or, to fit with the theme, Hammer Bros and bottomless pits), it’s nice to finally have a better understanding as to why the mustachioed plumber is so darn popular. Looking to the future, I think the Mario series and I can finally start our relationship afresh.
Is there a series you used to dislike, but have since grown to enjoy? Why not share your thoughts in the comments below!
New Super Mario Bros dUck
This post was originally published on Virtual Bastion on July 3, 2018.