Mario Bros. (game)
Mario Bros. is an arcade game developed by Nintendo and released on July 14, 1983. It was also released on the NES under the Arcade Classics Series series of games (a version itself later ported to other systems), Atari 2600, Atari 5200, and Atari 7800 as well as a large multitude of home computer systems. The game is often stated to be the first appearance of Luigi in a game; moreover, Nintendo officially acknowledged this as well during the Year of Luigi that commemorated his debut. However, this is incorrect as Luigi actually had previously appeared in the Game & Watch game of the same name, though the arcade game was in development first. Beyond featuring the Mario brothers, the Game & Watch game bears no similarity to the arcade game. This was the first game to introduce coins, pipes, and POW Blocks.
Mario Bros. is also included as a separate minigame, functioning like the original game with updated graphics, in the two-player mode of Super Mario Bros. 3, for Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga, and all four games in the Super Mario Advance series.
The premise of this game revolves around twin plumbers, Mario and Luigi, who are in the sewer system of New York (their house according to Atari). The sewers are overrun by waves of enemies, which must be defeated for coins.
The game features a simple stage in which the player plays in an endless game. Much of the gameplay appears to have been inspired by an arcade game named Joust. Enemies come from the pipes on the top and head downwards, where they may enter the pipes again to return to the top. The game features 22 unique phases (although Phase 2 was removed from non-Japanese versions of the game), and after the last phase has been completed, it merely loops the phase order from then on, the screen will still read "Phase 23" onward up to "Phase 98" (99 in Japan). After reaching Phase 98/99, screen text will stop incrementing, though the order of unique phases still loops. The phase counter at the bottom of the screen reads "KO" from Phase 25 onward.
The goal in each phase is to defeat all enemies, which is done by jumping up and hitting the floor below enemies. This flips them, giving the player the chance to kick them away, which is rewarded with 800 points. Enemies that are kicked over in succession quickly enough after the first will award 800 more points, up to 3200 points. The highest score that the game can display is 999,990 points, and scoring any more will overflow the display and make it start counting from 0 again. The POW Block can also be used to flip enemies; however, it can be used only three times. After an enemy is knocked away, a coin (a "wafer" in the Atari 2600 version of the game) appears from one of the pipes, and gives 800 points when collected. When all enemies are defeated, the player continues to the next phase. In later levels, different types of enemies and harming fireballs appear. From time to time, a bonus level appears where all the coins have to be collected in order to get an extra 5,000 points (during the first bonus level) or 8,000 points (during the second bonus level onwards). The POW Block regenerates after the second bonus level and every subsequent bonus level. Unlike the arcade original, upon reaching Phase 100 in the NES version, the screen reads "Phase 0", and completing it will start incrementing the phase counter again as normal.
Wii U controls
Nintendo Switch controls
Target enemies must be defeated to clear the phase while other enemies should be defeated by the player's discretion. Each phase consists of one or two types of targets with a maximum of six targets. Shellcreepers and Sidesteppers appear together only in Phase 5 (6 in Japanese). The last target enemy will always move at its fastest pace unless said enemy is a Fighter Fly.
The arcade game was given a preview at the Amusement Operators Expo held at the O'Hare Exposition Center in Chicago from March 25-27, 1983. The reviews were mixed. Steve Arrants of Creative Computing Video & Arcade Games considered it his favorite among the ten games showcased while William Michael Brown of Electronic Fun with Computer Games thought it was a dud with difficulty being the main issue. John Holmstrom of Video Games criticized the slippery controls. However, the version they reviewed was a prototype. Michael Brown noted that the released game was much easier than the version he played at the expo. The promo photo that Nintendo handed out showed a standing red Shellcreeper as the stand-in for the "P" in the phase counter. It also shows Shellcreepers and Sidesteppers together in Phase 4 which is not the case in either the Japanese or international arcade releases. The game never broke into the monthly top 10 lists of most popular arcade games in the US.
IGN rated the 1983 NES port 91st in their Top 100 NES Games list .
Re-releases, ports, and remakes
An emulation of the original Japanese arcade version (first bonus level is phase 4) was released worldwide for the Nintendo Switch on September 27, 2017 as part of Hamster Corporation's Arcade Archives series, under the name Arcade Archives: Mario Bros. The Joy-Con can be used to play in two-player mode.
Previously, Nintendo split the rights for Donkey Kong and Donkey Kong Jr. between Coleco and Atari, Inc. with the former publishing for home consoles and the latter for home computers outside of Japan. Coleco's demonstration of Donkey Kong on their upcoming Coleco Adam computer at the June 1983 Consumer Electronic Show scuttled a deal between Nintendo and Atari, Inc. to distribute a localized version of the Famicom to North America. One week after the incident, Nintendo awarded rights to Atari, Inc. to publish Mario Bros. for both consoles and computers outside of Japan, which they did for the Atari 2600 and Atari 5200 for the Christmas '83 season. A port for the Atari 8-bit computers was planned to be released in April 1984 as a straight port of the Atari 5200 version, but was canceled for unknown reasons. Atarisoft, the division which handled ports to competing computers, completed but did not release ports for the Apple II and Commodore 64 but they were leaked anyway.
For the Japanese home computer market, Westside Soft House published a port for the PC-8001 in 1984. It is noted to be extremely loud with screeching sound effects, along with low-quality visuals and animation. This may have been the result of a poorly done conversion.
After the partition of Atari, Inc., Ocean Software published home computer ports for the European market on the Amstrad CPC, ZX Spectrum, and Commodore 64 in 1987. The latter is unrelated to the unreleased port by Atarisoft and is noted for strange visuals and music.
Ports of 1983 NES version
Several direct ports of the 1983 NES version, running under emulation, have been released on later consoles. The first was on the Nintendo PlayChoice-10, an arcade machine that played NES titles.
For the Game Boy Advance, Mario Bros.-e is a US exclusive released as part of Series Two for the e-Reader on November 11, 2002, which omitted the two-player support. Japan next got an exclusive release in the Famicom Mini series, unconnected with the remade version described below, on May 21, 2004.
It was also re-released on Virtual Console for Wii for 500 Wii Points in November/December 2006, and for 3DS on May 8, 2013 (Japan), January 9, 2014 (Europe and Australia), and January 30, 2014 (North America, US$4.99). It has also been released on the Wii U for the same price.
Super Mario Bros. 3
A form of Mario Bros. is included as a separate battle mode minigame, called Classic Mario Bros. or simply Mario Bros., in Super Mario Bros. 3 for the NES and as part of the game's remake included in Super Mario All-Stars, utilizing Super Mario Bros. 3's physics and a variation of its graphics. This was the first version where Spinies replaced Shellcreepers, making it more obvious not to jump on the enemy, which would become standard in later remakes to avoid confusion with the ubiquitous Koopa Troopas of later games.
It includes two new bonus levels - a fountain that sprays out coins, and a series of kickable ? Blocks. Unlike all other versions, players will automatically get a coin for defeating an enemy instead of having to scramble for it from the top pipes.
A battle can be entered in two-player mode in the main game, by the active player on the map opening the Ⓜ or Ⓛ that represents the inactive player. This allows the players to fight over the cards, obtained by finishing a normal level, that give one to five extra lives when three are collected. The player that wins gets to continue the main game.
Super Mario All-Stars
In Super Mario All-Stars, a competitive Battle Game was added with different gameplay, selectable on the title screen for Super Mario Bros. 3. This version removed all bonus stages and introduced a single green Koopa Troopa to each stage whose shell can hurt the bros. but not enemies. This is the only version where the sprites for the Fireballs are replaced with Boos. The sprites for the Koopa Troopa and the Boos are different than those used in the main game. This is also the only version where enemies change color if the brothers flip them back up except for the Koopa Troopa but it will still speed up. The POW block can also randomly regenerate. Both brothers start off in Super form and Super Mushrooms will sometimes come out of the top pipes or are hidden in the platform blocks. This minigame also features the ? Mushroom which can swap the players position if they are the same form or switch their forms if they are different.
This version serves as the inspiration for the Game Boy Advance remake below.
Game Boy Advance remake
A remake of Mario Bros. is included in every Super Mario Advance game, as well as Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga (though it does not reappear in the 3DS remake). All of these games can connect to each other to play Classic or Battle mode with up to four players. Classic is based on the co-op mode from the original and uses the Japanese arcade phase system. Battle is based on the Battle Game from Super Mario All-Stars. The remake also uses the GBA's Single-Pak multiplayer feature. It can connect and play with other GBA systems without the game, although Battle is the only multiplayer mode that can be played in this way.
The GBA remake of Mario Bros. enhances the graphics to take advantage of the GBA's 32-bit capabilities, including adding backgrounds to the stages. Music is added where it was originally absent, and voice clips are added in single-player mode. Jumping onto platforms has been made easier; mid-air turning is allowed, as opposed to the original where Mario or Luigi had to stay in one direction during jumping. The Power Squat Jump from Super Mario Bros. 2 has been added, and the Bonus Stages are now noticeably easier than they were originally. There are also two POW Blocks per phase set, and they can be picked up much like in Super Mario Bros. 2. Players can also pick each other up and throw them.
Luigi Bros., a remake of the 1983 NES port of Mario Bros., is included in Super Mario 3D World and Super Mario 3D World + Bowser's Fury as unlockable content. The only difference is that Mario is replaced by Luigi with his modern color scheme (a green hat and shirt with blue overalls); player 2's Luigi retains his original appearance (a white hat and shirt with green overalls, similar to Fire Luigi's color scheme in later Mario games). Unlike Super Mario 3D World itself, which uses a 16:9 aspect ratio, Luigi Bros. uses a 4:3 aspect ratio like the NES port it is based on.
Luigi Bros. is unlocked by defeating Meowser in The Great Tower of Bowser Land, which completes the main story of Super Mario 3D World. In the original Wii U version, if the player has save data for New Super Luigi U on their console, Luigi Bros. can be played straight away without having to be unlocked. The game is accessed on the title screen for the Super Mario 3D World campaign. In the Nintendo Switch version, there is an additional option to exit back to this title screen, rather than having to exit to the Home Menu and return to access functionality outside of Luigi Bros.
The game had three obscure sequels: two direct 1984 follow-ups for Japanese home computers called Punch Ball Mario Bros. and Mario Bros. Special, and a 1995 entry for the Virtual Boy called Mario Clash.
References in later games
The Arcade and NES versions were produced by Gunpei Yokoi, both versions were designed by Shigeru Miyamoto. The music of both versions was composed by Yukio Kaneoka. However, the Commodore 64 version music was composed by Fred Gray.
Names in other languages
Classic Mario Bros.