I admit that I am a Mario Fan through and through.
I remember the first time I played Super Mario Brothers. It was a Sunday. We were at my Mother's Uncle's House. My second cousin had the NES (Nintendo Entertainment System) hooked up to a small color television in the basement (The Same Color Television Doubled as a monitor for a computer—Commodore 64 or something like that).
I watched a second cousin play through a few levels and I excitedly asked if I could try it out.
With the Atari 2600 as my primary prior experience in console gaming. I walked Forward and right into that first Goomba and died. Then I did it again. I was trying to use up on the directional pad to jump. So there I am on my last life when my cousin finally tells me how to jump. I fared a little better, but not great.
I've been hooked ever since. I probably bugged my parents about getting a Nintendo from that point on.
Dad relented once and rented one from Blockbuster. The new Shiny on the block at the time was Super Mario Brothers 2—and what a glorious game.
We finally got a Nintendo for Christmas, and Super Mario Brothers became a challenge to overcome. It was hard. Very Very Hard.
Playing video games is a very different affair these days. Back then there was no internet. If you were stuck, you were stuck until you figured it out. Cheat codes were passed among friends on pieces of paper and they originated from the one guy that had a subscription to Nintendo Power, or the inside of Cereal Boxes, or as a bonus from watching some cartoon on Saturday morning.
I remember the sheer thrill, when I hear from a friend of a friend about the Konami Code (I didn't know that's what it was called at the time) and how excited I was to take that pencil scrawled ripped piece of paper over to my friend's house to try it on Contra. Up Up Down Down Left Right Left Right B A (select—for two players) Start. We passed Contra the first time that day, with the help of 30 extra lives.
Now that I have the Nintendo Wii, I've picked up every Mario Game I can get my hands on: Super Mario Brothers, Super Mario Brothers 2 (US and Japanese Versions), Super Mario Brothers 3, Super Mario World, Super Mario 64, Super Mario RPG (Shout-out to Natalie for that one), Super Mario Sunshine (Thanks to Nintendo for Backward Gamecube Compatibility), Super Mario Galaxy, Super Paper Mario.
I'm still lacking in the Mario Kart arena, and the Smash Brothers Arena.
So, it should come as no surprise that I picked up New Super Mario Brothers Wii.
New Super Mario Brothers Wii is in spirit just like every side scroll platform Mario game that came before. The last traditional side scroll Mario game that came out was New Super Mario Brothers in 2006, but that was a Nintendo DS game. I don't own a DS, but I borrowed one to play that game because prior to that the last traditional side scroll Mario game was Super Mario World in 1990 on Super Nintendo, a system I never owned. New Super Mario Brothers was FUN—VERY FUN, but playing on that little screen just isn't the same.
Over the years, I've become less of a solitary player—I enjoy the social interaction of gaming, which explains the proliferation of Music Rhythm Games in our home. Even though Super Mario has traditionally been mostly a single player game, it's more fun with friends. We would take turns passing the controller. You can make fun of each other when you fail and you can celebrate wildly skillful playing.
New Super Mario Brothers adds true multi-player to the Mario equation. Up to Four players can compete or co-operate on screen at once. No longer constrained to passing the controller, or taking turns on screen as Mario and Luigi.
So far, I'm loving this game, it's completely new and yet it's completely familiar. I haven't played much, because I'm really craving the multi-player and haven't had a chance to try that out as of yet. What I have played has been fun in an old school meets new school kind of way. If you thought Firepower was fun—wait until you try Ice Power. If you thought the Tanooki suit and the Cape were great, wait till you try on the Propeller Suit. If you thought the Frog Suit was an Awesome Power up for Water Levels you're gonna love the Penguin in Ice Levels. Also—Yoshi.