Please defeat Wart and return Subcon to its natural state
November 23, 2013 12:35 PM   Subscribe

I write about Super Mario Bros. 2 a lot, I realize, especially considering that the game is now twenty-five years old. I suppose that results from the combination of it being especially surreal, even by Super Mario standards, and me having encountered it at the perfect age to be asking “Hey, why is that?” I actually still ask “Why is that?” fairly often. One of the things that had always bugged me about the game is its level structure. Super Mario Bros. makes sense: four sets of levels each composing a world, and eight world altogether. It’s all tidy and even. Super Mario Bros. 2 isn’t so easy: It has seven worlds, but an irregular number of stages.

“Hey, why is that?” posted by timshel (18 comments total) 30 users marked this as a favorite
Fascinating! I knew that the Mario theme was shoehorned into another game, but I didn't realize that the other game had been completed and released in its own right.
posted by C'est la D.C. at 1:20 PM on November 23, 2013

These are very entertaining. I like that so many of his questions about the odd aspects of the game seem to be unanswerable. Ah, the mysteries of Doki Doki Panic!
posted by Atom Eyes at 1:21 PM on November 23, 2013

I don't know where the lies begin here, and I don't want to know, either.
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 1:44 PM on November 23, 2013 [8 favorites]

Reading about the mislabeling of Birdo/Ostro was like some video-game programming equivalent to Duck Amuck.

-Uh, there's a minor error here. It's no big deal, but the dinosaur that spits eggs is named Birdo, the ostrich is named Ostro. You've got them mixed up.
-Oh, sorry about that. I'll change the names right away. *changes both names to Birdo.*
-Uh, no, you've just changed both names to Birdo. The ostrich is named Ostro.
-Oops, how's this? *changes names to Catherine and Janice.*
-Oh, come on now! Catherine and Janice? Please identify them by their real names!
-No problem. *changes both names to Linda.*
-Ok, fine. *changes names to Birdo and Ostro. Also labels Mario as Hector Rodriquez.*
posted by obscure simpsons reference at 1:55 PM on November 23, 2013 [6 favorites]

Actually in Japan it's called "Doki Doki Panic" is a shirt I want to own. But if I wore it almost anywhere I expect to go, I'd have to explain it, effectively becoming the guy on the shirt.
posted by Countess Elena at 1:55 PM on November 23, 2013 [16 favorites]

This post on Wario and Waluigi's names is also fun.
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 1:58 PM on November 23, 2013 [3 favorites]

SMB2 is the Their Satanic Majesties Request of Mario games: clearly not as good as what came before or what would come later, but beautifully strange. The shy guys, the transgendered Birdo, the turnips, the dark land accessible by potion-generated door where you can get tokens for a slot machine, it's just got so little context it makes squashing brown walking mushroom things, cloud-dwelling spiked beast throwers, and winged turtles seem practically normal.

I think Nintendo of America missed an opportunity not adapting SMB2 to the normal Mushroom Kingdom context and instead making it some strange dream. Mario would have been able to do even weirder things in the sequels if he also had to battle three-headed snakes and the like (though it's great they kept many of the SMB2 enemies. My favorite is the ninjis).

"And I awoke. Is this some kind of joke?"
posted by Luminiferous Ether at 3:29 PM on November 23, 2013 [1 favorite]

Ooh, this blog's also got a megapost on names in games, "It's a Secret to Everybody". Good stuff so far.
posted by jason_steakums at 3:59 PM on November 23, 2013

Must be in one of the links somewhere but isn't the reason why SMB2 was released in this way is because the original release in Japan was way too hard?
posted by KokuRyu at 4:03 PM on November 23, 2013 [2 favorites]

it seems important to type a little message here pointing out that SMB2 is the best of the NES mario games, one of the best games, the best anything. it is gorgeous, weird, challenging, and the closing music is a part of my own dreamscape (along with the map music from the original Final Fantasy).
posted by waxbanks at 4:56 PM on November 23, 2013 [5 favorites]

While scrolling down the super mario bros. 2 tag on the blog I found that, uh, there may be some kind of remake of SMB2 coming... or at least maybe a return to its world. Somewhere there's a 10 year old me dancing around the room with joy.
posted by Kattullus at 4:58 PM on November 23, 2013

Even if Super Mario 3D World only superficially references SMB2, I'm still really tempted to get a Wii U for it just for the kitty suits.
posted by jason_steakums at 7:55 PM on November 23, 2013

And why is there only one red Snifit?
posted by Metroid Baby at 8:07 PM on November 23, 2013 [4 favorites]

That Red Snifit manual scan is the kind of thing I love about SMB2 - "He wears a mask and spits the bullets of evil dreams from his mouth."

One year for Halloween, I dressed in all black wearing a paper mache Phanto mask and carrying a big, golden foamcore key, and when I set it down on our table at the bar, a stranger dressed as Mario, who I hadn't seen enter, came by and stole it and I had to chase him to get it back. My favorite random Halloween happening.
posted by jason_steakums at 8:32 PM on November 23, 2013 [15 favorites]

Mask-tastic — appropriately so in that Doki Doki Panic itself was given a figurative mask in the form of a graphical makeover to dress it up like a Mario game.

Whoah. That's deep, man.
posted by evil otto at 9:30 PM on November 23, 2013

This post on Wario and Waluigi's names is also fun.

After that Birdo bullshit I don't even know what to believe.
posted by Steely-eyed Missile Man at 9:40 PM on November 23, 2013 [3 favorites]

SUBCON! Like "subconscious"!

Wow, I'm dumb.
posted by Elementary Penguin at 8:12 AM on November 24, 2013

I've got Super Mario 3D world, and while Wart doesn't make an appearance and the area is called "Sprixie Kingdom" it's still a pretty fantastic game with a few references to Mario 2. I was able to beat the whole thing as Toad, never once selecting Mario, and any of the four other characters (there's a bonus after beating world nine) can play any levels in any combination of one to four and a half players since I think a fifth can use the tablet controller to screw with enemies and the occasional stage gimmick, sort of like a Rayman Origins but not quite as good as that. Each character has slightly different stats- peach floats, luigi jumps high, toad is fast, mario is boring.

Kitty cat toad is about as cute as you'd expect.
posted by sandswipe at 4:49 PM on November 24, 2013

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