March 10, 2019 1:00 PM   Subscribe

What Made Super Mario Bros. Level 8-3 So Good [Kotaku] “In World 8-3 — the penultimate level of Super Mario Bros. for the NES — Mario makes his final push towards Bowser’s castle. This level is a mini-masterpiece in a classic game and tells a small but important story through its gameplay. There are eight worlds in Super Mario Bros., each composed of four levels. For Worlds 1 through 7, the first three levels of each world have checkpoints midway through. But World 8 does away with that. You must complete 8-1, 8-2, and 8-3, each in a single, straight shot to advance. [...] In 8-3, running from your most feared enemies will make you ill-prepared for greater challenges ahead. The shortest way is not the best way. You have to stand up and defeat enemies that would be easier to avoid. You struggle at the beginning of the level to save yourself a whole lot of trouble at the end. Your courage pays off.” [YouTube][World 8-3]
posted by Fizz (17 comments total) 10 users marked this as a favorite
I love the way they still manage to evoke the feeling of assaulting a fortress despite the minimal design of the game. It has the same energy as the first stage of Wily's fortress in Megaman 2.
posted by Mr.Encyclopedia at 1:14 PM on March 10, 2019 [5 favorites]

I never beat Mario without Game Genie because I am the ultimate casual.
posted by mmmbacon at 6:20 PM on March 10, 2019 [6 favorites]

Is this where I confess that all these years later, I still haven’t beaten level 8-4?

Because that’s kind of my thing. The never beat SMB guy.
posted by Yowser at 6:29 PM on March 10, 2019

The never beat SMB guy.
posted by Yowser

*squints* Yeah that makes sense.
posted by Mr.Encyclopedia at 6:40 PM on March 10, 2019 [14 favorites]

Is this where I confess that all these years later, I still haven’t beaten level 8-4?

I've never beat the original Super Mario Bros. or The Legend of Zelda.
posted by Fizz at 7:01 PM on March 10, 2019 [2 favorites]

Interestingly, the end stairs on 8-3 are identical difficulty to the ones on 8-1. The difference is purely presentational. The fact that the blocks are floating makes no difference in difficulty: if you fall off you're equally done for either way. Using a simple cosmetic change to make it seem harder is yet another example of their level design genius.

(Okay, 8-3 does have an extra two-block hole at the bottom after the top stair, but the player will easily leap that when aiming for the pole.)
posted by swr at 8:24 PM on March 10, 2019 [5 favorites]

Lolyeah "8-3", as if! Like there are really any more levels in Super Mario than 1-1, 1-2 and Warp-Aaargh!
posted by I'm always feeling, Blue at 10:18 PM on March 10, 2019 [5 favorites]

Did anyone ever beat any SNES game?
posted by Foci for Analysis at 11:30 PM on March 10, 2019 [2 favorites]

Let us not forget who noticed Mar10 in the first place.’s-a-history-of-digitiser/
posted by Homemade Interossiter at 5:48 AM on March 11, 2019

I never knew about the fire flower in 8-3 because I was so spooked by the first sets of hammer bros. God damnit.
posted by Space Coyote at 6:19 AM on March 11, 2019

I have fond memories of cheering my mom on while she was playing these final levels. Good times. I never got that far myself.
posted by carrioncomfort at 8:23 AM on March 11, 2019 [1 favorite]

Did anyone ever beat any SNES game?
All except Ninja Gaiden. I have a new little Nintendo and it has the saves and I have watched Youtube of people beating it and I still have no idea what to do. Which sucks, because that game sucks, but I still want to beat it.
posted by The_Vegetables at 9:48 AM on March 11, 2019 [1 favorite]

Did anyone ever beat any SNES game?

Mega Man X, Super Metroid and Ken Griffey Jr. Presents Major League Baseball.

The metroid recognizing Samus near the end of Super Metroid is still my favorite video game moment. I can still picture it and hear it. It was the first time I experienced a game as a piece of art.

I remember competing with a friend to see who could beat MM X faster. I'm still proud of my sub-45 minute time.

In KG Jr Baseball, I won the WS against the AI as the Cardinals using a "just bunting" strat because they had the fastest team. Didn't work on my older brothers though... they always kicked my butt.
posted by Groundhog Week at 9:58 AM on March 11, 2019 [2 favorites]

Did anyone ever beat any SNES game?
I will never know because I never owned one.

But I sure as heck beat SMB and Zelda on NES. Literally the only two games I ever beat on that console (I gave up on Castelvania and Ghosts 'N' Goblins, I also couldn't beat Mike Tyson's Punch Out against Tyson).

SMB is special to me. I was 13, maybe 14, and my little sister and mother were cheering behind me as I assaulted World 8 for the umpteenth time. When I won, not only did they jump up for joy as I threw the controller onto the carpeted floor, laughing and whooping so loud we probably annoyed the neighbors, but then after all that, mom said, "Let's celebrate," and she took us out for pizza.
posted by linux at 10:47 AM on March 11, 2019 [7 favorites]

Once we figured out the turtle on the stairs infinite lives trick, my older brother beat SMB. I didn't do it for a few years, because I'd get to 8-4 with a ton of lives... and die a lot... and get bored. I finally one day sat down and just hammered away at that last level until I'd beaten it.

Zelda, we spent so much time on that game; by the end I beat 1st and 2nd quests on one life, just because I could.

SMB 2 I quite liked and kept at until I beat it. That game was and is deliciously weird (because it wasn't supposed to be a Mario game).

SMB 3 - when the game came out we rented it (one day rental!) and returned it a week late, with accompanying late charges, because we were damned if we'd return it before we'd beaten it. That week was basically a massive marathon gaming session.
posted by caution live frogs at 10:49 AM on March 11, 2019 [2 favorites]

One of my top-two greatest video game moments was a game of SMB against a friend in the late 90s/early 00s. It was a bunch of university students late at night in the common room of someone's shared house with an ancient NES. We were playing a 2-player game to see who could finish the game first without using warps. He was on 8-3 or 8-4 while I was way back, I want to say world 6 but it could have been as far back as world 4. In one life I was able to march through all the levels and clear the game. There were audible cheers a couple of times.

The other greatest moment was a game of Fifa (somewhere between 98 and 2002) playing against a friend on dial-up. I was Canada and he was Brazil. Thanks to an inspired Paul Peschisolido I was ahead by a couple of goals and then I took a pointless shot from beyond the half-way line that managed to make it in (a la David Beckham vs. Wimbledon). My friend disconnected then and there. We still talk about it sometimes and he'll challenge me to a rematch but I haven't played any of the newer versions and I have the feeling the gameplay has advanced somewhat since then.
posted by any portmanteau in a storm at 11:59 AM on March 11, 2019

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