Boom baby! Super Mario Bros 2! Not one of my favorite Mario games, but definitely on my list of favorite games over all. So it’s place in the Shoe Box is well earned. Mario nostalgia doesn’t factor into it. It’s just plain fun. I don’t particularly care about the inhabitants of Subcon. Those little pixie guys at the end. So I don’t feel pressured to actually beat it. Like I care if a big frog is eating all the dream bugs? I fought the Nightmare King. So forgive me for finding Wart a bit of a non threat.
Mario 2 has it’s share of secrets and warps so like, you could easily run to the end if you wanted. Though that would make you miss out on some wonderfully weird level designs. Even if about half them feel so same samey. The other half that stand out are just amazing. Never really challenging. Atleast not once you know what’s up. It’s a game about getting comfortable with the controls. Sounds a little to easy right? Well there are 4 sperate characters that each control very differently.
I mean well they basically control the same. Just jump height, traction, and special abilities differ greatly. So even if the levels are the same the ways to approach them become so drastically different. Nothing like the fear of realizing you picked Toad on a Luigi level. A game style almost like selecting a random difficulty per stage based on who you happen to be controlling. That way if you played it enough to know who to select when, you wouldn’t need to use the optimal character anyway. No score and no time limit only helps add to the relaxing nature of Mario 2. You can just wander about. Take in the sights or try something extra tricky. The choice is yours here. Honestly with the lack of a time limit I feel more obtuse level layouts could have been fun. Running back and forth grabbing this or that to find a way forward. A missed opportunity. That said, I don’t think it would have made it better. It’s simplicity is a large part of it’s charm. That and shyguys.
That’s right, no Mario 2 would mean no Shyguys. I don’t know about you but those little cuties always cheer me up. Especially because Mario 2 had dynamic hit boxes for the baddies. If they smack into you, well that’s some damage. If you stomp on them, well sometimes that’s damage too, but usually you just get to stand there. Sure you can grab them and fling them towards their friends and family to kill them both. That’s true, but you could just stand there and go for a ride. Might find the extra bit of height all you needed to get to a secret short cut it hidden goodies platform. A game that encourages exploration by giving you subtle different changes to how you can approach each area. It’s such an ingenious idea and so early in the 8 bit era as well. It goes to show how Nintendo was already exploring the idea of having fun without conventional mechanics. That Nintendo was willing to take risks and devote time and effort on something just hoping it will work out. Kinda, I mean back then releasing a game that was exactly the same was the risk. A flood of subpar titles hadn’t scared us into only wanting the same thing but again for sixty more bux. Part of why they repurposed a different game with some minor changes and sent us this odd little outlier. Then decided they liked the Mario changes themselves and bam.
They released it in Japan as Mario USA. That should say how good of a game it is. They literally bought the same game twice. This is before GOTY editions, but I guess it could be considered as a bundle with the Mario DLC pack. I am going to assume you’ve played Mario 2. It is an honest mathematical impossibility that you would willing read this website and have not played Super Mario Bros. 2. So yeah, can just skip that part. Here I thought it was a great pick for one of the first shoebox articles. Just there is no way to describe the gameplay here without sounding like an asshole. There isn’t any extra depth to Mario 2. Run, jump, pick, and pluck that’s all you need here. Each of the four characters are different enough to kinda exclude you from ever feeling overly comfortable. That continual awkwardness keeps the game feeling fresh. Freshness is a key factor in box selection. Mario 2 is almost a gold standard for what I consider a pick up and play game. A time killer with charm. A perfect game to play while you are trying to think of what you want to play. Yeesh, this article is the kind of article you read when deciding on if you ever wanna come back to this site. So uh, yeah I’m calling it here, not even plugging the Patreon. Just go play Mario 2, as for me, I’m gonna dig out the shoe box and find a game that would make a better article. Bye.