Super Mario Bros.

Wine and cheese get better with age, but - with a few exceptions - video games get worse.

Super Mario Bros. is still good, and its significance in the medium's history will never change, but it's a slightly trying title to revisit, hampered as it is by an incredibly steep difficulty level and a few design choices that now seem cheap.

The aim, in case you didn't know, is to run and jump through side-scrolling 2D platforming levels in the Mushroom Kingdom in a bid to save a princess trapped in a castle by King Koopa.

Get a life

Koopa's henchmen are out to stop you accomplishing this task. They include turtles, squidgy walking mushrooms, cloud-straddling goons, flying fish, and more. It's a surreal aesthetic, though one filled with colour and good humour.

The handling of Mario may come as a surprise. The Nintendo mascot has seemingly been on a diet as of late, because in this vintage episode he feels sluggish and heavy.

For example, in more recent titles if you mistime a jump across a chasm you can usually double back on yourself and return to safety. In Super Mario Bros., the window of opportunity to do this is tiny.

Lost Levels

While stomping on Koopa Troopers presents few problems, some enemies are a real threat. Hammer Bros goons toss their hammers at you - these are easily avoided, but smashing a brick from beneath them to knock them out is nightmarishly tough, as they give no hint as to which way they plan to move.

Springboard trampolines crop up later in the game, and launching from them requires zen-like precision and timing. More often than not you'll feebly bounce off one and into a bottomless pit.

The final stages of the game introduce an element of maze-like level navigation that's totally unexpected, and your first attempts will generally see you running out of time and losing a life.

Younger fans of the man in red who haven't played this adventure have a great opportunity to change that, and if you loved the original back in the day then this is a fine way to spend some rose-tinted time. Just know that it's over a quarter of a century old now, and not nearly as inventive or fair as later entries in the series.

Super Mario Bros.

If you can see past the cheap deaths and stonkingly hard difficulty, Mario's first tour of the Mushroom Kingdom is still an enjoyable one
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