Mario Week: Super Mario Land




Super Mario Land (SML)

SML came out in 1988 in Japan and in August 1989 for North America. It was the second Game Boy game I got (Tetris being the first) as a kid. And I have a love/hate relationship with this game. I have only beaten it once yet played it numerous times. I tried to beat it again prior to this review thinking I could as an adult and sadly I was mistaken. I kept dying by or even before getting to the fourth world, level-2.

The first level ugh is a desert level, most skipped level in any Mario game...

The first level ugh is a desert level, most skipped level in any Mario game…

This game has its pros and it’s cons practically like any other game. It has two levels that particularly show off the Game Boy’s capabilities while most of the game was a bit “out dated” and certainly down right tough to the point of screaming at it. Those levels were the scrolling levels of which in other Mario games I tended to hate where as on the Game Boy and in this game they are brilliant.


I honestly have to equally tip my hat to the game for the music that it has. Of which the game had it’s own music created specifically for this game. Music aside the games main aspect which is similar to Super Mario Bros. Yet… this games’ game play is poor compared even when compared to the older games before it. This is probably due to the fact it was made by Nintendo’s R&D 1 division opposed to the creators of several of the former and later Mario games; Nintendo’s R&D 4 division (later renamed Nintendo’s EAD (or Entertainment Analysis & Development)

I guess in simpler terms it means Shigeru Miyamoto had nothing to do with this game, it’s development, or otherwise. Ironically it showed although the Mario games that would be developed later by the R&D 1 division would get better. Before I get to hard onto R&D 1’s case it was headed by the now deceased legend: Gunpei Yokoi. If you don’t know him by name and you love video games as you may proclaim then (1) there’s something wrong with you or (2) you are lying or maybe (3) you don’t realize how he has affected you so you had no reason to or opportunity to know about him (so be prepared to learn a little here.)


Without going into much detail lets just say that Nintendo’s system/mindset was essentially created by him with a theory “Lateral Thinking with ‘Withered’ Technology” of which is now an issue for the company instead of a sustainable ideal [topic of discussion for later]. He designed the Game & Watch handhelds, the Virtual Boy (a failure but not on fault of Gunpei…), R.O.B, and most widely known the Game Boy. He also is the founder of some series such as Kid Icarus and the Metroid series.

So when I say this game isn’t as great it isn’t because “Mario is in a world that isn’t like the one in which he comes from” to be fair this game was Gunpei’s envision of what a Mario game should be like which means it is a “gaiden” or for us English speaking folk a spin-off, of which it is. Many fans are today irritated by this fact and yet many of them readily accept comic book spin-offs or movie/TV-show spin-offs. (Nothing against comic books/movies/TV-shows!)



A Pakkun Flower, a Pionpi (the witch looking thing which is actually a hopping vampire/zombie of Chinese lore) and a Mario all walk into a game cartridge… wait a minute… a hopping vampire/zombie in a Mario game that isn’t an un-dead koopa… uhm what!?!

No this game isn’t as great to me because it doesn’t play or feel like a Mario game, the controls aren’t as tight and precise as other Mario Games. The turtle shells explode, there’s bugs.. spiders, flies and bees!!!! There are similar standard series enemies such as Goombo’s that are a sub-species of Goomba’s but they are called Chibibo in the original Game Boy release of this game, the turtles are a sub-species of Koopa’s and as well as Pakkun Flower’s which is the Japanese name of the Piranha plant… but they both look off but we will let them slid as say… limitations of the original Game Boy? (cool? We cool). There are also some other strange enemies and the worlds are awkward to.

Beeeeeeeeeeesss!!! (called Bunbun is bee-like so "bee")

(called Bunbun is bee-like so “bee”)

The worlds in which you must play through are the only four kingdoms in the land of Sarasaland… Oh yeah that reminds me. That’s the other thing the story in this game much like games prior to this one were only told in the instruction manual. So if you didn’t have one or lost yours you won’t have any inclination as to where, when, why, what and who (other than Mario and Daisy… or is it Daisy Daisy?…). Though if this games’ game play was outstanding then you probably wouldn’t need story for an explanation on an honestly short game.


This Daisy is a fake, her name isn’t Daisy Daisy.


The real Daisy… Daisy Daisy…

So you have four worlds, in which each world has three levels for a combination of twelve levels you must beat. At the end of each world there’s a boss of the Kingdom. The worlds/kingdoms have names and the bosses do too and in the fourth world there’s a second boss unlike in the second world. The second boss in the last world happens to be the main villain: Tatanga of which once again if you don’t have a copy of the booklet (and some cases you do) you probably don’t care who he is and/or anything else about anything else or anyone else besides Mario or Daisy. Let’s be honest. Which is kind of sad if your into that kind of thing as its very lack luster in this game.


Tatanga, a space alien that captured Daisy prior to the start of the game, that fiend…

This game has problems, sometimes they are player error and other times just cheap deaths. This game can and will kill you numerous times until you figure it out. This game has awesome things about it such as the music or the fact you can take a Mario game on the road which came in handy for many trips. This is the kind of game that people who like to throw around an insult of “nostalgia blindness” could be legit. Normally persons who use that phrase do so to negate the fact an older game is better in actuality than a newer game in an act of fallacy (or fallacies). However not all older games are better in actuality compared to newer games. Graphical more often than not the new games are/maybe better. But just like anything else it has to be compared in it’s entirety.



Did you like this game as a kid? Do you like it still? Are you more likely to play the eNintendo version or do you stand by the original Game Boy copy? Let us know in the comments below and as always thanks for visiting our site we hope to see you again!

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