Home > Uncategorized > Retro Arcade Spotlight #1: Mario Bros.

Retro Arcade Spotlight #1: Mario Bros.

December 1, 2010 Leave a comment Go to comments

For the first game I’m going to take a look at, I decided it was most fitting to begin with a game that I consider my all-time favorite arcade game. When I was much younger and had an NES I was relenetless in my quest to obtain this game and played it many hours when I finally got it. I can still find it in arcades, at least when I go to Dave & Buster’s. That game is the Nintendo classic that made it’s main character a global icon-Mario Bros.

Mario Bros. Arcade Marquee

Mario Bros. Arcade Cabinet

Control Layout

Title Screenshot

Title: Mario Bros.
Alternate Titles: None
Versions: US Revision E (Parent), US Revision F (Clone), US Unknown Revision (Clone), Japan (Clone). No known differences between US revisions, Japan revision reportedly awards multiple extra lives for point thresholds instead of just one
Publisher: Nintendo Of America
Developer: Nintendo Of America
Released: 1983
Genre: Platform
Other Platforms: NES (also in arcades via the PlayChoice-10 machines), Atari 2600, Atari 5200, Atari 7800, Nintendo GameCube (unlockable extra in game “Animal Crossing”), Nintendo Wii (Download via Virtual Console)
Issues: None
Save States: Yes
Story/Plot: Wipe out the pests that have infested the plumbing pipes by flipping them over then knocking them off platforms.

Mario Bros. is also the first game in which the main character got his name-Mario. Although he had previously appeared in Donkey Kong & Donkey Kong Jr., he was known as “Jumpman” in those games.The gameplay was quite simple: There are 5 enemies-Shellcreepers, Crabs, Fighterfly, Slipice, Fireballs. For the first 3 you had to hit them from below to flip them over (stun). After a few seconds they flipped themselves back up and moved faster. To make it more interesting, crabs had to be hit twice to flip over-one hit just made them mad and move faster, while Fighterfly can only be flipped while grounded (it jumps to move). Slipice, which apppears in later waves, stops on a platform and freezes it if not destroyed, making it extra slick for the player and hard to control.
One thing that also set the game apart from others, and made it more fun, was it’s 2-player mode. You could equally play cooperatively AND competitively! Both players could work together to clear stages but they could also try and sabotage the other by jumping and hitting the platform the other player is standing on from below to knock them into the air or players could also jump onto the other and stomp them down for a moment. Other than that the gameplay is fairly simple-dlip enemies over and knock them off. But what also makes it more challenging is the addition of the fireballs, which become faster and more frequent in later stages-both a red/orange one that slowly bounces diagonally around the playfield but also a green/blue one that moves quickly across the horizontal level the player is on should they remain there too long. Additionally, the player has a POW block that can flip all enemies over (or add one state to crabs) but it can only be used 3 times per difficulty level that increases as the game progresses.
The graphics and sounds were quite simple and fairly clean outside of perhaps a quick flickering now & then. Controls are responsive and quite easy-the joystick only moves left or right and there’s just one action button used for jumping. The difficulty level gradually increases throughout the game, typically going up every 3-4 levels (the game calls each screen/level a Phase) The 2 player mode had to be done from the start of the game-there’s no “buy-in” option, no continuing either. But a fairly good player should easily be able to get to at least phase 10-12 under normal circumstances, it doesn’t even start to get too hard until at least Phase 8 or 9 when the Slipice debuts.
So in the end, why is it perhaps my all-time favorite arcade game? It’s simple, easy to learn and play, and just a lot of fun for one or two players. Just never gets old.

Gameplay specifics:
CPU: 4 MHz Z80, 11 MHz M58715, Discrete Sound
Buttons: 1
Dip Switches: Lives (3-6), Coinage (1 Coin/1-3 Credits, 2 Coins/1 Credit), Extra Life (20,000/30,000/40,000/No Bonus), Difficulty (Easy, Medium, Hard, Hardest)
Service Mode: No
Cheats: Free Play, Infinite Bonus Time, Infinite POW, Invincible, Infinite Lives (Note: Cheats not available in Revision E)
Current High Score: 131,380

Graphics: 8
Sound: 8
Controls: 9
Gameplay: 10
Challenge: 10
Replay Value: 10
Overall: 9

Downloads (Note; These are links to pages to download the ROMs and NOT direct links to the files themselves):
CoolROM: http://www.coolrom.com/roms/mame/10618/Mario_Bros._%28US%29.php (Not known which version)
http://www.emuparadise.org/M.A.M.E._-_Multiple_Arcade_Machine_Emulator_ROMs/Mario_Bros._(US,_Revision_E)/105734 (US Revision E) (Parent)
http://www.emuparadise.org/M.A.M.E._-_Multiple_Arcade_Machine_Emulator_ROMs/Mario_Bros._(US,_Revision_F)/14430 (US Revision F) (Clone)
http://www.emuparadise.org/M.A.M.E._-_Multiple_Arcade_Machine_Emulator_ROMs/Mario_Bros._(US,_Unknown_Rev)/14429 (US Unknown Revision) (Clone)
http://www.emuparadise.org/M.A.M.E._-_Multiple_Arcade_Machine_Emulator_ROMs/Mario_Bros._(Japan)/14428 (Japan) (Clone)
http://www.emuparadise.org/M.A.M.E._-_Multiple_Arcade_Machine_Emulator_ROMs/Mario_Bros._(PlayChoice-10)/15363 (NES PlayChoice-10 Version)

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