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Can You Defend Super Mario Advance?
By Patrick O'Connor     |   Posted on March 03, 2010   |   Episode 169 (Show Archive)  

   

I know two things: Mario is no gardener and Super Mario Advance is a rip-off!
When it comes to making memorable platformers starring lovable mascot characters, nobody does it better than Nintendo. The Super Mario Bros. franchise isn't just another video game series; it's one of the best and most influential series of games the world has ever seen. No matter if it's using 3D polygons or more traditional 2D sprites, Super Mario is a hero we've been excited about for a quarter of a century. As both a Nintendo and Mario fan, I ask you this very simple question: Can you defend Super Mario Advance?

To be clear, I have nothing against the content of Super Mario Advance. I have fond memories of importing my first Game Boy Advance

Nintendo, I'm begging you, please give us a 3D adventure where we beat up on Wart!
months before its American release. It was the first time I had played Super Mario Bros. 2 in over a decade and proved to be the nostalgic trip down memory lane I needed. But in the nine years since the GBA hit store shelves, I have begun to have a few second thoughts. I've gone from being content to feeling ripped off to just plain being pissed off. And that's just in the last nine years. Imagine how much worse my anger will be if I keep it bottled up for another decade?

For those unfamiliar with the Super Mario Advance franchise, this is a series of 8- and 16-bit remakes of classic Super Mario adventures. The first game (a port of Super Mario Bros. 2) was a launch title. From there it went Super Mario

Bagman would be having a lot more fun if Nintendo had just ported Super Mario All-Stars to the Game Boy Advance!
World (2002), Yoshi's Island (2002) and then Super Mario Bros. 3 (2003), in that order. Each of these four games retailed for $29.99 and came with a free mini-game. The bonus game was nothing more than a special version of the original Mario Bros., the often ignored 2D arcade action game.

How can anybody complain about Super Mario Bros. 3 and Yoshi's Island? These are two of the best platform games of all time, certainly nothing to get worked up about. But the more I look at these four individual packages, the worse I feel about spending that $120.

In the case of Super Mario Bros. 2 and 3, Nintendo decided to upgrade the look and sound to something closer to 16-bit. Usually a fresh coat of paint is a good thing, but Mario fans know that Nintendo has already redrawn the classic 8-bit games using 16-bit technology. In 1993 Nintendo released the reasonably priced Super Mario All-Stars, a Super NES cartridge full of four classic Super Mario outings (the three NES games and the Japan-only sequel, renamed "Lost Levels"). For $60 you got four amazing Mario games, a fantastic deal that led me to name this cartridge

Super Mario All-Stars is what you do when you have nothing else to release for Christmas!
the #1 video game compilation of all time (see: The 50 Compilations That Rocked the World).

Released only eight years after the first Super Mario Bros. game (and a mere three after the last), Super Mario All-Star was the perfect fit for a world still addicted to 2D platform games. And you couldn't beat the price. Who wouldn't want 16-bit versions of some of the greatest 8-bit games of all time? This was almost enough to make us forget that Nintendo didn't have an original Mario game for us that year.

Eight years later Nintendo decided to revisit the Super Mario All-Stars cartridge, only this time around they opted to split the games up and sell them for $30 apiece. You don't have to be a math major to know that $30 is too much. You'll end up paying twice as much money for the content on an eight year old Super NES cartridge. Even with the bonus game and slight tweaks, Super Mario Advance is a bad, bad deal.
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