Use that plunger to help usher in the Game Boy era!
The year was 1989. The Nintendo Entertainment System had been available to the masses for about six years but Nintendo wanted fans to have the ability to play their favorite games on the go. The Big N wasn’t a total stranger when it came to handhelds, having developed the Game and Watch games at the start of the 1980’s. However, Nintendo knew they needed a little help from their favorite plumber from Brooklyn, Super Mario. The first Mario handheld game had a lot on its plate, being the first handheld in the franchise as well as a launch title for the Game Boy. How did Mario do in his first foray into the mobile market?
At the time, Nintendo CEO Hiroshi Yamauchi spoke to Gunpei Yokoi about developing a Mario game for the Game Boy. It was perceived that Mario would sell units and for the longest time, it wouldn’t be a system launch without Super Mario.Super Mario Land had one more obstacle to overcome, as it would be the first Mario game made without Shigeru Miyamoto. Yokoi had some pretty big shoes to fill.
How was the game going to build off of the mechanics of the Original NES game? Super Mario Land would take the platforming style and run with it. The basics of moving right were present but there was much more. You weren’t saving Princess Toadstool this time around as you were tasked with rescuing Princess Daisy. She debuted in Super Mario Land, as well as the evil space alien Tatanga. Tatanga was well received as a villain, he returned in Super Mario Land 2 as the boss of the Space Zone. Princess Daisy was the ruler of Sarasaland but only played the damsel in distress. It wouldn’t be until the Nintendo 64 days where fans of Daisy would get to see her again in the likes of Mario sports titles like Tennis.
Super Mario Land took the tried and true Mario formula and ran with it in the likes of several locations for Mario to traverse. There were 4 worlds in the game. Birabuto looks like a take on Egypt where you travel through the pyramids to get to boss sphinx, King Totomesu. Mario Land has boss fights at the end of each world, which is broken up into three levels each. The themes for each world are different and the boss fights/levels are different. World 2 has you drive the Marine Pop, a sub that allows underwater travel and torpedo shooting. You’ll have to take down Dragonzamasu the giant sea horse/dragon monster to achieve victory. The third world is Easton that plays off Easter Island and World four, Chai, has an Asian theme, complete with the music and backgrounds. Similar to the boss fight in world 2, you’ll be flying the Sky Pop, an airship, to defeat Tatanga and rescue Princess Daisy.
There were changes to the Mario formula since developers didn’t want it to be a carbon copy of Super Mario for the NES, only in a portable form. Extra lives were hearts and Koopa Troopas would explode when you jump on them. The other major differences were the Fire Flower became the Super Flower that allowed players to have a Super Ball to shoot at enemies. Gone were the days of the Super Mushroom so if that was your go-to power-up, you were out of luck. Most of these changes haven’t been seen again in the Mario-verse other than the Super Ball Flower getting into Super Mario Maker 2 that functions the same way as it did on the Game Boy.
The game has some of the better music on the Game Boy as each world has different themes and thus the music builds on that. If it isn’t the sights and sounds of Egypt/ Birabuto, it’s seeing Easter Island heads running around in Easton. The themes are very memorable but they changed the Star Man theme to a tune similar to the Can Can.
The Game Boy released in 1989 and I was about two or three years old but I still remember getting my Game Boy on Easter and sitting down to play the likes of Ren and Stimpy: Space Cadets, Kirby’s Dream Land and Super Mario Land. (I didn’t get the Game Boy at launch) Easton always gave me the most trouble and it would kill my best runs in the game cause I had trouble standing on the rocks that rolled over the spikes. There were times when it was time for dinner and I’d have the Game Boy at the dinner table trying to get through Easton. It would be play a few minutes, take a bite of spaghetti, few more minutes, few more bites until mom said it was time to stop and eat!
Some of my favorite gaming memories involve the Game Boy, playing Pokémon or Mario Land and Mario Land 2. Super Mario Land has been re-released a few times on the Nintendo eSHop and Virtual Console service as it shows that fans, young and old want to be able to play their favorite games no matter when their first time was. Having the Super Ball power up and Mario Land music in Super Mario Maker 2 also shows that nostalgia still sells, a business model that Nintendo won’t soon give up.
Wahoo! You are a Super Reader! But the adventure doesn't stop here... There's more of this project in another castle! This article is just one level in an entire Super Mario Multiverse, a galactic collaboration between writers around the world sharing a bit of our hearts and memories about our favorite Mario games. Visit the Center of the Multiverse to see more: [display image] [link for image:] https://thewellredmage.com/2020/03/10/center-of-the-mario-multiverse/