EP's loose and he's armed with a keyboard!

Super Mario Bros. 2 is a BIG FAT LIE

You know, I’ve been thinking lately that a large chunk of my childhood was a big fat lie. I played a game as a child on the NES, which many of us “older” gamers might remember. It was a little title called Super Mario Bros. 2. You might have heard about it. I loved this game. It had very little in common with the first Super Mario Bros., but it was so out of the ball park that I loved it anyway. You could pick one of four characters at the beginning of the game each of which had different powers. Mario could run fast (i think); Luigi could jump really high and had some great hang time; Peach could float and Toad had excellent staying power not losing strength when carrying objects. Playing as each different character made the game a little different. Level design was great too: grassy plains, snow and ice, desert and dark caves.

The problem I have, is that none of this had anything to do with Super Mario Bros. 2. In Japan, a completely different version was introduced to market. A version that much resembled SMB1 but was just hella hard. Nintendo decided that the title was too difficult for U.S. and European gamers so the corporate egg-heads took an existing game, Doki Doki Panic and changed it around a tiny tiny bit and called it SMB2.

I’ve known about SMB2 and Doki Doki Panic for a few years now, but it wasn’t until I stumbled across a web article ***( “The 12 Differences Between Super Mario Bros. 2 and Doki Doki Panic”) that I learned of how little the two titles differ from one another.

The SMB2 version obviously did change some things that needed to be changed, such as the character design.

The only change, according to the article made to game mechanics was that holding down the B button made Mario and Co. run faster. In Doki Doki Panic the characters ran at one speed. Other changes were purely cosmetic, such as Doki’s hearts being changed into SMB2’s mushrooms.

Enemies stayed the same: Birdo remained Birdo as Shy Guys remained themselves.

For many adults whose formative years were spent in the 1980’s, Super Mario Bros. 1, 2 and 3 played a major role in fond memories that we tend to look happilly back on. Learning that SMB2 was actually a Japanese title with a wacky name is like learning that the man you’ve called Dad your whole life has no blood relation to you but that you are actually the product of one of your mother’s many drunken flings. I feel robbed.

… but Doki Doki Panic, thanks for the memories.

*** This entry was originally published in the past in another of the author’s blogs which is no longer available. The article referenced here can no longer be found under the provided link. Sorry


February 18, 2010 - Posted by | Gaming | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,


  1. That makes so much sense. The Middle East flavour of the two characters you show here have more to do with the deserts and snakes and stuff like that than Mario and Luigi and the Mushroom kingdom people.

    And are you saying that Toad doesn’t get hurt if he’s carrying an object. Now you tell me!

    Comment by whatigotsofar | February 18, 2010 | Reply

  2. Interestingly, though, while Doki Doki Panic has more or less vanished, the characters and concepts of Super Mario Bros. 2 have endured within the subsequent installments, in one way or another. So rather than being a loss, I see SMB 2 as just doing an obscure game an awfully big favor.

    Comment by James Grimes | February 26, 2010 | Reply

  3. I agree, James. Not only have the characters from Doki Doki Panic endured through subsequent installments, is it possible that the original Japanese release of SMB2 (which was much a more difficult SMB1) might have caused Mario to fade into obscurity?

    Comment by epokeefe | February 27, 2010 | Reply

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