Tag Archives: Super Mario Brothers 3

Travels in the Mushroom World (Part 1)

After replaying Super Mario 3 for the first time in many years recently and finding out my skills had lapsed, I am determined to improve. I will beat this game, without skipping worlds, and hopefully with as few continues as possible. Here is my story.

World 1 – Starting a new game. Alone. It’s starts well. The sky is sunny, the grass is green. I travel through the world with only one death. Grass Land is no match for me.

World 2 – I make the trek through Desert Hill’s vast sandy environments without much incident. The Angry Sun cannot catch me and I’m too quick for the quicksand. I only have only one death in the cold, sunless fortress then breeze through the rest of the world. The dry heat agrees with me. Perhaps things are turning around? My skills are returning.

Super Mario 3 Boss Bass

World 3 – Hubris! The first two worlds have made me overconfident and I have paid dearly. The sea is a harsh mistress and makes her presence acutely felt. But my true enemy is Boss Bass. The extra lives I earned in the first 2 worlds quickly disappear down a fish’s gullet. I am killed no less than 6 times before I’m able to hobble across the finish line of 3-3. The rest of Sea Side treats me better and though I come close, I’m able to avoid seeing a Game Over screen. But for how long? The little confidence I had built has been shaken, and I have few extra lives left.

World 4 – In the Land of Giants everything is large and imposing, but it’s not these giant objects and enemies that pose the biggest threat. Level 4-2 brings back the trauma of 3-3. The water is rising! The fish are close! They’re smaller now, but faster. Cheep Cheeps. They leap out of the water, intent on attacking me with their cold fish lips and razor teeth. They are often successful. I futilely try to kill them with ice blocks, but even when I score a hit, they always come back. There’s a horrifying moment when I mis-time a jump and plunge into the watery depths, into their domain. I thrash about violently, struggling to get back on land. My first leap fails, as does the second. I avoid one by mere inches before I’m finally able to get back up. The level takes its toll and I go into the next with only 2 lives left. I get killed by a Sledge Brother. I fall into a bottomless pit. Game Over.

To be continued…

Shame

I have a confession to make.

This is hard for me to admit.

I am bad at Super Mario Brothers.

As someone who spent a lot of time playing NES 20 years ago this is a very difficult thing to come to terms with.

I didn’t accept it at first. “I never owned an SNES, so I need a few minutes to get used to Super Mario World.” “I haven’t played Super Mario 3 in 20 years, I’ll remember everything in a couple turns.” “The dog made me run into that koopa.” “It’s because I’m playing Luigi. Mario’s better, I want to play Mario.”

Super Mario World

After I had died a number of times without my skills improving much, I got mad. “Holding down a button to run in a platformer, what terrible, stone-age design” or “Is this it? Get a leaf and fly over every level before you find the secret that lets you skip half the game? That’s dumb,” and “How am I supposed to use this blocky controller, it’s terrible.” Also: “Stop watching me play and laughing at me when I die! This is your fault!”

Super Mario 3 death

Then came the questions and self-reflection. Is this it? Am I bad at video games now? Was I ever good at them? Am I a gamer? Has this entire part of my life been a self-aggrandizing delusion? Can I really continue to write about video games with any kind of authority when I’m so fucking terrible?

Super Mario Brother game over screen

I know the last phase of this is supposed to be acceptance, but no. I won’t accept it. I’m going to keep playing, keep practicing, until I’m awesome again. Or at least not completely shitty. I will kick shells into my enemies. I will jump on the heads of koopalings. I will not get killed by anymore Boomerang doucheBros, or  fall to my death. I will master that awful blocky controller.

I’ll let you know how it goes.