So after a long hiatus, the Two-Bit Specialist is back now in the outset of summer.  I’m hoping now that I can post a little more frequently now.

As many of you may know, my library of games is rather large, going upwards of 200 games by now.  Mainly for my own benefit, I decided to chronicle that games that I have finished (the requirements for completion will change from game to game, but usually beating the final boss and getting 100% is necessary).  I hope you guys get a kick out of it.  I’ll go through 5 at a time, as that way it won’t seem so overwhelming and it will give me a chance to go a little bit into detail about each game.

To start things off, what better than 5 games about a mustached Italian plumber who is almost synonymous with video-games?  Hit the jump to see 5 games in the Mario series that I have beat:

1.  Super Mario Bros. –Version from Super Mario Bros. Deluxe (Game Boy Color)

I don’t think there’s anything I can say that can do justice to this game.  In 1985, when the world thought that videogames were a dead fad, Japanese company Nintendo took a risk and released the Nintendo Entertainment System.  Bundled with that gaming console was the revolutionary Super Mario Bros., a game that was not only incredibly fun, but also marked a turning point in history.  No, I’m not trying to oversell this.  There is no doubt in anyone’s mind about the importance this little cartridge would have in gaming history.

Mario collecting a Red Coin in Challenge mode.

On a personal note, I always get a kick out of finding out who among my friends played the original Super Mario Bros. back in the ’80s.  Even people that have not touched a game in 20 years have commented that they played Super Mario Bros.  Too bad that they got off the bandwagon (probably the whole “videogames are a fad” thing didn’t wear off).

For the purposes of the game making it into my list of beat games, I had to go through all 8 worlds and beat Bowser.  No warp pipes.  It sounds simple enough, but the game gets rather challenging towards the end, especially when those pesky Hammer Bros. keep hammering down on you.  I’ve playing this one for nearly 10 years, so it’s not necessarily a tough task to accomplish.

2.  Super Mario Advance (Game Boy Advance)Super Mario Bros. 2

This is in reality a remake of Super Mario Bros. 2.  I’m not going to get into the history behind this one.  It has been pretty well documented by everyone and their mom, so there’s no need to repeat it.  Just now that there is a reason why the gameplay is vastly different than that of the original game.

I consider the GBA remake the definitive version of SMB2.  It updated the graphics and added some neat things, such as voices for all characters, hidden red coins and Yoshi eggs in every level, save files, and the original Mario Bros. as an extra game.

Mario in the Super Mario Bros. 2 remake

After finishing the game for the first time, I proceeded to collect all red coins (5 in each level) and the Yoshi eggs (2 in each level).  The red coins were in the most inconspicuous places and scattered throughout the level.  The Yoshi eggs are in the “sub world” that you can access with a magic potion.  The challenge lies in a)finding a potion, b)know where to throw a potion and summon the door, c)getting the eggs and finish the level.  If you die, you lose the eggs.  All in all, it was a great challenge, one that I managed to accomplish.

3.  Super Mario Bros. 3: Super Mario Advance 4 (Game Boy Advance)Super Mario Advance 4

The original Super Mario Bros. introduced a gaming icon.  This third sequel refined the formula that catapulted that icon to immense success.  This true follow-up has Mario and Luigi traverse seven inspired worlds, ranging from deserts to aquatic areas to giant-filled lands to icy landscapes to even the cloudy skies, in a quest to return their kings to their human forms.  In the course of the game, Bowser kidnaps Princess Toadstool (later renamed Princess Peach), and the Mario Bros. take to the eighth fiery world to rescue her.

Mario in a Raccoon Suit in the Giant World

The Game Boy Advance version is again the definitive one.  The graphical upgrade is the same one as seen in the Super NES game Super Mario All-Stars.  The game included a bunch of extra features that no one really cared about, but the main game itself is infinitely fun.  Today I play it and can get through it in probably a full day.  There is two reasons for that: a) I’ve been playing this game for nearly 10 years and b) the game originally did not have save files, so if you wanted to see the ending you had to play it in one go.  Therefore, the levels are pretty short in comparison to, say, Super Mario World.

Fortunately, the game features three secret whistles that let you skip worlds and get to the end pretty quickly, but in order to be able to put it on the list, I had to beat every level.  No cloud items and no whistles to skip around.  Some stages took a little practice, especially the ones I never played as a kid, but it’s doable and done.

4.  Super Mario World: Super Mario Advance 2 (Game Boy Advance)Super Mario Advance 2

This game pretty much defined my childhood.  I had the original Super NES version, and I enjoyed every  minute of playing it.  Some of my best memories came from discovering the secret entrances and levels.  Once again, Mario and Luigi take up the task of rescuing Princess Peach from Bowser, now setting up shop in the watery depths of Dinosaur Island.  Here is where we meet our dino pal, Yoshi, for the first time, later becoming a staple of the Mushroom Kingdom cast.

I always feel like Super Mario World doesn’t get the respect it deserves.  It gets easily overshadowed by both SMB3 and Super Mario 64.  The level designs are great, the music is catchy, the bosses are challenging, and the secret exits add extra replay value.  If y’all have ever reached the Special stages, then you know how difficult they can be.  All in all, it’s a great and fun game.

Mario and Big Boo in a Ghost House

Something that I accomplished in the original version and that I strove to do so in the Game Boy Advance version (whose only real differences from the former are different gameplay mechanics for Luigi and being able to replay castles and fortresses) was to beat all 96 levels.  Actually, the GBA version adds to that challenge by making you find 5 Dragon Coins in every level.  Originally, some of the levels didn’t even have the coins, but it was fun to get them all and be able to brag about it.

5.  Super Mario Land (Game Boy)

Our cap-and-mustache plumber’s first foray in the portable world was an odd duck.  It was the first game not to be designed by his creator, Shigeru Miyamoto, and it kinda shows based on some weird things that they added to this game.  For one, with only 4 worlds, it’s pretty short, but that might have been related to the fact that it came out for the brick-sized Game Boy in the late ’80s.  Mario is not saving Peach or facing Bowser, but rather rescuing foreign Princess Daisy from alien Tatanga.  There is a Fire-Flower-inspired power-up called the “Super Ball”, and Mario even flies a plane!  It’s a fun, short ride, and pretty straight-forward, so it’s inclusion on the list is merely based on the fact that I reached the end in one go (again, no save files).

A level in the Easton kingdom of Super Mario Land.

That’s it for now about Mario games.  I have finished way more but I’ll save those for another occasion.  We’ll choose another gaming franchise next time.  You may have noticed that 3 of these 5 games are from the Super Mario Advance series.  Basically, Nintendo re-released four classic Mario games for its portable system.  So which one is missing?  Super Mario Advance 3?  That’s Yoshi’s Island!  I’m one level short of finishing all of it, but it’s unbelievably hard.  Soon…

What do you think?  Please comment and share.  See you next time!