Super Mario Land - 3DS Virtual Console

Super Mario Land’s re-release has done a terrific job of exposing that gamers really will find anything to complain about. On 3DS Virtual Console, Mario Land is 4 bucks. That’s only like 80 nickels. You know what you can’t buy for 4 dollars? A Big Mac. Yes you could get a value cheeseburger but those are never filling and then you have to buy like 3 of them and then you just feel terrible about yourself. And nobody needs that. My point is 4 dollars is not much money.

However with minimal effort you can find about 100 complaints from people online saying they would never pay that much money and how ridiculous Nintendo is for asking that much of them. To make matters worse, a large percentage of those people will go on to say “if it was 3 dollars I would definitely get it. But 4?!”

When did we get this bad?!  When people complain about 70 dollar games instead of 60 I can at least get behind that. But 4 instead of 3? What are you saving that dollar for? It’s certainly not a Big Mac, we covered that. Even the value burger is out now! If you walk into just about any store and ask “What can I get for a dollar?, the clerk will punch you in the stomach and tell you to quit wasting their fucking time. And they were right to do it. It’s a harsh but necessary lesson.

Oh and Super Mario Land is still a pretty fun game.

There is some embarrassing footage of me out there freaking the fuck out when I receive this game, along with my Game Boy system, on Christmas in 1989. I remember playing it pretty obsessively for a few weeks and having a surprising amount of difficulty finishing it. It’s been 22 years since I last played and I wrapped this bad boy up in about 30 minutes. I took 2 things from this experience. The first is that 5-year-old me was really awful at video games and should be ashamed of himself. The second is that even after more than two decades have passed us by, Mario Land has aged surprisingly well.

Despite what some purists will try and tell you, Super Mario Land does not stray too far from the tried and true Mario formula. You run from left to right and traverse platforms, while jumping on goombas and turtles. This game does also have spear wielding insects and jogging easter island heads, which sadly did not become a staple of the series going forward. There’s also no Bowser for this go around. Instead we get Tatanga, an alien flying around in a spaceship. If you can look past this departure from the usual canon (and sadly I know there is a large section of people who can’t) it’s still a pure Mario experience.

Oh except for those parts where Mario leaps into an airplane or a submarine and starts murdering everything in his path with bullets. Yes 2 out of the game’s 12 levels are side scrolling shooting stages. It’s a nice change of pace and although these stages don’t last long, what’s there is enjoyable.

Probably my favourite part of this game, and something I had almost completely forgotten about, is the soundtrack. This is some good stuff right here. Each and every track is memorable and eerily catchy. I’ve woken up the past three mornings to immediately find myself humming the first track in the game. And that shit stays with me right up until I go to bed. Perhaps that’s not the most glowing endorsement but even if you’re not planning to get this game (did I mention that 4 dollars is not much money you cheap bastard) I would at least seek out the soundtrack because it’s all classic.

As I mentioned the game does only have 12 levels, spread across 4 worlds. The worlds themselves are quite different from one another so you will see a great deal of variety across these stages. But the experience is over quite quickly. The game does have some challenging moments, but most people should be able to burn through it in the same 30 minute span it took me. There is an extra difficulty mode which presents more enemies and puts them in different locations, but even that will only extend the lifespan a little bit. For me though, this is a game I just like having on my 3DS at all times. It’s a good one to have in case you have a few minutes here and there to burn through a level. I can see this being a game that as time passes I will beat countless times over.

Also 4 fucking dollars! What is the matter with you?! You are seriously being held back by the fact it’s not 3 instead!? Are you really that concerned that in the coming weeks there will be a situation where you’ll need a dollar and you’ll look back and think “fuck! If it weren’t for Mario Land I wouldn’t be in this mess!” Because I don’t think that could ever be a real situation that could happen to a human being.

Also Super Mario Land is still a pretty fun game.