Oddballs in Gaming: Super Mario Land

Mario has been no stranger to the world of portable gaming. His first venture into the Gameboy was titled Super Mario Land. It was directed by Gunpei Yokoi who was also the creator of the aforementioned system. He developed this game without input of Shigeru Miyamoto and as such the game was contained in its own continuity. To the surprise of probably nobody Super Mario Land turned out amazingly and is still fondly remembered.

But, while the memories of this game are very sweet; the diversions it took from the main series stick out like sore thumbs. Super Mario Land had exploding koopas, bouncing super balls which go at 90 degree angles, and vehicles. Mario even visited the fantasy counterparts of real world countries such as Bermuda, Egypt, China and the Easter Island.All of this while chasing after Tatanga an alien who kidnapped princess Daisy (who went missing for a decade afterwards).
This is just an example of how disconnected Super Mario Land was from the main continuity line. This was despite the fact that Nintendo touted this game as a true sequel to Super Mario Bros. The changes were so drastic that most of them have never been seen in a Mario game either. For example:


  • Mario’s jump mechanics were changed drastically from the previous games.
  • The fire power is actually a ball which bounces around in angles.
  • Only 4 levels instead of 8.
  • Mario could collect coins with his superball powers.
  • Koopa turtles would explode when stepped on.
  • There was a submarine and an airplane that Mario could fly.
  • Some of the monsters in the game never returned in any other Mario game.


I’m certain the list could be bigger, but those are just the ones which stood out during gameplay. Yet, in-spite of these changes the game was still considerably difficult. I remember my 5 year old self struggling to beat some of the levels until after much practice. There was a lot to enjoy in this game considering the platform it was in which only had a few shades of gray. But, it went to show how much effort Gunpei and his team placed on creating a solid game.
Mario games have always been weird if we consider the premise. Mario is after all a princess rescuing, mushroom eating, turtle kicking, goomba stomping, bowser beating plumber (formerly carpenter) whose most recognized features are a hat and a moustache is quite crazy indeed.

Somehow Nintendo made it work, and then Gunpei Yokoi took it and caused it to be even weirder. At this point I’m not surprised whenever Mario turns out in a new game with a different style all together. Nintendo has just made me completely numb to any of his new games and I love it.
Super Mario Land is available for download in the virtual console; if you haven’t ever played it I suggest you try this oddball, yet quirky and awesome game.

Want a copy of Super Mario Land?  Hit Ebay.