Mario Bros. is as simple a two-player arcade experience can get. You have two players competing to kill the most enemies and gain the most points. To kill an enemy you must flip them by hitting their bottom and running into them. You can collect bonus coins or rely on a POW block for assistance. Mario Bros. would be the first title to introduce the plumber Mario and his brother Luigi! It would be the basis for everything to come, but it had to stand on its own two legs.
Mario Bros. (Arcade, 1983)
The original release falls for many of the same trappings that Donkey Kong does. It’s sluggish, quite ugly, and stiff to control. Physics just feel off. Jumping is too heavy and you carry no momentum. There has never been a time I’ve seen a Mario Bros. cabinet in the wild and decided to play it. There has never been a time I have sat down and thought I wanted to play this game. Even on compilations or the virtual console. There never will be a time. The concept is creative but surefire, the execution is absolutely atrocious. There is no reason to ever play the Arcade version of Mario Bros.
Super Mario Advance Pack-In ver. (GBA, 2001)
Each Super Mario Advance release on the GBA featured a remade version of the original Mario Bros! It’s basically the same game, but with updated graphics and better physics. The game is certainly better, but jumping still feels incredibly off. I couldn’t see myself pulling out the GBA link cables just to knock a few Shellcreepers with a pal.
Mario Bros. is historically a pretty bad game. It never found it’s special “All-Stars” variant that made the experience multiple times better. It’s incredibly hard to even play a half-decent version of Mario Bros. I don’t think anyone should be losing sleep over not experiencing it or frothing at the mouth for an original cabinet. This is easily my least favorite Mario title released. Sure, the CDi games and Mario’s Time Machine play magnitudes worse, but they have their charm. Mario Bros. is soulless.