Super Mario Bros. is 25 years old this year. To commemorate that anniversary, Nintendo is releasing the Super Mario All-Stars collection for Wii. The way Nintendo explains what Super Mario Bros. is and how one plays it has changed over the years.
None of those changes are dramatic, though. What Nintendo calls Super Mushrooms in the Wii manual it used to call Magic Mushrooms. The Super Star, the power-up that makes Mario invincible, was called Starman in 1985. Understandable tweaks.
Other changes are more severe, like the description of how one actually plays a Super Mario Bros. After all, everyone knows how to play a Super Mario Bros. game by this point, right? That’s what the Wii Super Mario All-Stars manual pretty much assumes. The directions are simple: “Defeat enemies and reach the flagpole at the end of each stage before time runs out! Clearing three stages and a castle stage will allow you to advance to the next world.”
The Wii manual has three other Super Mario Bros. games to explain, so its brevity is also understandable.
The NES manual for Super Mario Bros. explains how a video game works in much more detail. (Click to view larger.)
The motivation behind Mario’s adventure to save Princess Peach—or, as she was known in the NES manual, Princess Toadstool—has also been updated. Did you know that the Koopa turtle tribe was a practitioner of black magic, for example? Yeah, they used it to turn the Mushroom People into field horsehair plants.
This is the story of Super Mario Bros., 1985 edition.
One day the kingdom of the peaceful mushroom people was invaded by the Koopa, a tribe of turtles famous for their black magic. The quiet, peace-loving Mushroom People were turned into mere stones, bricks and even field horsehair plants, and the Mushroom Kingdom fell into ruin.
The only one who can undo the magic spell on the Mushroom People and return them to their normal selves is the Princess Toadstool, the daughter of the Mushroom King. Unfortunately, she is presently in the hands of the great Koopa turtle king.
Mario, the hero of the story (maybe) hears about the Mushroom People’s plight and sets out on a quest to free the Mushroom Princess from the evil Koopa and restore the fallen kingdom of the Mushroom People.
You are Mario! It’s up to you to save the Mushroom People from the black magic of the Koopa!
Poor Luigi. The other brother doesn’t even get a mention.
Decades later, after Mario became one of the most recognisable fictional characters and Super Mario Bros. has gone on to become one of the bestselling games of all time, this is how Nintendo explains the story of its NES classic for Wii owners.
The Mushroom Kingdom was the peaceful home of the Toads until the day Bowser and his wicked minions invaded. Using powerful magic, Bowser transformed the Toads into bricks and quickly conquered the land.
Only Princess Peach had the power to remove Bowser’s curse and save her people. But Bowser kidnapped the princess and hid her in his castle. All hope seemed lost, and darkness reigned…
When the Mario Brothers, Mario and Luigi, heard this story, they decided to rescue Princess Peach and defeat the evil Bowser. Can the brothers save the beautiful princess before it’s too late?
Finally, Luigi gets his due.
Super Mario All-Stars for the Wii comes to North America on December 12.