Super Mario Bros. Turned 30 -- When Did You First Play?

Super Mario Bros. Turns 30 Today — When Did You First Play?

On September 13, 1985, Nintendo released Super Mario Bros. for the Family Computer (Famicom) in Japan. My first encounter with the heroic plumber came a year later at a local bar.

The game that many credit with resurrecting North America's video game industry after the Atari/Coleco era crash arrived in the states at a point when 12 year old me was perfectly content playing with my Transformers and G.I. Joes, getting my video game fix from two odd relics from the gaming boom — the Coleco Adam computer (with Atari 2600 adaptor) and the Vectrex my mother bought me on clearance at Toys 'R' Us a couple years prior.

My mother had recently moved us down to Georgia from Pennsylvania to live with her third husband, the CEO of a successful financial software company. Despite my new stepfather's relative wealth, I'd grown up relatively poor and the idea of asking for a couple hundred dollars to purchase a gaming system and some cartridges was completely alien to me. In early 1986 the Nintendo Entertainment System was barely on my radar.

So my first taste of Super Mario Bros. didn't come from the NES, but rather from an old cocktail-style Popeye arcade machine a local bar had converted into a PlayChoice 10 — basically an arcade machine featuring various NES games that allowed customers to play timed sessions for quarters. My friend Scott and I would stop by the convenience store for a Cherry Cola Slice and then slip into the bar to play Nintendo games. The bar employees never paid us any attention — we were 12-13 and basically invisible as long as we were quiet.

I first played Super Mario Bros. with an arcade joystick. One button jumped, the other let me run. It was pretty amazing. Imagine my surprise a year or so later when I realised you could play the game at home with a rectangle.

Where was your first Super Mario Bros. experience? Were you alive when the game first arrived way back in 1985, or did you play it retro-style in order to experience an important piece of gaming history, you young thing you?

Share your fondest Super Mario Bros. memories in the comments below.

Top image: Japanese Super Mario Bros. cartridge art, via the Mario Wiki.


    1988 for Me. Damn man.

      Me too! But I couldn't convince my parents to buy me one for 2 years after that.

    I got the NES deluxe set one Christmas, that's the one that came with Duck Hunt and Gyromite with the R.O.B. robot, pretty sure it was 87 but I can't really remember so I would have been 7. Super Mario Bros was the first game I got after that. I did't know anything about Mario at the time, I think I got it because the screenshots of the game on the back of the box caught my eye, same with The Legend of Zelda which is the game I got after that.

    I was about 5yrs old when my mum walked into my room with a NES and Super Mario Bros/Duckhunt combo. I had no idea what it was and judging by the way she handed it to me she had no idea either. I must of spent a whole day trying to figure out how to set it up before my uncle came over and showed me the ins and outs of an RF Switch and how to tune in the picture, it took no time at all with hes help and I think it was because he was more excited about playing it than I was.

    we got it running... well we got a picture. A distorted image of the Titles Mario Brothers and Duck Hunt Flashed on and off the screen in unison with the Red light on the Consoles Reset Button. I was confused. My Uncle turned it off, ejected the cartridge and blew into it, he then reinserted the game pushing it down, closing the flap and powering it on once again. The title slid onto screen and I pressed start.

    I played the first level spending most of my time trying to walk backwards chasing items slid of screen. I ran out of time before getting anywhere near the flagpole, I missed jumps, got killed by enemies and just generally sucked real bad. it must have been so frustrating for my uncle to watch but did until I got sick of it and handed the controller to him. he ran through the first level with ease, the second too. The third level provided little challenge and the first encounter with Bowser only cost him one life. After that he offered the controller back to me but I wasn't interested, I just wanted to watch him play more, get further and save the princess. That night was the first time I had stayed out of bed past midnight, I watched him play all the way up to level 8 where he never reached the flagpole before the timer got him. the screen read gameover and by that stage it was gameover for me too, completely exhausted I passed out on my lounge room floor.

    first one i played was on the original gameboy and i think it was in 1992ish

    1997, Super Mario 64. Only because parents wouldn't buy me a console and so had to save up when I had a job.

    Watching older friends play Super Mario Bros. on NES when I was a kid. Had no idea what was going on, but was mesmerised.

    I played SMB2 first - out the front of Logical Choice in Wagga Wagga in 1989. I finally played the first one a year later on a play choice 10 in a bowling alley on a visit to Canberra!

    I would have to raid the photo albums to be sure, but I think it might have been 1992. Pretty sure the first lot of friends I went around to a friend's place and he had a NES there. I remember being at the Mario/Duck Hunt menu and deciding I wanted to play "the monkey one". Because that little figure of Mario there looked like a monkey.

    I can remember playing SMB on the NES on a store demo thing, but I wanted a Sega Master System more so that's what I ended up getting eventually.

    But my next console was a Snes which came packed with Super Mario Allstars, so that was my first Mario game(s), around 1994 I think.

    NESSSSSSSSSS, the original SMB game. It was around 1990; I was about five.

    My first one was also from a makeshift arcade cabinet housing a famicom and one of those bootleg X-in-1 cartridges at a small store in my neighborhood. I'm talking here about "Mario bros.", the pipes & platforms game for two people, not SMB (though I might have played Donkey Kong, his original apparition, first. Hard to remember.) Must have been some time late 1988.

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