Forgot your password?
typodupeerror

How America Changed the Mario Brothers 315

Posted by samzenpus
from the jumping-plumbers dept.
DreamWinkle writes "It might seem unlikely considering that Mario was born and developed in Japan by Japanese minds, but America forever changed how our favorite plumber played. Why? Because Nintendo thought the U.S. and European gamers couldn't play. As a consequence, they never released the real Mario 2 outside of Japan because it was too hard, and instead released Doki Doki Panic with the Mario name. Since then, the entire Mario franchise has picked up traits from Doki Doki Panic, like the card game at the end of each level in Mario 3. This article takes a look at what elements really belong to Mario and what belongs to Doki Doki Panic. It's interesting to see that, point for point, Nintendo changed almost nothing about Doki Doki Panic before releasing it in the states and Europe as Mario 2."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

How America Changed the Mario Brothers

Comments Filter:
  • Old... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday July 20, 2006 @03:09AM (#15748255)
    Seriously, this news is 20 years old. I figured pretty much every serious gamer knows this story... More interesting is how frequently Japanese companies have made the American version of the game easier.
    • Re:Old... (Score:5, Informative)

      by Coneasfast (690509) on Thursday July 20, 2006 @03:20AM (#15748286)
      for those who don't know though, you can find this (and other) info on the wikipedia article: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Super_Mario_Bros. [wikipedia.org]
    • by gcnaddict (841664) on Thursday July 20, 2006 @07:37AM (#15748771)
      I don't think the article ever really mentioned how many games inherited things from the Doki Doki Panic rebranding later on.

      One of the biggest things that comes to mind is how Princess Peach can float and pull+throw turnips(?) seemingly out of nowhere in Super Smash Bros. Melee.
    • Re:Old... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Lumpy (12016) on Thursday July 20, 2006 @07:47AM (#15748802) Homepage
      It's not just video games. Electronics are "dumbed down" for the american consumer. There are craploads of electronics they sell in Japan and sell like mad that we do not see here. The Sharp Zaurus was pulled from US markets because it's too "hard" for americans. Yet the Zaurus is a raging success in Japan and they are on their 6th version that blows anything you can buy in the states out of the water. In Japan it is common to have combo DVD-MiniDV tape devices, something that home video editors here in the US would kill for.

      From Cellphones to everything else. It is all "dumbed down" for Us consumption.

      Why do they do this? Because the average US consumer IS too damned stupid. Give them a DVD recorder remote with 52 buttons and a LCD status screen and they freak out. Give them full control menus on their TV for adjustment and they freak out. How many people went through the 80's with a blinking 12:00 clock on the VCR because it was "too hard to set"?

      Most of the cool electronics that geeks here would kill for are castrated and then have soft corners installed for us "special" americans so we do not hurt ourselves.
      • Re:Old... (Score:3, Interesting)

        by drsmithy (35869)
        Most of the cool electronics that geeks here would kill for are castrated and then have soft corners installed for us "special" americans so we do not hurt ourselves.

        I think you'll find the attitude is not so much "dumb Americans" as "dumb non-Japanese". It's not like other "caucasian" countries are swimming in the cool eletronic gadgetry that is commonplace in Japan, either.

      • Re:Old... (Score:2, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward

        How many people went through the 80's with a blinking 12:00 clock on the VCR because it was "too hard to set"?

        To be fair, the excessive number of button presses required to set a VCR clock IS too hard unless you intend to set a timer for recording. Otherwise, you just have a clock on your VCR and, frankly, it's just not worth the effort only to have it reset itself the next time the power goes out.

        A better, but related example, might be that delayed record feature. How many people never did figure out how t

        • To be fair, the excessive number of button presses required to set a VCR clock IS too hard unless you intend to set a timer for recording. Otherwise, you just have a clock on your VCR and, frankly, it's just not worth the effort only to have it reset itself the next time the power goes out.

          You raise an excellent point. Why, after 20+ years of VCR development, do I *still* have to reset everything on my VCR every time the power blinks? My computer can keep time for years without power. What's so difficult ab
        • Re:Old... (Score:3, Interesting)

          by MBGMorden (803437)
          Ok, I'll concede that it shouldn't have to be repeated every time the power goes out (I have seen VCR's that would would settings on a power blink of less than 30 seconds, but sadly none have implemented any sort of flash storage or such).

          That being said though, I have never found a VCR that was too hard to set. People just freak out when they are presented with a set of steps more than 2 or 3. I know plenty people (some whose houses I have to visit) who can't watch TV after the power blinks, because thei
      • Re:Old... (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Ubergrendle (531719) on Thursday July 20, 2006 @10:08AM (#15749596) Journal
        cultural priorities really explain it -- knowledge of how to use a technical device isn't all that important in the grand scheme of things. For example, I doubt the average Japanese developer is any better than an average Indian, Chinese, or American one. Their culture doesn't have an inherent +10 skill for technology, its just cultural priority. When you live in a shoebox, technology is an escape... i only need 1x1 meters for my sony playstation + lcd monitor + final fantasy VXIII.

        How many cellphones have I had in a lifetime? 5 at least. I no longer learn all the functions of my electronic device, i want it to 'work'. Douglas Adams said it best (paraphrasing)-- "Technology is a word used for a device that doesn't work yet. A chair is technology, but no one things of it as such."
      • In Japan it is common to have combo DVD-MiniDV tape devices, something that home video editors here in the US would kill for.

        JVC DVD and Mini-DV Video Recorder Combo [markertek.com] 250 GB HDD. $1500

        the average US consumer IS too damned stupid. Give them a DVD recorder remote with 52 buttons and a LCD status screen and they freak out. Give them full control menus on their TV for adjustment and they freak out. How many people went through the 80's with a blinking 12:00 clock on the VCR because it was "too hard to set"?

      • Re:Old... (Score:5, Insightful)

        by misleb (129952) on Thursday July 20, 2006 @10:57AM (#15749909)
        It doesn't sounds like Americans are being singled out though. Europeans got the same products, AFAIK. Also, it may not be that Americans (or Europeans) are too "stupid" to use the more complicated devices, maybe the Japanese just don't know how to make a complex interface that is intuitive for anyone but themselves.

        -matthew
        • Re:Old... (Score:3, Insightful)

          by poot_rootbeer (188613)
          maybe the Japanese just don't know how to make a complex interface that is intuitive for anyone but themselves.

          I think there's some truth in this.

          The example of a 52-button DVD recorder remote with a built-in LCD screen given by a previous commenter... that's just bad interface design.

          For one thing, if you're using a DVD recorder the odds are very, very good that you have its video output hooked up to a TV. Why does there need to be a graphical display on the remote itself? Use the TV as the display and d
      • Re:Old... (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Just Some Guy (3352)

        Why do they do this? Because the average US consumer IS too damned stupid. Give them a DVD recorder remote with 52 buttons and a LCD status screen and they freak out.

        Or how about this: the average US consumer isn't so infatuated by technology that they want to learn a 52-button remote. I have a degree in comp sci and have a Palm and a satellite radio sitting on my desk - I am the target market for complicate, geeky gadgets. And yet what I really want is a cellphone with ten number buttons, a "phonebook"

      • Re:Old... (Score:3, Interesting)

        by TubeSteak (669689)
        Well... Japan, China & Korea are used as test markets for all the new tech that comes out of those three countries. The companies can afford to do small runs of expensive gadgets.

        That would be why they get all the wild stuff that never makes it past their borders. It's either unpopular or can't be mass produces at a low enough price point.

        As for the dumbing down effect, Asians seem to love buttons & features. The more buttons & features an electronic gadget has, the better. It seems to be a cult
    • by Danse (1026)
      More interesting is how frequently Japanese companies have made the American version of the game easier.

      I think the Japanese just have a different idea of what is fun than most westerners. To many, Japanese games seem more tedious than fun.
    • As true as that is in general, you'd probably be surprised to know that they actually made the American Zelda 2 harder, by way of not letting you choose what you level up. The screen that comes up when you level up seems like it should let you pick life, magic, or attack, but only lets you select a predetermined trait or "cancel." In the Japanese version, you actually CAN pick whatever, and if you level up life and attack before magic (because its mostly useless in the beginning of the game) it's a LOT e
      • I still remember playing my old US copy of Zelda 2 and I remember being able to go down to the option marked cancel. This let me save the points I had and but them into something else at the next level up.
  • by bonch (38532) on Thursday July 20, 2006 @03:09AM (#15748258)
    I thought this was very common knowledge by now, especially on Slashdot. For crying out loud, a link to About.com? For more detailed information about the differences between the U.S. and Japanese versions of all the Mario games, check out The Mushroom Kingdom [classicgaming.com].
  • Tonight o_O (Score:4, Funny)

    by Fusione (980444) on Thursday July 20, 2006 @03:10AM (#15748260)
    As I wasted my last life fumbling with mario 3 using an emulator on my PDA while riding home on the bus, the Japanesse kid beside me chuckled. I gave him a dirty look, and turned away to try again. What an erie slashdot article to come home to.
    • Re:Tonight o_O (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Sefi915 (580027)
      He wasn't laughing at you using the PDA to play it. He was laughing at you because you sucked at Mario Brothers 3.
  • Makes a lot of sense (Score:3, Informative)

    by kjart (941720) on Thursday July 20, 2006 @03:17AM (#15748277)

    Honestly, I remember playing Mario 2 and thinking "What the hell were they smoking when they made this game? Killing enemies with turnips you pull out of the groun? Red potions that take you to a mirror world? How does this fit between 1 and 3?". This actually explains a lot.

    Also, I don't know why they thought we couldn't handle the real one - all the best [imdb.com] gamers are in North America ;)

    • by MS-06FZ (832329) on Thursday July 20, 2006 @03:49PM (#15752093) Homepage Journal
      Also, I don't know why they thought we couldn't handle the real one

      IMO Super Mario Bros. 2 (the real one) is overrated. There's a lot there that makes the game harder, and some of it, as far as I'm concerned, falls under the category of "poor game design" rather than being a worthwhile challenge. For instance:

      Poison Mushrooms: They're a fair enough game element, but the visual difference between these and good mushrooms (the color of the spots) could potentially be lost on poor TV monitors.
      Super Springboards: You bounce off these so high that you're off-screen for several seconds. On some levels you need to jump high off these and then make precision landings.
      Castle Mazes: There were a couple of these in SMB - how they worked is that if you're in a castle and you run to the right, the castle will appear to be an endless loop unless you're on the platform at the "correct" elevation. There's no indication that this is a dynamic thing. You just have to figure it out. Reasonable if it's not taken to extremes, but SMB2 pushes this farther than SMB did.

      You have to also consider how this all went down:

      1985: SMB comes out in US and Japan.
      1986: SMB2 comes out in Japan for the Famicom Disk System. The game, for whatever reason, is not released in the US. I think it's because of a combination of the difficulty (perhaps) and the somewhat poor game design choices, and the fact that, overall, it's "just another" SMB without much new to it.
      1988: SMB3 is on its way, and the US is still without a SMB2. Do they release SMB2 (a first-generation NES title, by US standards) to the US, three years after the release of the NES? Bear in mind that in the time since SMB came out, NES games had gotten a lot better. Contra, Castlevania, and Rockman 1-2 all came out in that period. Plus SMB3 was coming, and setting a new standard for the series. I think apart from any concerns about how SMB2 would be received by US audiences based on its merits as a game or sequel, there must also have been concern that if they released SMB2 in 1988, it wouldn't measure up to more contemporary titles, with its one-direction scrolling, rather simple sprites, animations, and backgrounds, and the fact that it was little more than a new set of levels for a three-year old game that almost all NES owners had played (and probably gotten tired of, begun to see as antiquated, etc.). So they took Doki Doki Panic and put in Mario characters.

      Now you can say what you like about how Doki Doki Panic/Super Mario USA doesn't fit the style of gameplay in the rest of the series... but nevertheless it was a damn good game. It had a good central gameplay mechanic (lift/throw) and used that to good effect to create some interesting boss battles, like the mouse/bomb fight or the final battle - much better than the "dump in lava or shoot with fireflower" that you had with Bowser in SMB 1 and 2.

      I don't get how the article can attribute the minigames in SMB3 to the roulette feature in Doki Doki, however. What's the connection? Tenuous at best, I'd say.
  • Wait a minute (Score:3, Informative)

    by denmarkw00t (892627) on Thursday July 20, 2006 @03:29AM (#15748310) Homepage Journal
    Now, if I had a look at, say this page [about.com] linked from this article [about.com], noted here [slashdot.org], then I probably wouldn't need TFA to tell me that Mario 2 was an almost complete rip off of some other game.
  • oh. (Score:5, Funny)

    by supernova87a (532540) <<moc.liamtoh> <ta> <1relpek>> on Thursday July 20, 2006 @03:33AM (#15748316)
    from the title, I thought it was going to be how the Mario brothers became fatter, and less efficient.
    • Re:oh. (Score:5, Funny)

      by carpe_noctem (457178) on Thursday July 20, 2006 @03:52AM (#15748347) Homepage Journal
      This should be a clear consequence of any game involving mushrooms and magic pipes...
      • Re:oh. (Score:2, Funny)

        by Opportunist (166417)
        Now that you mention it, I'm surprised that the game is still not on some index in Germany. A plumber who eats magic mushrooms and starts to see monsters, then dives deeply into some pipes and more often than not comes out with a new life, little stars that, when you take them, make you all jumpy...

        That game's a drug party!
  • It's common (Score:5, Interesting)

    by bm_luethke (253362) <luethkeb@@@comcast...net> on Thursday July 20, 2006 @03:40AM (#15748329)
    Many many video games have seen this treatment.

    The very popular Final Fantasy series has very much seen this. We, in the US, never saw quite a few of the releases. For much the same reason - we are seen as too stupid. Later releases have been adjusted to meet both our markets.

    The interesting question is: is this true? I don't really think so, Imports/unedited releases are too popular when available. IMO people are mostly just people - difficulty doesn't matter much. Culture references very much are important, but that is very different from complexity.

    Lets put it this way: were there to be a "white" and "black" version of a US game release where the black version was VERY simplified from the white persons games for the same reasons would we accept it? Not in the least - and rightfully so. There may be some culture difference (maybe one prefers FPS over RPGS) but complexity and ability to understand it is not one of them.

    I've always found it intereseting what prejudices are accepted and which are not. Not just in the above example (dark colored skin vs light colored), but in any of them. West vs east, tech vs non tech, color of skin, rural vs city, religious vs non-religious, or any number of classes that are compared. Pretty much everyone has them - I do. I try to root them out but am shown that I haven't found one from time to time. For whatever reason it seems to be human nature to group - some can try and identify it, some can not. And, in some cases, the groups are even accurate (if they are accurate to ignore them is horrid/destructive policy).

    While there may very well be some cultural differences (maybe westerners do actually prefer FPS and simple games over easterners - though I'm not sure that's true), it's not because one can not handle them. I don't like art films - I can quite follow them and understnad them - however I still don't like anything but simple minded movies (I do, however, like complex books).
    • by nobodyman (90587) on Thursday July 20, 2006 @05:01AM (#15748499) Homepage
      You're conclusion as to the motives for the "simplification" process is, ironically, an oversimplification of the reasoning and intent behind doing such a thing.

      For much the same reason - we are seen as too stupid.

      I don't think this is what executives at Nintendo, Square, and the like are thinking. I'm not saying that Japan is devoid of nationalism or even outright racism, but I simply can't see a rational human being uttering the phrase "The American mind simply cannot take in all of the brilliance that is Final Fantasy I&II, we must water it down". It all comes down to the bottom line, and anyone wanting to sell a product has to know their market. There's a big difference between "Let's not port SMB2 because it won't sell" and "Americans are too stupid for SMB2".

      The interesting question is: is this true? I don't really think so, Imports/unedited releases are too popular when available. IMO people are mostly just people - difficulty doesn't matter much. Culture references very much are important, but that is very different from complexity.

      Unfortunately, I feel the market disagrees with you. Take a look at rare instances where Japanese RPG titles get the full-on marketing push in the USA. EarthBound for the SNES is a good example. Originally known as "Mother 2" in Japan, the game received a very good (yet faithful) translation effort, had a big marketing push by Nintendo, and was prominantly displayed in oversize packaging that was custom-made just for that title (to accomodate the strategy guide they threw in to sweeten the deal). In fact, the USA translation was arguably more expensive to develop and market than the original Japanese version.

      By your theory Earthbound should have done every bit as well as it did in japan. However, the game tanked badly. I was one of the, oh, maybe 5 people in the USA to buy that game. It was awesome, btw, but that's not the point.

      There are a couple instances that play out similar to this, but smart companies learn lessons quick and that's why nintendo is very shrewd about what titles get ported.

      As for this conventional wisdom regarding why Nintendo didn't release the "real" SMB2 in the USA... I don't buy it. I see the same reason stated repeatedly, but never with attribution. I'd be willing to guess that there was a quote taken out of context and/or badly translated. I'd be much more willing to believe that Nintendo felt that the Japanese SMB2 would be poorly received because the American gaming demographic skewed younger than their japanese demographic and that small children would be turned off by a weak cash-in of a game that was so frustrating that you wanted to bash the cartridge into tiny bits.

      Yeah, I played it, and though I'm sure to offend the obscure-japanese-game-title-snobs out there, but the truth is this: The Japanese version of SMB 2 simply wasn't very good.

      • by Large Green Mallard (31462) <lgm@theducks.org> on Thursday July 20, 2006 @06:37AM (#15748668) Homepage
        I think you're also oversimplifying and projecting western values onto the Japanese.

        The concept of racial equality is a western one, and a western one alone. It is entirely acceptable in Japanese (and most of asia/africa/south america) culture to discriminate based on race. Emmigrating to Japan is hard at the best of times, but if you're brown of any description or russian (for example), you can essentially forget about it. It is not uncommon for establishments (pubs/bath houses/shops) outside of Tokyo to proudly proclaim "Japanese Only". http://www.debito.org/ [debito.org] has some interesting information about this sort of descrimination.

        Divirging, but deciding not to offer something because "westerners aren't smart enough " is, in my opinion, entirely in keeping with cultural norms in Japan.
        • Also, check out the little Sambo face that gets pulled out of the ground.
        • 1. South America is in the western hemisphere.
          2. Nowhere in south america you can't be vocally racist without risking jail or you ass getting kicked.

          Where did you get such a silly idea like that? Really. I'm really curious since I lived in South America all my life.
          • The term "Western Culture" does not mean Western Hemisphere. It means the general culture of the west half of the Asian/European land mass. That is why the UK is considered "Western Culture". The US got most of it's origianl culture from England, and that is how we ended up a "Western Culture". Of course South America got much of it's culture from spain, which is also a "Western Culture", so that doesn't really change your argument. Just clarify item (1).
        • I have to disagree with you in one point. Here in South America racism is as bad as in any other western country. And I see you separate South America from "western countries". I feel slightly offended. Like when US people call themselves "Americans". But that's a separate issue. Discriminating people because of its race is very bad seen here. Sadly, it's common, but that doesn't make it acceptable. Specially in countries like mine (Chile), where you can see many european descendants as well as native desce
    • I doubt the reasoning was so much "Americans are stupid" as it was a view on the attention span and willingness to spend hour after hour on finally getting that jump right to finish the level, correct or not.
    • Re:It's common (Score:3, Insightful)

      by wizrd_nml (661928)
      I don't think it's a matter of stupidity. My impression is that the Japanese players are just much more dedicated to gaming. I think the average American loses interest in a game once he/she completes it. The average Japanese doesn't consider the game completed until he/she discovers every secret, trick, hack and bug.

      It's a matter of patience really, not intelligence.

    • While there may very well be some cultural differences (maybe westerners do actually prefer FPS and simple games over easterners - though I'm not sure that's true), it's not because one can not handle them.

      Dunno. I think it was a little less than 20 years ago when Mensa changed their admissions test in Japan because something like 15% were passing instead of 2%. Maybe nurture _becomes_ mental nature? It isn't Lamarckian to say the development of the mind is shaped according to its available environment.

      W
      • Re:It's common (Score:3, Interesting)

        by elrous0 (869638) *

        I think it was a little less than 20 years ago when Mensa changed their admissions test in Japan because something like 15% were passing instead of 2%.

        What they ACTUALLY uncovered was an inherent flaw in Mensa's assumptions: that abstract qualities like "intelligence" and "creativity" can be measured by a damn 2-hour multiple-choice test. The Japanese were able to do so well because they are obsessively focused and dedicated when it comes to studying for multiple-choice tests.

        -Eric

    • Re:It's common (Score:3, Insightful)

      by McFadden (809368)
      I was wondering how long it would take someone to start moaning about prejudice (or racism as some of the follow ups have classed it). While your comments weren't actually that bad I think you missed the point. It's not about American's being stupid. The perception (rightly or wrongly) is about Americans being lazy. America is the biggest convenience-led culture in global history. Just look at the obesity levels compared to the rest of the world. Companies dumb stuff down, not because they necessarily
      • Re:It's common (Score:2, Informative)

        by plague3106 (71849)
        America is the biggest convenience-led culture in global history. Just look at the obesity levels compared to the rest of the world.

        Is it? That doesn't explain why obesity levels are rising at an alarming rate in other Western countries too (and many non-Western countries as well), such as Australia. Google for world wide obesity and you'll see.
    • FF: International (Score:3, Informative)

      by cgenman (325138)
      We, in the US, never saw quite a few of the releases. For much the same reason - we are seen as too stupid. Later releases have been adjusted to meet both our markets.

      Final Fantasy 7 was actually significantly improved for the US version. Not only were random enemy encounter rates cut to about 1/3rd what they were in the japanese version, but two insanely difficult "mega weapon" optional final bosses were added.

      This was later released in Japan as Final Fantasy 7: international edition and proved incredibly
      • I loved the original dragon warriors for Nintendo. I remember how mad I was as a kid when my Dragon Warrior 3 battery died and I lost all my progress. I was so bummed I quit RPGs until I played FF7 for the PS2.
    • Oddly enough, the Resident Evil (Biohazard) series has always been raised in difficulty for the Western versions. Apparently the Japanese like their survival horror to be a bit easier.
    • Re:It's common (Score:3, Insightful)

      by jandrese (485)
      I don't know, I've played the "hard" import versions of some of those games and I don't think the extra difficulty really added to the fun of the game at all. In a lot of cases they just made boss battles even longer and forced you to stock 8 different items to cure status effects instead of 1. A lot of the time I think the "simplified" version is a better game because they drop the frustrating and annoying aspects of the gameplay and just focus on the fun stuff.

      Mario 2 Japan was also really freaking ha
    • I would tend to think that if some games get simplified a bit for the U.S. release, it just means that after releasing the game in one market and getting feedback from reviewers and customers and what not, they decided that some things really were just too hard or tedious. Not because they thought Americans were dumber, but because they realized after they released the game that some aspects were too hard or too boring. If Final Fantasy II/IV was "dumbed down" or "made easier" primarily by taking out a lo
  • by 7Prime (871679) on Thursday July 20, 2006 @04:08AM (#15748375) Homepage Journal
    ...is it's effect on game series, as a whole. Up until then, sequals were little more than altered level sets. In fact, this is all the Japanese sequal to Super Mario Bros. is... aside from the addition of one item, the poison mushroom, it is simply a different level set. But with the game switch debacle that was Mario 2, the whole idea of a "sequal" changed from: "same game with different levels", to "new game with similarities to original game, with new levels". Since then, few series have been able to get by with simply altering level sets. Imagine what would have happened if Mario 2 had been released the way it originally was, in the US, Mario 3 wouldn't have had to be so innovative just to follow a similar progression, it could have just been a THIRD level set of the original game... but thankfully, the creators were forced to come up with some entirely new design ideas, and created one of the greatest games of all time.
  • Well, this is old news like others have said but it sure makes me glad I grew up in downtown Tokyo. I had the opportunity to waist tons of hours on this super hard Super Mario Brothers 2 with my Japanese buddies. And when I got tired of playing this difficult game I would just go to the toy shop to have the disk rewritten with a easier game for just 500yen (like Doki Doki Panic).
  • by Paul Johnson (33553) on Thursday July 20, 2006 @04:11AM (#15748383) Homepage
    Like, don't warn us that the linked story tries to run ActiveX controls that "improve" my computer. I suppose most /.ers either run Firefox or have security turned up high, but hey, thats no excuse.
  • They DID release it (Score:4, Informative)

    by Calydor (739835) on Thursday July 20, 2006 @04:14AM (#15748392)
    They DID release the original Mario Bros. 2, just not on it's own, it was part of the Super Mario All-Stars compilation for the SNES, then dubbed The Lost Levels. So the article is kinda wrong, it did get released outside of Japan - eventually. It is, however, more of the same old as the first game, only harder.
    • if you click through all the articles in that article they mention that fact
    • by hal2814 (725639) on Thursday July 20, 2006 @08:31AM (#15748946)
      "They DID release the original Mario Bros. 2,"

      No, they did not. They released a dumbed down version of the original SMB2 for American and European audiences. From the Wiki: [wikipedia.org]

      "Neither of these rereleased versions [SMB All Stars and SMB Deluxe] of the game are absolutely true to the original. Aside from the save feature and improved graphics, extra power-ups and 1-ups were peppered throughout the levels, and hidden power-ups were placed in plain sight. Red Piranha Plants, which would originally come out even if Mario or Luigi were next to or on the edge of the pipe, would not emerge if the player was standing on the center of the pipe."

      If you've ever played the Famicom version of SMB2, you WILL notice the differences after a few levels.
  • I really want to play Doki Doki Panic with the original sprites.
  • "Too Hard" canard (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jerkface (177812) on Thursday July 20, 2006 @04:36AM (#15748446) Journal

    "Everyone knows" that all the most awesome, hardcore Japanese games don't make it to the US because, overall, the US audience needs dumbed-down, easier games.

    Everyone is wrong. Comparing mainstream audiences, Japanese gamers actually prefer easier, less-complex titles with more linear storytelling and less control and decision-making from the user. This is most evident in sports games. US/EU sports titles never make it in Japan in part because they are far too complex and a bit too difficult. JP sports titles rarely make it elsewhere because the gameplay seems dumbed-down and unrealistic.

    In the case of the "lost levels", the game wasn't that popular in Japan either, while our so-called SMW2 has enjoyed enduring popularity in Japan, across multiple releases on multiple consoles. The problem with the SMB sequel wasn't just that it was too hard, it is that it's not that good. It's too much of a rehash of the first SMB and all the added difficulty comes from gimmicky and poorly-tested elements; it's more often annoying than it is hard.

    As for RPG's not coming to the US, the problem here isn't that we aren't good enough for the excellent Japanese RPGs. The bigger problems are:

    • Preferences. Japanese players like simpler, more linear games (you might even say "dumbed-down") with fewer skill-based elements and more emphasis on storytelling and presentation. They are also more tolerant of silliness.
    • Costs. An RPG requires hundreds or thousands of times the translation effort of an action title. Margins are not always very high and many producers and distributors simply don't want to deal with such large up-front costs. Even extremely popular games like Nintendo's Animal Crossing and Zelda get delayed by months so they can be translated.
    • Prior to 1996, RPGs were niche titles outside of Japan anyhow.
    If you confine your analysis to only hardcore gamer audiences, the comparison becomes completely different. For instance, nobody can touch the Japanese elite at 2d arcade shooters, while on the other hand the Japanese are nonexistent in the FPS scene. But in both cases, the hardcore communities are completely unrepresentative of the mainstream audiences.
    • by DrXym (126579)
      I suspect that US / EU sports games don't make it to Japan for much the same reason that US games don't or just barely make it to Europe and vice versa. Because they're unappealing to those markets.

      While I am sure that there are distributors in the US for Brian Lara's Cricket or Gaelic Football, those titles aren't exactly likely to be flying off the shelves. Likewise in Europe with US sports like (American) Football & Baseball. They might sell, but it would be a tiny fraction compared to the home mar

    • Having Plays Lost Levels AKA SM2. It wasn't much that it was harder just more annoying. First there were 16 worlds not the normal 8. Expanding the time for game play and the original Nentendo couldn't save, except for Zelda. Thus increasing the chances for a distraction where you need to turn of the game, or forced to share it with someone else. Plus there were those loops if you didn't take the correct path you looped back and had to do it over again, This is the Packman effect where if you play the same
    • Prior to 1996, RPGs were niche titles outside of Japan anyhow.

      I would have thought a /.er would think about the world outside of consoles... RPGs have been among the most popular and enduring computer titles since the early 80s. Which is a good point in your argument--American RPGs are very different from Japanese ones. Japanese RPGs bore me at best and annoy the hell out of me at worst (who ever dreamed up random battles should be shot), but I have loved American RPGs from a young age.
  • Maybe I should start submitting when I see a lot of 'slownewsday' tags. I'm still 0/3.

    I do havea normal comment though.

    I wonder if it's just a natural tendency for Japanese to make their games that much tougher. Is that because your average Japanese boy is more patient? I mean, Everyone knows taht the Japanese Final Fantasies basically have enemies that cause more damage yet your main characters earn less EXP per kill.

  • I have also heard that the reason that the original "Super Mario Bros. 2" was not released in the USA was because the USA had a stronger demand for originality and, thus, Nintendo was concerned that the game would not be well received in the states. Certainly, SMB and SMB2 are largely very similar; however, I'm uncertain which theory is correct, if not both.
  • Unwelcome Easy-ness (Score:3, Interesting)

    by justinstreufert (459931) on Thursday July 20, 2006 @07:00AM (#15748691) Homepage
    OK, it's old news. But the whole easy-ness thing is a real bummer.

    Not to brag (I've never really considered myself "good" at video games, I have friends who consistently kick my ass at it), but I picked up the New Super Mario Bros DS title a few weeks ago and beat it in about a week. Finished the final boss on my second try, and went back & polished off the 2 skipped worlds in a day or two.

    This makes me a sad panda. It's a gorgeous game, loads of fun, but it was over before I knew it and compared to my childhood Mario experiences (SMB 1 & 3, SMW) it just seemed very easy. There's not even a % done indicator so I can see whether I've found all the coins and hidden spots. Am I missing something? :(

    Justin
    • by ex-geek (847495)

      This makes me a sad panda. It's a gorgeous game, loads of fun, but it was over before I knew it and compared to my childhood Mario experiences (SMB 1 & 3, SMW) it just seemed very easy. There's not even a % done indicator so I can see whether I've found all the coins and hidden spots. Am I missing something? :(

      Try to replay any of the old titles some time. I recently tried to play Super Mario World. I didn't expect to get anywhere, since I haven't played it for 15 years and have rarely played anything f

  • First of all, until Super Mario World 2: Yoshi's Island this game was questionable "Mario canon", once Shy Guys started showing up in Yoshi's Island did this game truly become part of the series (in terms of mechanics, etc.). Until then, NONE of the Mario games shared any of the mechanics from SMB2/SMBUSA, this includes the differences in the characters. I don't know why the submitter thought that the panel roulette from SMB3 inherits off the slot machines in this game. Those are entirely different featu
  • ummm there's a card game at the end of every level in Mario 3?
  • "It might seem unlikely considering that Mario was born and developed in Japan by Japanese minds, but America forever changed how our favorite plumber played."

    Yes, his image was created in Japan, but Donkey Kong was created to sell in North America, a circuit board that could be tossed into unsold arcade cabinets over here, replacing the mundane space game that nobody remembers because nobody wanted to play it. Heck, it was NOA that gave him the name "Mario" (Super Jumpman Bros, anyone?). So it's a real s
  • ...but not as Mario 2. It was on the SNES "Super Mario All-Stars" compilation and titled "The Lost Levels". It was pretty much a harder version of the first Super Mario...more pits to fall in, purple mushrooms that would hurt you, etc. Graphics and sound were nearly identical. Also, to be fair, Doki Doki Panic was developed by the same team that made Mario, but before it's "Mario 2" makeover, it had more of an Arabian theme.
  • I remember hearing that the American releases of games by large publishing companies often have tweaked gameplay to make them slightly "easier" to play (or conversely, making american games harder when exporting them), generally tolerances on timing, accuracy required and so forth. This does make sense, however, as historically European and Japanese gamers have had a good 20 years of fiendishly difficult platformers as their game of choice, where having to restart a level or indeed the game is a frequent o

It's been a business doing pleasure with you.

Working...