Nintendo is a company in love with its past, or at least the popular parts of its past. Except for Super Mario Bros. 2, a game the company doesn't talk about much.
Sure, Super Mario Bros. 2 let players choose from one of four Mario-verse heroes, a pre-cursor to the multiplayer New Super Mario Bros. Wii. Sure, it introduced those bad guys that look like a stack of spherical cacti who have been in many Mario since then. But does Super Mario Bros. 2 get its proper credit?
The people making the newest Mario game, this month's Super Mario 3D Land, say that, well, there is a reference or two to the Nintendo Entertainment System classic in their new game. That 23-year-old game isn't fully forgotten.
"The Poison Mushrooms that appear in the Special Worlds were taken from Super Mario Bros. 2," Super Mario 3D Land's game's director, Koichi Hayashida, told Kotaku in an e-mail interview.
And there's a little more... "I think the ability to get infinite 1UPs relatively soon after the game starts is also
similar to Super Mario Bros. 2."
And? "Birdo is a feminine enemy, and this time we have a decidedly female enemy named Pom Pom. Please try it out and see for yourself."
(Pom Pom, the "feminine" enemy in Super Mario 3D Land who is not Birdo.)
Several years ago, Nintendo created New Super Mario Bros. for the DS and let people know it was a throwback to Super Mario Bros. and maybe to Super Mario World as well. (SMW was, essentially, Super Mario Bros. 4
After that DS game became a hit, Mario creator Shigeru Miyamoto joked to reporters that the business people at Nintendo would love to see a New Super Mario Bros. 2. We never asked him exactly what he meant, but if he meant a new riff on Super Mario Bros. 2, a game that might have been getting neglected because it wasn't originally released as a Mario game, that would have been special. He didn't make it.
Now, in 2011, Nintendo has created its next major portable Mario game, and Miyamoto has said that the game draws heavily from...Super Mario Bros. 3.
What's missing in all these game-long homages? A little more love for Super Mario Bros 2. At least we got the poison mushrooms. And Pom Pom. But she, of course, is no Birdo.
We'll have more from our interview with the creators of Super Mario 3D Land soon. It seems that the game's developers had some fun with our questions.
[UPDATE: Looks like the poison mushroom thing was lost in translation. As readers point out in the comments below, poison mushrooms weren't in the game that was called Super Mario Bros. 2 in America (the game with Birdo in it). They were in Japan's Super Mario Bros. 2, which was released in America as Super Mario Bros.: The Lost Levels. While we regret the error, we think it proves the point.]