Super Mario Land

released on Apr 21, 1989

Super Mario Land is the first Mario's outing on the Game Boy. It is a side-scrolling platformer much in the vein of the previous Super Mario Bros. This time, Mario must save Princess Daisy, rather than Princess Toadstool, from her kidnapper Tatanga, a mysterious spaceman. The game follows largely the same formula of its aforementioned predecessor, with Mario defeating enemies by jumping on them and collecting coins and power ups by hitting floating blocks, with each world leading up to a boss fight which is defeated using by collapsing the floor. A unique feature of this instalment is two scrolling shoot-'em-up levels, the first of which Mario pilots a submarine, and the second an aeroplane.

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One of the weaker Mario games, with slightly wonky controls and tiny sprites, and it turns into an unfortunate shooter at the end for no apparent reason, but it's a short game, forgiving in lives and checkpoints, and it's worth a visit just for the general weirdness (the UFOs and Egyptian tombs were my personal favorites) and the music.

It's ungodly short, beatable in an hour tops, and Mario's physics feel all kinds of off, but there's a certain unique charm to the portly plumber's portable debut. Helmed by Gunpei Yokoi, it definitely sticks out from the rest of the series with its unique setting and quirks, and an insanely catchy soundtrack to boot. You've got next to nothing to risk by giving it a try, so go do it.

Not half bad for a Gameboy launch title; Super Mario Land's got 12 varied levels with phenomenal chiptunes and some great airplane autoscroller segments. This game is an essential play for Mario lore-heads and self described "Nintendo fans," but for your average player, the game's a tough sell owing to it's awkward controls and hit detection.

This sure is a Mario game for the original Gameboy released in 1989

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