Super Mario Land Retrospective: How it set the foundation for platformers

Looking Back: A Casual Retrospective on Super Mario Land

Super Mario Land was a groundbreaking game that was released for the Game Boy in 1989. It was the first Mario game to be released on a handheld console, and it introduced many new gameplay mechanics that would become staples of the Mario franchise. The game was developed by Nintendo's R&D1 division, which was responsible for many of the company's most successful games.

Super Mario Land was a departure from the previous Mario games in many ways. The game featured a new setting, with Mario traveling to a new land called Sarasaland to rescue Princess Daisy from the clutches of the evil Tatanga. The game also introduced new power-ups, such as the Superball Flower and the Marine Pop, which allowed Mario to shoot superballs and swim faster, respectively. The game also featured new enemies, such as the Muda Kingdom's octopus-like creatures and the Easter Island heads in the Chai Kingdom. Overall, Super Mario Land was a unique and refreshing take on the Mario formula, and it remains a beloved classic to this day.


Super Mario Land is a classic Mario platform game that follows the plumber on his journey through the Mushroom Kingdom. The game features classic platforming gameplay, with Mario running, jumping, and defeating enemies to progress through each level.

Players can collect power-ups, such as the Fire Flower and Superball Flower, to gain new abilities and take on tougher enemies. The Fire Flower allows Mario to shoot fireballs, while the Superball Flower lets him shoot bouncing balls that can take out enemies and hit blocks from below.

Enemies in Super Mario Land include classic Mario foes like Goombas and Koopas, as well as new enemies unique to the game. Players must navigate through each level, avoiding hazards like spikes and projectiles, to reach the end and touch the flagpole.

The game features a friction system that affects Mario's movement and jumping abilities. This can take some getting used to, but adds an extra layer of challenge to the game.

Players can earn extra lives by collecting 100 coins or hitting hidden blocks. However, if they lose all their lives, it's game over and they must start from the beginning of the world.

Super Mario Land features four worlds, each with its own set of levels and bosses. The bosses include unique enemies like a giant snake and a space alien.

Overall, Super Mario Land is a fun and challenging handheld game console platformer that offers a unique take on the Mario franchise. While it has some issues, such as the limited sprite size and lack of save feature, it remains a classic Mario game that is worth playing for any fan of the series.

Graphics & Sound

Super Mario Land's graphics and sound are a testament to the limitations of the Game Boy's hardware. Despite this, the game manages to create vibrant environments that are a joy to explore.

The game's visuals are simple but effective. Mario and the enemies he faces are all easily recognizable, and the environments are varied enough to keep things interesting. The game's use of color is also impressive, with each level having its own distinct palette.

The soundtrack is similarly impressive. Despite the limitations of the Game Boy's sound chip, the music is catchy and memorable. The game's main theme, in particular, is one of the most iconic in the entire Mario series.

Overall, Super Mario Land's graphics and sound may not be as impressive as those of later entries in the series, but they are still impressive considering the hardware they were created for. The game's vibrant environments and catchy soundtrack make it a joy to play even today.

Why It's Still Unique

Super Mario Land was a game that took risks and introduced new concepts to the Mario franchise. It was the first Mario game designed for a handheld console, the Game Boy, and it was developed by Nintendo's R&D1 team under Gunpei Yokoi's leadership. The game also marked the first appearance of Princess Daisy, a recurring Mario series character.

The game's setting, Sarasaland, was a departure from the Mushroom Kingdom and introduced new enemies like Tatanga, the game's main antagonist. The game also had secrets and hidden levels that added to the game's replayability.

Despite being a departure from the mainline Mario games, Super Mario Land still managed to capture the essence of the series with its platforming gameplay and power-ups like mushrooms. The game's music, composed by Hirokazu Tanaka, was also unique and memorable.

Critics at the time praised the game's innovation and its ability to translate the Mario formula to a handheld console. The game's success led to two sequels and paved the way for future handheld Mario games like Wario Land.

Super Mario Land may not be the best Mario game, but it's still unique and worth revisiting. Its legacy can be seen in later Mario games like Super Mario World and the recurring use of power-ups like the Super Mushroom. The game is also available on the Nintendo 3DS virtual console, making it accessible to a new generation of gamers.

Why You Should Play It Today

Super Mario Land is a classic platformer game that was developed and published by Nintendo. The game was released in 1989 for the Game Boy handheld game console. Despite being over 30 years old, Super Mario Land is still a great game that you should play today.

One of the reasons why you should play Super Mario Land is because it is a part of the Mario series, which is one of the most popular and iconic video game franchises of all time. The game was developed by a team of talented developers at Nintendo, who are known for creating some of the best Mario games.

Another reason why you should play Super Mario Land is because it is a great platform game. The game features classic platforming gameplay that is easy to pick up and play, but challenging enough to keep you engaged for hours. The game also features a variety of power-ups and enemies that make the gameplay more interesting and fun.

If you have played other Mario games, such as Super Mario Bros. 3, Super Mario World, or Super Mario Kart, then you will feel right at home with Super Mario Land. The game features many recurring Mario series characters, such as Princess Daisy, and Wario, who would later go on to star in their own games, such as Wario Land.

Super Mario Land is also available on the Nintendo 3DS Virtual Console, which means that you can play the game on a modern handheld console. The game has also been re-released on other platforms, such as the Wii, which means that you can play the game on a modern TV.

Overall, Super Mario Land is one of the best Mario games ever made, and it is definitely worth playing today. Whether you are a fan of platformers, the Mario series, or just looking for a fun game to play, Super Mario Land has something for everyone.