Hello everyone, and welcome to Inside the Guide, the article that gives you a behind-the-scenes look at writing guides for videogames. This month I’m going to be more serious than joking when I discuss Super Mario Bros. 2, as released in Japan. So if you don’t like serious stuff, just look at the pictures and move on to the next article.
Now, if you’re like me, you played Super Mario Bros. 2 on your NES a couple dozen times, mainly because it was loads better than Super Mario Bros. I couldn’t beat Super Mario Bros., even with a Game Genie. But I could beat Super Mario Bros. 2, so I played that more often.
But, as it turns out, Super Mario Bros. 2 isn’t a Mario game. Nintendo thought SMB2 was “too hard” for Americans. So, what they did was take a game called Doki Doki Panic, change the characters to Mario characters, and release it in the U.S. as a Mario game. Take a look at the two games, and you’ll see that they’re pretty much the same:
So, what happened to the real Super Mario Bros. 2? It was released only in Japan. There are copies of it floating around the Internet, but it’s kind of hard to find. I found a copy of it, so I wrote a guide on how to beat it.
Super Mario Bros. 2 is pretty much exactly the same as Super Mario Bros., because every 2D Mario game is the same: All you have to do is go to the right, avoid the bad guys, and save the Princess. Fortunately for me, the Web site I got the game from had a mini-guide that told you how to beat the game. I beefed up the mini-guide by putting in jokes and more in-depth explanations, and, in a relatively short time, I had a guide of my own.
Super Mario Bros. 2 introduced the poisonous mushroom. Touch it and you die.
I thought that would be the end of the story, since this is a rare game that nobody plays; but, it turned out that I had to update it not once, but THREE times!
Update One: My first version of the guide included warp zones, which meant that I skipped some levels. That’s the whole point of using warp zones, right? You want to skip as many levels as possible. Who wants to play every freaking level in a Mario game? Anyway, my guide was marked as “half-done” because I skipped some levels, so I had to go back and update the guide. I did a really half-assed job for the update. For example, I say the way to beat the water levels is to “Swim right while avoiding the enemies.” Fortunately, no one noticed that I didn’t put any effort into the guide, and so the guide was marked as “fully done.”
A warp zone that takes you backwards. If this doesn’t make you want to throw your controller at the screen, nothing will.
Update Two: Approximately 50000000 people e-mailed me asking me for a copy of a ROM for this game. Well, I don’t have one, and even if I did, I’d never admit I have one, because it’s illegal. To get everyone off my back, I gave a link to a Web site that may or may not have the ROM. It worked, and people no longer ask me for a copy of that game’s ROM, even though the Web site I linked to no longer exists.
The title screen. This game was only released in Japan, but all of the text is in English. What the heck?
Update Three: Some person named Kef Li read my guide and had a bunch of advice for how to improve it. Instead of reading his advice, I just copy/pasted it into my guide, giving credit to him. “Why bother?” is my motto when it comes to updating a guide with reader-submitted information.
One of the few changes between this and the first Mario game is that the fire wands can appear outside in this game, whereas, in the first game, they only appeared inside Bowser’s castle. Mario nerds thought this was a major change.
So that’s this month’s version of Inside the Guide. Sorry if it’s not that funny because I spent all my time talking about guide-making things instead of making jokes, but writing guides is the topic of this column, after all. I’m also really, really sorry that Elizabeth Medina-Gray won’t date me just because she thinks we might be related, but that’s another story.