One of my favorite things to do on a Sunday afternoon is play old-school games. I'm not sure why, but it just seems like a lazy Sunday is the perfect time to delve into some retro goodness. So, for the first Retro Sunday feature, let's talk about one of my personal favorites.
As you (should) know, Mario 2 plays very differently from standard Mario games. Rather than stomping on enemies, you can pick them up and throw them. You can also pull plants out of the ground and huck them at unsuspecting baddies. Or dig up sand. Or anything, really. Oh, and if you find a potion buried in the ground (who hasn't?), just throw it on the ground and a door to another dimension will appear. In this dimension, you have about 5 seconds to grab cherries or pull coins out of the ground. Grabbing 5 cherries nets you a Starman. Coins are used at the end of each level as tokens on a slot machine where you can earn extra lives. Plus, if you put the potion in the right place, you will find a mushroom, which increases your hit points by one (this resets to two for every level).
You know, the more I talk about it, the weirder it sounds. But it's fun! Promise!
Mario 2 is important because it introduced some unique new characters to the Mario pantheon. Shy Guys and Birdo would not exist were it not for the insane adventures of Mario 2. Fun fact: in the NES version, at the end of the game when it scrolls all the characters and their names, the character we know as Birdo was called Ostro, and the enemy that looks like an ostrich was called Birdo.
I've always enjoyed Super Mario Bros. 2. I don't know if it's the bizarre storyline or the change-up in mechanics or the fact that you can play as the greatest Nintendo character of all time (Toad). Despite the weird nature of the game, it just makes sense as you play it. Plus, its uniqueness is refreshing. I'm kinda surprised that Nintendo has yet to make a follow-up to this game. I would love to see Wart (Mario 2 equivalent of Bowser) make a return.
(NOTE: After I wrote this article, I realized that I started Retro Sunday four years ago [almost to the day], and that I also featured Super Mario Bros. 2. Great minds think alike. Wait...)