Super Mario Bros. was the first title ever for the Super Mario Bros. series we know and love today. It followed the same plot as usual: Peach is capture by Bowser and Mario (for whatever reason) must go and save her.
I've had this game for the SNES for as long as I can remember, because I have Super Mario All-Stars for that console. And boy, is it a throwback! You can easily tell that this game was the first title, and here are the reasons why:
First of all the characters look really simple. Mario looks the best by far, but he has what we see as the "backwards" color balate, with the blue shirt and red overalls. The enemies, however, still look pretty sarn ridiculous, especially the Goombas and Koopas. However, this is not against the game. This is just a reason why it's a classic.
Secondly, you have a small amount of lives, and if you lose all of them, you start back at the beginning of the game. Not the world, mind you, no no, the entire game. Seeing as how the losing of lives in this game happens in two hits or less, you can tell this baby is pretty well-built for a career in an arcade.
Thirdly (and lastly), this game has waaay fewer level types than Super Mario Bros. 3. The four types (counting every single environment) are land, castle, water, and underground. This shows the meat-and-potatoness of the gameplay, showing that this had to be a first crack at it.
Those are the reasons why you can see the oldness of this game. However, these are not necessarily points against it. In fact, some of them are points for it, because of the challenge factor.
Now, the game did have flaws, but you can't completely judge the game based on them, as this was a revolution for its time. First, the controls could be a little loose. The jumps weren't especially high, sometimes you wouldn't jump across a gap despite hitting the jump button, and the controls for the springs were absolutely evil. More often than not, the commands just wouldn't register. As such, you have to have serious mojo to play this game, especially with an SNES controller.
Next, they might have shown just a bit more creativity in the level types. Now those of you who lived through that time, especially, might be saying, "Well there was a limited scope in the technology in those days, so you shouldn't be expecting so much!" However, it seems to me that at the least, if they could negotiate a functioning underwater format, they could have put in an Ice World. They really could have.
Lastly, they probably could have provided more 1-Ups and for goodness sake, more lives to start out with! However, I'm really thinking from the perspective of someone who's used to home consoles. Given that, as I stated earlier, this game began in the arcades, the proprietors could get way more bang for their buck if they fixed the gameplay so that you die in a short period of time, and you had to pay more to keep playing. So, this is more of a complaint about the home version, which I'm actually glad they copied exactly off of the original so that you could grasp the experience well.
This game is hard. This is real balls-to-the-wall, coordination, reflex, timing, endurance, tactical, precision, cotton-picking, baby-birthing, backflipping-type challenge that will drive you to the point of serious, serious frustration. My dad once told me that his brother, my uncle, was so unbelievably proud of himself for getting to the end of that game and kissing that princess that he wanted to put it on his resume. I can see why.
If you have little experience with Mario side-scrollers, this game is so not for you. This is the kind of thing utter experts with Mario go back and play after beating the later, easier games. It's almost a spiritual journey: a video game quest that a young gamer traveling into masterful territory goes to attempt to complete and find his manitou (spirit of nature)! Well, not that far. The point is, this is not for beginners. However, if you want a diablo of challenge, and think you'd like to get the classic version of this game for the VC, buy it. It's well worth your 500 Wii Points.