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Talking Point: New Super Mario Bros. Is 15 Years Old, And It’s Still Fantastic

New Super Mario Bros. is now 15 years old, hooray! Yet it’s not always universally loved, so our reviewer Stuart Gipp explains why it’s actually an under-rated classic.

New Super Mario Bros.© Nintendo

It’s quite funny to consider that the highest-selling Nintendo DS game of all time – shifting in excess of 30 million copies worldwide – is still a title I’d consider to be under-rated. If anything, it’s respected as the formative entry in a divisive series that’s considered to never really have evolved.

But that’s the thing – New Super Mario Bros. was never about evolution. The clue is in the name. New Super Mario Bros. Rather than being a step forward for the series, this was a fond remembrance. A distillation of the elements that made Super Mario Bros. the most acclaimed platform game series of all time. A victory lap for the undisputed champion – the best of all time.

That’s not to say that New Super Mario Bros. didn’t introduce new variables to the 2D Mario equation. After all, at the time of its release the world hadn’t seen a new, traditional 2D Mario title since 1990’s seminal Super Mario World (though it came to NA in 1991 and EU in 1992). One could split hairs and point out the e-Reader levels from Super Mario Advance 4: Super Mario Bros. 3, but those registered as a novelty above all else – a bonus feature. That’s quite a gap, and New Super Mario Bros. was the real deal – a brand new (brand old?) entry aiming to recapture the essence of the series that made Nintendo a household name.

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