Nintendo typically doesn't indulge in "special editions" or reverent collections of its aging franchises, so the very fact we're getting a 25th Anniversary edition of Super Mario All-Stars is something to note. Granted, it's the exact same game that shipped on the Super NES way back in 1993, but now it comes bundled with a nifty red box, art book and a 20-track CD full of classic songs and iconic sound effects.
Above: Well worth the meager price of $30
As previously mentioned, Nintendo rarely acknowledges its various milestones with limited edition bundles (in the US, at least), so this particular collection is pretty special. The art book, for example, contains original sketches from Miyamoto that outline how the first SMB would work, and there are even shots of World 1-2 drawn on graph paper. Maybe that means nothing to you, but for Nintendo nerds and the Mario faithful, that alone is worth $30.
The CD is another Nintendo anomaly, as outside of Japan, physical game albums don't regularly see the light of day. Nintendo of America is also not keen on making its back catalog of timeless VGM available to us, so obtaining legit, sanctioned releases of classic Mario tunes is another boon for big time collectors. According to the documentation, this CD is actually the first official release of the 25-year-old Super Mario Bros "Ground Theme," which is a pretty good indicator of how little Nintendo mines its history. Sure it re-releases games all the time, but does Nintendo celebrate them with referential materials and behind the scenes goodies? Not usually, and that's why these small tokens are such a big deal. Even the letter that came with the review copy of the game was crafted with misty-eyed reverence and old-school charm:
Above: The soundtrack CD, which contains songs from Bros 1, 2 and 3, plus 64, Sunshine and Galaxy
As a die-hard Nintendo fan, I am deeply appreciative of the set. But considering how far other companies are willing to go (Call of Duty, Halo, Assassin's Creed, GTA IV and so on), I'm a little let down that Nintendo didn't follow suit with a statue, diorama or other equivalent piece of bad assery. Certainly not complaining, and it's a nice gesture, but this is a case where Nintendo has more to work with than any other game company and with that in mind, as well as the series in question, it's unfortunate there wasn't more.
Oh right, the games! Next page for that.