Super Mario All-Stars review

  • Nice collection of goodies
  • Very reasonable price
  • Four pieces of game history
  • Completely unchanged from 1993 version
  • Why not all 2D Mario games?
  • Physical goodies could've been grander

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.

When you consider the entire package, $30 is more than fair. But the Super Mario All-Stars game itself? Not necessarily worth that much. The Wii version is a straight-up port of the SNES game, right down to the "Copyright Nintendo 1993" text along the bottom of the screen. Honestly it comes off as a bit lazy - you couldn't do anything to these games for a 25th anniversary?

Above: Even the SNES controller menu is the same!

Furthermore, why only four games on the disc when you could fit every 2D Mario game (or you know, every NES/SNES game period) on one DVD? I get that the anniversary is for Super Mario Bros and the NES, but Nintendo actually produced a version of All-Stars that included Super Mario World as well - would it have killed 'em to toss that in as well?

Above: C'mon guys, it's only like 8 extra megs of information

However, none of these nitpicks change the quality of the included games, or the intended purpose of the entire collection. You're still getting inarguable classics that defined not just platformers, but also the '80s games industry and millions of childhoods around the world. Think about that - you, me, everyone reading this article, thousands more on Xbox Live right now... we've all played these games to death, and that's forever a common ground among us all. Truthfully, the majority of games journalists are writing today because of these games, and you could even argue they're the reason the games industry is here at all. That's up for debate, but the point is these games are immortal, even if they're kinda-sorta not as fun as they once were.

Above: The All-Stars versions feature enhanced graphics, upgraded sound and the ability to save your progress... but we actually prefer the old versions because we're old mummies who hate new things

Above: But for the most part, the games are just like their 8-bit counterparts

The SNES version isn't available on the Virtual Console, but if it were, it would technically only cost 800 points (eight bucks). Or you could buy the individual games on the collection, which would still only total to $21, so if you're looking at this as $30 for four NES games, you're going to feel ripped off. But when you consider the whole package, what it means and the history it represents, this is definitely worth the cash. Plus it's a LIMITED EDITION (ITION...ITION...ITION) so you should get on it before Nintendo yanks it away.

More Info

Release date: Dec 12 2010 - Wii (US)
Dec 02 2010 - Wii (UK)
Available Platforms: Wii, SNES
Genre: Other Games/Compilations
Published by: Nintendo
Developed by: Nintendo
Franchise: Mario

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  • ventanger - December 11, 2010 12:05 a.m.

    Oh man, perfect holiday gift for old-school gamer friends
  • InsertChrisAntistaJokeHere - December 11, 2010 12:06 a.m.

  • ACGUY - December 11, 2010 12:20 a.m.

    I can't wait till SUNDAY! Looks like this Sunday won't be lazy so I won't have to call Parnell in the late afternoon to see how he's doing....
  • Felixthecat - December 11, 2010 12:26 a.m.

    I got it a week ago (lol release dates) and I'd give it a 9. It really is absolutely brilliant, and I don't care that it's unchanged from the original, but maybe that's because I'm a massive fanboy.
  • QWERTYCommander - December 11, 2010 12:41 a.m.

    "Furthermore, why only four games on the disc when you could fit every 2D Mario game (or you know, every NES/SNES game period) on one DVD?" And the 3D ones? (Before Galaxy)
  • Eliath - December 11, 2010 12:44 a.m.

    I definitely think it's worth $30, but I still have the original SNES Allstars in the box. I don't plan on getting this. Also, Peach sucks.
  • therawski - December 11, 2010 12:55 a.m.

    Nintendo has the balls to sell you the same shit over and over again and it's not even a complete collection so... NOTHING, YOU LOSE, GOOD DAY SIR! (just emulate the versions you already own with save states and more!)
  • batmanboy11 - December 11, 2010 1:06 a.m.

    Do want!
  • tomthespesh - December 11, 2010 1:28 a.m.

    Got this a week ago (UK got it earlier) and although I thought it could've been bigger and not just a straight copy of the SNES game, it's still very good. My mum didn't understand why I got it, as I have SMB, SMB2, SMB3 all on my NES which still works (and 1 & 3 on virtual console) it's just because now they're all together. Also I'm thanking god for the ability to save! I could never get all that far on SMB2 but now I can because I don't have to restart. Plus the CD makes a nice addition to my iPod (well the songs and one or two SFX)
  • SwampRock - December 11, 2010 1:39 a.m.

    lol it wouldn't even be 8 megs it'd be more like 3. But looks worth it for the collectors mainly just for the behind the scenes stuff, other than that just use an emulator.
  • Corsair89 - December 11, 2010 1:40 a.m.

    The Mario fanboy in me demands this!
  • hunterXhunter - December 11, 2010 1:41 a.m.

    I was talking to the manager I'm close with at Gamestop today. She said that they are only getting shipments for their pre-orders only and none after that. So take that how you will.
  • elpurplemonkey - December 11, 2010 3:02 a.m.

    Unexpected review, but a good one nonetheless.
  • 510BrotherPanda - December 11, 2010 3:13 a.m.

    BUT I LIKE LUIGI MORE. This is necessary if I have that SNES cart, right? $30 is a lot for a CD and booklet. reCAPTCHA: ungracious EAD WHAT. Nintendo is on to me...
  • Aletheon - December 11, 2010 3:19 a.m.

    Yes, i will buy this. I want the music CD.
  • MrDuracraft - December 11, 2010 4:58 a.m.

    @therawski It's not just the same stuff. It's the same games, all with better graphics, AND a CD with never before officially released music, AND an art book. For $30. I believe I left the fizzy lifting drinks untouched actually.
  • brickman409 - December 11, 2010 6:06 a.m.

    meh, i think i might pass on this one. already got these games on nes, kinda wish this came with new super mario bros wii instead
  • marioman50 - December 11, 2010 6:53 a.m.

    Word, No Mario World or Yoshi's Island or Mario Kart or Mario Paint or updated graphical style options (similar to PAC-MAN DX)? This is just a SNES ROM copied onto a Wii Disc. Fucking love Mario, and he deserves better than this!
  • slowdrum13 - December 11, 2010 7:59 a.m.

    30 bucks?! that's such a rip off! i'll pay 8 dollars, the same as all the rest of the snes games on virtual console. no thanks, i'll pass.
  • veryweirdguy - December 11, 2010 10:16 a.m.

    Got this last week. Totally worth it! I'd never played the All-stars versions, so this is very nice for me. Great review!

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