Super Mario Bros Encyclopedia Review
Nintendo has decided to celebrate 30 years of the Super Mario Bros with a beautiful and feature packed encyclopedia. Chronicling his journey from simply being known as ‘jumpman’ and fending off his rival Donkey Kong’s barrels to the recent Super Mario 3D World released on the Wii U. This is a fascinating and compelling examination of what has truly made Mario a great and enduring figure in the video games industry.
The Super Mario Bros Encylopedia was delayed in reaching American and European shores by several years. Originally being released in 2015 for Japanese audiences this has now touched down in the west thanks to Dark Horse comics. This is the reason why some of the content feels a little dated, there’s no mention of the Nintendo Switch titles. However this is a side note as the book breaks down the 17 mainstream Mario titles in wonderful detail.
Each game is broken down into it’s own featured section and is introduced by a brief breakdown of a synopsis of the narrative and highlighting what made that title unique. I loved poring through the pages, remembering what my favourite Mario games and moments were. As I flicked through this colourfully designed book I longed to pick up my NES / SNES controller again and play through the titles which I adored growing up. Like many, the Mario titles were instrumental in making me a gamer so it’s wonderful to see the games beautifully presented in print here.
Every game’s chapter opens with an extensive character list complete with enemies and items. There’s an examination of the box art from different regions and a wealth of promotional material. One of the best features of this book is it’s opening interview with the general manager and game producer of Nintendo Takashi Tezuka. He worked along legendary game designer Shigeru Miyamoto on the original Super Mario Bros game. This section gives some valuable insight into the genesis of the world’s favourite video game character. There’s also some insight as to the origin of the Koopa troopers and lots of in-game lore to enjoy as you turn the pages to explore each Mario title in depth.
There’s also some segues into other areas of Mario’s history, such as the spinoff titles. Dr Mario, Lugi’s Mansion and Super Mario Strikers are mentioned and unfortunately the snippets of information were only a page or two long. I would have liked to have seen more content dedicated to these titles, many I remember as fondly as the main titles in the Mario series. However the book does contain a fairly exhaustive index of every appearance Mario and friends have had throughout video game history, detailing when he appeared in Ocarina of Time and Metal Gear Solid for example.
This book is the ultimate resource for the Nintendo or video game fan who wants to learn more about the characters history or relive some of their favourite moments from the series. There were a few titles mentioned in this volume which I was not familiar with and through leafing through the gorgeously detailed pages, wanted to play. I highly recommend this title and assure you this is one book which you will find yourself leafing through time and time again.