Another birthday present for myself was Super Mario All-Stars 25th Anniversary Edition. Celebration the 25th anniversary of the game Super Mario Bros. last year, Nintendo released this limited edition 25th anniversary package, which included the game Super Mario All-Stars – originally released for the Super Nintendo back in the day – plus a CD compiling music from various Super Mario games through the years, and a history booklet.
The consensus among the critics, which I fully agree with, seems to be as follows: the game is great, but the overall package is overpriced (even at a modest 30 USD release price) and disappointing, and Nintendo could have easily made it so much more. See for example this piece, by video game journalist Jeremy Parish.
The game is just a straight-up transfer of the original Super Nintendo release. The game is no bigger than 2 MB in size, while a Wii disc can handle up to about 8.5 GB worth of data. That’s a lot of wasted space which could have been used for… anything, really. Maybe interviews with the creators, a short documentary on either the first Super Mario Bros. or on the franchise’s history, or TV ads. Personally I’d have liked them to have included all of the cartrigde-based Super Mario games that are a part of the main series, which would have included Super Mario World and Super Mario 64 (and maybe the GameBoy Super Mario Land games), plus the original versions of the four first games without the graphics and audio upgrade they were given in Super Mario All-Stars.
The CD that came with it is disappointing too, featuring only one track from ten different games considered to be in the Super Mario main series (which seems to refer to the Mario games that have been developed by Nintendo and which focus on platforming). For some reason it features no music from from any of the Super Mario Land GameBoy games. It also has ten tracks with sound the now-iconic effects from the original (and not the upgraded) Super Mario Bros. game. The CD clocks in at 25:16. It pales in comparison to the 20th anniversary Super Mario CD – the amusingly titled Super Mario Sound Collection: Happy! Mario 20th Super Mario Bros. – that came with a copy of the Japanese magazine Nintendo Dream, which clocks in at 72:11. That’s just short of three times the length of the 25th anniversary CD. They also re-used the design and art assets that was used for this 20th anniversary CD, making the overall package feel even more like a lazy effort from Nintendo.
There’s not much to be said for the booklet, which is very slim and offers very little in the way of actual information on either the Super Mario series overall, or the Super Mario Bros. game in specific.
Overall, a frustratingly disappointing release, but it seems to be the only way to go if you want to legally get a copy of Super Mario All-Stars for a current generation console. I leave you with the now well-known theme music from Super Mario Bros., both as it appears in the original and as it appears on a fun-but-strange arranged CD that came with the Super Mario World soundtrack.