Almost every Christmas when my brother and I flock to our parents’ house, we spend at least a few hours in the basement playing Virtual Console games on my Wii. We fool around with Ice Hockey, Double Dribble, and invariably, we’ll take turns speed running through the original Super Mario Bros. It’s not that it’s a competition of who can beat the game faster or the thrill of beating a new game but that Super Mario Bros. is timeless, the kind of game that lacks a plot and doesn’t concern itself with graphics. It doesn’t age and as a simple but difficult platformer has inherent replay value.
As such, Nintendo’s Virtual Console was a stroke of genius—allow nostalgic gamers the ability to purchase and download this and any other array of classic games. It’s essentially the business model that the Nintendo Wii was built on: nostalgia. Super Mario All-Stars: 25th Anniversary Edition is redundant then. The game, which features the same four releases as the original Super Mario All-Stars on the Super Nintendo Entertainment System—Super Mario Bros., Super Mario Bros.: The Lost Levels, Super Mario Bros. 2, and Super Mario Bros. 3—serves little or no purpose.
Were the Wii not already a throwback machine, Super Mario All-Stars: 25th Anniversary Edition would be a welcome addition to a downtrodden game catalog. But since each of the four games on the disc have been available on the Virtual Console for months—years even—the game is explicitly a cash grab for Nintendo.
Like the original Super Mario All-Stars, the early releases in the series all received graphical upgrades. These changes make little or no difference to the gameplay, however, and are at best inconsequential. At worst, they’re damaging to the legacy of the original games. The games also offer the ability to save your progress at any point and continue ad nauseum should you die in the various pitfalls of the Mushroom Kingdom. The only real additions to the game are a two player battle mode—basically similar in style to the original Mario Bros.—as well as an expanded game booklet that gives provides in depth storylines for each game and descriptions of various power ups and enemies.
With the availability of the four games on the Virtual Console, there’s very little to recommend Super Mario All-Stars: 25th Anniversary Edition. If you haven’t already downloaded each of these classics through your Wii, shame on you. If you have, there’s nothing on Super Mario All-Stars 25th Anniversary Edition that would warrant the purchase of an entirely new game.