Perhaps the greatest day of my childhood was the Christmas Santa brought me and my sisters a Nintendo – the original NES. The hours I wasted playing Mario, and blowing into those cartridges – convinced it was actually doing some good – were innumerable. To this day, nothing quite compares with the original Nintendo. And there’s something special about Super Mario Brothers.
Sadly, it’s difficult to find functioning Nintendo systems, and off-brand remakes are sketchy. Fortunately, some genius figured out a way for us all to enjoy Super Mario Brothers from the comfort of our own computers.
Prepare to waste away your adult life, just like you did your childhood, by playing Full-Screen Mario. Just as its name implies, you can play a full-screen version of Mario right on your computer.
You use the arrow keys to navigate (left, right, down) and jump (up button), hold down the shift key to run faster and/or shoot fireballs (when you have a flower), and press the P key to pause the game.
Once you wrap your head around the navigation keys being played by a different hand than you’re used to, the game plays great. It looks and feels just like the Mario you remember. Even all the secrets (like the hidden 1-up mushroom on the first level) are there. One thing I was really impressed with was the physics of the game. Just like in the original, if you jump too far or run too fast, you have a bit of momentum you have to deal with.
But this version is even better than the original in some ways. For starters, the screen is wider, so you get a bigger picture of what’s coming. You can also play straight through the levels, or you can select your favorite level and jump right to it. Simply hover over the – Map Select – option on the right-side of the screen to bring up the level selector.
Also in the level selector is an option for Map Generator. This generates a random level you’ve never seen or played before, which makes for endless possibilities.
But that’s not even all. You can create your OWN Mario levels. That’s right. If you ever wanted a level with a hundred mushrooms or a thousand bad guys, you can make it. The editor is super easy to use. Press the – Level Editor – option in the bottom-left corner of the screen to get started.
The Level Editor has a tool panel that appears when you hover on the right-side of the screen. From here, you can select your backgrounds, bad guys, obstacles and more. Just click on the screen to add an item. You can also select the type of level (castle, underwater, etc.), which influences the music that plays in the background. Then, press the Play icon to try it out.
What’s truly remarkable about this site (besides it being free, online and fun) is it is programmed in HTML5, so it runs on any modern web browser (no promises for you Internet Explorer folks). And the code is all open source, which means anyone can access the code and modify it. If you’re a tech geek, you’ll love this. And if you’re not, just be impressed someone spent this much time to build such a cool site.
At any rate, you owe it to your inner child to play this game. But don’t blame me if you don’t get anything else done today.