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Elizabeth Sandifer

Elizabeth Sandifer created Eruditorum Press. She’s not really sure why she did that, and she apologizes for the inconvenience. She currently writes Last War in Albion, a history of the magical war between Alan Moore and Grant Morrison. She used to write TARDIS Eruditorum, a history of Britain told through the lens of a ropey sci-fi series. She also wrote Neoreaction a Basilisk, writes comics these days, and has ADHD so will probably just randomly write some other shit sooner or later. Support Elizabeth on Patreon.


  1. Sean Daugherty
    October 19, 2015 @ 6:29 am

    Regarding the controls feeling “sloppier and looser,” it’s not necessarily entirely an illusion. There’s a trivially minor bug in the conversion of the original Super Mario Bros. that literally only differs in one byte from the original NES/Famicom version of the game. The effect, however, is to completely invert the Y value that governs the physics of Mario rebounding when he hits a brick at the height of his jump. In the original game, he went down. Due to the bug in the Super Mario All-Stars version, he gets pulled upwards first. It took me years to figure out exactly why I had so many problems with the updated version, until some enterprising hacker on the Internet identified the problem for me. The problem also effects The Lost Levels, but it’s not like most of us had any memories of the original 8-bit game with which to compare that one.

    Beyond that, I’m inclined to argue with anyone who suggests that Super Mario World has more depth than the (vastly superior, even without the haze of nostalgia) Super Mario Bros. 3. But I’ll restrain myself out of respect for the personal nature of this project. πŸ™‚


    • Elizabeth Sandifer
      October 19, 2015 @ 1:29 pm

      If you’ll note, I made a distinct comparison between having depth and having the feeling of depth. πŸ™‚


  2. plutoniumboss
    October 19, 2015 @ 6:58 am

    Jesus Christ, Phil. These were direct NES ports!

    Haven’t we sampled one each genre? We’ve done racing games, platform games, sim games, JRPGs (“which I’m actively hostile towards”), puzzle games, even an action-RPG hybrid, and now an NES tribute album.

    I thought this column was digging toward some hidden truth. The golden age of the SNES was actually the dying embers of gaming, yada yada. Having read the NES project and now this one, now I’m starting to think (If I’m honest) there’s precious few games you actually like.


    • Sean Dillon
      October 19, 2015 @ 12:03 pm

      Well of course he has a select few games that he actually likes. I mean, do you honestly expect him to love every single game ever (except for those that we all agree are crap)? No. Because people have different tastes and there are some games on the NES, SNES, and any other system that are just either mediocre, crap, or only interesting in what it says about the moment of history it represents. So what if Phil doesn’t like JRPGs, that’s his opinion. Is that what the other side wants? For everyone to agree with them that games are perfect? Because, if we’re being honest with ourselves, most games are kind of shit. There really are only a precious few games that are legitimately good. Just like there are only a few movies that are good, episodes of Doctor Who that are good, and stories that are good. And it is those few tales that inspire us to make better ones. I mean, there have to be better stories than “guy saves woman from evil ________” told 50 times over.


    • Elizabeth Sandifer
      October 19, 2015 @ 1:36 pm

      I quite like (or even love) Super Mario World, Super Castlevania IV, Super Ghouls and Ghosts, Lemmings, Contra III, A Link to the Past, Super Mario Kart, and E.V.O. And SMB 1, 3, and Lost Levels, for what it’s worth.


  3. Matt M
    October 19, 2015 @ 7:20 am

    All-Stars was the default game shipped with loads of SNESes as I recall (I certainly remember seeing more boxed ones with the All-Stars than anything else), and it was four MARIO games in one which made it an attractive proposition as opposed to buying them separately (and remember just because you had a NES didn’t automatically mean you owned every key game) so yeah, I’d assume more than a handful of people played it! I certainly did (and my favourite Mario was Mario 2, and I pretty much ignored 3. I was THAT PERSON). I didn’t realise it was graphically updated though.


  4. Nathan P. Mahney
    October 19, 2015 @ 7:43 am

    My first Nintendo system was a SNES, and All-Stars was the game that came with it. So while it wasn’t my first Mario experience (that was World, played frequently at my neighbour’s house), this was the first Mario game I ever owned. I played the heck out of it, of course, so the updated versions of Super Mario 2 and 3 are the ones I default to. I’ve played the original Super Mario Bros. enough times now, though, that it’s overwritten the All-Stars version.

    What you didn’t mention is that, in addition to Super Mario Bros 1, 2, 3 and Lost Levels, you can access the original Mario Bros as well. As I recall you have to do it in Super Mario 3 through some trickery that escapes me. Was this unique to the All-Stars version?

    And yes, I’m one of the mythical few you mentioned who has played through World 7-3 on All-Stars. The save feature makes it a bit easy, t0 be honest.

    Oh, one last thing: I find the controller for the SNES much easier to use for Super Mario than the original NES controller. The SNES buttons are on a diagonal, which I find more natural for holding down the run button while jumping – I can do it very comfortably with one thumb. The horizontal arrangement of the NES controller makes it a bit more awkward, but then again I wasn’t a NES kid. It’s all in the muscle memory, I suppose.


    • Froborr
      October 19, 2015 @ 10:50 pm

      You could definitely access the original Mario Bros. in the NES version of SMB3. Specifically, in a two-player game, if one player moved into a space occupied by the other player and pressed A, it would go to a two-player round of original Mario Bros.


  5. Frezno
    October 19, 2015 @ 8:28 am

    Ah hey, a link to that Mega Man thing I asked you to do many moons ago! Which was preceded by me doing my best to write a ballad in iambic pentameter about how good the first game is.

    I haven’t written about Nintendo games on there in about a year and it probably is officially dead and I’ll have to come up with a clever new name for it. Sad, but true. The odd thing is what killed it; simply put, Gamergate. I just plain didn’t want to write about video games because a bunch of people were doing deplorable things to other human beings for the sake of protecting the goddamn video games.

    Thank goodness for magickal exorcisms. At least one can now see my evolution from ordinary video game waffler to third-rate Alan Moore worshipping a Nintendo goddess who embodies all that is holy about good game design… and then stop that for 9 months, start talking about Doctor Who, and become a third-rate Jane Campbell who yells in glee every time there’s a mirror shot in the Capaldi era.

    So, that’s fun!


  6. Jane Campbell
    October 19, 2015 @ 8:31 am

    I think 1993 was the year when our Atari 2600 got sold at a garage sale.


  7. Aberrant Eyes
    October 19, 2015 @ 9:09 am

    “I could while away the hours on Prodigy, mucking about with the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy and Star Trek roleplay boards”

    I wasn’t on the Trek board, but I was Richard MacDuff on the Bop Ad board (Arthur Dent having been claimed already) and Lelldorin on the David Eddings board.


  8. Kevin
    October 19, 2015 @ 6:14 pm

    I was always behind in video game consoles (and, in fact, never progressed beyond the SNES) but All Stars convinced me to trade in my NES and games for a used SNES and a few titles (All Stars, Super Mario World… others that I can’t think of). Big mistake. Fundamentally, I was acclimated to 8 bit gaming and the heart was never really into anything further (in the console world that is; the story is quite different with the PC), and All Stars felt all wrong. The SNES gathered dust until I sold it at a yard sale or something and picked an old NES back up to enjoy during Kevin: The College Years.


  9. Dadalama
    October 19, 2015 @ 6:44 pm

    Well it’s nowhere near as bad as the 5 in 1 Nintendo game pack for the Turbografx 16

    Everything is faster (even the timer), the music sounds like a chorus of kazoos on crack. The controls are light and floaty.

    It looks like they basically took the nes games and said “The processors have the same core and mario WAS written in assembly. Should be fine to do a direct port.”


    • Dadalama
      October 19, 2015 @ 6:45 pm

      and it only had SMB1 and some other games like Ice Climbers…
      It’s quite amusing though


  10. Julian
    October 20, 2015 @ 3:04 am

    What can be said about nostalgia then when you take the 25th Anniversary reissue of All-Stars on the Wii? Recursion? πŸ˜‰

    Also – I remembered that they rereleased All-Stars with Super Mario World added in later on, which is a nice archival cartridge, in a way.


    • plutoniumboss
      October 20, 2015 @ 9:51 am

      I picked up that one. πŸ™‚

      SMW never had a proper sequel on the SNES, which is too bad. Yoshi’s Island rubbed me the wrong way.


    • Alex
      October 20, 2015 @ 5:12 pm

      With a brand new Luigi sprite, as well as a few other changes.


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