Release date: 1985
My question to anyone who owns a Famicom (or an NES) but doesn't own a copy of this game: What on earth is wrong with you? I know a large number of "must own" titles were released for Nintendo's first world-conquering console, but this one is the granddaddy of them all, and no Famicom/NES collection is complete without it. There are countless good reasons for that, of course, with the main one being that the game is supremely playable (and enjoyable) thanks to Shigeru Miyamoto and company's masterful programming--which makes all of the running and jumping and everything else in Super Mario Bros. feel so sublime--and level design. (Anna Anthropy, aka auntie pixelante, expertly expounds on the latter abilities in this blog post, by the way.) There's more behind the game's must-own status than that, though, or at least there is for me. I believe that another reason so many people have been enamored by Mario's first console outing over the years is how surreal it is. I mean, it's a bit like playing a dream, isn't it? A bizarre dream, admittedly, but a dream nonetheless. How else would you describe a game in which a mustachioed plumber battles walking mushrooms and flying turtles and once in a while plucks a flower from the ground that allows him to shoot bouncing balls of fire on his way to rescuing a princess named Peach?
See also: Previous 'Great Gaymathon' posts