I'd be hard pressed to call Super Mario Bros.' instruction manual disappointing, but I'd definitely call it a bit underwhelming considering the status the game has achieved since its release in 1985.
Still, I think it's nice enough to highlight in one of these "Manual Stimulation" posts--thanks in large part to its not-at-all-stingy use of illustrations and sprite art.
You may want to skip past the next few scans (as always, click on them for a closer look) if all you're interested in are the above-mentioned illustrations and sprites, by the way, as Nintendo's designers take their sweet time getting to them.
In fact, the first one that's at all worth mentioning doesn't appear until the manual's seventh page. Sure, it's a wonky drawing showing regular Mario and super Mario both standing still and jumping, but it's better than a bunch of text, don't you think?
More wonky depictions of Mario appear on the manual's next two pages.
Oooh, now we're getting somewhere--sprites! Call me crazy if you want, but I've always been a sucker for sprites (yes, even black-and-white ones).
After going sprite-crazy for a few pages, Nintendo's designers offer up a drawing of what looks to be a Koopa telling readers to be quiet. Either that, or he's picking his nose. Assuming it's the former, I'm guessing he's telling us that we're about to hear some secrets about the game?
I know I haven't been all that impressed with the manual's illustrations so far, but I'm quite fond of the one on page 16, which shows what happens when Mario kicks a Koopa shell at a pipe. Mama mia!
See also: Previous 'Manual Stimulation' posts