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How America Changed the Mario Brothers

samzenpus posted more than 7 years ago | from the jumping-plumbers dept.

315

DreamWinkle writes "It might seem unlikely considering that Mario was born and developed in Japan by Japanese minds, but America forever changed how our favorite plumber played. Why? Because Nintendo thought the U.S. and European gamers couldn't play. As a consequence, they never released the real Mario 2 outside of Japan because it was too hard, and instead released Doki Doki Panic with the Mario name. Since then, the entire Mario franchise has picked up traits from Doki Doki Panic, like the card game at the end of each level in Mario 3. This article takes a look at what elements really belong to Mario and what belongs to Doki Doki Panic. It's interesting to see that, point for point, Nintendo changed almost nothing about Doki Doki Panic before releasing it in the states and Europe as Mario 2."

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315 comments

Old... (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15748255)

Seriously, this news is 20 years old. I figured pretty much every serious gamer knows this story... More interesting is how frequently Japanese companies have made the American version of the game easier.

Re:Old... (5, Informative)

Coneasfast (690509) | more than 7 years ago | (#15748286)

for those who don't know though, you can find this (and other) info on the wikipedia article: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Super_Mario_Bros. [wikipedia.org]

Re:Old... (5, Interesting)

The Walking Dude (905913) | more than 7 years ago | (#15748748)

Here is an excellent, and funny, side by side comparison. It's all on a single page with few ads, and it includes a working ROM at the bottom, so you can play Doki Doki Panic on your computer. http://www.progressiveboink.com/archive/dokidokipa nic.html [progressiveboink.com]

Re:Old... (0, Troll)

xSauronx (608805) | more than 7 years ago | (#15748698)

i had no idea. but i dont find it interesting, either. i may have if it had been a nintendo power article 15 years ago, but since i couldnt tell you the last time i played super mario brothers 2....i dont really care.

Everything inherited from SMB2 (4, Informative)

gcnaddict (841664) | more than 7 years ago | (#15748771)

I don't think the article ever really mentioned how many games inherited things from the Doki Doki Panic rebranding later on.

One of the biggest things that comes to mind is how Princess Peach can float and pull+throw turnips(?) seemingly out of nowhere in Super Smash Bros. Melee.

Re:Old... (5, Insightful)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 7 years ago | (#15748802)

It's not just video games. Electronics are "dumbed down" for the american consumer. There are craploads of electronics they sell in Japan and sell like mad that we do not see here. The Sharp Zaurus was pulled from US markets because it's too "hard" for americans. Yet the Zaurus is a raging success in Japan and they are on their 6th version that blows anything you can buy in the states out of the water. In Japan it is common to have combo DVD-MiniDV tape devices, something that home video editors here in the US would kill for.

From Cellphones to everything else. It is all "dumbed down" for Us consumption.

Why do they do this? Because the average US consumer IS too damned stupid. Give them a DVD recorder remote with 52 buttons and a LCD status screen and they freak out. Give them full control menus on their TV for adjustment and they freak out. How many people went through the 80's with a blinking 12:00 clock on the VCR because it was "too hard to set"?

Most of the cool electronics that geeks here would kill for are castrated and then have soft corners installed for us "special" americans so we do not hurt ourselves.

Re:Old... (2, Interesting)

drsmithy (35869) | more than 7 years ago | (#15748852)

Most of the cool electronics that geeks here would kill for are castrated and then have soft corners installed for us "special" americans so we do not hurt ourselves.

I think you'll find the attitude is not so much "dumb Americans" as "dumb non-Japanese". It's not like other "caucasian" countries are swimming in the cool eletronic gadgetry that is commonplace in Japan, either.

Re:Old... (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15748957)

How many people went through the 80's with a blinking 12:00 clock on the VCR because it was "too hard to set"?

To be fair, the excessive number of button presses required to set a VCR clock IS too hard unless you intend to set a timer for recording. Otherwise, you just have a clock on your VCR and, frankly, it's just not worth the effort only to have it reset itself the next time the power goes out.

A better, but related example, might be that delayed record feature. How many people never did figure out how to set a VCR to begin recording automatically at a set time and missed their shows every single time?

original "Mario Bros" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15748256)

Anyone know the relationship between "Mario Bros" (on atari 8 bit), and the Nintendo Super Mario?

Re:original "Mario Bros" (5, Informative)

KDR_11k (778916) | more than 7 years ago | (#15748335)

The original Mario Bros was an arcade game, the Atari got a port of it as did numerous other platforms. It came after Donkey Kong but before Super Mario Bros.. There are variants of it in other Nintendo games, for example the battle game in SMB3 and a remake of the arcade game in all Super Mario Advance games and Mario & Luigi.

MB was also the game that introduced Luigi.

Re:original "Mario Bros" (1)

mojowantshappy (605815) | more than 7 years ago | (#15748378)

Oh god, way to bring that up. I remember playing that on my old atari when I was four years old. I couldn't figure out back then how the nintendo and the atari version related.

Re:original "Mario Bros" (2, Informative)

Dorceon (928997) | more than 7 years ago | (#15748496)

Don't forget Wrecking Crew, where Mario and Luigi take hammers to a building. It had a level editor!

Re:original "Mario Bros" (1)

Chrispy1000000 the 2 (624021) | more than 7 years ago | (#15748531)

That level editor was *fun*. You make a map, and you have the goal: Trap the other dude under a barrel. Oh, did it get fun. I still wish that there would have been an ability to jump. :(

Re:original "Mario Bros" (1)

SenorCitizen (750632) | more than 7 years ago | (#15748508)

And in the case of Commodore 64, there were actually two ports. Atari made a really crappy one first, then Ocean/Imagine did a better one with a funky Mozart cover from Martin Galway.

Does anyone not know about the story of SMB2? (5, Informative)

bonch (38532) | more than 7 years ago | (#15748258)

I thought this was very common knowledge by now, especially on Slashdot. For crying out loud, a link to About.com? For more detailed information about the differences between the U.S. and Japanese versions of all the Mario games, check out The Mushroom Kingdom [classicgaming.com] .

Re:Does anyone not know about the story of SMB2? (2, Informative)

RoadDoggFL (876257) | more than 7 years ago | (#15748264)

You're missing the point. The article's about the effect that those changes have had on all future versions, not just about the changes themselves.

Everybody's in such a rush to yell "DUPE!" they don't bother to read.

Re:Does anyone not know about the story of SMB2? (1)

Yahweh Doesn't Exist (906833) | more than 7 years ago | (#15748275)

I read the "article" but apart from the random chance thing mentioned in the summary what was the point?

since the article is about 200 words spread over 16 pages I guess it's just an ad scam though my adblocking makes it ineffective.

Re:Does anyone not know about the story of SMB2? (5, Informative)

stickb0y (260670) | more than 7 years ago | (#15748295)

You're missing the point. The article's about the effect that those changes have had on all future versions, not just about the changes themselves. Everybody's in such a rush to yell "DUPE!" they don't bother to read.

Pot. Kettle. Black.

DreamWinkle's summary indicates that's what the article is about, but it's really not. The article just shows a bunch of comparison screenshots and talks about what changed and what didn't, and even then, The Mushroom Kingdom's Doki Doki Panic/SMB2 comparison [themushroomkingdom.net] is more accurate, more thorough, and easier to navigate.

Re:Does anyone not know about the story of SMB2? (2)

eihab (823648) | more than 7 years ago | (#15748352)

I honestly did not know.

The last time I remember saying "Mario" was at least 8 years ago. The article is pretty interesting, yet seems very short.

Thanks for the link, I'll check it out sometime.

Re:Does anyone not know about the story of SMB2? (5, Funny)

LiquidCoooled (634315) | more than 7 years ago | (#15748524)

Its not [NEXT]
Short, but [NEXT]
you will need [NEXT]
a new mouse [NEXT]
button afterwards [NEXT]
because of [NEXT]
all the [NEXT]
page breaks. [NEXT]

Its like [NEXT]
reading toms [NEXT]
hardware guide.

Re:Does anyone not know about the story of SMB2? (-1)

SCPRedMage (838040) | more than 7 years ago | (#15748551)

Mod parent funny, or I will eat your soul...

Re:Does anyone not know about the story of SMB2? (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15748839)

This almost [buffering...]
sounds like [buffering...]
What Real [buffering...]
players does. [buffering...]

Have they [buffering...]
branched out [buffering...]
into making [buffering...]
web pages? [buffering...]

Or has... this web page... a work of... Capt. Kirk?

That's a protest, not funny anymore. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15748847)

Who hasn't seen this joke/protest before? Who doesn't know that toms hardware and some other sites paginate? How is this still considered funny? Is protesting funny?

Quick Question, about the website (so many ads) (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15748354)

Should sites like this be eliminated?

Re:Does anyone not know about the story of SMB2? (2, Insightful)

Mitaphane (96828) | more than 7 years ago | (#15748405)

Seriously, this is worthless about.com article is not worth posting on Slashdot.Choice quote from this artice:

Interesting Fact:
        * Honestly, Doki Doki Panic is just a bad name. Nobody likes it. It sounds better as Mario 2. :)


Uh, that's an opinion not a fact. Seriously, if anyone doesn't know about the history of US/EUR SMB2 check out the links already posted by users. They are much better than this drivel.

I did not. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15748420)

While I may read Slashdot, I am not a Slashbot.

Re:Does anyone not know about the story of SMB2? (2, Funny)

ewe2 (47163) | more than 7 years ago | (#15748434)

Whole continents are unaware of this. Perhaps it should be your mission in life, o great sage.

Re:Does anyone not know about the story of SMB2? (4, Insightful)

Professor_UNIX (867045) | more than 7 years ago | (#15748865)

I thought this was very common knowledge by now, especially on Slashdot.
Nope, this is the first time I've ever heard of it. I find it kind of funny that the Japanese would release two completely different versions by just redoing the sprites and not changing the game play. Don't assume everyone had 500 nintendo games and a subscription to some gaming magazine when they were growing up.

Re:Does anyone not know about the story of SMB2? (1)

Jeff DeMaagd (2015) | more than 7 years ago | (#15748937)

I don't even like About.com. They seem to be at best sophisticated search engine spammers, though at least better than web logs that are just ad links. Whenever I accidentally stumble onto their site, they do have a tiny bit of information relating to the topic, but not enough to make it worth opening their page.

useless (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15748259)

what a useless fucking article. everybody knows this already. more to the point, nobody gives a shit...

I didn't... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15748333)

...and I DO give a shit. So there, fuckhead.

Re:I didn't... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15748428)

...and I DO give a shit. So there, fuckhead.

Just don't give it to me.

Tonight o_O (4, Funny)

Fusione (980444) | more than 7 years ago | (#15748260)

As I wasted my last life fumbling with mario 3 using an emulator on my PDA while riding home on the bus, the Japanesse kid beside me chuckled. I gave him a dirty look, and turned away to try again. What an erie slashdot article to come home to.

Makes a lot of sense (2, Informative)

kjart (941720) | more than 7 years ago | (#15748277)

Honestly, I remember playing Mario 2 and thinking "What the hell were they smoking when they made this game? Killing enemies with turnips you pull out of the groun? Red potions that take you to a mirror world? How does this fit between 1 and 3?". This actually explains a lot.

Also, I don't know why they thought we couldn't handle the real one - all the best [imdb.com] gamers are in North America ;)

What's fair is fair... (-1)

raehl (609729) | more than 7 years ago | (#15748397)

World War 2 was too hard for the Japanese. We should have just changed the graphics on the Spanish-American war and released that in Japan instead.

Re:Makes a lot of sense (1)

SpanishArcher (974073) | more than 7 years ago | (#15748658)

The Wizard?
Isn't it the movie with which the whole world got aware of the hidden whistle in the the first castle?!?

I remember watching the movie on tv, late at night and staying up most of the night exploring world 4,5 and 6 (I didn't know that if I whistled on level 2 I'd be going much further in the levels...)

Still, I never managed to finish the game, I always rushed to world 8 with a kinda poor lives number.

Nice things to remember. I was a kid and I had A LOT of spare time...ah, the good ol' days...

Yea (-1, Troll)

rob1980 (941751) | more than 7 years ago | (#15748288)

Seems like every 4-5 months somebody suddenly has the need to go over all of this shit - which, by the way, is nearly 20 years old - once again.

Where's my inside scoop on Final Fantasy Extreme?

Re:Yea (-1, Offtopic)

Dr. Shim (576902) | more than 7 years ago | (#15748803)

I'm so sorry that Slashdot hasn't amused you today. Please try again later.

Or you can subscribe to Slashdot Professional Edition, for only 59.99! That's less that sixty bucks! That'll gurantee you fun content all year around!!

Fir5t posT (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15748300)

has steadily Rfor the state of

Wait a minute (3, Informative)

denmarkw00t (892627) | more than 7 years ago | (#15748310)

Now, if I had a look at, say this page [about.com] linked from this article [about.com] , noted here [slashdot.org] , then I probably wouldn't need TFA to tell me that Mario 2 was an almost complete rip off of some other game.

oh. (4, Funny)

supernova87a (532540) | more than 7 years ago | (#15748316)

from the title, I thought it was going to be how the Mario brothers became fatter, and less efficient.

Re:oh. (4, Funny)

carpe_noctem (457178) | more than 7 years ago | (#15748347)

This should be a clear consequence of any game involving mushrooms and magic pipes...

Re:oh. (1, Funny)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 7 years ago | (#15748474)

Now that you mention it, I'm surprised that the game is still not on some index in Germany. A plumber who eats magic mushrooms and starts to see monsters, then dives deeply into some pipes and more often than not comes out with a new life, little stars that, when you take them, make you all jumpy...

That game's a drug party!

Re:oh. (2)

lisaparratt (752068) | more than 7 years ago | (#15748657)

If you think taking drugs is anywhere near as dull as playing a Mario game, you need to get out more.

It's common (5, Interesting)

bm_luethke (253362) | more than 7 years ago | (#15748329)

Many many video games have seen this treatment.

The very popular Final Fantasy series has very much seen this. We, in the US, never saw quite a few of the releases. For much the same reason - we are seen as too stupid. Later releases have been adjusted to meet both our markets.

The interesting question is: is this true? I don't really think so, Imports/unedited releases are too popular when available. IMO people are mostly just people - difficulty doesn't matter much. Culture references very much are important, but that is very different from complexity.

Lets put it this way: were there to be a "white" and "black" version of a US game release where the black version was VERY simplified from the white persons games for the same reasons would we accept it? Not in the least - and rightfully so. There may be some culture difference (maybe one prefers FPS over RPGS) but complexity and ability to understand it is not one of them.

I've always found it intereseting what prejudices are accepted and which are not. Not just in the above example (dark colored skin vs light colored), but in any of them. West vs east, tech vs non tech, color of skin, rural vs city, religious vs non-religious, or any number of classes that are compared. Pretty much everyone has them - I do. I try to root them out but am shown that I haven't found one from time to time. For whatever reason it seems to be human nature to group - some can try and identify it, some can not. And, in some cases, the groups are even accurate (if they are accurate to ignore them is horrid/destructive policy).

While there may very well be some cultural differences (maybe westerners do actually prefer FPS and simple games over easterners - though I'm not sure that's true), it's not because one can not handle them. I don't like art films - I can quite follow them and understnad them - however I still don't like anything but simple minded movies (I do, however, like complex books).

Re:It's common (1)

Hitto (913085) | more than 7 years ago | (#15748439)

+1.
Although I would like to argue your calling japanese RPG's too complex for an audience that knows Baldur's Gate and the Elder Scrolls. Now, I know you were playing devil's advocate by explaining the japanese mindframe! I'm just pointing out that they still have those conceptions about us westerners that we should all do our best to bring down.

Oh, and remember the "hard" version of Final fantasy 4(jp)/2(us) ? It was just more fucking GRINDING... No new and harder puzzles, or anything of the sort... Just more HP for the enemies. I can live with that kind of racism.

Re:It's common (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15748484)

I wouldn't say American gamers were thought of as "stupid" in the NES/SNES days. Rather, I think Nintendo made a good decision in this case. Mario 2 (J) wasn't just harder or more complicated; it required a lot of patience and a mind geared towards meticulous activities. Even today I couldn't imagine a platformer that would have trick teleporters that me back to older levels. Hell, I'd even get frustrated with the first Mario on World 8. Now consider Mario 2, with its slightly off-key gameplay, funky levels, and new characters. It was plain fun, as opposed to some sort of hardcore Mario remake which stuck rigidly to the original mechanics. At least in those days, I think it was pretty safe to say that the Japanese market would be a bit more into what they call Mario 2.

As far as Square's decisions on Final Fantasy 2, 3, hard-type 4, and 5, I'm not so sure Square made the best decisions. FF5 was the first game with jobs, and I have no idea why Nintendo would have kept that in Japan. It added a lot to the gameplay. FF4 hard-type was harder, but after playing through it the US version felt very NERF'd.

Re:It's common (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15748581)

I have not the best hand eye coordination. But, perhaps paradoxically, I'm of two minds. SMB2 US (Doki Doki) was one of my favorite games. It was free form. You could pretty much do what you wanted so long as you didn't go through the boss door and could keep from dying. Ride eggs for miles and miles. Fall hundreds of feet, snipe at a shy guy with a turnip then fall hundreds of feet more and catch it! That it was so cracked out and comparitively open, with your choice of four characters, was pretty original particularly in an action oriented context.

But I probably would have liked being able to warp backwards. There were certain Super Mario worlds that I liked, the 6 series for instance. So if for whatever reason I got it in my head to play the 6 series, it was a little bit of a hassle, ok, 7's up, reset, speed run to the warp and don't fuck it up.

As for difficulty, appearently no body had imagined some of the stuff in Ninja Gaiden yet.

Out of curiosity, was it the huge double jump in 8-2 that tripped you up, or the maze in 8-3?

Ironically, you're oversimplifying. (5, Insightful)

nobodyman (90587) | more than 7 years ago | (#15748499)

You're conclusion as to the motives for the "simplification" process is, ironically, an oversimplification of the reasoning and intent behind doing such a thing.

For much the same reason - we are seen as too stupid.

I don't think this is what executives at Nintendo, Square, and the like are thinking. I'm not saying that Japan is devoid of nationalism or even outright racism, but I simply can't see a rational human being uttering the phrase "The American mind simply cannot take in all of the brilliance that is Final Fantasy I&II, we must water it down". It all comes down to the bottom line, and anyone wanting to sell a product has to know their market. There's a big difference between "Let's not port SMB2 because it won't sell" and "Americans are too stupid for SMB2".

The interesting question is: is this true? I don't really think so, Imports/unedited releases are too popular when available. IMO people are mostly just people - difficulty doesn't matter much. Culture references very much are important, but that is very different from complexity.

Unfortunately, I feel the market disagrees with you. Take a look at rare instances where Japanese RPG titles get the full-on marketing push in the USA. EarthBound for the SNES is a good example. Originally known as "Mother 2" in Japan, the game received a very good (yet faithful) translation effort, had a big marketing push by Nintendo, and was prominantly displayed in oversize packaging that was custom-made just for that title (to accomodate the strategy guide they threw in to sweeten the deal). In fact, the USA translation was arguably more expensive to develop and market than the original Japanese version.

By your theory Earthbound should have done every bit as well as it did in japan. However, the game tanked badly. I was one of the, oh, maybe 5 people in the USA to buy that game. It was awesome, btw, but that's not the point.

There are a couple instances that play out similar to this, but smart companies learn lessons quick and that's why nintendo is very shrewd about what titles get ported.

As for this conventional wisdom regarding why Nintendo didn't release the "real" SMB2 in the USA... I don't buy it. I see the same reason stated repeatedly, but never with attribution. I'd be willing to guess that there was a quote taken out of context and/or badly translated. I'd be much more willing to believe that Nintendo felt that the Japanese SMB2 would be poorly received because the American gaming demographic skewed younger than their japanese demographic and that small children would be turned off by a weak cash-in of a game that was so frustrating that you wanted to bash the cartridge into tiny bits.

Yeah, I played it, and though I'm sure to offend the obscure-japanese-game-title-snobs out there, but the truth is this: The Japanese version of SMB 2 simply wasn't very good.

Re:Ironically, you're oversimplifying. (1)

paedobear (808689) | more than 7 years ago | (#15748588)

From my understanding, the big problem is that the Japanese branches were being mis-advised by their American staff at the American branches. "Oh no, American gamers would never like that" coming from 50-somethings who had probably never played a game before. It also took them a long time to realise that Americans and Europeans play different games - the earliest example I can think of of a game coming out in Europe and not America is "Vib Ribbon" (I'm ignoring Terranigma as that was refused a license in the US because it was felt the SNES was dead)

Re:Ironically, you're oversimplifying. (5, Interesting)

Large Green Mallard (31462) | more than 7 years ago | (#15748668)

I think you're also oversimplifying and projecting western values onto the Japanese.

The concept of racial equality is a western one, and a western one alone. It is entirely acceptable in Japanese (and most of asia/africa/south america) culture to discriminate based on race. Emmigrating to Japan is hard at the best of times, but if you're brown of any description or russian (for example), you can essentially forget about it. It is not uncommon for establishments (pubs/bath houses/shops) outside of Tokyo to proudly proclaim "Japanese Only". http://www.debito.org/ [debito.org] has some interesting information about this sort of descrimination.

Divirging, but deciding not to offer something because "westerners aren't smart enough " is, in my opinion, entirely in keeping with cultural norms in Japan.

Re:It's common (1)

suffe (72090) | more than 7 years ago | (#15748545)

I doubt the reasoning was so much "Americans are stupid" as it was a view on the attention span and willingness to spend hour after hour on finally getting that jump right to finish the level, correct or not.

Re:It's common (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15748618)

This isn't (or shouldn't be) about weather Nintendo thought Americans were stupid gamers or weather anyone can comprehend "complex" things. They wanted to continue to build the Mario franchise and they figured the "real" SMB 2 wouldn't sell well, so they changed it to what they thought would.

I think what we're all forgetting is this was done back when gaming was still reletively new to people. This was a time before millions of people started grinding their lives away on Everquest, World of Warcraft, Eve, etc. before marathon sessions to get %100 on GTA or to unlock every secret in record time or what have you, before speed runs, before competitive gaming and before kids started locking themselves in their rooms to build "l337 skillz" at Counter-Strike, Team Fortress, Halo, etc. You don't really see drastic changes like this anymore unless it's to 'Americanize' something due to censorship reasons (which I think is still stupid). Even so, it's not at all hard to just mod your system and import any game you like these days anyway.

Re:It's common (2, Insightful)

wizrd_nml (661928) | more than 7 years ago | (#15748633)

I don't think it's a matter of stupidity. My impression is that the Japanese players are just much more dedicated to gaming. I think the average American loses interest in a game once he/she completes it. The average Japanese doesn't consider the game completed until he/she discovers every secret, trick, hack and bug.

It's a matter of patience really, not intelligence.

Re:It's common (1)

smchris (464899) | more than 7 years ago | (#15748739)

While there may very well be some cultural differences (maybe westerners do actually prefer FPS and simple games over easterners - though I'm not sure that's true), it's not because one can not handle them.

Dunno. I think it was a little less than 20 years ago when Mensa changed their admissions test in Japan because something like 15% were passing instead of 2%. Maybe nurture _becomes_ mental nature? It isn't Lamarckian to say the development of the mind is shaped according to its available environment.

When I grew up, it seemed like the U.S. respected science instead of intelligent design and respected debate over the nihilism of "everyone's opinion has value". Perhaps it would be a research topic to evaluate whether junk content and sloppy reasoning have a spillover adverse effect on more primal I.Q. measurements like reaction time to simple problems?

Re:It's common (-1, Offtopic)

Mr. Underbridge (666784) | more than 7 years ago | (#15748769)

When I grew up, it seemed like the U.S. respected science instead of intelligent design

No, you just thought it did, because the religious folks were less organized about spreading their agenda. Unfortunately the notion of evolution has never quite caught on in certain parts of this country.

respected debate over the nihilism of "everyone's opinion has value"

Not sure where you're going there - sounds like a false dichotomy to me.

Perhaps it would be a research topic to evaluate whether junk content and sloppy reasoning have a spillover adverse effect on more primal I.Q. measurements like reaction time to simple problems?

At least you're not establishing as fact the notion that people who disagree with you are stupid.

Re:It's common (2, Insightful)

McFadden (809368) | more than 7 years ago | (#15748793)

I was wondering how long it would take someone to start moaning about prejudice (or racism as some of the follow ups have classed it). While your comments weren't actually that bad I think you missed the point. It's not about American's being stupid. The perception (rightly or wrongly) is about Americans being lazy. America is the biggest convenience-led culture in global history. Just look at the obesity levels compared to the rest of the world. Companies dumb stuff down, not because they necessarily think American's have low IQ, but because they think American's aren't used to making an effort.


True, there are occasions when Americans are considered to be more "stupid" than other nationalities, but sometimes you even do that to yourselves. A few years ago, the James Bond film "License Revoked" had it's name changed to "License to Kill" because it was felt that Americans wouldn't know what "revoked" meant. If I recall correctly, this was actually at the request of the American distributor.

you know what? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15748341)

i'm crazy about a cute little jewish princess named monica who has a tongue ring.

..i figure that's at least as interesting to most readers here as some comparison concerning 20-year-old nintendo games.

oh wait..

lol jew (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15748369)

lol jew

Re:you know what? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15748666)

cool.

Seriously, i am actually more interested by that than by this article.

Offtopic should be a +1, not a -1.

OFN (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15748346)

Old Fucking News

(beyond that, probably AFN in internet terms)

The most important thing... (5, Insightful)

7Prime (871679) | more than 7 years ago | (#15748375)

...is it's effect on game series, as a whole. Up until then, sequals were little more than altered level sets. In fact, this is all the Japanese sequal to Super Mario Bros. is... aside from the addition of one item, the poison mushroom, it is simply a different level set. But with the game switch debacle that was Mario 2, the whole idea of a "sequal" changed from: "same game with different levels", to "new game with similarities to original game, with new levels". Since then, few series have been able to get by with simply altering level sets. Imagine what would have happened if Mario 2 had been released the way it originally was, in the US, Mario 3 wouldn't have had to be so innovative just to follow a similar progression, it could have just been a THIRD level set of the original game... but thankfully, the creators were forced to come up with some entirely new design ideas, and created one of the greatest games of all time.

Re:The most important thing... (0)

earthbound kid (859282) | more than 7 years ago | (#15748399)

Uh, you know the Mario character debuted in Donkey Kong, right? And again in DK Jr. And then yet again in Mario Brothers (the one with the crabs in tunnels and stuff). All of this way before before Super Mario Bros., let alone SMB2.

Yeah, your point doesn't hold up at all.

Re:The most important thing... (-1, Troll)

7Prime (871679) | more than 7 years ago | (#15748567)

Wow, you really schooled me! Feel proud buddy, that was definitely a very thoughtful and elegently executed, diss. Have fun with that!

Seriously, try being a bit more of an asshole next time you post, people will like you even more.

Re:The most important thing... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15748713)

You're a poor dumbass, aren't you? He didn't diss you - he refuted your claim with FACTS and KNOWLEDGE which you clearly lack. Instead of answering like a sand-in-your-vagina bitch, you should thank him for the info.

Oh, and THIS is a diss, not GP's post. Fucking moron.

Re:The most important thing... (2, Funny)

Shanep (68243) | more than 7 years ago | (#15748622)

Uh, you know the Mario character debuted in Donkey Kong, right? And again in DK Jr. And then yet again in Mario Brothers (the one with the crabs in tunnels and stuff). All of this way before before Super Mario Bros., let alone SMB2.

So the Mario character debuted how many times? ; )

Glad I grew up in Japan! (2, Funny)

magi.sys (623684) | more than 7 years ago | (#15748381)

Well, this is old news like others have said but it sure makes me glad I grew up in downtown Tokyo. I had the opportunity to waist tons of hours on this super hard Super Mario Brothers 2 with my Japanese buddies. And when I got tired of playing this difficult game I would just go to the toy shop to have the disk rewritten with a easier game for just 500yen (like Doki Doki Panic).

Adware on linked page (4, Informative)

Paul Johnson (33553) | more than 7 years ago | (#15748383)

Like, don't warn us that the linked story tries to run ActiveX controls that "improve" my computer. I suppose most /.ers either run Firefox or have security turned up high, but hey, thats no excuse.

Re:Adware on linked page (2)

Shanep (68243) | more than 7 years ago | (#15748628)

Like, don't warn us that the linked story tries to run ActiveX controls that "improve" my computer.

I was not able to improve my Mac by going to that site. Damn you Apple!

Re:Adware on linked page (1)

martinX (672498) | more than 7 years ago | (#15748661)

Or run Safari...

Where to buy? (0, Offtopic)

Phroggy (441) | more than 7 years ago | (#15748386)

Is it possible to buy the Japanese SMB2, as a cartridge I can play in my NES? Did the Japanese system use the same cartridges, or was there a slight difference?

Yes, I know you can use an emulator, or Super Mario All-Stars for SNES. I'm not interested in an emulator at the moment, and I don't have a SNES.

So assuming the cartridges are compatible, where can I buy one?

Re:Where to buy? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15748394)

back in the day, there was a converter to use Japanese famicon cartridges on NES. That's what you need, plus the game.

Re:Where to buy? (1)

Onuma (947856) | more than 7 years ago | (#15748530)

I don't know if it works the same, but there were basically 2 notches where you inserted the cartridge in the US version of the SNES that differed from the Super Famicom. You take a chisel (preferably, but a screwdriveror knife works too) and hack them off, and the foreign games can be played. I don't know if all games worked, or perhaps just a few of them, but that made all of them fit into the system physically.

Re:Where to buy? (1)

Mr. Memblers (877224) | more than 7 years ago | (#15748593)

It was released on only on disk. FDS - Famicom Disk System. There are some pirate and unofficial versions on cart, but might be hard to find. And you'd need an adapter, NES carts have more pins than Famicom (though most of them are always unused).

Re:Where to buy? (2, Informative)

randomforumposter178 (984565) | more than 7 years ago | (#15748749)

The Cartridges aren't cross-compatible because of the pinout difference, and the difference in physical shape. However, to get an adaptor, the easiest thing to do is unassemble some of the ealiest carts, like excitebike, which was a famicom cart with an adaptor. then just stick the whole thing in a plastic shell. However, since this was a disk system title (like the two famicom Zelda games, and Super Mario Bros,and I belive kid icarus, etc...) there might not be a cartridge version available. it might be best to emulate it, if you're looking for the closest experience, but disk games need the FDS Bios, and it can be hard to get it to work with some emulators. You'd probably get off better just grabbing a Super NES, or waiting and getting a Wii For the Virtual Console deal.

They DID release it (5, Informative)

Calydor (739835) | more than 7 years ago | (#15748392)

They DID release the original Mario Bros. 2, just not on it's own, it was part of the Super Mario All-Stars compilation for the SNES, then dubbed The Lost Levels. So the article is kinda wrong, it did get released outside of Japan - eventually. It is, however, more of the same old as the first game, only harder.

Re:They DID release it (1)

captjc (453680) | more than 7 years ago | (#15748548)

I loved Mario All-Stars. But I did not really find Lost Levels that difficult. Hell, I even beat the game (without Game Genie). I am only a casual gamer. Personally I found Mario 2 (US) more difficult (or maybe just too boring to keep playing).

Re:They DID release it (1)

MrP- (45616) | more than 7 years ago | (#15748561)

if you click through all the articles in that article they mention that fact

Re:They DID release it (3, Informative)

hal2814 (725639) | more than 7 years ago | (#15748946)

"They DID release the original Mario Bros. 2,"

No, they did not. They released a dumbed down version of the original SMB2 for American and European audiences. From the Wiki: [wikipedia.org]

"Neither of these rereleased versions [SMB All Stars and SMB Deluxe] of the game are absolutely true to the original. Aside from the save feature and improved graphics, extra power-ups and 1-ups were peppered throughout the levels, and hidden power-ups were placed in plain sight. Red Piranha Plants, which would originally come out even if Mario or Luigi were next to or on the edge of the pipe, would not emerge if the player was standing on the center of the pipe."

If you've ever played the Famicom version of SMB2, you WILL notice the differences after a few levels.

doki doki panic (1)

prockcore (543967) | more than 7 years ago | (#15748407)

I really want to play Doki Doki Panic with the original sprites.

"Too Hard" canard (5, Insightful)

jerkface (177812) | more than 7 years ago | (#15748446)

"Everyone knows" that all the most awesome, hardcore Japanese games don't make it to the US because, overall, the US audience needs dumbed-down, easier games.

Everyone is wrong. Comparing mainstream audiences, Japanese gamers actually prefer easier, less-complex titles with more linear storytelling and less control and decision-making from the user. This is most evident in sports games. US/EU sports titles never make it in Japan in part because they are far too complex and a bit too difficult. JP sports titles rarely make it elsewhere because the gameplay seems dumbed-down and unrealistic.

In the case of the "lost levels", the game wasn't that popular in Japan either, while our so-called SMW2 has enjoyed enduring popularity in Japan, across multiple releases on multiple consoles. The problem with the SMB sequel wasn't just that it was too hard, it is that it's not that good. It's too much of a rehash of the first SMB and all the added difficulty comes from gimmicky and poorly-tested elements; it's more often annoying than it is hard.

As for RPG's not coming to the US, the problem here isn't that we aren't good enough for the excellent Japanese RPGs. The bigger problems are:

  • Preferences. Japanese players like simpler, more linear games (you might even say "dumbed-down") with fewer skill-based elements and more emphasis on storytelling and presentation. They are also more tolerant of silliness.
  • Costs. An RPG requires hundreds or thousands of times the translation effort of an action title. Margins are not always very high and many producers and distributors simply don't want to deal with such large up-front costs. Even extremely popular games like Nintendo's Animal Crossing and Zelda get delayed by months so they can be translated.
  • Prior to 1996, RPGs were niche titles outside of Japan anyhow.
If you confine your analysis to only hardcore gamer audiences, the comparison becomes completely different. For instance, nobody can touch the Japanese elite at 2d arcade shooters, while on the other hand the Japanese are nonexistent in the FPS scene. But in both cases, the hardcore communities are completely unrepresentative of the mainstream audiences.

Re:"Too Hard" canard (2, Insightful)

DrXym (126579) | more than 7 years ago | (#15748509)

I suspect that US / EU sports games don't make it to Japan for much the same reason that US games don't or just barely make it to Europe and vice versa. Because they're unappealing to those markets.

While I am sure that there are distributors in the US for Brian Lara's Cricket or Gaelic Football, those titles aren't exactly likely to be flying off the shelves. Likewise in Europe with US sports like (American) Football & Baseball. They might sell, but it would be a tiny fraction compared to the home market.

Localizing content such as commentary tracks for Japan would also be a huge pain in the butt and might cost too much to recoup anything. The same in the other direction, especially for weird titles, or long adventure games where there are lots of words to translate and the foreign market doesn't exactly like those titles much to begin with.

Re:"Too Hard" canard (1)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 7 years ago | (#15748757)

Having Plays Lost Levels AKA SM2. It wasn't much that it was harder just more annoying. First there were 16 worlds not the normal 8. Expanding the time for game play and the original Nentendo couldn't save, except for Zelda. Thus increasing the chances for a distraction where you need to turn of the game, or forced to share it with someone else. Plus there were those loops if you didn't take the correct path you looped back and had to do it over again, This is the Packman effect where if you play the same thing over and over again you will eventually die because of a simple mistake. The way it was designed it could have taken you 3 or 4 times doing the same thing to get the fact that you looped.

Stuff That Matters? (0)

polyex (736819) | more than 7 years ago | (#15748486)

Doki Doki Panic? This is supposed to be "STUFF THAT MATTERS"?

Mario 2 was terrible. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15748518)

This is news to me and makes a great deal of sense. I remember playing the wreched game a long time ago and remarking that it was nothing like the first, nor is it anything like the 3rd (Super Mario Brothers 3, best.game.ever). It actually makes a grip of sense. I wish I could play the J version but I really don't care. Mario 2 will always be the worst Mario game Nintendo has released and is simply not worth my time.

Wow, and this story was accepted? (2, Interesting)

eamonman (567383) | more than 7 years ago | (#15748553)

Maybe I should start submitting when I see a lot of 'slownewsday' tags. I'm still 0/3.

I do havea normal comment though.

I wonder if it's just a natural tendency for Japanese to make their games that much tougher. Is that because your average Japanese boy is more patient? I mean, Everyone knows taht the Japanese Final Fantasies basically have enemies that cause more damage yet your main characters earn less EXP per kill.

I believe the original Mario 2 is available (1, Redundant)

FooBarWidget (556006) | more than 7 years ago | (#15748565)

I believe the original Mario 2 is available outside Japan. It's known as "Super Mario Bros: The Lost Levels" and comes with Super Mario All Stars.

Re:I believe the original Mario 2 is available (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15748620)

And I believe you haven't read the article (which is natural : this is Slashdot)
Oh well, you help all the others who haven't read the article with your post.

Re:I believe the original Mario 2 is available (1)

FooBarWidget (556006) | more than 7 years ago | (#15748693)

I did read the article.

Get the facts straight Yanks! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15748586)

Doki Doki Panic

Bullshit! It's called Donkey Kong Panic! Doki Doki my a..! Get the facts straight you Yanks!

Query: Was SMB2's similiarity to SMB the problem? (2, Informative)

J44xm (971669) | more than 7 years ago | (#15748592)

I have also heard that the reason that the original "Super Mario Bros. 2" was not released in the USA was because the USA had a stronger demand for originality and, thus, Nintendo was concerned that the game would not be well received in the states. Certainly, SMB and SMB2 are largely very similar; however, I'm uncertain which theory is correct, if not both.

On the bright side... (1)

Spooon69 (758526) | more than 7 years ago | (#15748603)

At least elements from Doki Doki made it into Mario games and not elements from Captain N: The Game Master (which I used to love as a kid, but hate now because everybody else says it's cool to do so).

fsck wintendo! I wanna play "suki suki"! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15748627)

The only Japanese game I want to play is "suki suki!". Asian girls really know how to suki suki my d..k ;)

europeans often got slightly easier games (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15748645)

don't forget the europeans got thrown slightly easier games than either the US or Japanese, by virtue of most developers being extremely lazy and not taking the time to rework the game to work at PAL refresh rates, so tons of action games ran slower than their NTSC counterparts. this is due to the fact that the games timing were based upon the vertical retraces.

At least one exception (1)

ShadowSonic (910417) | more than 7 years ago | (#15748654)

I can think of at least one exception to the "US games are dumbed down" argument that a lot of people have been putting forward - the Devil May Cry series. Every game (with the exception of DMC3 Special Edition) has had the difficulty level jacked up for American audiences.

Re:At least one exception (1)

Zephiria (941257) | more than 7 years ago | (#15748908)

On a related note so was FFX.
Maybe it was in the EU only or perhaps EU and Japan I'm not sure but we basically ended up with superpowerfull "dark" monsters at keylocations in the game basically 1million +HP monsters that did one hit kills standing about..
It really stopped me playing the game because it really was to damn hard :/

Unwelcome Easy-ness (2, Interesting)

justinstreufert (459931) | more than 7 years ago | (#15748691)

OK, it's old news. But the whole easy-ness thing is a real bummer.

Not to brag (I've never really considered myself "good" at video games, I have friends who consistently kick my ass at it), but I picked up the New Super Mario Bros DS title a few weeks ago and beat it in about a week. Finished the final boss on my second try, and went back & polished off the 2 skipped worlds in a day or two.

This makes me a sad panda. It's a gorgeous game, loads of fun, but it was over before I knew it and compared to my childhood Mario experiences (SMB 1 & 3, SMW) it just seemed very easy. There's not even a % done indicator so I can see whether I've found all the coins and hidden spots. Am I missing something? :(

Justin

[OT] Rollover Ad (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15748703)

My GOD that rollover ad on the top of slashdot frontpage is irritating! It is so easy to mistakenly move over it while trying to reach one of the links in the top sidebar. Can at least the frontpage ad not be SO annoying?!

Read this to the Mario tune: (-1, Offtopic)

Max Threshold (540114) | more than 7 years ago | (#15748740)

Du du du du du du dupe!

*tube* *tube* *tube*

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