This game wasn’t worth $3.99 in 1989


Let alone 2011.

Although it was an undeniably significant Game Boy title, Super Mario Land has never been a very good one, and the asking price of $3.99 to relive this awkward and inferior Mario misstep is absurd. As Blake said on this week’s podcast, “it’s a bad game.”

What about you, Infendo? Agree with our criticisms of Super Mario Land, or can you forgive its flaws? The symbolism of launching the eShop with a Game Boy launch title aside, is this really the right game to get the overdue service running?

See also: In case you missed it, Super Mario Land 2 stands the test of time


  1. I have always thought this game was garbage, the second GB one was much better (and actually fun); I get bored of this game every time I play it.

  2. Wow. Pretty harsh. This one ranks pretty high in my favorites from the series. The weirdness, the shmup stages, the secrets, and especially the final level. Easily the most misunderstood and most underrated of the Mario games.

  3. I loved it when I was little.
    I’m willing to pay for that price to experience it again (and I currently am enjoying it).

    Not worth that price to everyone, so I understand.

    ………. it’d be interesting if the reason why they chose to put this as one of the first eShop titles is because they’re planning to make another Mario like it (with shmup stages).

  4. Thanks, Derek; having never played it, I was about to cave and plunk down the four bucks.

    Be fair, though: the eShop also launched with Link’s Awakening DX, free Excitebike, free Pokedex 3D and 350 DSiware titles. Not too shabby.

  5. I heard it was short, but because it was a mario game, I did not know what to expect. So I got the game, and I beat it so quickly! I was shocked, it would of been a better game if it was not so short. I could even beat it, and I am not the best at mario games!

  6. I usually don’t enjoy watching “rant” reviews (except from the angry nintendo nerd) but i found this one pretty funny ! Okay, about the game: i never really liked it very much, even when i was very little, but i didnt completely hate it either. I replayed it relatively recently and i thought that its biggest flaw was that it was too short. I mean, 12 short levels? seriously?
    Anyway, the second one was SO much better. It also deviated from the usual mario visual style, it had strange levels and enemies too and not much was so mario-related on it, but it was really good. So its not actually a matter of how mario-ish is a mario game (although i prefer having familiar elements in my mario game), but how enjoyable it is. And i agree that super mario land did not suceed on that area.

  7. Thanks, Koopaling! And I’m with you. The sequel is fantastic.

  8. Sentimentality aside (this was the first video game I ever beat), I think I’d rather have Link’s Awakening DX over this trip down memory lane .

  9. I’m only 16, and I loved Super Mario Land, so I’m not biased by nostalgia! Although Link’s Awakening DX definitely kicks it’s ass… 😛

  10. Shameless self-promotion!

    Just kidding. I downloaded the title (it “just so happens” the minimum eShop payment is $10 and Link’s Awakening was $6….and Mario was $4….so…y’know…do the math), and I agree with you. It’s not worth $4.

    It’s not a horrible game, it’s not. I’ve played many worse platformers. But it’s not a good Mario game. I mean, for $1 more, I can get Mario Bros. on the Wii.

    It’s not a lot of money, but it’s still overpriced, and that really might keep me from buying any more 3DS VC titles. These GameBoy games should be 0.99 at most, GBC at 1.99, etc. They’re not, and after I, almost regrettably, dropped $250 on this handheld with no games on it, almost 3 months since it’s launch, I feel, wrong or not, entitled to something a little more reasonable.

  11. I just watched the video again, and realized the invincibility star theme in this game is “The Can-Can.” Public domain french cabaret music. Wow.

  12. Super Mario Land is a fun, above average platformer with some very unique gameplay tweaks and ideas (bouncing fireballs to collect coins, SHMUP levels in a Mario game) and very good music.

    How is that “bad?”

    Thats too harsh. This is a great game… with an absolutely FANTASTIC sequel!

  13. Hmm $3.99 could also by me a big mac…..I’ll be back later

  14. I really love this game. I’ve replayed it over and over, and I bought it again on the eShop. I absolutely love it to this day. It’s so odd, so charming, so familiar, and so distinct, that it’s incredibly replayable to me even to this day.

  15. Boy was I hit with nostalgia when I first saw this in e-shop. I loved this game! To be fair to each their own but this was my first Mario experience ever as a child. The music was fun and memorable and the enemies were all interesting. Oh and 4 words side-scrolling-scuba-shooter.

  16. Well, that’s just like, your opinion man. I loved this game when I played it, and replayed it. Although playing it with a pokemon mod made it funnier. I still think it’s a fun game, and while it’s not up to par to say, Mario 3, I like the approach of this game. I’ve never been good at the 2D Mario games, but I found this very fun and simple.

  17. @Artefacto
    Nice ‘The Big Lebowski’ reference.

    I agree with you completely on this one Derek. Although it sometimes shine a little in stage design, you can clearly feel that Miyamoto didn’t had anything to do with this title. I’d still love to see some of the stages given a remake a la Mario Kart, that would be my big wish for New Super Mario Bros 3. Take a look at this

    Now make your Super Mario Land 2 review.

  18. This was one of my favorite games to play on long car rides.

  19. agreed!! the entire eShop and its prices are just ridiculously exobetant. I dont think i will be buying very many titles!! haha

  20. Derek you are very wrong. I have been playing this game all weekend. And humming or whistling its theme song in between play sessions.

  21. You’ve gots to be kiddings me. This game was dope as all get out when it dropped back in the day. Loved the pants off of this game. Still have it too. I bust it out every year or so and give it a solid playthrough. The secrets are perfect, the level design is excellent, and flying a plane and piloting a sub are just as cool as hell. Koopa bombs are hilarious btw. Yes, it didn’t follow canon, but neither did mario bros 2 but it was still a good time!

  22. I personally preferred Super Mario Land 2 by a large margin. The first game definitely felt nothing like a normal Mario game, and while the music and some ideas were good, the physics were just completely wrong.

    I think Waluigious said why it was a mediocre game better than the reviewer th0ugh:

    Oh, and Super Mario Land 2 has to be one of the greater Mario games. Extremely underrated, and actually filled with a lot of references to other video games and the Mario series.

  23. With the new e-Shop can we purchase points cards still or is it Visa/Master card only? I loved buying the cards and I never liked putting a credit card number in a video game system. I read that someone saw 3ds points cards at Target or something a while ago, perhaps that person was full of it as I haven’t seen new points cards anywhere yet.

    As for Mario Land for $4… it may not be the best Mario title but for $4, it’s not that overpriced. I’ll probably pick this up… and perhaps Alleyway (I love Breakout!) but are we allowed to use the touch screen for paddle movement or is it direction pad only?

    One final note… anyone else annoyed that with the ‘BIG LAUNCH’ of the e-Shop that the offering of 3 GB games and 2 freebies was pretty horrible? Where are the 3d titles to purchase? Where are the Game Gear games? The TG16 games? Don’t give me the DSi Ware library story… I’ve been buying items from there since the DSi came out so porting that library doesn’t count (okay maybe the new game they released last week can count). But really Nintendo? Oh… before I get upset about one more thing, I’ll ask the question instead… where’s the Free Internet Program for the 3DS? I hope I just missed it when I was looking through the store….

  24. I enjoy this game even though the sprites are ridiculously tiny. It is a much better game than the first Castlevania titles for the GameBoy, though.

  25. For me it’s actually the opposite. I like Mario Land 1, but I hate Mario Land 2. Sure the Mario Land 1 isn’t that pretty, Mario Land 2 has really shitty controls though. The first game is really short, so there’s not much replay value, but it’s still better than Six Golden Coins.

  26. Pro-tip: hold Select when you start any Virtual Console games on the 3DS to get a sweet 3D version of the handheld on the top screen. Too bad the screen gets extra tiny, but it’s a neat effect!

  27. Hear, hear, Derek. Avoid this stinker. But don’t miss SML2: it’s the bees knees!

  28. @King_Salamon;

    The browser came with the system update. Just Click on the little globe icon on the home screen.

    Pokedex 3D is the first 3DSware (though they’re not calling it that) and it’s nice that it’s a freebie, because a lot of fans would have gladly paid for it.

  29. I enjoyed it back in the day and for $3.99 I can enjoy it once again.

  30. I understand what you’re saying, but seriously? It’s not THAT bad, simply view it as a game. It’s enjoyable to play even if it’s not quite Mario….

  31. Good game

  32. I love this. I still have the GB original. I wish I still had the comics based off of this. Basically Tatanga and Mario were fighting in the real world, so epic. So funny too since they were basically toy sized.

    Donkey Kong for GB better show up.

  33. I love this game. And I love that it’s so short. And I love that after you beat it, you can replay the game with tons of extra enemies. I definitely like it better than Mario Land 2.

    But regarding the 3DS emulation, I hate that you have to choose between a blurry version and a way too small version.

    To the person who asked if you can buy 3DS points cards… you can, but not yet. They’re supposedly coming later this month.

    And to the person who said that minimum eshop payment is $10.00, that’s not true! I was given the choice of $5.00 as the lowest payment when I went to buy this game.

  34. CM30, that Waluigious review is just plain wrong when he says there are no secrets in the game. There are definitely a few little secrets.

  35. @Kaherka:

    Gamestop has the 3DS points cards.

  36. I just came to the realization that the “points” system that the wii uses is not used on the 3ds. Thought if I put ten dollars on my account I could get two five dollar games.

    Nope. Twenty-nine cents short.

  37. Bit harsh… seems like all the criticism is how “non-Mario-like” the game is. Games don’t have to be “Mario-like” to be good. I liked this back on the Game Boy (my older brother’s!) and I enjoyed playing through it again so for me, it was worth the money.

    Anyway… games, fun and all that stuff is subjective; it’s hard to put together a completely water-tight argument in favour or against despite everyone trying!

  38. I went to Gamestop to buy an eshop card. But they were going to charge me tax. Since the eshop also charges tax I decided against it. I don’t think it’s fair to pay double tax. iTunes cards don’t work that way, PSN cards don’t work that way. Maybe it’s just Gamestop’s problem, I don’t know, but it’s not right.

  39. Guys give the game a break. Yeah the enemies looked nothing like they do now, but it was one of the FIRST gameboy games! they were just getting the hang of things and the new technology. I mean this was back in 1989, why be sooo harsh on it? i dont see any eye popping differences from any other mario game at all…. and plus, the alien ship? you think that was weird to put in a mario game? Look at Super Mario GALAXY!! Wow

  40. This guy is a fag.

  41. @Kaherka
    Yeah that’s Gamestop’s problem.
    I bought points on the 3DS with my credit card. I’m from Cali, and we have one of the highest taxes here in the States. You know how much I was charged in tax in every one of my purchases? Zero. Zilch. Nada. Nothing.

    So uh… screw Gamestop. Go buy your games online or find a local game store.
    …or just stick with purchasing from megastores like Target and such.

  42. I rather like this game. I don’t really see why people think it’s so bad. Yes the sequel is much better- sort of like comparing Mario bros 3 to the original. But I guess it’s just opinion.

    Personally I don’t think $4 is really asking too much- I can get an old school game for less than the price of a deli sandwich.

    Don’t get me wrong, I love this site and the podcast and you guys do a wonderful job sharing your passions for gaming and making me think about gaming in new ways- but geez do you guys complain a lot.

  43. @Kaherka: That’s just Gamestop being Gamestop. PSN and Nintendo Points cards (the old ones) are tax free but with the eShop ones they figure demand will be high so why not make more money? It’s like their $5 “Tax” on accessories for consoles…

  44. I have never played it so I’ll get it, play and and get back to you what I think of it 🙂

  45. I played it for the first time on the 3DS, and I thought it was fine. I don’t feel like I overpayed, and the music is fantastic. (Except the can-can. What?)

  46. I own the original cartridge (along with 25 others) for the original Game Boy. As a young lad, this Mario outing wasn’t necessarily to my taste. Due to the game’s sub-par control, I found myself dying over and over again. With my recent repurchasing, however, I found it incredibly easy to clear the game’s four worlds with about 30 extra men in stock by the time I reached Tatanga. Super Mario Land is about as outlandish in the Mario cannon as was Super Mario Bros.2: it’s the only Mario game that truly emphasizes platforming (I remember half the levels just comprising tricky leaps and moving floors) and the only Mario game to have sh’mup stages (which I enjoyed, given I love games like Gradius and R-Type). For this reason alone, a lot of players are going to argue that the game doesn’t stick to tradition. While this game is no doubt inferior to its sequel, the Six Golden Coins, it’s still worth a look (at least emulate it!).

Leave a Reply

Skip to toolbar