Friday, November 9, 2012


The first episode of our new series for ScrewAttack, "OverBytes," is now available for all audiences. It's my understanding that after this, future episodes will go back to the familiar Advantage Users first, all-audiences about one week later schedule. Check it out!


Andy said...

Can you say "Mario" without slipping into your Boston accent? "Mah-rio!"

...I um... I can't actually stop noticing it since Graham pointed out how often you slip into it in that Escapist Expo panel.

Dominic said...

Hey... that was fucking great. Really like this new, additional format, and I'm looking forward to more.

I was introduced to Mario platforming through all of the titles that might be considered sub-tier, i.e. Mario Land 2 & 3, and this via Super Mario Advance for the GBA, so when I started listening to the online series-retrospective conversation and heard everyone talking about all the other "leigitimate" games, I believed their passion but never quite felt it myself. It's nice, then, for the games that I experienced to get a legitimate, positive appraisal from folks like yourself. Thanks!

Sabre said...

I agree in spirit as I enjoyed Mario 2, but I felt some of this was overreaching, in particular the princess being a playable character being a big deal.

I was a kid at the time of Mario 2, and thus the ideas of feminism and sexism were not things I thought about. Also, back then, games were just a kids toy. It wasn't until the N64/Playstation era that feminism started being applied to games.

So, no, the princess being playable wasn't some big taboo smashing deal back then. In my opinion, super princess peach was the bigger deal.

Megabyte said..., Im not sure I agree with this particular show to be honest. Yeah SMB2 did a good job at being Mario while throwing everything from the previous game out the window, I'll agree there. I mean, a sequel is a good sequel not because it's the same thing, but it invokes the feel of the franchise...

But no matter what it did for the series, it's still a reskin... and that kinda hurts it. Imagine finding out Super Metroid was a reskin of some other game Nintendo made in Japan, and decided we would only buy if Samus was the star. It wold be a great game, but that would definitely be a blow against it looking back now... and Im talking about easily my favorite game of the 16 bit era here.

The point is a game really stands best as it was meant to, not disguised as something else.

Spork said...

In regards to the following:

"Super Mario Bros 2 was the first official sequel to completely discard everything from its predecessor except for the characters... It also strengthened that Mario was a hero unto himself... even in a world without any bricks to break or fireballs to shoot... Just like that the Mario universe expanded further beyond the boundaries of the screen than any game world had before."

Actually, the Zelda II, The Adventure of Link was released to most of the world before SMB2, and a good argument could be made that it fits most, if not all of the criteria above. The gameplay was completely different, the tools were new, there was magic, and even though it was called 'Hyrule', the world the player explored was brand new.

So, in this regard, SMB2 was following in Zelda II's shadow (though just barely).

Nixou said...

The gameplay was completely different, the tools were new, there was magic, and even though it was called 'Hyrule', the world the player explored was brand new.

"Brand new world", hey?
But appart from that, it's true that there are a lot of similarities between Zelda 2 and Mario 2: both are regarded as the black sheep of their respective series (with Zelda 2 having the dubious honor of being rushed, which is pretty obvious when one take a look at the japanese version), yet both had an enormous impact of their respective universe's lore, as well as their series gameplay and level design.

Patrick said...


While I'd be inclined to agree with you, Zelda II felt more like an evolution rather than something completely different. Sure, the gameplay was different, but it never felt like a completely different game in the same way Mario 2 did.

In that regard, while Mario has gone on to the multitude of settings described by Bob in the video, Link has only ever gone to slightly different versions of high fantasy. Sure each Hyrule will be slightly different and the art style is almost always different as well, but it's always some form of swords, sorcery, elves and forests.

My point is that you'll never see Link unironically flying on a spaceship.

Nixou said...

"My point is that you'll never see Link unironically flying on a spaceship."

Really? Because we've had several time machines, a steam bot, a motor boat helmed by a sentient robot, a train a trans-dimensional pprtal or two. And let us not forget that Miyamoto recently said in an interview that the original plot for the first Legend of Zelda was pretty much Assassin's Creed. The more time pass, the less the setting is limited to medieval fantasy.

ShadowWing Tronix said...

Unless I missed something, you didn't say anything about how each character played different, only that Luigi has his own look (which wasn't the case as far back as his first appearance in regular Mario Bros.). Luigi has a higher jump, Peach can float thanks to her dress because that's how physics works, and Toad could actually pull the veggies up faster than anyone else. Some levels are actually easier using someone other than Mario.

So it isn't just that Mario can handle new environs (even though it turns out to be a dream) but that even "the man" needs a little help from his friends.

Joe said...

Great job, Bob. Looking forward to future installments.

Redd the Sock said...

I'd say Peach was the bigger deal than Mr.s Pac-Man for a different reason. Strip to bow off her and yes, you have an updated version of Pac-Man a la the lost levels. Peach and her ability set made her unique as opposed to being the same character drawn differently (and was usually more useful overall).

Of course it's that re-skin problem that urks us in hindsight, perhaps more because we've seen abuses. For every SMB2 there's a poor cart racer, puzzle game, or just something else with no relation but the title, not to mention endless movie and TV show tie ins that just seem to borrow a look. Today, characterization and narrative prevent this, but back then, the look of the characters and the gameplay where really the only thing that stringed a lot of unrelated games together.

Not that this had been unique to even Mario at the time. He;d already been retconned into the hero of Donkey Kong (as opposed to jumpman) then the villian of Donkey Kong Junior, as well as the original Mario Bros, a single screen action game. I like the game, but I think it's relevance as a sign of change is a little late.


you do realize that Bob has no impact on foreign policy so your great quest is very much pointless? If you truly give such a shit about Pakistani children go harass a senator, congressperson or someone in Washinton because even if the self professed internet z-lister changes his mind, nothing will change overseas.

I guess that makes you the hypocrite: only caring about innocent deaths as long as the solution is limited to low level internet trolling.

LegendofMii said...

Insightful as always. Super Mario Bros. 2 is a classic in its own right, and a personal favorite. The new show is coming together well. As a fan of the growing Multiverse (Marioverse?) surrounding this franchise, it is valuable to stop and look back once in a while.

Razmere said...

I DIG IT!!! Good stuff!

Bedinsis said...

Given that this "Overbytes" series is supposed to have lower production values in order to get topical at a decent pace, how long did it take to produce this episode Bob?

Anonymous said...


"I was a kid at the time of Mario 2, and thus the ideas of feminism and sexism were not things I thought about."

Just because you weren't thinking about them doesn't mean they weren't relevant at the time. The world doesn't revolve around you or your lifetime.

"So, no, the princess being playable wasn't some big taboo smashing deal back then. "

I will agree here though. We've seen more subversions of the classic fairy tale than we've seen repetitions these days, such that even the Tough Action Girl and the Strong Independent Woman are now boring cliches unto themselves. Now that it's more or less equivalent, can society, men, and male writers please stop getting their knuckles rapped when a new story comes out that has a male hero rescuing a female person?

Giuseppe said...

That was really good, Bob! It's one of your first videos in AGES where I actually think you're overthinking a game. :)

Final Stage said...

Really enjoying the new show Bob. Reminds me of your original episodes like the one about Luigi and Daisy being secretly in love or Sonic in Crisis.

Sabre said...

Anon- "Just because you weren't thinking about them doesn't mean they weren't relevant at the time. The world doesn't revolve around you or your lifetime."

True, but I'm about the same age as Bob. I don't think he, or anyone else, loved Mario 2 back in the day because it was breaking down social barriers.

Manticore said...

Lolo's girl joined him in the next installment and I am certain there were others.
Technically pacman paved the way going from the guy to the girl.

Mind making them an ensemble cast/family even if out of convenience... we all know how Casablanca got made right that it was more accident than design?

Sabre- Actually.. I did. I was into girl heroes and things though care bears, rainbow brite, etc. So having the princess saved and having her move ON from that was pretty damned cool. Not in terms of social progress but.. well generally I had a low opinion of girls as victims.

SMB2 is still a classic and had plenty of impact on the mario series so I'm not going to fault it. The Shyguys, bomb-ombs, and so on are nice. And I will concede that its establishing as wild and diverse world or possibilities within it AND by the secondary material (the cartoon and so on) to be a good addition and influence to the series.

I will however defend the Lost Levels not my first choice but it establishes Mario and Luigi as having distinct controls and helps refine the SMB thing.

That said its been pointed by your peers it was a good thing it wasn't brought over for the more expansive installment and DokiDokiPanic by itself IS a good game but attaching it to mario was nice too.

Super PRincess PEach was a lesser deal because it hasn't been followed up on and it involved making a woman a hero in light of no men being involved (she's not just there or wishes to adventure part of the undercurrent of unlikable subtext in Other M by critics) and basing it off that most contentious of female powers... making her massively emotional.

Admittedly an actual Princess Peach game would be more a combination of Sim City (running your kingdom) Kirby (get the ingredients and send the invites for the big party), and some social game where you work a party with diplomatic interaction (though with the Bioware dialogue wheel this might actually be appealing to some now). Not quite the cartoony platform adventure and boring.

Its why I can forgive her being kidnapped alot otherwise we'd see her administrating the kingdom (never a good thing for fairytale/wonderland setting) and running charities, galas, adjudicating bills, etc. Now that can be fun for some. Civilization and Visual Novels aren't going anywhere. Its even a part of XCom and Syndicate, but I can also understand it not being part of Mario.

She's out there playing in the parties, driver her cars in major competitive races, playing baseball, tennis, golf, basketball, and soccer in mix gendered leagues and need we not acknowledge her contributions in Smash Brothers where she may not be miss action but STILL contributes well and even handles talking down a fight and gets along with Solid Snake.

None of this is seen wrong or silly for her to do as a woman, even a "girly" one or a princess. She organizes these things, in general. No need to add action girl atop that. Alternate costumes for their DDP counterparts in the next Smash wouldn't be bad though.

Anonymous said...

While I do enjoy the silly storylines of the Game Overthinker, part of me also did prefer it when the show was just getting straight to the point and talking about a certain interesting game topic. With Overbytes, it appears we can have our cake and eat it too! So I'm glad you've gone in this direction, Bob, and I'll continue to watch both shows. :)

Smashmatt202 said...

I like this more direct and to-the-point angle. It's fun talking about old games!

I really enjoyed Super Mario Bros. 2 when I first played it, and I'd like to see Nintendo would make another game like it.

Anonymous said...

Great episode, though I do have to point out that technically the Japanese Super Mario Bros. 2 introduced control differences between Mario and Luigi. Luigi could jump higher but had worse traction, and with Mario it was the reverse.

Anonymous said...


"True, but I'm about the same age as Bob. I don't think he, or anyone else, loved Mario 2 back in the day because it was breaking down social barriers."

Good for you, but this video isn't about why he personally loves the game, it's about why it's important beyond the fact that people love it and part of it is because it included the Princess as a playable character, possibly due to there only being like 4 "good" characters in the original game and short of making up a new character they were essentially forced to put her in.

It should also be noted that in Japan it was released later as Super Mario USA, and has basically supplanted Doki Doki Panic in history insofar as Peach's role in this game has basically shaped how she is characterized and how she plays (when playable), especially in Smash Bros.

It really is an important game, at least in Nintendo's and Mario's history if not the greater gaming history.

biomechanical923 said...

I gotta agree with Sabre here.

No offense, Bob. But it really feels like you're pulling a lot of this out of your ass.

Unknown said...

The game I was introduced to Mario was SMB3, and I sorta agree with you, but consider the fact that SMB2 was based around Doki Doki Panic but put mario in front.

Anonymous said...

Something I'm surprised you didn't mention:

Many Mario enemies that are now staples of the series debuted in Mario 2. Shy Guys, Bomb-Bombs, Birdo. Without Mario 2, we'd have none of them. I'm sure there are others I'm forgetting.

ScrewAttackSamus said...

reminds me of something that Iwata said in response to people saying Mario doesn't innovate: "Mario wouldn't be popular for 25 years if it didn't innovate and improve."

Greg said...

You know I've always liked the series but I really enjoyed this episode. It's not the storyline bits I find those kind of fun but honestly some of your overthinker episodes are way too political, the stuff needs to be said but it's nice to have light stuff from you. Also whoever is playing the game is almost dying on purpose I swear.

Giuseppe said...

I just want to say on the subject of reskins - it's not always a horrible crime!

I love Adventure Island AND Wonder Boy equally and treat them like vastly different games.

darkmage0707077 said...

Ah, Mario 2. Such wonderful memories. So glad to hear that someone agrees with me.

Also, Zelda 2 has similar standing and accomplishments for its series: it introduced MANY tropes that fans still love above all others to this day (magic, Shadow Link, the "triforce" being *three triangles* instead of a 3-sided object, expanded sword move set besides just "stab" and "swing"), as well as allowing some expansion beyond the original universe established by its predecessor. Unlike Mario 2, though, it actually had the shadow of full locational continuity there (remember revisiting Death Mountain?) and expanded the world to actually be A WORLD instead of just a bunch of maps thrown together, with actual towns to visit and people (supposedly) living in the places you explored, making Hyrule a living, breathing place. Though also unlike Mario 2, it didn't have any true landmark moments for gaming as a whole, and was something of an unfinished mess ("Mr. Error", as we called him in the day, being a classic example).

I must admit, though, that Zelda 2 was my FIRST Zelda, when my parents got it for me for Christmas instead of the first one by mistake. But I feel that gives me a unique perspective, since I had no preconceptions from the first game, and so I liked it a lot. And my love of it still holds true today, right down to light remixes of its various unique songs being in my playlists.

As an advanced member, if this is what I can expect, then I'll probably renew my SA subscription when it's up! Can't wait to hear more like this!

Nixou said...

"Though also unlike Mario 2, it didn't have any true landmark moments for gaming as a whole, and was something of an unfinished mess"

Watch this video: the Japaneses are the one who got the unfinished mess of a game (incomplete musiques, shitty sound effects, same skin used for every temple, unfinished animations... (the dragon, dear god, the dragon...)

Anonymous said...

That was great. In fact, when I was a kid and Super Mario All-Stars was the only game I owned on my new Super Nintendo, it was actually Mario 2 that took up most of my time. It was the easiest of the games on the cart, but it was also the one I found most engaging, possibly because of the slower pace (no level time limit, actual puzzles involving bombs and keys, being able to take more than 2 hits before dying). Yeah, Mario 3 was great, but I felt this one was also great.

Love this format more as well. I've never liked your narrative stuff, Bob, I always preferred it when you just stuck to overthinking.

BoobooMama said...

Congratulations on your new series, Bob! Can't wait to see more! :D

BoobooMama said...

Congratulations on your new series, Bob! Can't wait to see more! :D