Thrilling Tales of Old Video Games: The Indie Pop Legacy of Super Mario Land 2
This week’s Nintendo Direct featured news that a lot of gamers had been waiting for: that the company was putting to use its vast library of handheld games by making them available for the Nintendo Switch Online library. As of the end of the presentation on Wednesday, you could hop onto your Switch and start playing Game Boy and Game Boy Advance titles. This is a big deal in and of itself, but it also meant a lot of players could discover Super Mario Land 2: Six Golden Coins — a very good Mario platforming game that has not been readily accessible in the way console Mario platformers have.
SML2 is famous for a few reasons, most notably because it introduced Wario, a character who immediately became an integral part of the Marioverse and who would shortly thereafter overtake the Mario Land games. Super Mario Land 3 was subtitled Wario Land, and then the sequel to that game just fully changed the franchise name to Wario Land, where it would refine and tweak platforming conventions to become a series that plays very differently to the mainline Mario games.
Thirty years later, it’s hard to imagine a span in the Mario games when Wario wasn’t skulking around.