Runners-up of 1988

Super Mario Bros. was the best game of 1985, and the only game that year to receive a Games Appreciation article. It’s not too surprising, then, that the same applies to SMB3 in 1988. It was almost hopeless that any game could reach the same heights–but there are a few games that got close. And here they are.

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Super Mario Bros. 3

Original version: Super Mario Bros. 3, released on 1988/10/23 for Nintendo Famicom

Recommended version: The WiiU Virtual Console re-release of Super Mario Advance 4: Super Mario Bros. 3, released on 2003/07/11 for Game Boy Advance

After the immense success of Super Mario Bros., it was inevitable that a sequel would be made. Nintendo actually went about this in two different ways. The first sequel was called Super Mario Bros.: The Lost Levels and featured the same gameplay and art assets of the original, but was cruelly difficult. It was meant to be a satisfying challenge for those who mastered SMB and hungered for more. The other sequel was a reskin of the game Doki-Doki Panic with Mario, Luigi, Princess Peach, and Toad being substituted for the original characters. Its gameplay was different from SMB in every way except that it was also a platformer. Both games are technically “Super Mario Bros. 2,” but neither was a genuine successor to the first one. But on one fateful day in 1988 gamers in Japan were treated to a game that was not just a sequel, but a veritable tour de force.

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