Yes, this actually happened.
PLAYERS: 1-2 alternating
RELEASE DATE: 1986
The original Super Mario Bros. changed gaming history, which is why it’s interesting that several different/alternate versions of the game exist. Vs. Super Mario Bros is probably the most well-known, as it was a tabletop arcade featured prominently in different arcades and Pizza Huts around the mid-to-late Eighties. But perhaps the most obscure (and rare) Super Mario Bros. version is All Night Nippon Super Mario Bros. for the Famicom Disk System.
Many of the words you just read may not have made sense, so allow me to explain. The Famicom or “Family Computer” was the name of the NES in Japan. The Famicom Disk System was an add-on to the Famicom, similar to how the Sega CD worked with the Genesis, except it used floppy disks instead of CDs or cartridges. Many of the most beloved games on the American NES, like Zelda, Castlevania, and Super Mario Bros. 2 started out life as FDS games. “All Night Nippon” is a popular late-night talk show in Japan that’s been regularly broadcast since 1967. In 1986, All Night Nippon had a raffle with this game as the prize. The game itself is an officially licensed hack, which in and of itself is a rarity. I think Nintendo would probably shudder at the idea of hacking their own game now (wait, does Super Luigi U count?), but back in the day, they were trying to raise awareness and build the popularity of their new FDS add-on anyway they could.
All Night Nippon SMB is very much like the original Super Mario Bros at its core, but the differences that are in the game are so bizarre – so definitively Japanese – that it’s certainly worth playing through until the end just to see them all.
WHAT TO WATCH FOR
Goombas and Piranha Plants have been replaced by the heads of DJ Sunplaza Nakano-kun and Tamori
The level layouts are a mix of the original game, The Lost Levels and even Vs. Super Mario Bros.
The stars have been replaced by the Hiranya symbol, but to my Western eyes, it resembles the Jewish Star of David.
- When Mario enters the smaller castles, the logo that is raised on the flag is a Fujisankei logo. Fujisankei is the company that broadcasts All Night Nippon.
Microphones are seen instead of mushrooms in the background.
Instead of rescuing a Toad at the end of each world, you rescue a Japanese celebrity. When you finally get to Peach, she is wearing a geisha outfit instead of her traditional pink frock.
There are some additional differences, but these were the ones that stood out the most to me. Up until recently, I had never heard of this game, but due to its rarity, I imagine the only way one could play this is by paying exorbitant amounts of money on Ebay or by downloading it illegally. I do not recommend the latter, but that usually doesn’t stop anyone from doing what they want to do. Play at your own risk.
All Night Nippon Super Mario Bros stands out as the premier alternate version of the original SMB because it’s lighthearted, weird as hell, and oozing with Japanese culture. Do yourself a favor and watch some Youtube videos of this thing. Bonsai!