Note: iOS 9 + Facebook users w/ trouble scrolling: #super sorry# we hope to fix it asap. In the meantime Chrome Mobile is a reach around
hot  /  reviews  /  videos  /  cblogs  /  qposts

The Memory Card .23: It was all a dream?

7:41 PM on 01.24.2008 // Chad Concelmo

Sometimes videogame moments can be memorable without being very good. Take last season’s StarTropics Memory Card induction, for instance: I will never forget that damned submerged letter for the rest of my life, but that doesn’t change the fact that the whole concept left me a little confused.

This week, the dim, barely visible negative light of my memory shifts its focus to one of the strangest creative choices in videogame history.

Over the years, I can think of a handful of games that presented endings with unexpected and wholly fulfilling plot twists. While some of them may have been over-the-top, they still fit into the context of the established plot, making them at the very least mildly believable.

Even in the early retro days, when videogame stories weren’t a huge focus of the overall experience, a poorly realized -- or, even worse, lazy -- plot point still stood out like a sore thumb. One of these unfortunate moments occurs at the end of the quirky Super Mario Bros. 2 for the original Nintendo Entertainment System. Hit the jump to learn what not to do at the conclusion of an otherwise decent little videogame.

The Set-Up

Like the aforementioned StarTropics, I actually happen to love Super Mario Bros. 2, despite some of its shortcomings. In fact, it is one of my favorite games from the golden (and sorely missed) NES era.

The first thing anyone will notice when playing Super Mario Bros. 2 is the game’s drastic change in style when compared to the original Mario hit. Gone are the classic brick-breaking and warp pipes of yore. All the stuff that made Mario, well, Mario was replaced with a strange new world filled with creepy masked enemies and a lot of ... vegetable plucking?

This huge shift in aesthetics is perfectly explained once you discover Super Mario Bros. 2 is actually a remake of the Japanese game Yume Kōjō: Doki Doki Panic, but starring Mario characters (the true sequel to the first Super Mario Bros. released only in Japan).

In the game, for the first time, you can choose between four playable characters: the well-balanced Mario, the high-jumping Luigi, the hovering Princess Toadstool, or the strong Toad. Regardless of who is chosen, the basic plot remains the same: the evil toad Wart has cursed the world of Subcon and it is up to the heroes of the Mushroom Kingdom to stop him.

After playing through numerous, admittedly creative levels, you and your companions finally make it to the final boss, Wart himself.

While the battle is nothing special (you throw a lot of vegetables, dodge a lot of bubbles), it is what occurs after Wart’s defeat that is a little ... odd.

Once the malevolent toad falls, your chosen character makes his/her way through a magical door and into an open room. At the center of the room is a vase, sealed by an oversized stopper.

Immediately, your character hops on top of the stopper and pulls it from the decorated vase. From within, eight random fairies fly out, congratulating you for defeating Wart and saving Subcon from the horrible curse.

With no hesitation, a celebration in your honor begins (involving the morbid denizens of Subcon parading Wart’s body around for all to see/gawk at). It is after this celebration when the next Memory Card moment occurs -- one that I am still scratching my head about.

The Moment

As you, the player, are waiting for the strange celebration to continue on, the scene suddenly cuts away to Mario asleep in bed, a cute nightcap sitting on top of his head. In the corner of the screen, the celebration you just witnessed is displayed in a large, white thought bubble coming from the snoring plumber’s head.

After a few moments, Mario wakes up for a second, bursting the thought bubble and all of its contents. It is at this moment that you sadly realize the entire game you have been playing was only one of Mario’s vivid (mushroom induced?) dreams. The entire adventure that established some pretty memorable characters (Birdo!) and encounters (riding on a magic carpet!) was all just in Mario’s head.

To make matters more disappointing, instead of something dramatic happening after Mario wakes up, he just goes right back to sleep as the credits start rolling, revealing the “cast” of the game.

As the last cast member leaves the screen (Wart), a final, cursive “The End” forms above Mario’s snoring face, sealing the fate of one of the strangest videogame endings of all time.

You can watch all the wackiness unfold here:

The Impact

When I first saw the ending of Super Mario Bros. 2 as a child I never really thought twice about it. While I thought it was a little weird, it wasn’t until years later when I truly realized how much of a copout it really was.

Looking back, it is a pretty big slap in the face that Nintendo didn’t think the people of America would be able to handle a game as challenging as the original sequel to Super Mario Bros. Replacing some characters from an already established game with familiar Mario icons is one thing, but adding on an abrupt ending ludicrously trying to explain why the game is so different than previous ones in the series is just insulting.

When I say “insulting” I don’t mean to sound so dramatic. It’s not like I’m really that angry about this decision or anything. As mentioned before, I love Super Mario Bros. 2 and think the ending (while crazy) is still totally classic. I just think it was an odd creative choice that boggles my mind, even today.

Think about it: when has the “it was all a dream” scenario worked well. In all other forms of media (film, television, stage), this technique is rarely used because of the negative reaction it always (deservedly) garners. Is the result of putting it in a popular videogame any different? The answer is obviously no.

Mario games have never been known for their strong stories or mind-blowing endings, so it is a little hard to fault Super Mario Bros. 2 for doing something so shocking or unfair. Heck, I guess just the fact that the Mario series tried something new is reason enough for some form of praise. But the ending is obviously (in)famous for a reason. If you ask a bunch of videogame fans on the street about Super Mario Bros. 2, I bet the same amount that knows how the game ends (read: all of them) will agree that the ending was rather disappointing and ultimately out of place.

Although not a lot happens, the ending of Super Mario Bros. 2 is easily one of the most memorable videogame moments of all time. Let’s just hope Mario doesn’t have anymore of these zany dreams in the future ...

The Memory Card Save Files

.01 - .20 (Season 1)
.21: Crono's final act (Chrono Trigger)
.22: Ganon's tower (The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time)

Chad Concelmo,
 Follow Blog + disclosure

This blog submitted to our editor via our Community Blogs, and then it made it to the home page! You can follow community members and vote up their blogs - support each other so we can promote a more diverse and deep content mix on our home page.

 Setup email comments

Unsavory comments? Please report harassment, spam, and hate speech to our community fisters, and flag the user (we will ban users dishing bad karma). Can't see comments? Apps like Avast or browser extensions can cause it. You can fix it by adding * to your whitelists.

Status updates from C-bloggers

Jiraya avatarJiraya
The postman just brought me gifts i bought for myself ... [img][/img] [img][/img]
James Internet Ego avatarJames Internet Ego
Umm.. no Microsoft. Where is the 'go away' button? [img][/img]
StriderHoang avatarStriderHoang
I tried driving as Uber last night to start supplementing my income and everyone so far has been super chill. Also, I started practicing in my sleepy small home city so the training wheels were still on. No big city bar hoppers just yet.
RadicalYoseph avatarRadicalYoseph
Just got my Gwent physical edition. I don't understand special abilities - for example, Arachas have an icon with two knights beneath the close combat icon. Avallac'h has an eye in that same spot. Help? (I'm no longer a squid btw)
KyWii avatarKyWii
Happy Thanksgiving all! Load up on carbs and then get back to playing Fallout 4.
Archelon avatarArchelon
New extended television spot for The Force Awakens! [youtube][/youtube]
TheKodu avatarTheKodu
I dunno if I just had a freak incident but I think Ubisoft may have just changed the Renown gain in Rainbow Six Siege to be less shit as in overnight they've patched it. If true, kinda good on them.
Atleastimhousebroken avatarAtleastimhousebroken
Does it mess with anyone else's head that when beating a SMBW level in Mario Maker the music doesn't do that little 'booowoo oop' at the end. [youtube][/youtube]
ScreamAid avatarScreamAid
I've developed a new hobby to indulge in while on Skype with friends: creating stupid Sonic OCs. I have so much fun making them for some weird reason, and once I have enough of them I might as well post a c-blog of them, am I right? Look out in the future
El Dango avatarEl Dango
SeymourDuncan17 avatarSeymourDuncan17
Boy howdy, does Divinity: Original Sin take a while to get going. But, it was worth it in the end. Probably the most hardcore RPG I've played. Stellar writing, at that! Combat's pretty amazing too. [img][/img]
FlanxLycanth avatarFlanxLycanth
So it seems I've locked into the Neutral ending for SMT IV and now I need to find specific challenge quests and complete them...? How (un)fun! Google is your friend - the videogame.
Riobux avatarRiobux
Interested in playing some Pathfinder? Trying to arrange a Dtoid Pathfinder group for Saturday nights (GMT) on Skype & Roll 20. If you're new to pen-and-paper RPGs, I don't mind at all and can bring you up to speed quick. Just comment if interested.
Fuzunga avatarFuzunga
Local convention had a great selection of game soundtracks 5 for $20! I got Halo 3: ODST (2 disk!), Gears of War 2, Deus Ex: Human Revolution, Darksiders 2 (2 disk!), and Castlevania: Lords of Shadow. Some of the best soundtracks of the last 7 years!
Niero Desu avatarNiero Desu
Photos and videos are back on quickposts but clipping on some devices. We're going to add a new quickpost editing interface so photos and videos can only be displayed one way (a la twitter) to solve this. Also, a My cBlog link was added to your user menu
Flegma avatarFlegma
Machine-washed my Wii Fit meter yesterday by accident. Took the battery out and let it dry for the night. Luckily the meter still worked - but it had counted a fair number of steps more that day.
Agent9 avatarAgent9
Finally killed Ludwig, now if I could only get passed the 2 hunters on the second floor. that 2 some is rather annoying,and her holy blade kills in only a few hits. wish mine was that strong.
Casus Gaming avatarCasus Gaming
After reading a blog post about DMC4 I decided to watch all the cutscenes on Youtube. Tried the games years ago and couldn't get into them, but man that shit was stylish. Likeable protagonists, intense drama... still think DmC reboot wasn't that bad tho.
lewness avatarlewness
me on 1st ff14 raid (void ark): ooh so many people and lights, so many lights, lights, fuck I can't see, what is happening, i don't understand, is it tuesday already, get on the platform fuuuuck, wow void helm
Pixie The Fairy avatarPixie The Fairy
Just a reminder that you have until the 30th to get your Bloggers Wanted post, "Thankful it's over" in. I'm either going to tell you how I ruined my best online gaming experience or rip Twilight Princess a new one. Maybe both.
more quickposts



Invert site colors

  Dark Theme
  Light Theme

Destructoid means family.
Living the dream, since 2006

Pssst. konami code + enter

modernmethod logo

Back to Top

We follow moms on   Facebook  and   Twitter
  Light Theme      Dark Theme
Pssst. Konami Code + Enter!
You may remix stuff our site under creative commons w/@
- Destructoid means family. Living the dream, since 2006 -