Remember The Classics
This article was originally featured on NintendoPlayroom.com written by the Lost Hylian
Do you remember 1988? It was the time of Mullets, scrunchies and “Who Framed Roger Rabbit”. Boom Boxes blasted “Sweet Child O’ Mine” by Guns and Roses, and The Wonder Years captured America’s heart. This is not an article about those things, nor is about Pedro Delgado of Spain winning the Tour de France, or about me learning to ride a bicycle without training wheels at age 5, (Thanks Grandpa!). This isn’t even about Mario Bros 3 released in Japan on October 3rd 1988 (maybe next time wink wink). Alas this article is dedicated to a reimagined Yume Kōjō: Doki Doki Panic that made its way onto the Nintendo Entertainment System. This reimagining would become number three on the best sellers list of its time selling 7.46 million copies, this beating out the original Legend of Zelda’s 6.51 million copies.
Perhaps you are more familiar with the American name of Super Mario Bros 2. That’s right our beloved Mario characters are simply a repurposing of a game about an Arabian family on a quest to rescue their two youngest children. Their children it seems have been captured by the evil King Wart and trapped in a dream world. The game was developed by Nintendo in a joint venture with Fuji TV a Japanese television network. Great marketing scheme I’m sure what says support my company like a video game about kids kidnapped into a dream world? Insert Freddy Krueger selling school supplies. Doki Doki Panic was actually built on a game engine being designed for a Super Mario Bros sequel.
This included vertical scrolling along with the original side scrolling we all know and love. When Fuji TV contacted Nintendo wanting to ramp up their marketing, they shifted gears and used the games engine to create Yume Kōjō: Doki Doki Panic. As time moved on Nintendo wanted to release the Japanese version of Super Mario Bros 2, however it was deemed too difficult for Western audiences. Scrambling to come up with an alternative the Miamoto lead team that designed Doki Doki Panic came up with a very Nintendo idea.
Not in the way they make a tennis game, or a racing game, or a soccer game, or any of the other bazillion games with Mario. No, this was a slice and dice swapping. Think of Face Off with Nick Cage and John Travolta. They swapped character sprites and added a little polish to get the game we know and love today. A perfect fit, a solid 10, or more like an 8.5 if you look to IGN’s scores.
Super Mario Bros 2 is often looked at as the kid no body wanted. It features different game play, no Bowser, and if you pay attention to the opening dialogue it was nothing but Mario’s dream. However I argue that it gave us more than it took away. In a time when The Nintendo Entertainment system was exploring its full potential it pushed the boundaries on vertical scrolling, which is truly revolutionary for its time. It also included four playable characters with unique attributes. This included the the Princess who had the ability to float for short periods of time, (which is why everyone picked her). It also brought us Shy Guys and Birdo which are fan favorites to this day. For the first time it felt like Mario had personality, and who else didn’t love the slot machine, flying carpets, and campy theme song. I can tell you at that time in my young life, it was the first time I became interested in vegetables.