Yes, Super Mario Land 2’s 25th birthday means Wario is a quarter-century old this year, but Mario’s doppelganger isn’t the only weird part! Here’s 10 more things that differentiate 6 Golden Coins from other Mario fare.
Super Mario Land 2: 6 Golden Coins for the Game Boy is now 25 years old, which means it can no longer be on its parents’ insurance. But in terms of things that are actually true and not nonsense, that means it’s been a quarter-century since the debut of Wario, who has transitioned from a castle thief jealous of Mario’s popularity to a world-hopping treasure hunter to a nebulous sort of opportunistic raconteur who dresses like a biker with a penchant for pastels. And you thought YOU changed a lot since 1992!
Wario’s debut is important, but these days, it’s more or less the only reason anyone remembers Super Mario Land 2 (even the launch commercials leaned heavily on Wario, as you can see above). That’s really too bad, because it’s an outstanding game that represents such a massive leap forward from its predecessor that it’s hard to believe they came out on the same system. It’s also — for a Mario game — deeply, deeply bizarre, in ways you might not remember if you haven’t played it in a hot minute. Here are some of the quirks of SML2 that tend to slip the memory.
1. MARIO OWNS A PRIVATE ISLAND
Few stars were as ascendant in 1992 as Mario’s. In less than a decade, he notched four unimpeachable platforming adventures on his belt, along with a fledgling private medical practice and a fulfilling go-karting hobby. The only competitors remotely approaching his stratospheric success were a cool blue hedgehog and his dopey two-tailed fox friend. I doubt he took much notice, however, as he slept comfortably on his GIANT BED OF MONEY. Even at that point in his career, Mario had already collected tens or hundreds of thousands (maybe even millions) of gold coins. What else was he going to do with them all? The splendor of Mario’s island is merely the logical extension of years of compulsive numismatics.
2. IT’S ONE OF ONLY TWO MARIO PLATFORMERS WHERE SAVING A PRINCESS ISN’T THE PRIMARY OBJECTIVE
Not that Mario doesn’t claim a personal stake in saving Peach over and over, but it definitely seems sort of perfunctory at times. Whereas here, it’s refreshing to play a game where Mario’s entire motivation amounts to “someone stole my shit, I’ma go get it back.”
3. COLLECTING 100 COINS DOESN’T EARN YOU AN EXTRA LIFE
I can’t speak for anyone else, but 8-year-old Jess was gobsmacked the first time he watched the coin counter reach 99 and keep going while the lives counter didn’t budge. Instead, here the counter maxes out at 999, and coins are spent in a nondescript dome where smaller games pay out powerups or a handful of lives while high rollers can put it all on the line in hopes of scoring a 99-up (!).
4. THIS THING
This enemy is called a Mogyo, but that doesn’t cut to the quick quite as eloquently as “polka-dotted swimming cow thing.” It’s hard to describe a deity that would create an organism like this as benevolent or merciful. It looks like a pool toy cruelly given sentience. Those things on its head are probably horns, but I choose to believe they are an immaculately styled hairdo, in which case, my compliments, although it’s probably easy to maintain your bouffant when you spend all day floating in organically produced hair gel.
5. TO GET TO SPACE, YOU RIDE IN A BUBBLE FROM A HIPPO STATUE
I mean, that pretty much says it all right there. Though speaking of space…
Old Nintendo toys and Mario’s reference to Friday the 13th await you on the next page!