Super Mario Bros. 2 Madness

Why was Super Mario Bros. 2 so much different from the standard "run, jump, and stomp" Mario platform games? Well, it all started with a game called Dream Factory: Doki Doki Panic...

Dream Factory: Doki Doki Panic

The reason SMB2 seems strange is because originally it wasn't a Mario game! When Nintendo decided to release a Super Mario Bros. 2 in the USA, they took a Japanese game called Dream Factory: Doki Doki Panic, changed some sprites, and had a new Mario game in record time. We have a separate page where you can see all the changes from DDP to SMB2. While all four playable characters and most items were changed, almost all of the enemies were left alone, which brought some strange new creatures into the "Mario Universe." Stranger yet, the POW Block and Starman—two Mario items—were already in DDP. Coupled with the Mario lookalike "Papa" character, it seems as though DDP was planned to be converted into a Mario game from the start...

Doki Doki Panic was developed by Nintendo and released for the Japan-only Famicom Disk System in 1987. According to DDP's intro, the story goes something like this: Two kids are reading a book, when a big green hand pops out and yanks them into the book. Their pet monkey then runs off to find help. A family of four finds the book, then jumps into it to save the kids. Though it's a bit odd, DDP's story is more original than SMB2's "it's all Mario's dream" story.

Four years after Super Mario Bros. 2 came out, Nintendo changed the title screen to "Super Mario USA" and released it in Japan. But why didn't they just call it Super Mario Bros. 2? Read on.

Japan's Super Mario Bros. 2

Before Doki Doki Panic was released, there already was a Super Mario Bros. 2 in Japan. Using the same "engine" as Super Mario Bros., and featuring different levels, SMB2(J) was basically a harder version of SMB. Perhaps, too hard...? Deemed too challenging for American players, SMB2(J) was never released in America. Later on, however, SMB2(J) was included in Super Mario All-Stars as "Super Mario Bros.: The Lost Levels" and in Super Mario Bros. Deluxe as "Super Mario Bros. for Super Players." But even before America got to play SMB2(J), SMB2(USA) was released in Japan as "Super Mario USA."

More recently, SMB2(J) was ported to the Game Boy Advance as part of the Famicom Mini series in Japan. This version was also not released outside of Japan. In 2008, thanks to the Virtual Console, gamers around the world finally got to play the original SMB2 without altered brick physics (SMAS), small resolutions (SMBDX), or scaled graphics (GBA version).

Related games timeline

  • Super Mario Bros. - 1985
  • Super Mario Bros. 2 (J) - 1986
  • Doki Doki Panic - 1987
  • Super Mario Bros. 2 (USA) - 1988
  • Super Mario USA - 1992
  • SMB2(J) in Super Mario All-Stars - 1993
  • SMB2(J) in Super Mario Bros. Deluxe - 1999
  • SMB2(J) on Game Boy Advance - 2004
  • Super Mario Bros.: The Lost Levels on Virtual Console - 2008