“Much like the gameplay and graphics, what is here on the soundtrack is not robustly in-depth, but it is enjoyable, if quaint.”
– from the full review, which you can read here.
I think many people take Mario Bros for granted.
Purely as a video game, perhaps it is properly rated; but within a historical context, I think it is often underrated, or even overlooked. Consider:
As an arcade game, Mario Bros bridged the gap between the platforming innovation of Donkey Kong and the side-scrolling mind-blowing magic of Super Mario Bros. I will let Wikipedia provide more to the story if you want it; but basically, Shigeru Miyamoto and Gunpei Yokoi ended up with a game that gave the player much more freedom of movement than they had in Donkey Kong. Take a moment to seriously consider the importance of the concept of “freedom of movement” in modern gameplay. This was a revolutionary way of thinking for the time, an era when arcade protagonists were trapped in mazes or limited to moving back and forth at the bottom of the screen to shoot bugs. In Donkey Kong, you would die from falling from a certain height, and Mario’s jumping was hardly yet legendary. Compare the limited, stilted movement there to the flowing form of Mario Bros.
As a Mario game, Mario Bros boasts Jumpman finally being named Mario, in addition to introducing his brother Luigi. We have some familiar in-universe elements at work: Koopa-like turtles, bright green pipes, bouncing fireballs, and that lovely POW block. We have Mario cementing his occupation as a plumber, along with jumping at a height of several times his own. Truly, it was here, defeating monsters from another dimension in the sewers beneath New York, that the Mario legend really began.
Add in the collector’s appeal of being an early black-box title for the NES, the trivia behind its appearances in several future Mario games in different forms, and the overall aesthetic appeal, and Mario Bros really shines as a nifty little spot in Nintendo’s history.
NES Gameplay Tips For Mario Bros: Know your safe spots. Remember: You can hit the fireballs. Ultimately, though, this is an arcade-style game, so you will just need to practice.
Read The Full Review For: Learning which of Mozart’s music was used in Mario Bros, among other tidbits.