By, Simon Correra
Games on the SNES (Super Nintendo Entertainment System ) look far better than they did on the NES (Nintendo entertainment system). The NES, released in 1983, is what made Nintendo a known company. This was done primarily with their game Super Mario Brothers. This game series got a sequel on the SNES (released in 1990) the successor to the NES. I want to point out some differences in these Mario games that highlight the different capabilities of the two consoles. The extra colors and pixels in the SNES compared to the NES are some of the most notable of these features.
In the background detail of the NES game, Super Mario Bros (SMB) there is a plain blue plane, and a few small clouds and bushes. Overall, there isn’t much to look at, nor is there anything that makes it stand out. But Super Mario World (SMW), the game on the SNES, comes with a much better art style. In the background, there are many layers of greenery likely representing treetops. The darker the shades of green mean there is dense foliage and lighter areas are less dense. The extra coloring in the details makes the player feel like they are in a forest with huge trees.
The ground in the SMW image has grass and a mixture of brown and yellow spots depicting dirt underneath. It also has a smooth transition from one sprite to the next where it’s hard to tell where one block starts and ends. This might seem like a normal floor that looks nice, and that is exactly what is meant to do. But in SMB the ground is just made up of rock-looking blocks. It appears more rigid and they don’t blend well together like in SMW. There also isn’t any coloring on top depicting grass or anything else creating more life in this world. There are a few bushes and that is all. The lack of these features in SMB makes the world feel less natural compared to SMW.
In SMB, it might not seem obvious at first, but Mario is only made of three colors, red, green, and yellow. With so few colors and being on an 8-bit console, Mario’s sprite lacks greater detail. SMW has far more colors in his sprite; he has white, red, blue, black, yellow, and then different shades of those colors. He is also in 16-bit, meaning more detail can be put into a smaller amount of space compared to 8-bit. This makes SMW Mario more expressive and pleasing. For example, SMW Mario has distinctive eyes with pupils as well as gloves while SMB Mario does not have such features.
Super Mario Brothers. Nintendo. 1985. Nintendo Switch Online. October 2021 (photos taken by myself)
Super Mario World. Nintendo. 1990. Nintendo Switch Online. October 2021 (photos taken by myself)
Here are some videos showing more graphic comparisons of some Mario games from the NES that were remade to look better on the SNES.