If you fancy playing some classic Mario, there are plenty of ways to go about it. You can buy a tiny NES or SNES Classic, for instance, or subscribe to Nintendo’s Switch Online service. There’s also Super Mario Maker, legally grey emulation and, of course, the original cartridges if you own a NES, SNES or modern console equivalent like the Analogue Super NT. In the not-too-distant future, though, there might be another way to get your fix of Nintendo nostalgia: a beautiful fan game called Super Mario Flashback.
The 2D platformer will reinterpret levels from many different Mario games. These include the original Super Mario Bros. and three-dimensional adventures such as Super Mario 64. Some platform and enemy layouts will be familiar to people who have played the original games. Others will be subtly tweaked or completely revamped to surprise players or provide a different challenge.
The big draw, though, is the visuals. Super Mario Flashback has some truly gorgeous pixel art that is both distinctive and faithful to the portly plumber’s original adventures. The latest demo, presented at the Sonic Amateur Games Expo (SAGE) in August, is a brilliant blend of green pipes, Goombas and bouncing Koopa Paratroopers. Every asset, including Mario, has a fresh but recognizable look that truly pops on screen. The overhaul won’t be for everyone (my colleague Mat Smith isn’t a fan) but you can’t dispute the detail and consistency across each level.