Week #3: Super Mario Land

The lazyhandheldman’s weekly handheld game recommendation is inspired by subreddit SBCGaming’s “Game of the Month”. Today, my recommendation is Super Mario Land.

Super Mario Land

Release: 1989

Original console: Game Boy

Developer(s): Nintendo

Publisher(s): Nintendo

Genre(s): Platformer

Series: Super Mario

Recommended handhelds to play: Miyoo Mini Plus, RG35XX

Best for

  • People who want a relax platformer

Super Mario Land is the first Super Mario title in the legendary Game Boy system, and it is also one of the best-selling Game Boy titles of all time. It shows how we can play a Mario game on the go, and the experience is similar to the previous famous Super Mario Bros (1985) title in NES system.

If you want a relax platformer that takes you around 10-15 minutes each play, Super Mario Land would be a perfect game for your. Having only 4 worlds and 3 stages each world, Super Mario Land has fewer levels than Super Mario Bros (12 compared to 32), but each level is designed in a different way, while Super Mario Bros has many of them are copies of previous levels.

The first Super Mario Land title is so underrated
  • People who love Mario

Super Mario Land is perhaps a very underrated game in the whole Super Mario series, mostly because people used to buy and play Tetris and Pokemon over this title in the past. There are many more better successors of this game that you can play with your retro handheld emulator, so you probably skip this game. Honestly, the experience of Super Mario Land is outright good for me, and I think everyone who loves Mario will enjoy this game.

Plus, I don’t feel like dying a lot in this game like I previously did with Super Mario Bros, so logically it’s better for a lazy handheld man.

  • Your kids

Do you grow up with Mario? If your answer is yes, why don’t give your kids a retro handheld emulator and let him/her play Super Mario Land. The game is really optimized for handheld plays, and it will trigger your kids’ imagination just like us 30-40 years ago.

Worst for

  • People who want deep and engaged storytelling

Classic first party Nintendo games aren’t usually the best storytelling, and Mario is always a game intended for kids. If you’re looking to immerse into a game with best story, avoid anything start with “Mario”.

  • People who really, really want a great Mario game

Super Mario Land is superseded by Super Mario Land 2: 6 Golden Coins, which is an improvement over the original. As a result, people will prefer the newer game over the first Super Mario Land. A platformer is intended for repeating many times, so why don’t choose the better version?

Recommended handhelds to play

I always recommend using the native handheld for its own system, unless you want convenient features like save states or fast forwarding. A Game Boy or Game Boy Advance and EZ-Flash combination can give you the convenient save states, and I always consider using them as the top-tier handheld selection for any titles with “Game Boy” in its name.

If you want a compact experience like the GBA, you can look for the Miyoo Mini Plus or RG35XX, which are even more convenient with save states and fast forward features. A relaxed platformer like Super Mario Land works great on any retro handheld emulator you can get, but my recommendation usually sticks with either the Miyoo Mini or Anbernic RG35XX. If you happen to have a different retro handheld emulator, don’t fear of missing out because every modern handheld can easily emulate the Game Boy system.