Super Mario Land

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"Mario Land" redirects here. For information about the eponymous setting of this game's sequel, see Super Mario Land 2: 6 Golden Coins.
Super Mario Land
North American box art
Developer(s) Nintendo R&D1
Publisher(s) Nintendo
Director(s) Satoru Okada
Producer(s) Gunpei Yokoi
Composer(s) Hirokazu Tanaka
Series Super Mario
Platform(s) Game Boy, 3DS Virtual Console
Release date(s) Game Boy
  • JP April 21, 1989[1]
  • NA August 1989[2]
  • EU September 28, 1990
3DS Virtual Console
  • NA June 6, 2011
  • WW June 7, 2011[3]
Genre(s) Platforming
Mode(s) Single-player

Super Mario Land (スーパーマリオランド Sūpā Mario Rando?) is a platforming video game developed by Nintendo for the Game Boy handheld game console. It and the Game Boy debuted in Japan on April 21, 1989, in the United States on August 1989, and in Europe on September 28, 1990.[4] Super Mario Land marked Mario's first appearance on the Game Boy and was a launch title for the Game Boy in Japan, North America and Europe. It is one of the first games re-released on the "Virtual Console" for the Nintendo 3DS.

Reviews of the game were generally favorable. The game drove initial sales of the Game Boy and has sold over 18 million copies in total.[5] Super Mario Land was also the first game of the Super Mario series produced by Gunpei Yokoi, who previously produced Donkey Kong, Donkey Kong Jr. and Mario Bros. A sequel, Super Mario Land 2: 6 Golden Coins, was released in 1992. Another sequel, Wario Land: Super Mario Land 3, was released in 1994.


A level in the Easton kingdom of Super Mario Land.

The gameplay of Super Mario Land is similar to that of Super Mario Bros. and its Japanese successor for the Nintendo Entertainment System. As in the previous games, the player takes the role of Mario. The ultimate objective is to defeat Tatanga, the "Mysterious Spaceman," and save Princess Daisy.[6] There are some differences from earlier Mario games as well.

Mario's primary attack is to jump on top of his enemies, which normally defeats them. There are a few enemies which cannot be eliminated in this manner or which may even cause damage to Mario if he jumps on them. Power-ups like the Super Mushroom work normally, but the Superball Flower enables Mario to throw "superballs" that fly at a 45-degree angle and ricochet off floors, walls, and ceilings. Unlike traditional fireballs of other Mario games, Superballs can also be used to collect coins, which is useful for coins that are difficult or impossible to reach otherwise.[7] Also unlike other games in the series, gameplay does not pause briefly when Mario collects a power-up or takes damage.

In two specific levels Mario flies in the "Sky Pop" airplane or travels in the "Marine Pop" submarine instead of walking.[8] In these levels, there is no Super Flower because Mario can shoot the entire time. He still can grow by getting a Super Mushroom or become invincible by getting a Starman. During these levels, the screen constantly scrolls forward until it reaches the boss at the end, and it is not possible to slow down or stop it. Mario can be defeated either by an enemy or by being crushed by the edge of the screen.[7]

The game consists of four worlds with three levels each.[8] At the end of the first two levels in each world, there is a tower with an access at the top and at the bottom. If Mario can reach the upper access, there is a bonus level in which the player can win extra lives or power-ups. If he only reaches the lower access, the game continues normally. At the end of every third level, Mario has to fight a boss by either battling it or getting around it to reach a point behind them that will end the battle, similar to fighting Bowser in the original Super Mario Bros. After the game is completed, the game returns to the title screen, and the player is given the option to play in Hard Mode. If the game is finished in Hard Mode, the game goes back to the title screen and allows the player to choose which stage to start in, allowing for replay of any particular stage.[7]


One day, a mysterious alien named Tatanga appears and hypnotizes the inhabitants of Sarasaland, including Daisy. He kidnaps Princess Daisy in order to marry her. Mario then sets out to rescue her from Tatanga, traveling through the four geographical areas of Sarasaland and defeating Tatanga's minions along the way, as well as finding the monsters that pretend to be Daisy in order to fool Mario. Mario finally corners Tatanga in the skies of the Chai kingdom, bringing down his alien warship and rescuing Daisy, who thanks him and takes him back to her castle.[6][7]


The game was produced by Gunpei Yokoi, who previously produced Donkey Kong (1981), Donkey Kong Jr. (1982), Mario Bros. (1983) and Metroid (1986). It featured music written by Hirokazu Tanaka, who also composed for Metroid (1986) and Duck Hunt (1984).[9] Hiroshi Yamauchi, then president of Nintendo, wanted a Mario series game to be on the Game Boy, and ordered Yokoi to create the game with his development team, Nintendo Research & Development 1.[10] This would be the first original portable Mario game since the others made for the Game and Watch. This would also be the first Mario game developed without Shigeru Miyamoto, Yokoi's protege and creator of Mario and The Legend of Zelda.[10] Early in conceptual development, they decided to recreate the classic gameplay of the 1985 original in new worlds that took Mario far from the Mushroom Kingdom.[11] Yokoi's take on Mario helped the Game Boy surpass the NES as Nintendo's best selling platform, and the game itself just surpassed Super Mario Bros. 3's sales figures.[10]

Initially, Nintendo had planned to package Super Mario Land with the Game Boy, but then instead packaged Tetris at the insistence of Henk Rogers, who convinced Nintendo of America head Minoru Arakawa that a Mario title would only sell the Game Boy to young boys instead of everyone.[12] This was the first game released for the original Game Boy.


Aggregate scores
Aggregator Score
GameRankings 77.94%[14]
Review scores
Publication Score
AllGame 4/5 stars[13]
Electronic Gaming Monthly 7.75[14]
GameSpot 8.3[15]
Mean Machines 90%[17]

Super Mario Land sold 18.06 million copies,[5] making it the seventh-highest selling game of the Mario series and the fourth-highest selling game for the Game Boy.[18] As a result of its success, it was re-released in 1996 as part of the Game Boy Player's Choice series of games that have sold over one million units. Official Nintendo Magazine later named the game one of the best Nintendo games of all time, ranking it 73rd on their list of the top 100.[19]

Reviews of the game were positive. It holds an average rating of 8.4/10 and 9.2/10 respectively at IGN,[8] as well as an average rating of 8.3/10 and 7.3/10 respectively at GameSpot.[20] Justin Searls of Nintendojo wrote that Super Mario Land continued the brilliance of its predecessor and gave it a 9 out of 10. He remarked that the game was "very similar to the original Mario Brothers. It seems that the Mario sprites are almost identical to its predecessor."[21]

Some reviewers criticized the control, finding it imprecise compared to the other Mario games.[22][23][24]


Following the success of the 1992 Tetris hit single, Ambassadors of Funk and MC Mario released a record based on the music from World 1-1 titled Super Mario Land. The song featured for 8 weeks in the UK Singles Chart and peaked at number 8.[25]

The game marks the introduction of Princess Daisy to the Mario franchise. Super Mario Land 2: 6 Golden Coins is a sequel to the game, including the introduction of Wario.[26] Wario Land: Super Mario Land 3 expands upon Super Mario Land 2 '​s presentation of Wario, into a starring role without Mario, eventually leading to many successful games in the Wario franchise. Both Wario and Daisy are featured in most Mario spin-off titles, including the Mario Party series and the Mario Kart series.[27]


  1. ^ Nintendo published Game Boy listing Nintendo. Retrieved on 2008-03-15
  2. ^ White, Dave (July 1989). "Gameboy Club". Electronic Gaming Monthly (3): 68. 
  3. ^ バーチャルコンソール スーパーマリオランド
  4. ^ "Super Mario Land Release Info". Moby Games. 1 March 1999. Retrieved 21 April 2008. 
  5. ^ a b "Mario Sales Data". Gamecubicle. Retrieved 10 February 2006. 
  6. ^ a b Nintendo (1989). Super Mario Land Instruction Booklet. Nintendo of America, Inc. 
  7. ^ a b c d Super Mario Land Instruction Booklet. Nintendo. 
  8. ^ a b c "Super Mario Land". IGN. News Corporation. 9 July 2002. 
  9. ^ "The Metroid Retrospective – Part 1". GameTrailers. 2007-07-25. Retrieved 2009-02-20. 
  10. ^ a b c McLaughlin, Rus. "IGN Presents The History of Super Mario Bros.". IGN. News Corporation. Retrieved 2009-04-13. 
  11. ^ Fahs, Travis. "IGN Presents The History of Game Boy". IGN. News Corporation. Retrieved 2009-04-13. 
  12. ^ Staff (13 June 2009). "Alexey Pajitnov Stars Interview - Video Interview: Alexey Pajitnov Pt. 1". IGN. News Corporation. Retrieved 13 June 2009. 
  13. ^ allgame ((( Super Mario Land > Overview ))) Retrieved on 2008-04-28
  14. ^ a b Game Rankings page on Super Mario Land. Retrieved on 2008-03-13
  15. ^ Gamespot Other Reviews page for Super Mario Land Retrieved on 2008-03-12.
  16. ^ MobyGames page on Alleyway Retrieved on 2008-03-13
  17. ^ Mean Machines review of Super Mario Land (archive) Retrieved on 2008-03-13
  18. ^ "All Time Top 20 Best Selling Games". 23 May 2005. Archived from the original on 10 September 2006. Retrieved 1 December 2006. 
  19. ^ East, Tom (19 February 2009). "Feature: 100 Best Nintendo Games". ONM. Retrieved 18 March 2009. 
  20. ^ "Super Mario Land". GameSpot. 1 May 1996. 
  21. ^ Searls, Justin. "Super Mario Land Review". Nintendojo. 
  22. ^ "Super Mario Land Review". Game Rankings. 10 December 2003. 
  23. ^ "Super Mario Land Review". Game Rankings. 25 October 2006. 
  24. ^ Vavra, Chris (10 October 2002). "Super Mario Land Review". Game Rankings. 
  25. ^ "AMBASSADORS OF FUNK FEATURING MC MARIO". UK Singles Chart. Retrieved 10 June 2014. 
  26. ^ "Nintendo Power - The 20th Anniversary Issue!" (Magazine). Nintendo Power 231 (231). San Francisco, California: Future US. August 2008. p. 72. 
  27. ^ "Guides: Mario Kart Wii Guide p.6". IGN. News Corporation. Retrieved 2008-05-24. 

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