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Super Mario Bros. 3

(Boss Fight Books #13)

3.84  ·  Rating details ·  191 ratings  ·  30 reviews
Upon its 1990 NES release, Super Mario Bros. 3 flew in on the P-wings of critical raves, intense popular demand, and the most sophisticated marketing campaign Nintendo of America had ever attempted. Shigeru Miyamoto's ultimate 8-bit platformer lived up to all the hype and elevated Mario from mascot to icon. But what exactly made this game the phenomenon it was?

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Paperback, 176 pages
Published July 18th 2016 by Boss Fight Books
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Jun 09, 2020 rated it liked it
This was surely one of the better ones I read. The author did her research and interviewed a number of key people, watched interviews, and collected information. This is great and reasonably well-written if somewhat mystifyingly organized.

However, like all the other Boss Fight Books, this one suffers from too much of the personal. A few anecdotes here and there to illustrate a point are engaging, but making the book about a personal journey or gender-identity discovery just isn't what I read th
Claus Aranha
Jul 15, 2017 rated it liked it
Did you know that the ball-and-chain enemy in SMB3 can get free of its chain after 50 lunges?

This book was a quick trip down the memory lane. The author mixes discussion of SMB3 design, marketing and history with her own personal memories of the game. It made me search for images and videos of the game to extend the nostalgia taste in my mouth a little bit.

If Super Mario Bros 3 was a bit part of your childhood, you will probably enjoy this quick read.
Agustín Fest
Nov 25, 2019 rated it liked it
Un libro que entrama la nostalgia de una muchacha y el desarrollo de Super Mario Bros 3 (marketing, código, llegada a EEUU). Muy bien escrito, sin embargo no muy revelador porque es demasiado local, y biográfico en ocasiones pero sin grandes eventualidades. Tímido a veces. Aunque es divertido, bueno, también es demasiado gringo y, como siempre, se envidia un poco esa nostalgia tan pura, tan despreocupada, que tienen los estadounidenses para narrar sus infancias, sus juventudes y cómo estás fuero ...more
Eric Mesa
Jul 06, 2016 rated it really liked it
Even though I'm older than the author of this book, I have a different, though similar, relationship with this game. I don't know if it's because I didn't have a lot of friends growing up or because my parents were (at the time) struggling to make ends meet, but I completely missed the marketing blitz of SMB3. I only heard of The Wizard a decade or more later.

I know at least part of it has to do in the difference with our parents. Ms Knorr's father played Mario with her. My parents were super w
Nov 20, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: games
Ernest Hemingway famously said, "There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed."

In reading SUPER MARIO BROS. 3, you'll learn about any and all things SMB3: from the importance its interactive world map and importance of Mario and Luigi's controls and physics, to how veteran Nintendo composer Koji Kondo fused the game's soundtrack with each level's objectives and pacing, and the impact it had on gaming culture and both Nintendo's growth as a company and how it prop
Chris Neumann
Aug 13, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2016-books
Excellent analysis about one of the most popular games ever. I thought I knew everything there is to know about Mario 3, but I was wrong. This book is filled with thoughts and commentary from insiders who were involved with making the game. A fun, interesting read for anyone interested in Mario history, or just video game history in general. I highly recommend, and I hope the author writes more books like this in the future.
Caleb Ross
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Super Mario Bros. 3 Boss Fight Books book review

I’m reviewing all of the Boss Fight Books releases, so subscribe to my YouTube channel to be sure you don’t miss future reviews.

Writing a book about Super Mario Bros 3 can only be a daunting task. I haven’t confirmed this assumption with the author of this book, Alyse Knorr, but if I had asked her and she said it wasn’t daunting, I wouldn’t have believed her. This is a game that's been played and poured over for decades. It’s often cit
Melanie Page
Content Warnings: none

The publisher Boss Fight Books fills a specific niche, one that thrills the hearts of old-school gaming nerds everywhere. Each book they publish is a nonfiction work about a videogame, but the authors approach their topics differently. Alyse Knorr tackles one of my favorite videogames of all time, Super Mario Bros. 3. Knorr expounds on her own history with the game, why it was so popular, and how the creator controlled even the smallest details of the game’s look, feel, and
Feb 24, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is less of an exploration of SMB3's design and more of a deep dive into the effect the game had on video games, culture in the 80s and 90s, and the author's personal experiences growing up as a tomboy. The book frequently switches between personal anecdotes and historical or analytical passages, which can be a little jarring. But I liked the more anecdotal sections more because I related a lot to Knorr's experiences playing games with her dad and brother as well as feeling left out on the p ...more
There was a lot of interesting info about Super Mario Bros. 3. The book is definitely aimed at us middle-aged nostalgic gamers. I was one of those early subscribers to Nintendo Power hanging on every scrap of info I could get about the game. I definitely watched The Wizard movie more for the few minutes of play of the game than the plot.

I liked learning about the clever technology maximizing methods the programmers used to achieve new affects, the design of the maps and music, and the funny nam
Mar 28, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This is my favorite of the Boss Fight series I've read thus far. What sets it apart from the others is its balance. It has just the right ratio of research to personal narrative, of game summary to game analysis, of humor to introspection, of granular detail (like percussion tracks in the game's OST) to overarching principles (like the concept of "gamefeel"). The prose does a great job of conveying how it feels to play this canonical game.

The author's perspective as a lesbian gamer is refreshin
May 09, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Some bits in here are informative, some bits are too personal. And I couldn't care less about authors personal matters. Two stars because of some interesting interviews and explanations on Japanese cultural references in the game.
This books series is such a disappointment. There's too much personal information I, as a reader wanting to read about some video game history, is not interested in. I want to read about the games, not the author's thoughts on moving to Alaska, their childhood with thei
Jul 27, 2019 rated it really liked it
I didn't really know what to expect from the Boss Fight Books series, but having read a few of them now, I feel like I've gotten a good handle on them: each book is part autobiography, part game biography. You get some version of the story of the game (both plot/contents and development/behind-the-scenes), and the author's personal relationship to the game. These personal stories both evoke nostalgia and show that there is more to video games than entertainment: games touch people and shape live ...more
Eduardo Cruz
Jun 08, 2019 rated it liked it
It was an interesting read, full of nostalgia-packed fun facts and with a quick pace.

The author makes a very good research work and mixes it with her own experiences. To tell the truth, I don't quite like it when they (boss fights' authors) veer off course, exploring too much of their own lives, but I think Alyse's comments are cool and help keep the book's pace; except maybe when she puts on the ugly duckling suit.
L. Lawson
Feb 28, 2018 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I was interested in these boss fight books to learn more about my favorite video games. This book, my first Boss Fight Book, didn't really scratch that itch. Instead, I got the author's memories of Super Mario Brothers 3 and vignettes of her life--not really impelling reading. I wish this book had done more to dig into the history of the creation of this game. If the other books in the Boss Fight Books series are like this one, it'd be a disappointment. ...more
Avedon Arcadio
May 27, 2020 rated it really liked it
It’s a nice in depth look at not only the game but everything surrounding it and it’s release as well as it’s lasting impact. Wasn’t too keen on the personal stuff but I guess that’s what this series is sorta doing, grounding these historical games with personal accounts of those who played them. This was one of the better ones by far.
Mar 15, 2021 rated it liked it
I was a bit young when this game was release so I surely didn't understand the breadth of its marketing and impact but still, at a young age, I was very much caught up in it. Hard to imagine anything will get this much attention these days. ...more
Travis Wagner
Aug 19, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This has been by far the most impressively constructed and thoughtfully delivered of the books I have read in this series!
Chance Lee
Nov 28, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: essays, true-story
A beautiful tribute to a perfect game.
Alex Woodring
Dec 05, 2020 rated it liked it
Interesting for the most part but a bit meandering. Would recommend to Nintendo fans.
Jun 11, 2018 rated it liked it
A tad too personal stuff thats totally not related to the topic and shouldnt be in here.
Bob Makin
Aug 16, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Other than a random page that seemingly had nothing to do with anything, this is a great analysis on SMB3, the impact on the market, industry & the author. Great book
Oct 19, 2020 rated it liked it
I enjoyed reading this book, but would have loved it even more if it offered more technical insight.
Jared Knowles
Sep 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A fantastic, heartwarming, thoughtful, and entertaining tour through one of the most important pieces of art in the 20th Century. Breezy and fun to read. I couldn't put it down. ...more
Vsevolod Zubarev
Sep 01, 2017 rated it really liked it
Now I only want to play SMB3.

A really nice read on what's made that game special for everyone and the author.
May 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Along with a stellar analysis of SMB3, the author provides a great synopsis of the pre and post crash of video gaming in the 80's, followed by the console wars of the 90's.

I'm really enjoying this Boss Fight Books series.
Jun 20, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
Another good volume from Boss Fight Books. It doesn't go quite as deep into the development history as some of the other books, but I enjoyed weaving the personal narrative with NOA interviews ...more
Thomas Hale
Jul 14, 2016 rated it liked it
The second I've read of the BossFight Books series on videogames, and one from the new run of titles. Knorr explores the level design, music, aesthetics, technology and cultural legacy, mixing it with vignettes from her own childhood and memories playing the game with her father and brother. The writing about the game itself is fairly interesting, though nothing I didn't already know about the game through osmosis. The stories of her own experiences growing up with the game were more interesting ...more
Sep 21, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Super Mario Bros. 3 is probably my favorite video game of all time, especially for the Nintendo, and Alyse Knorr does it justice with her wonderful overview and sharing her own personal story and connection to the game. Though our lives and backgrounds are very different, I related to her experience because I also bonded with a parent through Nintendo, and especially this game. Highly recommended for anyone interested in Mario, video games, and the powerful draw of nostalgia.
Aug 08, 2016 rated it really liked it
I enjoyed this. A good investigation of the historical factors and nostalgia; just the right amount of personal narrative. Really feel like playing SMB3 right now.
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