Number 1 reason to visit friends
The only game console our household ever had was a SEGA Master System. So I never got to play this gem at home. Luckily however some friends and acquaintances owned a NES and of course Super Mario Bros.!
I started playing Super Mario Bros. in the early nineties and it hadn't yet aged a single bit. And in fact if I play it now it still stands the test of time quite perfectly. Everything about the game is charming, the characters, the world, the sounds. And it all plays rather fluently. You can control Mario while in the air and he has to break when he has a lot of momentum. This makes Mario much more like a real character than some older games, where it felt much more as if you were just moving a sprite left and right. Mario has a great variety of moves which all have their uses in various puzzles and enemy encounters.
The graphics are quite amazing and very clear. Enemies have distinctive looks which allow you to quickly see what harm they might do and how to get rid of them. The sound is just as great with a tune worth remembering and the pleasant ping when you collect coins.
The game can get rather frustrating. Especially when it comes to tricky jumps with low ceilings. It can be quite frustrating to die near the end of a level and have to do it all over again. Luckily there are quite some lives to be gathered so that you won't easily go game over.
Most of these bonus lives, however, are in secret areas or boxes however and finding those is kind of random. After a couple playthroughs you know how to find a lot of the secrets, but then you actually don't need it so much anymore. It was a great conversation topic in the 10 years after its release, though!
The Bottom Line
I doubt there are many gamers who've never player Super Mario Bros. or one of its sequels, so there is not much left to say.
By the time I first touched a console Super Mario Bros. 3 had already been released and that game always had my preference over the first. But that doesn't mean that it isn't one of the best games ever created. There is very little about this game that isn't absolutely amazing. This is one of those games that everybody, both young and old should have played at least once in his life, because it'll never get old.