Monday, June 24, 2019

Super Mario Bros.: The Lost Levels Review

To people outside Japan, Super Mario Bros: The Lost Levels is the long lost sequel to Super Mario Bros on the NES. When it was finally released outside Japan as one of the remade games in Super Mario All-Stars, it was like a newly discovered, unreleased B side from a band that broke up long ago. But to Japanese gamers, it's just Super Mario Bros 2. It was originally released on the Famicom Disk System in 1986, 2 years before SMB2 USA, but not even a year after the release of Super Mario Bros on the Famicom. I heard lots of weird things about the development and release of this game over the years, but most were myths and lies. The Lost Levels was made at R&D4 (later known as EAD) by a lot of the same people who worked on SMB1, but Miyamoto was not directly involved with it its development. Takashi Tezuka, designer of SMB1, took over as the director while Miyamoto worked on Zelda. The game was not released on the NES because Nester's best friend and NOA spokesman (mascot) at the time, "The Game Master" Howard Phillips, thought it was too hard and didn't like it. I guess the "Game Master" was no "Super Player".

The Lost Levels is notorious for its punishing difficulty. I'd say Lost Level's 1-1 is about as hard as SMB1's 7-1, and it quickly ramps up from there through 52 levels in total. It's a Mario game designed with Mario experts in mind. It says so right on the box, "For Super Players". It breaks every game design rule set by SMB1 it can get away with, messes around with the level design aesthetics in weird and creative ways, and constantly throws curve balls at the player. It is extremely hard, and it's not for everyone, but there is a lot to like about it.

The Lost Levels is really more of an alternate version of SMB1 than a real sequel. It even uses the same story. It's the New Super Luigi U of its day in more ways than one. This is the game in which Luigi started becoming more than green Mario. Instead of having an alternating 2 player mode, like SMB1, LL had separate Mario and Luigi modes. Mario controls pretty much the same as in SMB1, but Luigi can jump higher, but has less traction, so he can't come to a complete stop or turn around as quickly as Mario. That might not sound great, but playing as Luigi actually makes some of the more difficult sections of the game much easier because he doesn't need to pick up as much speed as Mario to jump farther. Well, as easy as the hardest Mario game ever made can be.

The Lost Levels also introduced an early version of the Super Jump. It doesn't work exactly like in SMB3, but it's the same idea. You can essentially double your jump by stomping on an enemy. The level design often requires you to bounce off multiple Koopa Paratroopas like this to clear gaps throughout the game. Something which is never required in SMB1. It’s pretty hard considering how little air control you have in this game.

The only new item in the game is not even a power up. It's more like an enemy. The Lost Levels introduces the Poison Mushroom, which is a mushroom that hurts you. It's basically an invincible Goomba that hides in item blocks. I’m pretty sure it’s actually more common than Super Mushrooms, too. It's just another one of those curve balls the game likes to throw at you. The Super Mushroom, Fire Flower, and Starman from SMB1 return, and they work exactly the same, but they're much more scarce than in SMB1. Some levels don't even have Mushrooms, hide them in long lines of regular bricks and inside invisible blocks, or make you catch them in midair. I barely even got a Fire Flower after 5-2 or so, since the game is so hard. I played most of the game as small Mario, which only adds to the constant tension I feel while playing this game.

The thing I love the most about LL is the thing most people probably hate about it, the crazy hard level design. This is Tezuka unleashed. I just love how it forces me to use all my Mario skills and learn new ones as well. You have to know how to run over 1 space gaps and jump from single blocks, how to perfectly hit springboards, how to deal with mazes, how to bounce off a wall with a jump and land on a block behind you, how to land on a single block at full speed and jump off it right after landing, etc. This game is full of the kind of stuff that only comes up once or twice in SMB1. The game also has its own bag of tricks. My most hated one is the green springboard that shoots you off-screen for about 5 seconds. Since you can't see Mario, you have to line up the center of the screen with the platforms to make these crazy jumps, and you have to do it over and over throughout the entirety of a few levels. It's pretty ridiculous. A few stages also have gusts of wind that can either push you forwards or backwards during jumps. I really didn't have much trouble with the wind, since it's easy to tell which way it's blowing, but this was one of the things that "Game Master" Howard hated about the game. Another thing people hate is the warp pipes that send you to previous levels. They’re clearly marked; though, so it’s kind of hard to be tricked by them. You can always just kill yourself instead of going in them, too. I just found them kind of funny. Lost Levels also likes to make you find invisible blocks to get to places where you need to go sometimes. It's pretty obvious when you need to find them, though.

This game is also pretty relentless with its enemies. The first enemy in LL isn't a Goomba waiting for you off-screen, it's a Koopa Paratroopa bouncing up and down, and it's coming right at you the instant you start 1-1. There's Piranha plants in the first pipe you see, Buzzy Beetles in 1-2, Bullet Bills with no cannons, and Hammer Bros everywhere. So many Hammer Bros. There's even Bowsers ("Bowser's Twin") in the middle of some levels. There's also more enemies and they often come in larger packs. There are old enemies in new places, like Koopas underwater and flying Bloopers, but there is only one real new enemy, the red Piranha Plant. The red Piranha Plant hangs out in pipes, just like the green one, except this one doesn't stop popping out when you stand by it. You have to stand on top of the pipe for red Piranha Plants to stop coming out. All Piranha Plants are red from 4-1 on, so this totally changes how you have to think about pipes for most of the game.

If given the choice to play either the FDS original or the All-Stars version, I'll pick All-Stars every time. Aside from graphical differences and the issue with the way Mario keeps going up after breaking a brick instead of bouncing back down, they both play pretty much the same. I prefer the All-Stars version because it lets you save and continue from any level and it gives you 5 lives instead of 3. The FDS version lets you continue, but only from the first level in each world. This is less of an issue if you're using save states, but all that loading gets annoying real quick, too. The All-Stars version also lets you go back to any level from the file select screen, and you can switch between Mario and Luigi at the start screen without losing your progress. You can even go back to 1-1 to do the infinite lives (not actually infinite) trick and then go back to the level you left off at if you want.

The music and graphics are exactly the same as in that system’s version of SMB1 in both versions of the game. I think SMB and Lost Levels both look really nice in All-Stars. They look almost as good as Super Mario World and add a lot of great details to the backgrounds that make the levels feel more like they’re part of a bigger world. There are some things that just look wrong to me, though. The things that bother me the most are the ground and the bushes. The ground wasn't just orange dirt in SMB1, it was bricks with a tile pattern on them. I don't like how the FDS version changed it to some ugly gravel texture either. I can understand how they would get changed in 1986, but in 1993? Those bricks are iconic. Don't mess with the bricks. The bushes aren't even bushes in All-Stars, they're clumps of tall grass. It's not like any other Mario game ever changed the bushes like that, so I don't know where they got the idea to change them. There's also the matter of the underground levels. I know underground areas in later Mario games were caverns, but I don't think they were supposed to be caverns here. I think they should be tunnels and sewers, like in the original Mario Bros arcade and in Piranha Plant Slide in Mario Kart 7 and 8.

Lost Levels gets a bad rap. It's not a bad game. I like it better than SMB2USA. It is extremely hard, but that doesn't make it bad. These levels are incredibly well designed. I think most people who have made levels in Super Mario Maker should be able to see that. You don't make levels like this by randomly slapping down blocks and enemies. If you like a challenge, and think you're a Super Player, you should check out The Lost Levels. The All-Stars version was released on a Wii disc, and the FDS version is on 3DS and Wii U VC, and on the Switch Online NES.

Monday, June 17, 2019

Super Mario World Review

Super Mario World was the game included with the SNES when it launched in North America in August 1991. It was first released in November 1990 alongside the Super Famicom in Japan, around 2 years after the release of Super Mario Bros 3 on the Famicom. Super Mario World feels like a game trying to one-up something that was already nearly perfect. It's a game trying to be bigger and better than SMB3 by using the power of the then brand new SNES hardware to include bigger levels, higher quality music, and better graphics than any Mario game before it. It also has dinosaurs because everyone loved dinosaurs in the 90s.

After saving the Mushroom World in Super Mario Bros 3, Mario, Luigi, and Peach needed a vacation, so they decided to take a trip to Dinosaur Land. Apparently, they left Toad in the Mushroom Kingdom. While Mario and Luigi were napping on the beaches of Dinosaur Land, Bowser kidnapped Peach again. Mario and Luigi tried looking for her, but all they found was a giant dinosaur egg in the forest. Suddenly, the egg hatched and Yoshi popped out of it. He explained that Bowser sealed him in the egg and did the same to his Yoshi friends. Mario and Luigi put two and two together and figured Bowser must have taken Peach, too. With absolutely zero evidence, I might add. Now it’s up to Mario and Luigi to save the Yoshis and rescue Peach again.

I just played Super Mario Bros 3, and the most jarring thing about playing Super Mario World right after it is the controls. Super Mario World feels much faster and more responsive than SMB3. It's a little hard to handle at first. Mario has a lot more air control during jumps, he turns around quicker, and doesn't slide around the floor as much as in SMB3. It feels very different, but still feels like Mario, unlike SMB2 USA. It just takes some getting used to. A lot of that has to do with the animations. SMW still looks like a Mario game, just faster. Aside from the extra speed and responsiveness, Mario controls a lot like in SMB3. The only major new moves he gets are the ability to throw things up in the air and the spin jump, which he can use to break blocks under him as Super Mario. Mario can climb fences in SMW, but that really isn’t much different from vine climbing, it’s more of a graphical showcase thing. He can punch Koopas climbing on the other side of a fence; though, which is new. He can also duck while he's small Mario, which really isn't that useful.

The biggest new thing in Super Mario World is Yoshi. I feel like the Yoshi hype might have been forgotten over time, but Yoshi was a huge deal. It wasn't just that he was a cool power up, he was also super cute and marketable. He was all over the place. He was on the cover of Nintendo Power with Mario, in the cartoon, the comic strip, he had his own games, his own soft drink flavor, and he was in Link's Awakening. In-game, Yoshi is Mario's ride. He's basically a horse. I've heard Miyamoto originally wanted to give Mario a horse. Link beat him to the punch, though. Yoshi is a power up that gives you an extra hit point on top of your Mushroom, Fire Flower, or Cape. You can also keep getting him back after getting hit, like rings in Sonic games. He runs away when you get hit, but you can hop back on him without penalties if you can catch him. He can also jump on spiky things, like Spinies, and Mario doesn't take a hit while riding him. If Mario has a Fire Flower and is hit while riding Yoshi, he won't lose the Fire Flower and become small. Mario controls the same while riding Yoshi, but he can't climb vines or glide with the cape while on him. You also can't take Yoshi into castles of ghost houses. Yoshi's main skill is the ability to eat small enemies. He can eat pretty much anything around the size of a Goomba or Koopa. Yoshi also gains special powers for short periods of time when he eats Koopa shells. He just spits green shells back out, but yellow shells give him a ground stomp, red shells let him spit 3 fireballs out, blue shells let him fly like the P Wing in SMB3, and flashing rainbow shells give him all the powers at once.

Super Mario World brings back the Super Mushroom and Fire Flower, but gets rid of all the cute suits from SMB3. Yoshi is the only one allowed to be cute here. Besides Yoshi, Mario’s only new power up item is the Cape Feather, which is a lot like the Super Leaf from SMB3. In fact, early screenshots of SMW showed Mario just using the Racoon suit. The Cape allows Mario to fly and do a spin attack that works just like Racoon Mario’s tail swipe. The Cape has a few tricks that set it apart from Racoon Mario, though. The Cape changed the flying controls so Mario can now fly and float down by simply holding down the jump button, instead of mashing it. The Cape can also be used as a paraglider/parachute hybrid. After flying up, you can press back on the d-pad as Mario starts coming back down to catch some air and fly back up a bit. Mario can stay airborne by doing this as long as he doesn’t get hit or run into something, so you can literally fly over entire levels sometimes. The Cape also gives you a diving ground stomp move, called the “body press”, which hits all enemies near you when you hit the ground. Overall, the cape is more powerful than Racoon Mario, but also more exploitable, and not nearly as cute.

Another big item-related change to the game is the removal of the inventory box from SMB3. Toad Houses and card minigames are gone, too. You can't carry 28 backup items around anymore. You can only carry 1 backup item now, but you can use it during levels by pressing Select. This backup item box is filled with any extra power up you get when you are Fire or Cape Mario, and the item is overwritten with new power ups, or your current one, when you get something else. For example, if you get a Feather as Fire Mario with a Feather in your box, your Fire Flower will overwrite the Feather in the box, and if you are Fire Mario with a Feather in your backup item box and get a Mushroom, that Mushroom will overwrite the Feather in your box. Yes, you can get a Mushroom from an item block when you're already Super Mario because a lot of item blocks have preset items in them that never change. It might sound like this change to backup items makes the game harder, but it actually helps make the game easier. Being able to have a backup item and Yoshi gives you a lot of room for error. I think they tried balancing this out by making you go straight to small Mario after being hit as Fire and Cape Mario, instead of going to Super Mario, like in SMB3, but that's not enough to offset all the extra hits you can take when you can keep getting back on Yoshi or keep getting backup items.

The overworld maps return in SMW, but SMW's world isn't split up into self-contained Lands, like SMB3. SMW's zones are all connected to each other, and you can freely move between them as long as you have finished the levels in your path. There is never a point of no return in SMW. You can always go back to any previous level, and unlike in SMB3, you can replay any level as many times as you want. In fact, you're encouraged to do that, because some levels have multiple goals or exits. Levels with multiple exits are marked with red dots on the overworld map. SMW's map gives you even more freedom to go wherever you want than the recent Mario games because, in addition to the world being connected, there is a zone called the Starworld, which lets you take a shortcut to any zone in the game, and it's available pretty early on. You can take a shortcut right to Bowser's castle if you want. It's basically SMW's version of SMB3's Magic Whistle. It's possible to finish the game after beating only 11 levels this way.

Super Mario World feels like an evolution of SMB3 in a lot of ways, but the level design is completely different. Super Mario Bros 3 was mostly about quick platforming challenges. Most levels were small, focused on a few obstacles or ideas, and could be beaten in under a minute. The levels in Super Mario World are much bigger, made up of multiple sub areas that focus on different challenges, and they have a new element of exploration. These levels are so big that they added checkpoints to them, which were definitely not in SMB3. Levels with multiple exits require you to either find a second goal hidden in a sub area, or to find a key and use it to open a lock to exit the level. Sometimes you need to bring a Cape or Yoshi from another level to be able to reach a hidden key or goal, sometimes you have to use a P-Switch in the right spot to reveal a hidden door, and sometimes you just have to find the right pipe to go in. Different exits open up new paths to new levels and switches that activate new blocks in the levels, so getting all the exits isn't just for completionists. I really like the exploration element of the game. It kind of feels like the groundwork for what Super Mario 64 would be like with multiple goals in a level.

At the time the SNES launched, this was one of the best looking console games I had ever seen. Arcade games like Street Fighter II blew it out of the water, of course, but nothing on Genesis or TG16 compared. F-Zero and Pilotwings were impressive because they were 3D games with 2D graphics, but SMW was the game you could show your friends because everyone could clearly see how much better it looked than SMB3 on NES. Super Mario World also has a much better looking art style than F-Zero or Pilotwings. SMW had more colors, bigger and more detailed sprites, more frames of animation, awesome scaling effects (AKA Mode 7), it used more screen real estate, and the framerate was much better than in SMB3. Sure, it doesn't look as good as a lot of other SNES games that came later now, but it still looks good because of its great art style.

Super Mario World's soundtrack is good, but it feels more like a showcase of the SNES' sound hardware at times. Nearly every song has like 3 or 4 different versions played with new instruments and at different speeds, and you can't unhear it once you notice. The main athletic theme has more like 10 versions, and different versions of it play in pretty much every level that isn't a ghost house or castle. It sounds great, though. I really like the ragtime sound of that main Athletic theme. The ghost house theme is also very memorable.

Super Mario World is a wonderful game in its own right, but it's not in the same league as Super Mario Bros 3. It's not even in the same ballpark. Super Mario Bros 3 is clearly the better game in my mind. Super Mario World feels like was supposed to be bigger and better than Super Mario Bros 3, but it didn't really end up that way. It has bigger levels, but it has less levels overall, less power ups, less level types, less music, and less level themes. It kind of feels like it was rushed at the end. It needed a little something more to surpass SMB3. And while I like the exploration element of SMW, I don't think it's as fun as the quick hit pure Mario platforming of SMB3.

Saturday, June 8, 2019

Super Mario Bros. 3 Review

With Super Mario Maker 2 coming out soon, I wanted to revisit some old Mario games for level design inspiration. And what better place to start than with one of the best. Super Mario Bros 3 was first released in October of 1988 in Japan, about 2 weeks after the US release of Super Mario Bros 2. We had to wait over a year for SMB3 to come to the US, and Europeans had to wait nearly 2 years. Super Mario Bros 3 came out in NA in February of 1990, following Nintendo's biggest marketing campaign up to that point, which included a very bad movie starring Fred Savage from "The Wonder Years" called "The Wizard". I had seen screenshots of SMB3 in Nintendo Power, but we didn't have videogame trailers back then, so this movie was the first time I actually saw the game in motion. I remember the big new thing about SMB3 was the ability to fly. Mario is even flying on the game's cover. SMB3 also introduced a bunch of new enemies, new types of levels, the overworld maps, the Koopa Kids, and a few other power ups besides the Super Leaf. We still see the influence Super Mario Bros 3 had on the series in today's Mario games.

In Super Mario Bros 3, Mario and Luigi step out of the Mushroom Kingdom and into the Mushroom World. It turns out that there’s a whole world out there and Princess Peach (still Toadstool here) is not its ruler. There’s 8 new lands in this game, including Dark Land, Bowser’s domain, and they each have a ruler of their own. All is not well outside of the Mushroom Kingdom, though. Bowser is at it again, and has sent the Koopalings (who aren’t actually his kids) out to cause trouble. They steal the 7 king’s magic wands and turn them into animals. Then, of course, he kidnaps Princess Peach again. Now, it’s up to Mario and Luigi to turn the kings back to normal and rescue Princess Peach. It turns out that Super Mario Bros 3 is actually a performance, though. That’s why things are bolted down, held up by ropes, or cast shadows on the background. So are Mario and the gang some kind of sketch comedy group, like The State or The Kids in the Hall?

If you played SMB3 after playing SMB2 (USA) for a year, the first thing you'd notice is how much more like SMB1 the controls feel like in SMB3. SMB2 was too fast, too responsive, and your movements lacked the weight, momentum, and impact of SMB1's. It didn't feel like Super Mario Bros. SMB3 feels like the proper evolution of SMB1's controls. Mario accelerates a little bit faster, doesn't take as long to come to a complete stop, turns around a little quicker, has more air control, and a few new moves, but he doesn't control radically different from SMB1.

The 3 new non-power up moves that really change how Mario plays and how the levels are designed are the slope slide, the super jump, and the ability to carry and throw some enemies and items. You could pick things up in SMB2 (USA), but it didn't work quite like it does here. In SMB3, Mario can pick up a Koopa shell, carry it around, and throw it at other enemies, or use it to break blocks. This allowed the developers to make sections in levels where you needed a Koopa or Buzzy Beetle shell to break blocks to progress. Mario could also slide down slopes on his butt, like on a slide, by holding down on the d-pad while going downhill. He could even take out most enemies in the way of his slide. The slope slide wasn't necessarily responsible for levels having hills in SMB3, but it gave Mario something new and fun to do besides simply running on them. The super jump allows Mario to bounce off enemies by holding down the jump button as he lands on them and jump about 50% higher than with his normal jump. This was probably the biggest game changer. Since, you could bounce so high off enemies now, the developers could design levels that required you to super jump off an enemy, or put things in places you couldn't reach with normal jumps. This super jump, combined with Racoon Mario's flutter jump, also allowed you to do SMB3's 99 lives trick.

Super Mario Bros' Super Mushroom and Fire Flower made you feel powerful, but they weren't very flashy or cute. SMB3 brings back the Mushroom and Fire Flower and builds upon the concept with new power ups that give Mario new abilities and cute costumes. The most popular and most common new power up in the game is the Super Leaf, which gives Mario racoon ears, a racoon tail, and the ability to fly. When Racoon Mario runs at top speed for few seconds and fills the "P" meter (P is for Power), he stretches his arms out, like a plane, and is able to fly for a short period of time when you mash the jump button. The Racoon suit also gives you the ability to flutter in the air and slowly float down from jumps by mashing the jump button, and a tail swipe you can use to attack enemies and break blocks with by pressing B. The Super Leaf is almost as common as the Fire Flower is in SMB1.

The other new power ups in SMB3 are; the P Wing, Hammer Bro suit, Tanooki suit, and the Frog suit. These are much rarer than the Fire Flower and Super Leaf, and have more situational uses. These power ups are usually found inside Toad house treasure chests and in treasure chests that drop after beating roaming Hammer Bros. The P Wing gives you Racoon Mario with infinite P meter until you get hit. It comes in handy for when you just want fly over the whole level and not deal with it. The Tanooki suit is like the Racoon suit, but cuter, and it has an extra ability. It gives you the same tail swipe, flutter jumps, and flying ability, and if you press down and B, you'll turn into a Jizo statue. You can do this in the air and slam down to the ground, killing pretty much any enemy caught under you, or on the ground and become immune to damage for a few seconds. It's basically a proto-butt stomp. The Hammer Bro suit lets Mario throw hammers in an upward arc, just like real Hammer Bros. This suit is great for taking out flying enemies, like Lakitus and the Angry Sun. Mario can also duck and use the shell to block enemy fireballs. The Frog suit gives Mario the ability to swim faster and without bobbing up and down. It also allows him to swim against the current and go into warp pipes that he can't go into otherwise. This suit is good for finding secrets in the handful of underwater levels in the game, but it's not great for ground levels because it makes Mario hop around clumsily instead of running.

I’m a big fan of Racoon Mario, but I think it’s the level design that makes this game so great. Classic level themes from SMB1 such as the Bowser castle, sky, and underwater themes return, along with new ones like ghost castles and airships. Every world also has unique backgrounds, like deserts and waterfalls, and the game keeps mixing things up with vertical levels, auto-scrolling levels, and levels with multiple floors, so you rarely feel like you're just playing the continuation of an idea used in another level. I say rarely because I felt like a few sky theme auto-scrolling levels felt pretty similar. There's a bunch of new enemies and obstacle types that keep spicing things up throughout the game, too. SMB3 introduced Boos, Chain Chomps, Thwomps, donut platforms, note blocks, P-switch blocks, giant enemies, the Angry Sun, and many other things that kept the levels feeling fresh. I also think SMB3 does great job of presenting an idea or challenge for a level and moving on after doing what it set out to do. It's not afraid to have short levels, and it doesn't make levels longer just for the sake of having big levels. If the idea for the level calls for a longer level, then the level is longer, if not, then it's shorter, and that's okay.

Another thing that SMB3 introduced which stuck around in 2D Mario games is the overworld map. Instead of progressing through the game from level to level, like in SMB1, you can move around a map screen and choose where you want to go. There are still mandatory levels, and times when you only have 1 level you can play, but sometimes you can take another route and skip a level or two, visit a Toad house and get a free item, play one of the card matching minigames that pops up, or even play a Mario Bros arcade inspired minigame if you're playing multiplayer. There's also a Lakitu cloud item that lets you skip a level and a flute that plays a familiar tune and lets you warp to another world. I like playing every level in every world, but it's cool how the map system gives you choices.

Super Mario Bros 3 was EAD's last NES game before starting work on Super Mario World, and it shows. This is one of the best looking Nintendo developed NES games. It's no Kirby's Adventure, though. It has a nice looking cartoon style, but the graphics aren't super detailed. I prefer the All-Stars version on SNES. I feel like All-Stars really missed the mark with the graphics in SMB1 and Lost Levels, but SMB3 looks amazing. The foreground graphics are on par with Super Mario World, and the backgrounds are even more detailed. The All-Stars version also doesn't slow down when there's more than 4 Goombas on screen. I love seeing these levels remade in 16-bit like I love seeing Super Mario Kart tracks remade in 3D.

Koji Kondo must have been going through a Rude Boy phase while working on this game. SMB3's soundtrack sounds like Mario music played by a Mushroom Kingdom Ska band. There is a distinct Ska/Reggae flavor to a lot of the songs. It's all NES/SNES quality MIDI, of course, but you can hear the horns, harmonicas, keyboards, and steel drums. This is why the SMB3 style ground level editor in Super Mario Maker also has a Reggae theme. I love this soundtrack. I wish I could hear The Mighty Mighty Bosstones cover it.

Super Mario Bros 3 is a masterpiece. It's one of the best games ever made. It's a joy to play, it looks great, and the soundtrack is jammin. The NES version is on all Virtual Consoles, the NES Classic, and on the Nintendo Switch Online NES, and All-Stars was released on a disc for Wii, and the GBA port of the All-Stars version of SMB3, Super Mario Advance 4, was released on the Wii U VC with all the e-Reader levels, so it's not hard to find. I do wish Nintendo would re-release Super Mario All-Stars again, though. Hopefully it shows up on the yet to be announced NSO SNES.