Paul (paulmeetsworld) wrote in gamecola,

Inside the Guide (6-8)

By Michael Gray

Hello everyone, and welcome to Inside the Guide, the article that gives you a behind-the-scenes look at writing guides for videogames. This month I'm going to be more serious than joking when I discuss Super Mario Bros. 2, as released in Japan. So if you don't like serious stuff, just look at the pictures and move on to the next article.

Now, if you're like me, you played Super Mario Bros. 2 on your NES a couple dozen times, mainly because it was loads better than Super Mario Bros. I couldn't beat Super Mario Bros., even with a Game Genie. But I could beat Super Mario Bros. 2, so I played that more often.

But, as it turns out, Super Mario Bros. 2 isn't a Mario game. Nintendo thought SMB2 was "too hard" for Americans. So, what they did was take a game called Doki Doki Panic, change the characters to Mario characters, and release it in the U.S. as a Mario game.

So, what happened to the real Super Mario Bros. 2? It was released only in Japan. There are copies of it floating around the Internet, but it's kind of hard to find. I found a copy of it, so I wrote a guide on how to beat it.

Super Mario Bros. 2 is pretty much exactly the same as Super Mario Bros., because every 2D Mario game is the same: All you have to do is go to the right, avoid the bad guys, and save the Princess. Fortunately for me, the Web site I got the game from had a mini-guide that told you how to beat the game. I beefed up the mini-guide by putting in jokes and more in-depth explanations, and, in a relatively short time, I had a guide of my own.

I thought that would be the end of the story, since this is a rare game that nobody plays; but, it turned out that I had to update it not once, but FOUR times!

Update One: My first version of the guide included warp zones, which meant that I skipped some levels. That's the whole point of using warp zones, right? You want to skip as many levels as possible. Who wants to play every freaking level in a Mario game? Anyway, my guide was marked as "half-done" because I skipped some levels, so I had to go back and update the guide. I did a really half-assed job for the update. For example, I say the way to beat the water levels is to "Swim right while avoiding the enemies." Fortunately, no one noticed that I didn't put any effort into the guide, and so the guide was marked as "fully done."

Update Two: Approximately 50000000 people e-mailed me asking me for a copy of a ROM for this game. Well, I don't have one, and even if I did, I'd never admit I have one, because it's illegal. To get everyone off my back, I gave a link to a Web site that may or may not have the ROM. It worked, and people no longer ask me for a copy of that game's ROM, even though the Web site I linked to no longer exists.

Update Three: Some person named Kef Li read my guide and had a bunch of advice for how to improve it. Instead of reading his advice, I just copy/pasted it into my guide, giving credit to him. "Why bother?" is my motto when it comes to updating a guide with reader-submitted information.


Update Four: In my guide, there is a section on why this game is different than the version released in the U.S. In it, I gave a brief history lesson on U.S. and Japan, talking about the colonization period and World War II. See, Japan has a history of not being friendly with the U.S., which may explain why they decided to not be kind enough to the U.S. and give them the "real" version of Super Mario Bros. 2 (in the same way Japan didn't release a version of Final Fantasy II or III in the US, save for re-releases made decades later).

More specifically, I mention Pearl Harbor, in a section that has some really, really bad spelling mistakes. Also, I make mention of how Japanese people sometimes laugh at American products, referencing some unfavorable footage shot in Japan after the 1989 World Series Earthquake in which some Japanese people make fun of how American-made "earthquake-proof" buildings collapsed (I remembered this footage, because the Irony Gods took offense and ravaged Japan with its own earthquake in 1995).

In case you can't tell from what I've written here, I just put that section in the guide to make myself sound smart. It makes me look like a total history whiz when I cite the dates of famous earthquakes. However, some folks thought I was TOTALLY RACIST to say that Japan attacked Pearl Harbor without any warning whatsoever, even though that's completely true. Yes, apparently telling the truth is racist. So, when I got complaints, I had to update the guide to make it less offensive.

Personally, I think this update was dumb, especially since I apologized in advance if I hurt anyone's feelings. But you can judge for yourself by reading the original copy of the "racist" section 002, if you're interested.

So that's this month's version of Inside the Guide. Sorry if it's not that funny because I spent all my time talking about guide-making things instead of making jokes, but writing guides is the topic of this column, after all. I'm also sorry to anyone who was offended by all those true, I mean, totally racist things that I said. I'm also really, really sorry that Elizabeth Medina-Gray won't date me just because she thinks we might be related, but that's another story.
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