Here’s one I wasn’t expecting to write about until the end of this whole project, but I’ve realized that in some cases, it’s going to be difficult to provide thorough discussion of some of these characters and ideas without talking about it, so here we are.
Among fans of Super Mario Bros. 2, there is a common call for a sequel to the Subcon adventure. While that hasn’t exactly fallen on deaf ears, it nonetheless feels clear that the folks at Nintendo don’t seem to be in a particularly big hurry to deliver.
But as it happens, there has already been a sequel. Well, sort of.
Released in 1996, BS Super Mario USA is a game that was released exclusively for the Japan-only Satellaview (the “BS” stands for “Broadcast Satellite”) add-on for the Super Famicom — their version of the Super Nintendo Entertainment System. Primarily using the assets crafted for the version of the game featured in Super Mario Collection (aka Super Mario All-Stars), this title acts as a sequel to Super Mario USA (which I’ll be referring to Super Mario Bros. 2 as in this article for consistency), at least as far as its story is concerned.
Following their victory over Wart at the end of Super Mario USA, Mario and friends thought that their adventure had been nothing more than a dream and move on with their lives. Ōsama, the previously unseen king of Subcon, would see fit to erect numerous gold statues of Mario around the land as thanks for his role in driving the evil dream dictator and his gang away to another dream realm.
After laying low for a while (I have my own theory on that, but another time), Wart and the 8 bits return to invade Subcon once again, stealing the golden statues in the process. This drives the king into hiding, where it’s said he used the power of the stars to call upon our heroes for help once again.
At its core, BS Super Mario USA plays just as Super Mario USA did, but there a number of the Satellaview’s signature enhancements are featured throughout. Players would have to “tune in” at certain times in order to play the game, which was accompanied by a broadcast of various actors lending their voices to the characters as they told the story and triggered various onscreen events.
Players would start out as Mario, rather than being able to choose their character, and timed events would switch them to other characters as they played. Allies such as Ōsama and Peach would appear in an icon in the corner of the screen, giving commentary and occasionally offering help to the player through events such as sending a POW-like shockwave through the screen or turning the player invincible. Villains would likewise appear to give their two cents as well as cause trouble in various ways.
Beyond that, there is also the inclusion of the aforementioned gold statues, which can be found out in the open, in Subspace, and by defeating a boss. Grabbing one will refill the player’s life meter and grant them an extra life.
The story doesn’t go much further, unfortunately, and from what I’ve seen, the game doesn’t even have much of an ending to speak of. For all intents and purposes, the main goal seems to be to defeat Wart and his goons in the world featured in each of the game’s four weekly episodes. Players could select from any of the available levels in any order, and replay them as often as they would like during the broadcast time (roughly 45 minutes, from :05 to :50 on the clock) in order to collect everything.
To this end, a point system was added to the game, and upon completing the world, players could see how many Mushrooms, Cherries, Coins, and Gold Statues were collected, as well as which of the bosses they were able to defeat. This includes Wart, who hides away in a lair like the one from 7-2, found in jars in Subspace.
Sadly, this game has never seen an official release outside of Japan. There were hopes that titles such as this might make it onto the Virtual Console somehow, though it seems that ship has pretty much sailed. On the other hand, with the likes of HAMSTER Co. releasing Nintendo’s arcade classics in its line of “Arcade Archives” releases for the Nintendo Switch — something one would have figured Nintendo would do themselves for the Wii’s Virtual Console Arcade, yet never materialized — you can really never say never.
The biggest obstacle, of course, would be the incorporation of the audio drama tracks which accompanied the original broadcasts. It’s anyone’s guess whether these tracks still exist deep within a vault at Nintendo’s Japanese headquarters, they belong to St. Giga (whose Satellite radio did the broadcasting), or are simply lost to time.
Alternatively, they could just record the stuff again and program a timer in or something. But something tells me they don’t see it as worth the investment, or perhaps haven’t even given it a second thought. You never know with Nintendo.
In any case, this hasn’t prevented some gaming archivists from nonetheless managing to piece together working versions of the games. In some instances, these hacked and translated Satellaview games have even been placed on reproduction carts that can work on your Super NES hardware (though your guess is as good as mine for where to find any of this — eBay may be a good place to start).
That said, as a huge fan of Super Mario Bros. 2, not seeing BS Super Mario USA isn’t the biggest loss when it comes to the lack of Satellaview preservation by Nintendo — we lose a few gameplay tweaks and bits of lore, sure, but fans of The Legend of Zelda have it far worse, believe you me.
David Oxford is a freelance writer of many varied interests. If you’re interested in hiring him, please drop him a line at david.oxford (at) nyteworks.net.