Super Mario Bros. 2 - aka Super Mario USA. in Japan - is like a lesson in localization, a nd one we got early when Super Mario All-Stars came out for the NES.

The original Super Mario Bros. 2 was released in 1986 in Japan for the Famicom and Famicom Disk System. It looked not too terribly different from the first game except that the text had shadows, a new ground texture was used, and there were some new power ups and capabilities. This version was also released as - or called "Super Mario Bros. for Super Players".

The story continues in Nintendo of America when Japan-to-US playtester Howard Lincoln played this release and was quoted as saying he "could not believe Mr. Miyamoto would release such a hard and unforgiving game". This together - with what I assume is the assumption of the rest of the world that American's are a bit "soft" - that Nintendo did not release Super Mario Bros. 2, as Japan knew it at least, in America.

Instead, FCI/Ponycanyon was sponsoring some Japanese event and wanted Nintendo to make a video game for it. The result was a game called "Doki Doki Panic", where a series of middle eastern children (I assume) get sucked into a book to fight Wart and his reign of terror upon the monsters. This game was converted into a Mario Title by changing a couple tunes, re-writing the story, and replacing all the Dream Machine/Dream Factory "kids" with Mario Characters.

So in 1988, we got Super Mario Bros. 2. A story where Mario has a dream one night and now is tasked, with the help of his brother Luigi, mushroom retaininer Toad, and Princess Toadstool, to save the world of Subcon from the evil, Vegitable hating Wart the toad. This made this the strangest, and most ddifferent mario game on the NES. Instead of jumping on enemies to kill them, you were throwing turnips and radishes at them. Instead of powering up with fire flowers and stars, you had 4 hitpoints on the side of the screen and turned to regular mario if you had one left. Instead of Goombas and Troopas, you now had this whole "8-bits Club" thing with the worlds first LGTBQ+ game character (Birdo), pygmies that vomit up bullets like a snub nose 45 (Sniffits), and the children from Pink Floyd's "The Wall" (Shy Guys). INstead of pipes, you had pots to jump into. Doors, some locked by keys guarded by Kubuki masks.

As a result, Super Mario Bros. 2 was a very polarizing release. Some people hated it because it strayed too far from the "Formula" that Nintendo would return to in Super Mario Bros. 3, while others, like myself, would appreciate it for it's whimsical and bizzaro alter-world, and a break in the monotony of "Bowser took Princess, now fight eight levels of toilet humor to save her!" thing that's been around since the beginning. Today it's a highly wanted NES cartridge and almost on the "must have" level for most people. I sold my boxed copy in 2020 buying Dragon Warrior IV.
Hey Pizanos....what the f***ing f*** is this! (cue the music) - My experiences
Super Mario Bros. 2 was my actual introduction to Mario. For the longest time, from 1988 till I got my first NES in 1990, I thought THIS was the first Mario game. All because of hanging with a friend one night while my sister babysat and not knowing enough about Nintendo. Heck, I didn't even have an Atari yet!

So imagine my surprise on Christmas Day 1990 and I get Super Mario Bros./Duck Hunt on multicart - which, by the way, took me over a MONTH to figure out how to get it to Super Mario Bros because, for some reason,it would spawn on Duck Hunt. Anyway, when I played the first game I was like "whuuuuu!?!?", because I was expecting jumping around on green blocks of whatzit with dark green wavy stripes on them, and throwing radishes at enemies, not jumping on turtles and running from some obnoxious cloudman in welding goggles throwing spiny rolly-polliees at me!

Anyway, Mario 2 was one of those games that eluded me a lot earlier on. I never actually had it for my first NES, just Mario 1 and 3. I finally got Super Mario Bros. 2 in 2001 from EB Games in Montgomery, in original sealed box. I had that copy for over 20 years, before I sold it in 2021 to pay for Dragon Warrior IV. I then bought it back in late 2022 for over $30 loose, because I'm done with the whole "boxed collector" thing. Which is the copy I play now.

The first time I actually BEAT the game was sometime around 1997-1999ish, when I beat it on All-Stars on my Super Nintendo first. I later beat the original NES version on the cart I bought later. After having not touched the game in over 15 years, my first round was too good not to share, even if it failed to pick up the audio (a problem I've been having with youtube videos as of late).