Before Nintendo and Super Mario Bros. took over there world, there was Atari and Mario Bros. Of course, Nintendo still made the original arcade game but it was popular on Atari (and other) systems of the time more so than the NES. It was of course released for the NES also but by the time the NES gained popularity, the original Super Mario Bros. had the far better Super Mario Bros. to contend with.
Like Super Mario Brothers, Mario Brothers also feature the Italian plumber duo, Mario and Luigi. Even the turtles and pipes will look familiar. However, whereas Super Mario Bros. was a side-scrolling game with many varied levels, the original Mario Bros. was played on a single screen at a time on levels that really didn’t vary all that much.
That isn’t to say that Mario Brothers isn’t any fun. It’s a lot of fun in the way that many classic arcade games are. It’s just that you aren’t likely to spend nearly as much time in one sitting playing it as its sequels. It’s a much smaller game in which score is more important than completion.
In the original Mario Bros., the goals are a bit simpler. There is no princess to rescue but just turtles and crabs and flies to knock over and kick. You must first jump up and hit below where they are standing to knock them over then you have a limited amount of time to kick them off of the platform before they right themselves. To progress to the next level you must collect a certain number of coins. This game introduced Luigi and when playing two-players, it is a competition to see who can collect the requisite number of coins first.
The ad and screenshots above are for the Atari versions of the game but it was released on a number of other contemporary platforms and more recently for the Wii, Wii U and Nintendo Switch so there are modern ways to play it as well. It’s a fun game worth playing, just don’t expect Super Mario level of quality here. I personally like it better than its predecessor Donkey Kong but I’m probably in the minority.