Weird limited releases like All-Night Nippon Super Mario Bros. are exactly the kind of thing we imagined when Nintendo revealed the Virtual Console, and of course none of it has appeared.
Since it's financially trivial and requires no real commitment of any kind to dump a game on the Virtual Console, there doesn't seem to be any reason not to put obscure games of historical or novelty interest on the service, and yet Nintendo and other companies have yet to jump at the opportunity beyond the occasional rare game like The Dynastic Hero. Never mind Nintendo of America, who seems hesitant to make any game available lest someone buy and enjoy it.
All Night Nippon Super Mario Bros. is a collection of levels from Super Mario Bros., Super Mario Bros. 2, and the arcade VS. Super Mario Bros., which is pretty much interesting enough all by itself. But All Night Nippon isn't just a fairly unique version of Super Mario Bros. It's an officially sanctioned ROM hack.
All Night Nippon is a long-running Japanese radio program. In 1986, as part of a contest, they gave this away as a limited-edition Famicom Disk System game. The enemy sprites, powerups, and various background elements have been swapped out for All Night Nippon-related content, which means we have no idea what the hell most of it is. Not only are these new elements based on Japanese entertainment, they're based on Japanese entertainment from the '80s. And since it was a radio show, even if we were listeners we wouldn't recognize any of it.
The whole game, sort of (it's a speed run)
A few elements we do understand: Bowser's axes and the flag on the castle are the Fujisankei logo (Fujisankei is the company who produced the show, and also own Fuji TV.) Mushrooms in the landscape have been replaced with microphones. But the Goomba is now the ambulatory head of a bald, smirking, sunglasses-wearing person, and the Piranha Plants have been replaced by images of a different shades-wearing comedian. That's probably hilarious.
How many times have we all played Super Mario Bros.? (Don't tell us if your answer is "none." Just ... don't tell us. Instead, go play Super Mario Bros.) Wouldn't it be awesome to see an uncommon version of it? Not to mention the whole history angle. Without the ridiculous costs associated with importing and maintaining a Disk System, and then finding one of the rarest Famicom games of all time, nerds like us everywhere could enjoy a relic of a time when Nintendo would actually change one of their games for an outside company. How likely are we to see something like that again?
Of course, there's always the possibility that Nintendo doesn't want to bring the memory of what looks like a massive sellout back into the public consciousness.
Virtually Overlooked is a weekly feature that spotlights games that aren't yet on the Virtual Console, but should be. Want more Virtually Overlooked? Check out the first year!