I’ve been having a blast reconnecting with vintage sticker collecting in the past year or so. It’s kind of weird how my interest in a lot of 80s stuff ebbs and flows, but vintage stickers remain an aspect of the decade that always excites me for some reason. I’ve said it a million times, but the magic created when you add glue to paper is astounding. Anyway, I was taking part in a discussion on Twitter the other day about some of our favorite Nintendo Entertainment System games (prompted by The Retro Network Podcast) and it really got me thinking about what my most favorite gaming experiences were. There’s certainly a laundry list of games that I loved, stuff like Section Z, Lifeforce, Excite Bike, Mike Tyson’s Punch-Out and Russian Attack come to mind, but if I was being honest the most boring answer had to be one of my top favorites, Super Mario Bros. But not the first one (a game I do love and played the ever-living shit out of from 1987 until I gifted my system to a friend in 1993. No, the absolute top tier version of Super Mario for me has to be the much beleaguered Super Mario Bros 2. For my money it improved on every single aspect of the original greatly and added so many rad new gimmicks, villains, and environments. I adore the additional ability of picking up objects and other characters, the thrill of entering the night-world to harvest coins, and snagging eggs and chucking them at Birdo is the best.
Since I was having fun reliving my SMB2 memories, I thought it would be fun to share some relevant stickers for another installment of Peel Here. I’ve certainly talked about Nintendo, and in particular Mario Bros 2, stickers before when I took a look at the Topps Nintendo sticker cards, but I’ve since scored some new additions to the collection. First up, let’s take a look at some of the Artis Paper Magic sticker sheets that were released in tandem with the game back in 1989.
Even though there were 4 playable characters in the game, and their were also 4 different sets of sticker sheets, the designers only opted to utilize the two titular brothers, Mario and Luigi. Surprisingly, the illustrations on all of these stickers are not only official Nintendo images, but a lot of them actually come straight out of the SMB2 game manual! The first sticker on the above left is a variation of the game box cover art, and there’s another variation in the third sheet below.
I love that we get at least three designs with turnips as that was a majorly weird and wonderful aspect to the game, but what is up with the weird Colonel/Cowboy Mario on this third sheet? I don’t remember any old west levels in any of the Mario games in the 80s, yet this image is all over official Nintendo merchandise from pins and stickers to school supplies and T-shirts. Can someone fill me in on where this came from? Was there a game that featured a western level that was only released in Japan or is there some sort of hidden old west level in SMB2 like the Negative World in the first game? I know that there were eventually levels like this in recent games for the Wii and Switch, but not in the 80s as far as I know.
Carrying forward the weird outfit theme, this last sticker sheet features two more odd stickers, one with a Mario on a skateboard, and another with a pre-Mario Kart Mario in a racecar jumpsuit. So weird!
The next bit of Super Mario 2 sticker ephemera in my collection is this pack of Mello Smello Nintendo Glow in the Dark stickers also released in 1989. Though Mario and friends share the spotlight with Link from the Legend of Zelda games, I love that we at least get Princess Peach and Toad stickers as well as Mario to complete the playable character designs. I also love that there are two magic potion stickers, as these elusive gateways to the Night World in the game are personal favorites.
I know that there are a lot of other Mello Smello Mario brothers stickers out there including “giant” 4″x4″ singles, some shiny foil stickers, and puffy stickers too.
But this isn’t all! Actually, this is just part 1 of my Nintendo sticker madness. The next piece I’m writing will be all about a vintage Nintendo-themed sticker collection housed in an extremely branded sticker book!
Also, speaking of the Retro Network Podcast, the latest episode where they’re discussing their favorite Nintendo Entertainment System games is now live. If you check them out, tell ’em Branded sent ya.