Times blogger Chris Suellentrop announces in Slate that he really, really, really likes Super Mario Brothers: The Lost Levels. That's the game that was the "real" sequel to the classic Super Mario Brothers that was never released in the US because it was sadistically difficult and instead we got the weird bullshit American Mario 2 where everyone knew to play as Princess Toadstool even though it was def kinda gay. But the lost levels bring Suellentrop to nerdy video game ecstasy! He compares it to Citizen Kane! The dude who designed the game is, in fact, a wrathful god!

In most games, you trust that the designer is guiding you, through the usual signposts and landmarks, in the direction that you ought to go. In the Real Super Mario Bros. 2, you have no such faith. Here, Miyamoto is not God but the devil. Maybe he really was depressed while making it—I kept wanting to ask him, Why have you forsaken me?

We'd like to read one of those week-long email Slate "dialogues" (didn't those used to have a funnier name?) between Suellentrop and Chris Hitchens on whether Mario or Sonic is cooler. Hitch will make a compelling, contrarian case for Sonic, obv, and point out the Mario brothers' treatment of the inhabitants of the Mushroom Kingdom is inherently colonialist and their active support of its ruling monarchy renders them responsible for various war crimes.

Super Mario Bros.: The Lost Levels [Slate]