Super Mario Bros. Z was a popular Flash series created by Alvin-Earthworm that lasted from 2007 to its cancellation in 2008 and eventual revival in 2016. The series is known for its excellent writing, humor, and action sequences as well as the sprite-based nature of its animation.
Plot Synopsis[edit | edit source]
Super Mario Bros. Z takes place in an alternate continuity of the Mushroom Kingdom. Sonic and Shadow join forces with Mario and his friends in order to stop a threat known as Hyper Mecha Sonic, a being formed of Metal Sonic, Mecha Sonic and Silver Sonic with Metal Sonic serving as the brain. Mecha Sonic seaks the Chaos Emeralds, artifacts from Sonic's world that, when gathered together, grant the user immense power. He seaks them out for the sole purpose of killing Sonic and everything he cares about. However, it's not all that simple, as several of the Mario villains are after the Chaos Emeralds as well, meaning Mario, Sonic, Shadow, and Luigi need to gether them before Mecha Sonic, or anyone else, for that matter, manages to get their hands on them.
Following the 2015 reboot of the series, several plot details are altered, but the story remains mostly the same.
Style[edit | edit source]
The series was made with Adobe Flash and utilizes sprites from various Mario and Sonic games, as well as various custom sprites and sprites from outside the main series. While not much has changed, the animation has evolved as the episodes went by, utilizing more Flash assets in the animations, and even adding in 3D space and models in the later episodes. The series is well known for being one of the last successful sprite-based movies, as the medium had begun dwindling a few years before its creation. That being said, fan outcry was still strong enough to promote the series getting a reboot, making it one of the longest running sprite-based action series on the website.
Also worth noting is that the episodes progressively got more and more complex, in turn causing them to surpass Newgrounds' file cap. One of Alvin's hiatuses was due to him having to work around the limitation by compressing the flash. To avoid this happening again, Newground raised their filecap permanently, making Super Mario Bros. Z a very influencial series overall.
Cancellation and Revival[edit | edit source]
In 2008, Alvin released Episode 8 following a large hiatus. Episode 8 receive largely positive reviews, with most people praising a new villain, Basilisx. Alvin felt more negatively towards the episode, calling the villain rushed. Following anouther hiatus, Alvin released a portion of the 9th episode, while also explaining that the series was no longer interesting to him, and that it was being cancelled. Despite fan outrage, he remained adamant about the series end, citing writers block, lack of interest, and a dwindling art form as reason behind his decision.
As years passed, Alvin, in a bout of depression, closed several of his art accounts down. On newgrounds, he stated that he was picking himself back up and was feeling better overall. He eventually reopened his deviantART page and even uploaded a brief scene remake from the first episode of the series, stating that if he would return to the series, he wouldn't continue it, and would instead update it with his better writing and animation skills.
In January of 2016, he made a surprise upload on Newgrounds and Youtube of a rebooted Episode 1. The quality was substantially improved over the original. Alvin stated that he plans on continuing the series in this new vain of work, but that it will be a passion project for when he has spare time, implying episodes may be sparcely uploaded. Also worth noting is that the reboot combined episodes 1 and 2 of the original series, which suggests a plan to make longer episodes.
Reception[edit | edit source]
Super Mario Bros. Z is the most popular series of its type, the sprite-based Action movie, in Newgrounds history. Along with the Xiao Xiao and Madness series, it is one of the most popular Action series on Newgrounds. The eight entries in the series, along with the intro movie, each have a total of over a million views, for a combined total of over 19.5 million views. Additionally, the series has won over 20 Daily and Weekly awards, including seven Daily Features, three Review Crew Picks, and various weekly awards.
Response to the series' cancellation have been universally negative, with reinforced outcry from many fans. This negativity seemed to have caused dispair and depression in Alvin, whom remained adamant about leaving the series cancelled.
The series reboot was met with universal acclaim from both fans and Newgrounds staff alike. The premier was so highly anticipated, that Newgrounds included it on their front page for the first few days following the launch.