Secret Maryo Chronicles: a wonderful GNU/Linux game

For those people who grew up on the "classic", 2D version of Super Mario, and -- why not -- those who like simple, but very refined games, Secret Maryo Chronicles is not to be missed. Mind you, it's not Mario, but Maryo; however, it's just as much fun.

If you are familiar with Super Mario, you will find right at home here: you will find turtles, mushrooms, nasty plants, pipes, and many other elements that are typical of this classic game.

The game is released under the GPL v.3; so, it's fully free for you to download, play, and -- why not -- change, also thanks to the built-in world editor.


If you use Debian or Ubuntu, you can install it with a simple sudo apt-get install smc; if you want the music (highly recommended!), also run sudo apt-get install smc-music. Ubuntu users can search the Ubuntu Software Center for "Secret Maryo".

The first time you run Secret Maryo, the "Caching images" screen takes its time to load. However, after a first slow run, the games starts up pretty much instantaneously.

The game

Like many games in this genre, the goal is to make it to the other side in one piece. You get to discover more worlds, more enemies, and more frustration when you run into the unwanted enemy.

An image is worth more than 1000 words:

This little treasure is right at the beginning of the game. Can you find it?

Remember that you jump with S, and run with A. You will jump higher and go faster when you are running.

Some less obvious things: A will puck up a turtle shell, arrow down will duck. You can check out the more detailed list of moves for Secret Maryo.

The good

When playing this game, you can't help but feel how smooth everything is: the collisions, the camera following Maryo, the grace of the movements.

In terms of programming, I installed the smc-music package and magically, mid-air, the game -- that was running at the time -- picked up the music and started playing it.

The graphical elements remind you of fan's drawings, that have come to life thanks to this free game. Although the quality does vary, the overall quality of the visual elements is stunning.

By pressing F8 anywhere in the game, you get to load the editor: you can change the game in any way you like.

The bad

The controls feel a little different to the ones you'd be used to by playing the original Super Mario: the movements are fluid but feel a little "slippery". This is the one area that diminished my enjoyment of the game.

The mouse pointer in the game is really fast -- so that using the editor in any meaningful way was impossible.


Absolutely install this game: it will be a great way to procrastinate on that important article you are meant to write for your favourite magazine.


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