Did you know that Super Mario Bros.: The Lost Levels was actually first released in Japan for the Famicom Disk System as Super Mario Bros. 2 on June 3, 1986? This game was developed by Nintendo R&D4, the team led by Mario creator Shigeru Miyamoto, and designed for players who wanted something more challenging than the original. Unfortunately, Nintendo of America found the title to be too difficult for its audience and instead chose to reskin the Japanese game Doki Doki Panic. Read more for a full Super Mario Brothers 2 (Japanese) playthrough.
North American players first experienced The Lost Levels in the 1993 Super Nintendo Entertainment System compilation Super Mario All-Stars, while Game Boy Color, Game Boy Advance, and Virtual Console ports came after. Many players may have found it too difficult, but journalists actually appreciated the game’s challenge, especially when spectating speedruns. This sequel also gave Luigi his first character traits and introduced the poison mushroom item, which would be used throughout the Mario franchise.