Two days ago I wrote about my beloved old Commodore 64, the first computer I ever owned, which gave my family and me countless hours of entertainment playing games like Summer Games, Batman: The Caped Crusader, and a weird C64 version of Super Mario Bros. that was different from any version of the game Nintendo ever put out.
I looked up that weird alternate-universe Mario, and found that what I actually had was a pirated copy of a game called The Great Giana Sisters. It was written back in the early 80s to capitalize on the sudden explosion of popularity enjoyed by Nintendo and its original Super Mario Bros. The Giana Sisters game was so similar to Super Mario — enemies were killed by jumping on them, power-ups were collected by banging your head against blocks, and instead of coins you collected diamonds — that Nintendo sued.
A few copies of Giana Sisters were sold to Commodore 64 owners before the publisher was forced by Nintendo's lawyers to withdraw it. Some of the more enterprising buyers altered the game's sprites to look more like our favorite little Italian plumber, and passed it along to friends as a C64 Super Mario game. It was one of these copies which I received from a co-worker of my Dad's and fellow Commodore owner shortly after I got my C64.
A pirated bogus Mario. Who knew?
It turns out you can play the original Great Giana Sisters online at Games2Girls. The protagonists of the un-fucked-with version are Giana and her sister Maria, so I guess that makes it a girl game. I've been playing it, though, and my male reproductive organs have not prevented me from enjoying it. So if you remember Giana Sisters, or the ersatz Super Mario that was fashioned from it, click the link and check it out.