Posted on February 18, 2013
My Top 100: #17 – Super Mario World
I wouldn’t call the Super Mario Bros. series stale, but the last few games haven’t exactly been the most revolutionary of the bunch. The first New game was incredible, mostly because it went back to the basics of what made Mario games awesome in the first place. There was no flying, just normal jumps and wall jumps. The Mega Mushroom and Blue Shell power-ups were fun because they were quite different from the norm, and that was nice to see.
These days, we have White Raccoon Mario, and Power Squirrel Mario. We’ve gone from struggling to finish the games to finishing them quite easily, all while Nintendo adds all sorts of little things to make the journey just a bit different than it was the last time around.
Don’t get me wrong! New Super Mario Bros. 2 had so many coins in it that it made the concept of the 1-Up pretty much irrelevant, but it was still pretty satisfying to go on coin-collecting rampages. New Super Mario Bros. U takes the infuritating multiplayer from the Wii edition, tones down the “co-opetition” a bit, and makes it much more fun for you to play through with a friend. It looks pretty damn great, as well.
So, it’s not all bad, I guess. It’s safe to say that, when it comes to the majority of games released in the last few years, there’s very little innovation to be seen. Games like Journey or Minecraft come along and blow our minds, simply because we haven’t seen anything like them before. I guess that’s partly why I’m a retro gamer at heart, and like to remember the days when almost everything felt new and awesome.
Having to follow Super Mario Bros. 3 must have been a daunting task, but Nintendo really pulled it off with Super Mario World. Besides bringing back a lot of the elements from SMB3, they also added a bit of SMB2 in the mix. There were lots of enemies for you to pick up, and the old “carry the key across the level to unlock a door on the other end” makes a comeback… minus the threat of Phantos chasing you, though.
The game also had a completely different setting this time around. Instead of the familiar-looking Mushroom Kingdom, players were introduced to the vastly different landscape of Dinosaur Land. This change brought with it tons of new enemies, a colourful new look, as well as the introduction of haunted houses to the land map. Every Mario game since has had a spooky Boo-infested level of some kind, and it was quite a treat to see what kind of secrets could be found. It was also the first Mario game to have alternate exits in certain levels, which made exploration that much more fun.
In the end, although I didn’t play it as thoroughly as I did other Mario games (i.e. the ones yet to appear on my countdown), it was an incredible game to help to ring in the era of the Super NES – my favourite console of all time.
I’m not sure how it went for everyone else, but whenever I played a new game or console, there was always one person I was looking forward to talking about it with. For me, it was my best friend Josh.
He and his family lived across the street from us since we were toddlers, until they started moving around a bit. They never moved out of town, but whenever they relocated, it always seemed to take a few months to re-establish communication with them. I’m not sure if it was because we just didn’t know where they lived, or what! I just have this memory of going months at a time without seeing my best friend. It wasn’t the end of the world to me, or anything, just strange.
I was in the midst of one of these communication blackouts when I had gotten my Super NES. I was psyched beyond belief about my first console upgrade, but for whatever reason, Josh wasn’t really around for me to talk about it with. No big deal, I guess!
The following March at Michael’s birthday party (my other friend across the street), there was a bunch of stuff to do. Organized games, an air hockey table, pizza and cake… there was lots of noise, lots of kids slightly older than I was, but I was still having fun. A while after the party had started, there was a knock on the door. It was Josh! FINALLY, someone at the party who was a bit younger, who I could relate to a bit easier.
I can close my eyes and picture it now – Josh didn’t even have his boots off, and here I was at the top of the stairs, excitedly yelling “JOSH I GOT A SUPER NINTENDO WITH SUPER MARIO WORLD AND IT’S AWESOME THE MUSIC IS COOL AND I’M PLAYING THROUGH IT A SECOND TIME AND I’M AT THE VANILLA DOME AND ITS AWESOME.”
Sorry about the caps, but that’s pretty much how the exchange went. It’s funny, because my niece gets similarly pumped up when describing to us toys or games she’s recently gotten.
Anyway, the rest of the party ended up being pretty awesome. Mike’s mom worked in the clothing department at a store in town, and she managed to get really awesome NHL team hats for everyone at the party. It was chosen at random, but I was pretty thrilled when I ended up getting the San Jose Sharks hat!
A new NHL team with one of my favourite colours in it! Whoo, teal!
The topic of conversation between Josh and I for the rest of the party wasn’t hats or hockey at all. It was mostly about the Super NES, and what games we thought would be awesome on the new console. Contra, Mega Man, Adventure Island… the next few years were sure to be amazing.