Well loyal reader, our week long celebration of Super Mario has come to an end. I thought about how I wanted to end this week. I feel we have some strong articles up, especially our Sonic vs Mario debate on Battle Grounds. So I thought the best way to close out this week is talk about my love of the character and franchise.
For me, like many of you, my love of Nintendo and Mario started with the 1985 classic Super Mario Bros. This game (like many Mario games to come) would define how that particular generation’s games would be played. It wasn’t the first platformer but it perfected it. In the late 80’s my older sister Jenny and I would play the hell out of this game. There would be many late Friday and Saturday night game sessions with this one. We’d come so close to beating it but would always run out of lives on the final castle. That is until my cousins Kenny and Kevin figured out the hundred lives cheat. The four of us were set and bam, one late night with the cousins (including my cousin Crystal) the five of us beat the game.
Me being the youngest of the bunch this was the first time I ever beat a video game and up to that point in my very young life (I was five or 6) I had never felt so accomplished. Sure learning to walk, speak, and shit in the toilet were big, but I don’t remember them, so up to this point in my life this was my greatest achievement.
I never owned Super Mario Bros. 2 when I was a kid, a friend of mine had it, but since it was a reskinned Doki Doki Panic it never felt like a real Mario game to me. However, as I’ve gotten older, I’ve grown to love the uniqueness of Super Mario Bros. 2 and like many things that depart from it source material it’s never appreciated in it’s day.
Now, at this point you might think that I’m going to go through ever Mario Game, and no, I’m not. Here I’m going to talk about my two favorite Mario games and those would be Super Mario Bros. 3 and Super Mario 64. Don’t worry Super Mario World, I love you to, but other than Yoshi you didn’t add too much to the game play of Mario games like 3 and 64 did.
Super Mario Bros. 3 is probably the first time I ever got caught in the hype of a game coming out. There were Happy Meal toys (and you’re damn right I bugged my parents to go to McDonald’s so I could get all of them), the movie The Wizard which at the end would give us our first look at Super Mario Bros. 3 and this classic scene about the Power Glove.
The movie was basically a 90 minute commercial for Nintendo, but it had Fred Savage in it, so that’s a win. There was also the Super Mario Bros. 3 Adventure cartoon which we also reviewed this week. Super Mario Bros. 3 also might have been the only game my parents bought me at launch. My mom could see how much I wanted this game and I was lucky enough to have parents who took enough interest in me to know when something was truly important to me and when I was just being a kid and saying I needed something when I really didn’t.
So I got Super Mario Bros. 3 and that weekend it just so happened that my cousins were coming to visit, and like with Super Mario Bros. we stayed up all night and the five of us beat the game. I know a lot of older generations like to poo-poo video games but honestly, they were great at gather friends and families back in the day. Before all multiplayer was basically online, we’d all get together to play a game together. Part of the fun was playing the game the other was being a kid and getting to stay up late with your friends, siblings and cousins in order to conquer a game.
Mario 3 was the last game I remember my sister, and cousins and I really getting together to play. They were all around a decade older than me and getting ready to be high schoolers and had cool teenager things to do. So when the SNES area got here I was on my own, well not really, I had my buddies Mike and Ricky to help, and play Street Fighter II with.
The next big innovation in the main Super Mario Series (not counting things like RPG or Kart, or goo, Missing) was Super Mario 64. Mario was finally stepping into the 3D world. Like it’s 1985 counterpart, Super Mario 64 wasn’t the first 3D platformer, but it did perfect the formula and would literally be copied by everyone in some form or another. This was a launch title for the Nintendo 64 which would be the first system I ever bought with my own money, well sort of. I spent the majority of my summer mowing lawns to earn the $250 for the system and then the $50 for the game. It was preordered from Toys R Us and I couldn’t wait. Then near the end of the summer I had a mishap that left me on crutches for the remainder of the summer. I think I made it just over $200 when I got hurt so my parents stepped up and paid the remainder for me. Again, they knew me really well and knew this was something I was busting my ass for and among many things that the crutches caused me to give up (football and baseball) they would be damned if I was going to lose another thing.
And like all the previous Mario’s that I owned I played the hell out of this game. Because I was on crutches to start the school year I was picked up by the small bus right at the front door. This gave me an extra half hour my sister didn’t have to get ready for school, so what did I do with this extra 30 minutes, I played Super Mario 64.
The N64 controller allowed you to perfectly control a 3D Mario and honestly this game is damn near perfect. Honestly I have zero complaints about this game. The difficulty is set at a fair level and the innovations the game gives you are just fantastic and many would carry over to other 3D Marios. Like the previous Mario games it’s so easy to go back and play these games and unlike a lot of older games they hold up and are fantastic. Seriously all the games I’ve already mentioned I can play time and time again.
Of course the 64 bit era would lead to the numerous Mario spin-offs. Of course the SNES era gave us Mario Kart, but it was Mario Kart 64 that allowed that series to blow up. Racing in 3D was great and so was the multiplayer battles. Then there came the Mario Party games, which was basically a Nintendo board game, Mario Tennis, Mario Baseball (highly underrated) Mario Soccer, Smash Bros., and so many more games, like my new favorite Super Mario Maker.
So with this ends our week long celebration of Mario. I hope not only did you enjoy this journey with us but it’s inspired you to go back and play some classic Mario games. Now if you’d excuse me, I’m off to go play the Super Mario Bros. All-Star Pack. Also enjoy the Completionist’s review of Super Mario Bros. 3 below.