The “Get To Know” line of articles are built to get a better impression of what I love/hate, and why, through a more direct means. While my tastes have been quite unconventional to the “norm” we’ve seen, I feel as if it’d be beneficial to run a series of articles that go into what I adore, and deplore, about gaming, and why.
I alluded to a major project I was going to work on throughout 2018, but due to repeated illnesses, I was unable to produce a healthy enough queue to get it going. That project was going to be my top 100 games of all-time, in which I would go into a great bit of detail on each game, and why it has a position on said list.
With this miniseries I have going with Get To Know, it’s given me a renewed sense of urgency to try and get some portion of this project revealed and shared with everyone. Instead of being overly ambitious, I’ll truncate the list to a top 25; that’s more than enough to show the kinds of games I adore the most, and the genres that they represent.
18 – Super Mario 64
- Developer: Nintendo EAD
- Publisher: Nintendo
- Platform: N64
- Genre: 3D platformer
- Release date: 9/29/96
- Rating: 9.0
What is Super Mario 64?
One of Nintendo 64’s launch titles, Super Mario 64 brought its franchise player into the third dimension. Nintendo helped set the standard for 3D platforming with Super Mario 64, and with 120 stars to obtain, there was more than enough content to last most players for a long time to come.
What warrants Super Mario 64‘s inclusion on this list?
Being in my teens during the golden age of gaming, might have heighten my senses and feelings about games as a whole. I absolutely loved gaming throughout my life, starting at a very young age. With the Nintendo 64 coming out and the success of the Sony PlayStation, I was witnesses a new era of gaming unfold with, IMO, the poster child for this new era – Super Mario 64. It was one of the most magical times in gaming; seeing these 32 and 64-bit consoles being released, and Nintendo’s unit being spearheaded by one of the most important games ever to be released, was a phenomenon that really hasn’t been replicated in the ways that this generation managed to pull off.
3D platforming, at the time, was in its infancy, with filth like Bubsy 3D, and the uneven though charming Jumping Flash! being the more predominant in the 3D platformer genre. Once Super Mario 64 came out though, the landscape forever changed, and Nintendo went from being the 2D platformer trailblazer and king, to the 3D platformer trailblazer.
Being a teen, I had always envisioned a 3D Mario game to be this big, open world where Mario could enter a myriad of worlds, being able to run anywhere and have countless options of how to do them. The final product wasn’t that drastically off from what I envisioned. Super Mario 64 had large, open areas with each world you entered, with multiple stars that can be obtained in a number of different ways.
This added to the replay value tenfold for me, as I scoured each area for where to and how to obtain each star. Yes, the camera was somewhat problematict, but Super Mario 64 was the first 3D platformer that actually got it right, and set the standard for future titles in the genre. Where it lacked in power up variety, it more than made up for it with imaginative, memorable, and most importantly, fun worlds to visit. Flying around with the winged cap power up was infinitely more thrilling than Raccoon, Tanooki or Cape Mario, and eyeballing a new area or hidden star through those means was a thrill. as well.
Being much older, it takes a lot to really “move” me in a way that leaves a lasting, positive impression on me. Maybe I’m more jaded now, I dunno. Games like Super Mario 64 make me miss being younger, when these fantastic rides and memorable journeys seemed as plentiful as the number of stops on the M15 between Harlem and City Hall (for the uninitiated, that’s a ton).
One of only a small handful of games to emotionally move me.
I’ve told the story before about how the first time I played the demo kiosk of Super Mario 64 way back in 96, the experience was a moving one. Seeing Mario in a 3D world, the fluidity of his movements, the castle theme, just everything seemed ripped from a dream that I never thought would come true. Nintendo created something special, and enduring for over 20 years.