Super Mario World

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Introduction

After Mario, our portly italian plumber, defeated the mighty Bowser and rescued the Princess Toadstool (For the second time). Our hero has decided to take a vacation on Dinosaur Island. Bowser has capture the princess and Mario has to save her by finding his castle and defeating the large, armored, turtle, man, thing. Marvel as Mario jumps on enemies and… jumps to avoid other enemies and obstacles. (Jumping is kind of his thing, but when I think of it Mario seems like a man with a hammer to whom all problems are nails.)

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I never really considered how difficult it is to describe what this guy looks like. He’s sort of a turtle… but not.

Development

I was able to find shockingly little amounts of information about the development of Nintendo’s signature charactered launch title for their new system. I can say that it was lead and produced by Shigeru Miyamoto, the creator of the Mario series and The Legend of Zelda games. It took him three years to make the game with a team of only 16 people. (Even with studios having small dev teams, this team feels really small to me.) This was the first game to include Mario’s faithful steed, the dinosaur Yoshi. It was impossible for Yoshi to be rendered satisfyingly or for the mechanics to function on the NES. Miyamoto said, “We were finally able to get Yoshi of the drawing board with the SNES.” Miyamoto’s other words on the work as a whole were, “The game is incomplete, and got rushed a little at the end,” hoping that the system would allow more story and emotional connection with the player, but more on that later.

 

Super Mario World was released on November 21st of 1990 against F-Zero, Mega Man 3 for NES, and Ultima VI: The False Prophet for PC.

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It seems so alone with nothing near it in the great ocean. I now notice that it’s only got 5 colors or so.

Nostalgia

This game was the common denomenator for all of the kids that owned a SNES or knew someone that owned an SNES because it came with the system. I played this game with my father, with my cousin Zack, and any friend that stopped by and wanted to. I could go to school and ask anyone whether they preferred the flying and gliding power of the cape or the fireball shooting powers of the fire flower and they’d know what I was talking about. This sparked a debate with my father that was so strong, he preferred the cape and I prefered the fire flower (It was only because I couldn’t figure out how to glide right, but I wasn’t willing to tell him that.)

My grandmother even played this game! Hell, she’s the one that told me how to find the Top Secret Area, a place with ever spawning mushrooms, capes, flowers, and Yoshi. I never asked her how she found it and I still don’t know. Although, now that I think about it, she may have purchased it to coax the grand children into being more eager to visit her home in the middle of the country. We may not have been the best grand children.

I really like the music in this game. When I figured out that it was all the same melody but performed in different styles it blew my mind! The ghost house music scared me so badly that I had to have a parent in the room when I played those levels.

This was the first game that I 100% completed. I found every single level and beat the secret stages hidden on the star road. (A feat that I can’t accomplish today. Hell, I still can’t find the Green Switch Palace for some reason). And I was able to do it all by the seed of my own wit and with some playground hearsay (Alright, I admit. My father helped me out sometimes. Even if it was just a “check out that part of the map.”). When the color pallette and character sprites changed cemented in my mind that I must have done it all. I think this was the first experience that if I did all the things then I got cool stuff. Which would lead me down a road of trying to do everything in a game to see what cool (Now irrelevant, considering that I had done everything) stuff I would get.

That being said, I don’t really have any moments of supreme triumph besides that. I don’t remember jumping off the couch when I beat Bowser for the first time. I don’t remember being low on lives and super stoked to have taken out a boss. I don’t remember feeling really clever that I had found the hidden area in the middle of the ocean. I don’t have this sort of report with the game and I feel like I should.

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And then when I put all the areas together and see all the enemies I realize, this place is really weird.

The Gush

I can see what Miyamoto meant when he said that the game lacked story and emotion though. It doesn’t really improve on the “Bowser captures the Princess” plot that Super Mario Brothers 1 and 3 had. I still don’t know more about the Princess or Bowser as characters. I don’t know why he keeps kidnapping her and I don’t know why Mario feels obliged to save her. (Wait, I know. He’s doing it all for all those sweet pecks on the cheek!)

When I was five years old I was content to jump around and swim and explore and even though I can’t remember where all the stuff is I’m not compelled to look for it again. I’ve tried playing it through to completion since and I just can’t continue. I beat the second boss and then I’m just done. I can’t find it in me to continue. There’s no spark of childlike joy.

Maybe it’s because I beat the game 100%, I already know that I did it. I know that I’ve done everything in the game, or close enough to it for my liking. Maybe it’s the simplicity of the gameplay, I’m an older player and I’m looking for something new and/or interesting. Jumping just isn’t enough any more. Maybe it’s because the bosses aren’t very memorable, I remember Bowser and the first boss and that’s it. (I remember Reznor as well. But come on, you fight those guys four times or something).

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That’s a really small planet. No wonder Mario can jump so high, less gravity.

The Verdict

Super Mario World is a classic. It’s got tons of secrets and a great variety of gameplay. But I can’t bring myself to play it any more. I’ve got my fuzzy (Both fun and distant) memories and I can’t yearn for more from it. The game is good, but simple. So simple that it’s sort of lost my interest.

 

Next Week: Shadowrun, for the Sega Genesis.

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