Super Mario 64 (1996) by Nintendo

I know, we have already had a Nintendo game as a part of this series.  Don’t worry this will not turn into a best a list of my favorite Nintendo games.  I just did not play a lot of other games when I was younger.  My family had a NES with a handful of games on it and I only received a SNES as a Christmas present in 1996.  The year that the N64 came out I received the last generation console for the first time.  At least I had a huge catalogue of games to play. In the meantime my family took to renting an N64 from the local video rental store.  Yes, in addition to renting games and movies, the store also rented consoles.  We must have rented the N64 a few times before we finally bought one.  Of course every time we rented the console it came with Super Mario 64 and thus this game entered my hearts as one of my favorite games of all time.

Like many other people, Super Mario 64 was my first foray into the three-dimensional video game space.  It was such a joy to finally explore worlds in three dimensions.  My favorite part of the game was the hub world.  Princess Peach’s castle was full of secrets and hidden stars waiting to be discovered.  This sense of exploration has stayed with my through the years, and I loved the minimalist focus that Super Mario 64 employed.  Stars were the only thing you needed to progress.  When you achieved enough stars you could fight Bowser and unlock a new part of the castle with more stars.  This game was not full of the superfluous amount of extra collectibles and hidden items that modern day games are so focused on.

And I could not forget the opening title screen for the game.  You were able to play with Mario’s face.  This may have been my favorite part of the entire game.  Pulling at his ears and spinning his head around really showed the power of the game’s engine.  From the very beginning the player is expected to have a good time.  I know that everyone picks on the N64 controller but the three prongs actually worked so well for this game.  You did not use the direction buttons or left and right buttons at all.  You just held the middle joystick and the z button and the used the A and B buttons to jump and punch respectively.  The C-buttons introduced the player to the ability to control the camera.  In my young mind “C” stood for Camera. When the GameCube controller included the new C-Stick I new what the developers intended the secondary stick for.

I have only completed Super Mario 64 a handful of times.  Once on the original N64 and again on the Nintendo DS remake.  I enjoyed the DS game, but this is one experience that was meant to be played on the big screen television.  I probably spent tens of hours on completing the game to the best of my ability, which makes speed runs of the this game even more impressive.  The game has truly stood the test of time when players are still breaking the world speed run record regularly.  I even considered including some of the later Super Mario games as a part of this list, but nothing can top the experience that the N64 provided.  Super Mario Odyssey came close, but I need to let that game sit a little while longer before I consider it’s long term impact on my gaming.  Nintendo truly innovated by creating an inspiring three dimensional world that encouraged exploration.

Tomorrow another Nintendo game makes the list with Pokémon Red.

Jake “prettyboyplaid” Fredericks

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