02 April 2010
It’s hard to believe that after more than 90 days of essays about the greatest games of all time Super Mario 64 has yet to appear on this site.
But that’s going to change. Right now.
Although I have played video games for my entire life, the last time I asked for a video game system as a present or gift was in the early 1990s, when I bugged my parents for a Sega Genesis. Since then, I received a Super Nintendo, Nintendo 64, Playstation 2 and even an Xbox 360 (a birthday present from my beautiful girlfriend) without solicitation. It’s not that I didn’t want any of these things, I just always felt guilty asking friends and family for high end electronic items that, despite their massive level of entertainment, are ultimately a waste of time that keep you from the great outdoors.
Every single time I got a new system, however, I was happy as could be. Especially when I got my PS2 with the Rocky video game.
My parents bought me an N64 for Christmas one year right after it came out, when parents of younger children than I were braving lines and mini riots at Wal-Mart to get one. I hadn’t asked for my N64, but that’s why it was the best gift I got that year.
Unlike today, this was a time when systems still came with games. The obvious choice for rolling out N64, of course, was Super Mario 64.
And boy did it deliver. I talked with countless people about this game and I have never really heard any criticism. Moving Mario from the 2D side scrolling world to the 3D world came off flawlessly. The charm of the Mario franchise was evident in every aspect of the game and the re-vamped platform format brought next excitement and adventure to a character more than a decade old.
That Christmas Day, when I opened my new system, I ended up with about a half-dozen friends sitting in my bedroom. Yes, they had all also received different types of video games and other toys for Christmas, but I was the one kid on the block with an N64.
We played Mario for hours, a lot of which was spent messing with the unnecessary but cool opening feature that allowed you to warp Mario’s face in a variety of dimensions.
In the years since my Nintendo 64 days, I haven’t picked up any subsequent Super Mario titles. I own a Nintendo Wii, so having the right system isn’t an issue, but the new games seem a little trippy and hard to follow. No, the new Mario isn’t for me. Mario 64, on the other hand, will always have a place in what I consider to be the canon of gaming.
By George Morse