I am a huge, huge fan of video games – I’ve been playing them since I was a little kid, and if you’ve read any of my gaming-related Daily Crate articles in the past, you know I’m all about that nostalgia. That’s why I was super hyped to find out that this month’s Loot Gaming Crate was including items from one of my favorite video games of all time: Super Mario World on SNES.
But, I decided to look a little bit deeper at why I am, to this day, still a huge fan of Super Mario World. Some games you played growing up don’t age well, the mechanics become choppy, the controls are iffy at best (I’m looking at you, original Final Fantasy VII on PS1), but there are a select few that have held up all these years, and for decades have continued to be games that people all over the world still happily play. For me, one of those games is Super Mario World, and in fact I dusted that bad boy off over the holidays, on the OG Super Nintendo Entertainment System, and took a stroll down memory lane to pin point the main reasons why it has stood the test of time and remains one of my favorite games ever made.
The art style of Super Mario World is still gorgeous to this day – There truly was something magical about how games looked, for the most part, on the Super Nintendo Entertainment System – and Super Mario World may have been one of the most beautiful titles on the system. There’s just something about that hand-drawn look, the vibrant colors, the detail in the worlds, on the world map, how great the characters looked, and so much more. So many old school games just look so aged anymore, but games like SMW are just as beautiful and majestic to play through today as it was on the day it came out in 1990. I don’t think I caught myself one time being annoyed or frustrated by a weird pixelated image or some clunky graphics – it’s gorgeous to look at, from start to finish.
The soundtrack for Super Mario World is iconic, but it’s also really, really good – Super Mario World was incredibly successful for a multitude of reasons, but I think few people remember that, for it’s time, the audio quality on this SNES cartridge was really a thing of beauty – in fact, game reviewers at the time of Super Mario World’s release in North America said the game pushed the Super Nintendo’s audio to its limits, with one particular reviewer calling it “mindblowing”. Now, that was the state of video game audio at the time, and I’d be lying if I said this game’s audio stood up to the Hans Zimmer-esque video game soundtracks we see in games today – but as I sat down and played it only a few days ago, the sound effects, the overworld themes, and the music in the levels themselves still filled me with just as much joy as it did as a six year old – and that Bowser boss music still gives me just as much anxiety as it did 24 years ago!
Super Mario World is legitimately a challenging game – Don’t let this two dimensional side-scroller fool you, this game really is a challenge. That’s not to say that most accomplished gamers can’t finish it with relative ease, but if you want to put together a complete game file that includes all the secret passages, backdoors, and the impressively difficult secret levels? Now that’s a whole different ball game. Look, I’m not embarrassed to admit that when I was growing up, playing this game, it took years and going back and forth playing it bits and pieces at a time before I was able to put together a complete file on my original cartridge – but I was finally able to do it, and I was met with an incredible surprise (something I’ll touch on momentarily) that was probably one of the most fulfilling moments in my gaming career. And you know what happened when I tried to go back and play those levels on my recent play through? Yep, you guessed it – I got my butt kicked!
Super Mario World was filled with some of the coolest surprises I’ve ever found in a game – The first time I took a stab at completing Super Mario World, I had probably completed something like… Oh, I don’t know, 50 levels? I’m not sure what the bare minimum amount is to complete all the castles to beat the game, but that’s probably what I did. But over the coming months and years following the first time I thwarted Bowser in his castle, I found myself returning to Dinosaur Land with my friends to try and find some of the hidden exits and secret levels we had heard rumors about. At the time, things like Gamefaqs or high production value strategy guides weren’t really a thing, so if you were going to find secrets, you pretty much had to band together and do it yourselves. So when I found out, many years later, that there were over 70 levels, with an additional over 20 secret exits to those levels, I knew I had to get them all. Each and every new goal I overcame, I was more and more excited. And then the day came when I finally completed all of the special levels, to be met with a complete overhaul of the world I had spent hundreds of hours exploring – new colors, new reskinned foes, and more. It was a little nugget that Nintendo had left for me to find, many years later. And I couldn’t have loved it any more.
So there you have it! This certainly isn’t the all-encompassing breakdown of why I love Super Mario World as much as I do, but it’s just a taste of the laundry list of things that make this game such a special one for me, decades after playing it for the very first time. Got similar Super Mario World memories you wanna share? Hit us up on social to let us know!
And if you’re hankering for some awesome Super Mario World related loot, then look no further than January’s BOSS Loot Gaming Crate!