Because of my dedication to provide interesting and non-repetitive content on a daily basis, I have done my very best to not just play and write about games that I like, or my favorites. This has meant I have held back on flooding this blog with Mario games, because while the Super Mario franchise might be my all time favorite of all things video game related, I know they aren't for everyone. Sure, I have sprinkled in Mario games throughout the year, but never more extensively than needed.
But that's all about to change. For the final 12 days of this blog project, I am going to do what I want to do, for me and my own sanity. I am going to present to you, the readers, the gift of Mario for 12 straight days. If you're sitting there grumbling to yourself about this notion, allow me to point out that at one point a few months ago, I was actually considering making the entire month of December a month long celebration of Mario. Unfortunately (but maybe thankfully for you), my favorite pizza guy, Bill aka @Slaterific, talked me out of my Mario insanity, and so, I made some adjustments to the plan.
Given there were plenty of Mario games to fill an entire month, I still felt like Mario should be given his just due. So a few months back, I did a Week Of Mario spin-off titles, to get them out of the way, because I felt Mario did deserve the respect to have his various, multiple spin-off titles recognized for their not only success, but quality as well. And with them out of the way, this paved the path to allow me to spend the final 12 days of My Year of Gaming playing and writing about the Super Mario platformers, and all their glory.
With that, let's start out with the only Mario platformer to grace the Super Nintendo platformer, which easily helped sell the system right off the bat as an included game with the system at launch, and truly showed off how expansive and unique a Mario game could be. It also introduced the lovable green dinosaur, Yoshi, as a companion to Mario, while bringing the entire franchise many new ideas and mechanics that are still found in Mario games today.
Of course I'm talking about Super Mario World, which is still regarded as the favorite Mario game for many people after all these years. Quite a remarkable feat for 16-bit platformer, I should point out.
I remember getting this game when I first got my Super Nintendo system, which was about year or so after it first came out. My cousin first had, so I was familiar with it, so the by the time I got it, I knew what it was all about. Regardless of when I got it, though, I still played Super Mario World like it was my first time. As much as I loved Super Mario Bros. 3, which was and still is one of my favorite games of all time, Super Mario World took my imagination, and Mario himself, into places I didn't know existed.
The established set pieces for the franchise were already well in place, but Super Mario World took the blueprints and made them its own. They created an entirely new map, and essentially a new world called Dinosaur Land, they added new enemies to stomp and lands to explore, new power-ups like the cape feather, and a new companion, Yoshi.
Using the cape feather is trickier than I remember, but once you get the hang of it, it can be quite useful. Regardless of how useful it is, though, I still can't say I'm fond of it. On one hand, it's almost game breaking, as you could essentially fly unharmed through an entire level. On the other hand, it's tricky and cumbersome to use, and while the noise it makes is iconic, I find it quite annoying after a while. Sure, I used the feather when necessary, but only because I had to, not because I wanted to.
Yoshi, however, is a blast to use. Running around and gobbling up both enemies and fruits hanging in the bushes in the background is as enjoyable as you might think, and while he is extremely useful in-game, I really enjoy the challenge of trying to keep him with me, as once hit, you fall off and it takes off running in the opposite direction. Half the time you're doing everything you can to avoid being hit, and the rest of the time is spent chasing the errant-running green dinosaur.
Overall, this game is an absolute classic, and firmly put Mario on top of the mountain for the video game industry. Unfortunately, his reign would be short lived as he would be knocked off his perch for a moment or two in time, thanks in part to not having a true game of his own on a home consoles for several years. Fortunately, however, his next game would revolutionize the entire industry.