This meme starts off with a doozy, and it’s a rather tricky doozy for me. See, while I’m going to talk about Super Mario World here as my first videogame, it most likely isn’t able to claim that title truthfully. Unfortunately, my gaming history from the early days is fairly foggy, and I know I played a lot of NES games over at the neighbors’, as well as bowling alley arcade machines and those weird solar-powered handheld things. I have very strong memories of a baseball one that traveled with me during long car rides. And I can’t quite place in the timeline when I got my GameBoy.
That said, Super Mario World–and the SNES is launched on–were truly my first, the very first console I ever opened on a Christmas morning, hugged, and called my own. It was the first videogame I could play, turn off, and turn back on an hour later, or the next morning, or whenever–because it was mine, and I was at home, not a friend’s place, and I could play it as much as I wanted. What we should also consider is that, having gotten no other games to play with the console for Christmas, I was extremely thankful the system came packaged with Super Mario World, which kept me busy for many snowy vacation days. And this trend of giving gamers a freebie is still somewhat followed by Nintendo (Wii Sports for the Nintendo Wii; those AR games for the Nintendo 3DS). It was a move that would ensure many would play it, burn it into their upbringing, never forget about it.
Two paragraphs in, and I’ve yet to really dig into Super Mario World. It’s that same ol’ story from previous Mario games, wherein the princess gets herself kidnapped by Bowser and it’s up to Mario Mario and Luigi Mario to save her. They’ll travel across themed lands to get her, too. However, a new savior joins the party, and it’s my personal fav…Yoshi the dinosaur. When ridden, Yoshi can eat enemies, spit fire, and allow Mario to reach new heights thanks to a higher jump. The saddest thing anyone can witness is when an enemy hits a ridden Yoshi; the dinosaur cries out in horror, tosses its rider off, and makes a bee-line run for the nearest deathpit. It’s sickening, I say.
As a youngling, getting to the next section was all that mattered. And this game taught me how to jump, to run, to move effectively from left to right more so than any other game. I remember barely squeezing by on extra lives when beating World 4: Forest of Illusion and skipping over to the dreaded World 5: Chocolate Island. As I got older and revisited the game, I discovered that it harbored a great number of secrets. Things like Warp Whistles and holding down for X number of seconds to hide in the level’s backgrounds, but these were mostly about alternate exits and unlocking colored blocks throughout the worlds. Such things as alternate exits blew my mind back then; stumbling upon one where I accidentally had Caped Mario fly too far over the end goal on to discover a second end goal was like–I can only assume here as I don’t eat such dredge–finding two toys in a box of cereal purporting only one plastic army guy.
Awesomely, the game still stands up on its own today. Sure, some of the levels feel very short, and large chunks can be skipped if you are able to fly high enough, but the challenge still sits around medium. Those chargin’ football players always give me trouble. The graphics are just as colorful, and the music invades your head in ways you’d never expect. Hearing the bwwwwoooo-oop at the end of the level as the screen circles in on Mario and then goes black is pure cocaine.
And if older games had Achievements, I’d have ’em all for Super Mario World. Yes, even the one for opening up the EXTRA mode, which changed the colors of the levels, as well as messed with in-game sprites. This was accomplished by completing Star Road, which is not the easiest of tasks. But I had much more free time then to devote to a game, and no secret sat unturned. It’s most definitely a legendary title, and the fact that I’m considering it my first makes it all the more special.
Anyways, here’s a moment in time. Me with my wife’s copy of Super Mario World, a game now 20 years old. Enjoy the nostalgia, dear readers:
Next up on 30 Days of Gaming…is my favorite character? Hmm. Spoiler: it’s not that jerkbag, Milich.