Mario is a man with no need for an introduction. He is the owner of the best-selling video game franchise of all-time. The iconic red capped plumber has been on many adventures. What started as simple 2D side-scrolling platformers eventually embraced 3D. Mario has plenty of spinoffs. Some days he goes partying, and others he’s playing tennis. The man is a true jack of all trades. For today, I will be focusing on his 2D escapades, namely Super Mario World.
Mario got his start in the arcade classic Donkey Kong. He was later joined by his younger brother Luigi in Mario Bros. Mario didn’t truly hit his stride until Super Mario Bros., a launch title on the NES. While simple by today’s standard, this title re-solidified video game as a profitable business in North America. Nintendo had set the standard of platformers for years to come. The Mario brothers led Nintendo to become a household name and dominate the industry for the remainder of the 80s and into the early 90s. The direct sequel was released only in Japan (Later released as The Lost Levels as part of Super Mario All-Stars). Super Mario Bros. 2 was wildly different from the original, since it was a reskinned version of Doki Doki Panic. Mario closed out his NES days with one of his best, Super Mario Bros. 3.
By the turn of the decade, Nintendo was fending off an aggressive marketing campaign from Sega. The Genesis sported a more advanced 16-bit processor compared to the 8-bit NES. Sonic The Hedgehog showed that Sega was not to be taken lightly. The Blue Blur seemed “cooler” than Mario. Nintendo answered the challenge with Super Mario World, one of the best games ever made.
Super Mario World is the pinnacle of 2D Mario. The more experienced team led by Shigeru Miyamoto perfected level design. Super Mario Bros. 3 had taken the simple formula from the first title and expanded upon it with a plethora of creative power-ups. Super Mario World takes away many of those power-ups but makes up for with exceptional and fair level design. It sports a lenient learning curve, beginning easy and gradually gets more difficult. You never feel like you’ve been killed by bullshit. My fuck-ups are entirely my fault. There are very few cheap deaths. No endless death pits or getting killed by an enemy you couldn’t see in time.
While Super Mario World took away the insane power-ups from 3, it added two new additions to the series that more than make up for it. Yoshi makes his sparkling debut in this title. The green dinosaur becomes Mario’s riding companion. He’s just the cutest goddamn thing. The only thing that can cure Yoshi’s voracious appetite is eating all the enemies before him. If he eats enough things, he will spit out useful items like 1-Ups. Yoshi proved very popular with fans and got his own series. The green dino is easily my favorite Nintendo character. If you don’t love Yoshi, what the fuck’s wrong with you? The other power-up is the Feather. Grabbing this transforms Mario into Cape Mario, granting the player the ability fly for a period. Mario flies by building up momentum and jumping. Getting the cape can make a level significantly easier if you can maintain flight. You can even run up certain walls. Using Yoshi and Cape Mario in tandem makes for a deadly combination. These new additions grant the player a variety of clever ways to clear levels and find secret exits.
Super Mario World and Sonic The Hedgehog are forever tied to each other’s legacy. Just like the console war, Nintendo eventually pulled away from Sega. The first Sonic game is rough and difficult to return to, especially compared Sonic 2 and 3. Super Mario World still holds up fantastically. The Super Nintendo started out with an absolute banger. Super Mario World may be the best side-scrolling Mario and easily one of the best ever made. Which do you think is the best 2D Mario game? Like, comment, subscrizzle please!