By Alexander Bonilla
Super Mario 64 is one of my first games that I ever had, one of the first that I ever beat, and one of the first that I 100% completed. I had a lot of fond memories growing up with this game, and at the time felt it was amazing! At the time I, it was the only game I had (I had another before, but we got robbed) and with nothing else to play, I was motivated to finish the whole thing. As a kid some things were terrifying, such as the Boos, Bowser, the creepy Eel in the boat, and that God Damn Piano. Seriously, that piano was the only thing from that list that almost everyone who played this game was scared of.
Super Mario 64 was Nintendo’s first attempt at a 3D Mario game as opposed to their previous 2D sidescrollers, all of which were amazing in their own right. At the time it was one of the most amazing games, both in gameplay and graphics, that everyone wanted to play. If it weren’t for this game, we wouldn’t have Super Mario Sunshine, Galaxy, 3D World, or 3D versions of other great franchises like Legend of Zelda and Metroid.
I had to do some digging to find my old copy of this game and popped it in. As expected, the graphics didn’t age the best, but since it’s meant to be cartoony, it’s easily overlooked. I remembered so many secrets and shortcuts that the first few levels were a breeze to beat. I was rapidly getting stars and completing objectives almost as quickly as I could when I was a kid. Then I finally hit a wall of difficulty. There wasn’t anything wrong with the levels, but the camera was terrible. I would be trying to do something difficult; then the camera would suddenly swing around causing me to slip and die. This happened many times. On top of that, the controls are a lot harder to control than I remember. Many times I would attempt a certain move only to have Mario do something entirely different and kill himself.
What started out as a fun trip of nostalgia became a frustrating experience that made me like the game less. I’m still glad I had the game growing up since it was one of the ones that got me into gaming, but it may be better as a memory. Whether or not it was good, it helped pave the way for 3D gaming as we know it today and inspired a lot of other franchises in the process. I can’t recommend it to someone who doesn’t like older games, nor to anyone who doesn’t like Nintendo, but if you’re a fan of either and are willing to overlook some flaws, it might be worth your time. You can find a copy of the game for around $20 to $40 on the original Nintendo 64, or on the DS for around $10 to $30.