What's the Greatest Video Game: Super Mario World

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imunbeatable80

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Edited By imunbeatable80

This is an ongoing list where I attempt to do the following: Play, Complete, and Rank every video game in the known universe in order to finally answer the age old question "What is the greatest game of all time?" For previous entries find the links on the attached spreadsheet.

How did I do?

CategoryCompletion level
Beat the gameYes
Star Road

Beat

Bonus Stages

Beat

Its really hard to talk about a game that probably everyone has played and enjoyed at some time in their life. Super Mario World was not the first Mario game I played, but was really the first one I beat and enjoyed. I have stated many times that I was born into a household that had an NES that my brother had already cultivated a library for. I didn't have to start at Mario 1 and then wait agonizing days/weeks/years for Mario 2 or 3. By the time I was ready to start playing games, all of those were in my possession.

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I played all the previous Mario games while growing up, but I never took the time to beat them. Mario 1 felt ancient to me when I could play 3. 2 never felt right, and while 3 was clearly the best of the bunch, it was a long game with no passwords or way to save, so I would always play about an hour and then stop to do something else. Our NES was not stored in a room where I could leave it on until I could come back to it. It was in my Parent's room as a way to limit our time with the system. When it was bedtime, you better believe they were turning off the system (or playing games, themselves) and it was not something we could pick up the following day.

When the Super Nintendo came out, that changed everything for us. The system was no longer in my parent's bedroom and was now hooked up in a den. Games now had some merit to them, as playing games like Final Fantasy, and Dragon Warrior helped teach me to read. Now that the SNES was out, I could freely leave a game on for days if I needed to in order to pick it up later. Sure, it was still a risk that someone else might want to play a game before I returned, but I could at least take the risk if I needed to. Of course none of that mattered with Super Mario World.

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Super Mario World is littered with improvements over its predecessors. For me the most important improvement was the ability to actually save your game. I no longer had to dedicate a huge chunk of time to make it from beginning to end, and could now play a level or two and then save after beating the same ghost house over and over again. While it certainly wasn't the first game to ever exists with save slots, it was such a game changer for me, because as someone who always petered out on previous Mario games, this is one I could see to the end.

Obviously that wasn't the only improvement they tossed in. The game looked and sounded great thanks to new hardware. Something that still to this day is mimicked constantly, it is still just as good looking and sounding now as it was then. Something I think a lot about is how my kids will play games, because obviously they can skip generations and games that bore them, that I couldn't skip growing up. They could just start at the Switch and PS5 era games and never dip their toes in the water of the past. What gives me hope, however, is that if they see me playing Mario World, they instantly recognize the characters. They are drawn in by the colors, sound and music. It is a timeless masterpiece in its presentation, and one that still to this day I feel like Nintendo has yet to top in any of its other Mario games.

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Nintendo not only developed interesting levels, but gave you reasons to revisit them. You could farm items, coins, or extra lives. You could sometimes find secret exits that take you to different places on the map. Gone are the days of warp whistles, but you could discover Star Road and take shortcuts from one world to the next. Then they added secrets to the secrets, and Star Road could lead you to the Bonus world, where levels were wackier and harder, but if you stuck with it, could reward you with changing how the game looks when you went back to your journey to fight Bowser.

I don't know what to say, nearly everything they did for Super Mario World is as near perfect as I think they could hope to get for a Mario game. I have some minor quibbles with the game; (They reuse some mid bosses to much, the secret area where you refill on items is to close to the beginning of the game and trekking there when you are closer to the end is a pain, and I don't love the different colored Yoshi's have different powers) but they are minor and don't take away from the enjoyment I have for the game.

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If it is not apparent this is the Mario game that I will always go back to. I have played newer ones and have enjoyed them, but if I am stuck in life and could only play one Mario game, this is that game. I look forward to playing this game with my kids and seeing as they discover hidden exits for the first time, and that realization that there is more than meets the eye to these levels.

I know this may have seemed like a small review, an one less in depth then when I am writing about adventure games that have a 60 Metacritic, but nearly everything that can be said about Mario World has been written by better writers at this point. I will say this, if for any reason you have missed out on playing this game. Play it... it is as great now as it was then, and something that everyone will enjoy. It might not be your favorite game, but its damn enjoyable.

Is this the greatest game of all time?: As of this writing, Yes... but our journey doesn't end here

Where does it rank: Super Mario World is currently the #1 greatest game of all time, above Yakuza 0. This is out of 59 games.

Up Next: 2 cheapies (Goblin Sword & Revenge of the Bird King)

Anyone looking for it: here is the link to the list and more if you are interested in following along with me (this is not a self promotion). Here. I added links on the spreadsheet for quick navigation. Now if you missed a blog of a game you want to read about, you can get to it quickly, rather than having to scroll through my previous blogs wondering when it came up.

Thanks for Listening.

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sparky_buzzsaw

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Absolutely nailed it with this write-up, and I definitely can see it hanging at the top of the list for a long time to come. Still a fantastic game to this day.

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SethMode

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It's mostly all downhill from here.

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chaser324

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#3 chaser324  Moderator

Going to be hard to dethrone this one.

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imunbeatable80

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@sparky_buzzsaw:Thanks for the read.. Obviously there are a lot of games left to play, but I find it hard to believe that Mario World could ever drop out of the top 10-15 games of all time..

@sethmode: Haha thanks for the read.. I like to think of it as a journey to find the 2nd greatest game now.

@chaser324: I might surprise you, there is always a chance that Kinect Adventures wins the crown.

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redwing42

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So, I'm going to be that guy. I had an NES, but skipped all Nintendo consoles after that until the Wii. So, SMW was something I didn't touch until way after the fact. I adored SMB 2 and 3. I love Galaxy. I played a bunch of 64 on a friend's system and enjoyed that. I could never get into this one. I don't like the way it looks, and I particularly don't like the way it feels. I understand that I am wrong, and I'm ok with that. It just confuses me sometimes what people see in it, but I'm sure it is much like how I feel about the original Zelda compared to others who got to the party late, as discussed in a previous thread.

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imunbeatable80

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@redwing42: how dare you...! Nah i'm just kidding. Yeah without us sitting down and comparing notes it might be hard to see eye to eye. I think your viewpoint though works for a lot of other games based on when you come to them and expectations associated with it.

For me the OG zelda didnt grab me because i loved other zeldas and probably wanted to much for it to be like those. For you it might be playing other Marios around it that it was always going to be the odd one out.

Im sure you arent alone in your belief.. i wonder if you would have been a SNES kid if that would have changed your mind (coming to the game sooner)..

Do you find the game to floaty? Or too colorful? What about similar genre and era games (sonic?)

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redwing42

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@imunbeatable80: It is definitely too floaty for me, and I feel like the control layout itself is not quite right, though I have not played it on an SNES controller. I think it just feels very different than SMB3, which is the 2D Mario I played the most, and that is likely the biggest issue. Though I didn't necessarily find the level design particularly engaging either. I don't mind the look, though it isn't my favorite.

I was a Sega kid/teen/young adult growing up, and honestly, I didn't play that many platformers after the NES. Sonic was kind of cool, though a very different game and hard to compare. I was predominantly a sports and RPG player, and I'd probably say that my favorite platformer since the early days is Super Meat Boy. So, coming to a game like SMW which is in a blind spot for me between those early NES games and modern platformers is tough. The lack of nostalgia makes it tougher. I absolutely think that if I had an SNES and played it in the natural course, I'd have much different feelings about it.

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Junkerman

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#8  Edited By Junkerman

I truly believe, if there was a way to empirically determine which is the greatest game of all time, it would be Super Mario World.

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sombre

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What was your favourite level?

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imunbeatable80

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@junkerman: i wonder what that could possibly look like.. not that i disagree.

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imunbeatable80

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@sombre: honestly its pretty early on.. the first level you get the feather is fantastic as it showcases flying and i think the first secret exit.. outside of that, i love the eater level where you are being chased by the big fish and have to jump from dolphin to dolphin to escape.

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noobsauce

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I'd agree as a gut reaction. This will be a hard pick to dethrone and might just come down to personal preference.

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sombre

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@sombre: honestly its pretty early on.. the first level you get the feather is fantastic as it showcases flying and i think the first secret exit.. outside of that, i love the eater level where you are being chased by the big fish and have to jump from dolphin to dolphin to escape.

Alternately, what's the WORST level?

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imunbeatable80

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@noobsauce: 100% but thats what this whole experiment is.. i mean people probably dont agree with where i put zelda 1, and they might not agree if i ever dethrone mario world

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imunbeatable80

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@sombre: How about worst levels.. there are three that come to mind. One is in the cave where there is a long section where you have to fit into different holes to avoid being squished. I always have trouble finding the secret exit in that level..

There is one where the secret exit is based on the speed in which you get through the level.. i think thats just cheap seeing as no other level does that.

And there is another level set in an ice cave that is just frustrating because of the slipping.

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sombre

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@sombre: How about worst levels.. there are three that come to mind. One is in the cave where there is a long section where you have to fit into different holes to avoid being squished. I always have trouble finding the secret exit in that level..

There is one where the secret exit is based on the speed in which you get through the level.. i think thats just cheap seeing as no other level does that.

And there is another level set in an ice cave that is just frustrating because of the slipping.

I remember completely giving up on SMW because I couldn't beat "Tubular" as a kid

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