11 Settings That Are MMO-Worthy

There’s been an insane bandwagoning of franchises making the jump to the MMO genre as of late. I suppose many developers simply want a piece of WoW’s pie, but with so many MMOs competing with each other (rather than challenging WoW), it seems unlikely that any of them will get that pie. Still, you can’t blame them for trying, and a lot of developers do seem eager to get into the MMO genre. The list of franchises and series that have transitioned to the MMO world has grown quite long over the past few years, but there’s certainly room for many more. Here are several well known settings that I feel would make fantastic transitions to the land of MMOs. Note that they are not in any particular order.

Avatar’s Moon of Pandora


Pandora had it all. The moon of Pandora is home to the Na’vi, a spiritual race of wildlings that seem to be in tune with all aspects of nature. Unfortunately the technologically advanced Humans ruthlessly expanded their operations across the world and caused several major conflicts. This would be an amazing setting for an MMO, with players being able to choose between the Human or Na’vi factions. I have no idea how avatars could fit into everything, but I suppose that a creative developer could think of a great way to incorporate them. Aside from the conflict between the Humans and the Na’vi, Pandora itself suits the MMORPG genre simply because it has everything you can think of. Heck, it even has flying mountains!

Diablo’s World of Sanctuary


Despite the fact that Blizzard is working on their next MMO and it isn’t related to Diablo, I don’t think that rules out the possibility of a Diablo Online in the distant future. Imagine being able to pick from several classes spanning all three Diablo games. Angels, Demons, and Humans could be the three factions. The most appealing part, however, is the idea that we’d be able to travel to any location we’ve ever heard of in Diablo lore. Imagine Caldeum, Kingsport, Kurast, Lut Gholein, Tristram, and Westmarch all being visitable. We could even explore the Dreadlands (former homeland of the barbarians), the insanely expansive Dry Steppes which is north of Caldeum, along with the mysterious Skovos Isles which rests in the sea south of Kingsport. There’s a lot of potential here, and it’s frustrating that Blizzard still hasn’t allowed us to explore more of this huge world.

Zelda’s Land of Hyrule


If Nintendo ever decides to make an MMO, they’ll most certainly go with Zelda. Hyrule has quite a developed backstory behind it now and it has become one of the video game industry’s most celebrated and widely recognized worlds. Imagine a fully 3D Hyrule with several players grouped together and exploring mountains with hookshots, solving dungeon puzzles together, and working with each other to defeat a fearsome dodongo. There would be so much to see, so much to do! Another thing that would work in favour of a Zelda MMO is the fact that the series has Link, a completely silent protagonist. MMO characters are also completely silent (unless you’re playing The Old Republic) so it would help keep the Zelda atmosphere intact while establishing a firm sense of being in an MMO world. Whether or not Nintendo ever makes an MMO is a different question though, so this one doesn’t look terribly likely at the moment.

Mortal Kombat’s Elder God Realms


NetherRealm Studios is pretty much the last development team I’ll ever expect to make an MMO, but never say never. Mortal Kombat may be a fighting game, but it still has a vast and thorough lore behind it. Earthrealm, Edenia, Outworld, and a slew of other realms make up the several lands created by Raiden and his fellow Elder Gods. After playing Mortal Kombat Deception (I know, I know…) and experiencing a pretty limited and poor representation fo the several realms, I can only imagine how much better NetherRealm could make the realms look and feel now that they are no longer shackled down by Midway. Each realm is so distinctly different. They’d be a joy to explore in a proper MMO title. If there’s a good fighting engine in the game as well, then even better.

A Song of Ice & Fire’s Westeros


HBO’s Game of Thrones has skyrocketed the popularity of George R. R. Martin’s book series. A Song of Ice & Fire is traditional fantasy but, at the same time, it isn’t. There’s something distinctly different here that sets the series apart from other fantasy stories such as Lord of the Rings. Because of this, I don’t feel that A Song of Ice & Fire would work best as a regular MMORPG. Aside from the fact that it would simply crater due to being too similar to the competition, there’s just so much potential to make things very interesting. I’d love to see the setting adapted as an MMO where players have to align themselves with a major house right at the start and then work to strengthen their house and go to war. It could be very PvP oriented, and this would fit the whole war theme that the overall story encompasses.

Fallout’s Post-Apocalyptic World


I’ll point out right away that I hate Fallout an awful lot. I didn’t like the old RPG-esque games and I didn’t like the newer ones that utilize Bethesda’s engines. The games just don’t click with me, which is a shame because I like the setting. Post-apocalyptic settings are always very interesting, and I think that Fallout has a good amount of lore built up behind it that would enable it to be a pretty decent MMO, especially if they played off of the whole premise of essentially being a scavenger fighting to stay alive. I know that Bethesda canned one attempt at making a Fallout Online, but this doesn’t mean that they can’t have another go at it later on.

Resident Evil’s Raccoon City


Why not? Capcom is testing the waters with Resident Evil: Operation Raccoon City, a small scale co-op shooter that is set int he fallen city. In it, players assume the role of cleansers sent in by Umbrella and it is their job to clear the undead. I think that a massive MMO with a city on the scale of what you’d find in real life, complete with an endless supply of respawning zombies, would be really cool to experience. Imagine not having to bother with grinds or levels, but rather focusing solely on your own survival and nothing else. I don’t know what kind of endgame content there would be if all you’re doing is scavenging and surviving, but wouldn’t it be a blast logging in simply fighting to stay alive against an entire city that wants to eat you? Capcom could even instance the city so that there would never be too many human players running around at once. Imagine a huge city the size of, say, the entire playable area of Skyrim, and there are only about ten to fifteen human players in it who can’t even communicate unless they’re within range of each other. Wouldn’t it be an awesome feeling of relief to find each other? Come on Capcom, this just may be able to work.

Terminator’s Post-Apocalyptic World


Imagine fighting against Skynet. Seriously, just do it for a moment and then keep reading. Okay, you’ve done it? Gave you a pretty hopeless feeling inside, didn’t it? Now imagine if you really had to do that in an MMORPG. Imagine fighting against computers ON your computer. Wouldn’t that make you feel a little paranoid? I bet the game would make Skynet cheat. Ignoring the fact that you’d be using Skynet’s own technology against them, wouldn’t it be really freaking cool to play a game that would deal exclusively with taking down terminators!? Come on, you know that you’ve mentally put yourself in the shoes of John and Sarah Conner before. You’ve imagined yourself running and trying to escape from terminators. You’ve also imagined blowing them up with high powered guns and explosives too, right? A Terminator MMO would let every teenage boy of the 1990s relive their fantasies. Terminator Online would be absolutely epic.

Grand Theft Auto’s Liberty City


I’ve been wishing for an online GTA game ever since I played APB a few years back. APB was all about jacking cars and gunning down enemies in the city of San Paro. It was basically a violent GTA with absolutely no story or content besides driving and shooting. If Rockstar ever works up the courage to attempt a GTA Online, I think that it could be quite interesting. I’m sure that Rockstar locked at APB carefully and know where the developers went wrong with their car jacking, gun tootin’ MMO shooter. A GTA Online would likely feature a more defined story and would, I hope, have more features than just stealing cars and shooting at people. I’d bet money on Rockstar adding a lot of other fun group activities and minigames. Heck, maybe even PvP wouldn’t be the only thing you’d be doing all the time?

L. Frank Baum’s Land of Oz


Oh we’re off the see the wizard, the wonderful wizard of Oz! While The Wizard of Oz was originally a children’s book and then adapted into a movie children, it’s impossible to ignore that there are some truly dark things going on in the world of Oz. I was never truly aware as a kid, but now that I am an adult I fully realize just how twisted of a place Oz was. It could perhaps make the MMO transition pretty well, but I’m not sure how it would be marketed. Would it be a kid friendly MMO, or would it perhaps be a little darker and grittier than the ESRB’s E rating would allow? Regardless, Oz has a lot of backstory these days and I think that a Wizard of Oz MMORPG isn’t a question of if, but rather a question of when.

Mario’s Mushroom Kingdom


Will we ever see Nintendo make an MMO? That’s a pretty good question. While Zelda’s Hyrule would probably be given the MMO treatment ahead of the Mushroom Kingdom, I doubt that anyone could possibly deny the appeal behind adventuring throughout the Mushroom Kingdom with your friends. The NES loving kid inside of me would kill for a Mario MMO while the adult that I am, who still loves the NES, would probably do very horrible and rotten things if it ever meant Nintendo would develop a Mario MMO. I mean seriously! How could anyone not want this? Imagine King Boo as a raid boss. Just do it. There, now you’re as sold as I am. The concept of a Mario MMO doesn’t even need explaining, it just needs to happen!

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Super Mario Bros. X (Review)

“A fangame that is overshadowed by a tool that comes packaged along with it.”

Super Mario Bros. X does not really know what it wants to be. While this fangame very clearly pays tribute to the Mario franchise, the sight of Metroid and Zelda graphics, along with odd gameplay mechanics that don’t seem to fit in a Mario game, one can’t help but wonder if the creators of this game lacked a little vision.

The default campaign that comes with Super Mario Bros. X is fairly clunky, but it should be able to hold your attention for a while. I found that, while the levels were somewhat enjoyable, they did not capture the old-school Mario feel at all and just seemed to want to pretend to be Contra or Metroid while wearing a Mario disguise. Make no mistake, almost everything that you probably grew to love from Mario 1, 2, 3, or World is probably here, but few elements seem to be used properly in the default campaign.

I found a few issues with the enemies in the game as well. As a huge Mario fan who has sunk dozens upon dozens of hours into Super Mario World, I was able to quickly realize that some enemies don’t behave as they should. For example, the thwomp (the square rock guys who try to squish you) drop too late and too quickly. In real Mario games, it was possible to pass by under them or even jump past them before they would hit you, but that is not the case here. In SMBX, thwomps drop pretty much when you are right beside them, and they drop slightly faster than they did in Mario World. A few other enemies behave oddly as well, such as Birdo or Hammer Brothers.

The controls are also a little stiffer than they are in a typical Mario game. Sometimes I had a few issues maneuvering Mario properly even on the most simple of platforms. I also find his acceleration into a run to be a little unusual. Something about it just feels incredibly off, but I can exactly place what it is that I don’t like about it. Mario’s acceleration just does not feel right.

If I were to review Mario Bros. X solely on the default campaign that comes with the game, I’d probably give the game about a 7/10, but there’s something that comes with this game that drives the score way up and pretty much renders the default campaign as an optional set of levels for you to plow through if you’re bored. So, what is the magical part of the package that overshadows the main game? Well, it happens to be a level editor.

The level editor is by and far the best point of Super Mario Bros. X. Users can create their own Mario levels using graphics and music from any of the first four Mario titles, as well as a few samples from Metroid and Zelda. I don’t agree with those two games having any kind of representation in a Mario fangame of this magnitude, and Link being a playable character makes my mind implode. As a very biased Mario fanboy of twenty years, it just doesn’t feel right to have Metroid themed levels in the Mushroom Kingdom, but it’s optional content so I can’t really condemn it.

I’ve made several Mario levels so far, and I have to say that I am very pleased by how robust Super Mario Bros. X’s editor really is. Recreating old Mario levels from any game is one hundred percent possible, as is forging brand new levels that combine graphics and enemies from any of the old Mario titles. It’s a great little tool for sure.

One other cool thing that this game has to offer, which I haven’t been able to try and likely never will due to various reasons, is the two player co-op mode. Rather than taking turns playing levels like in the old Mario games, in SMBX, the two players get to play the same levels together. Available characters are Mario, Luigi, Toad, Peach, and Link. There’s a good amount of variety there, and I’m sure that anyone who is able to take advantage of the two player mode will really enjoy it, as it seems well made judging from what I’ve seen on YouTube.

Overall, SMBX is a passably decent game if you ignore the level editor, though the character variety and co-op mode should make the game closer to being fairly good. However, if you are a fan of level making and such, then expect to have a lot of fun with this game.

Super Mario Bros. X can be downloaded here: http://www.supermariobrothers.org/smbx/

Overall

8.2/10

Super Mario Bros. Crossover (Review)

“One hell of an addicting flash platformer.”

I’m not really too keen on reviewing flash games, but will do so when a particularly enjoyable one grabs my attention. Today I am reviewing one such flash game, which happens to be the quirky (though nostalgic) Super Mario Bros. Crossover.

As one would probably be able to guess, the game has at least something to do with the original Super Mario Bros. on the NES. There is a little bit more to it than that, as Super Mario Bros. Crossover takes the original 8-bit adventure and completely recreates it in Flash. Yes, the complete SMB game that you played as a kid is now available in your browser! There is a catch though, and this is where the “crossover” in the title comes into play. This may be a Mario game, but everybody’s favourite plumber takes a surprising back seat role.

Joining Mario in this excellent flash game are several other iconic characters from the Nintendo era. They are Billy, Ryu Hayabusa, Link, Mega Man, Samus Aran, and Simon Belmont. If any of those names are unfamiliar to you, then shame on you! Billy is from Contra, Ryu from Ninja Gaiden, Link from Zelda, Mega Man from his own self titled franchise, Samus Aran from Metroid, and Simon Belmont from Castlevania. All in all, it’s a very iconic cast of selectable characters, each with their own play styles.

Billy is probably my favourite character. He plays exactly as he does in any Contra game. He jumps high, has a machine gun, and can fire in virtually any direction. Super mushrooms enable Billy to have a slightly more powerful machine gun that has more range, and the fire flower gives Billy the trademark spreadshot gun. I find that Billy is practically unstoppable when he has the spreadshot, and I only had difficulty playing as him in the water levels.

Ryu has several fun tricks. He can wall climb, slash with his sword, and throw shurikens. When you power him up, his attacks become stronger and he can do things such as throw out boomerang shurikens, which are fairly devastating.

Link is a difficult character to use, I feel. He’s very small, his range is terrible, and his boomerang can be tough to use if you are faced with paratroopas and the like. Thankfully Link’s fire flower ability makes up for this slightly, as it allows you to shoot sword beams just as he does in the original Legend of Zelda when he has full health.

Mega Man is a very fun character to use, and he plays exactly as you’d expect him to. He has a ground slide, which I haven’t found many uses for, but it’s good to have it regardless. My only complaint about Mega Man is that he can’t jump high on his own. You need to call Rush down to give you a boost up to higher platforms and, in levels where high platforms are plentiful, you’ll find yourself losing a bit of time to just calling Rush down. Aside from that minor issue, Mega Man is very fun to play as, and he somehow fits into the Mario universe strangely well!

Samus feels a bit plain, but possibly because I’m not a huge Metroid fan. She is able to turn into a ball and roll around, which doesn’t feel as fun here as it does in her native Metroid setting. Her weapons feel a little bit underpowered to me and her range isn’t too exceptional, but her rate of fire is actually pretty fast. Her powered up weapon is a sort of zig-zag projectile that, in my opinion, feels worse than her default weapon.

Simon is a pretty cool character. He has a double jump ability and his whip powers up differently depending on which power-ups you get. His secondary attack is his trademark axe, which he throws diagonally into the air. I’ve had a bit of trouble hitting enemies with the axe, but it’s fantastic for clearing bricks!

I won’t even bother mentioning how Mario plays because, well, it’s Mario! The game even pokes fun at this as well, questioning why you are playing if you don’t know how Mario himself plays.

It’s a lot of fun to play with these characters in a Mario setting. Many fond feelings towards various NES games from my childhood are contained in this game, and it’s great to relive some old sensations that I have not felt in twenty years. There’s so much nostalgia here, thanks in part to each individual character and the music from their own games that accompany them.

Beyond the addition of new characters, everything is reproduced one hundred percent faithfully. All graphics and sound effects are as they should be, and the level design is completely like the original game. Overall, this is a very fun game to play. If Nintendo made this game and released it for a few bucks, I’d definitely buy it. Hats off to the creator, Jay Pavlina (aka Exploding Rabbit). You’ve created a very enjoyable flash game that I find myself coming back to again and again, just to experience various levels with different characters. Good job, sir!

Click here to play Super Mario Bros. Crossover.

Final Score

8.8/10

Everybody Edits: Super Mario Rollercoaster

It’s 6:30 AM.. I just finished this monstrous rollercoaster room for Everbody Edits. It took SIX HOURS. I’ll write some stuff in here later on. For now check out the pictures of what I made this time.

Update!
It’s 1:30 PM now and I’ve gotten some sleep, so let’s talk about this bad boy. In the Super Mario Rollercoaster, visitors are taken on a guided ride all around the Mario characters/objects that I “sprited” until they are eventually dumped in a free-roaming area to check out the last creation that I made, Bowser as seen in Super Mario World. That one took quite a long time to make, and it took up a heck of a lot of space!

Like with my other Mario room in Everybody Edits, a lot of people dropped by and watched me work. In fact, the Super Mario Rollercoaster received far more visitors. At one point I probably had about two dozen people zipping around the ride as well as watching me add new characters to look at. Tons of people watched me make Bowser. I cannot help but wonder how crazy they thought I was to make something so damn big?

Anyway, a few people in total dropped in to check out Super Mario Rollercoaster. Thanks, guys!

Return to August 2010 Articles

New Super Mario Bros. Wii (Review)

“Mario returns to his roots once more in this enjoyable 2D platformer.”

For many years, I was complaining that Nintendo was foolishly wasting their time making fully 3D Mario games, which I still feel they inappropriately named as platformers. Mario 64 never clicked with me and Mario Sunshine was so mediocre that it was depressing. I never played either of the Mario Galaxy games due to not being a Wii owner. Despite the fact that I don’t own Nintendo’s latest console, I’m still allowed the opportunity to try a Wii game from time to time. Except for Mario Kart Wii, there’s probably no other game on the console that I’ve ever wanted to play except for New Super Mario Bros. Wii. Now that I’ve gotten the chance to try it out, I feel that I really must write about the game being the Mario fanatic that I am.

New Super Mario Bros. Wii (let’s just call it NSMBW for short) opens up with Mario and Luigi, as well as many toads (the mushroom people), attending Princess Toadstool’s birthday. Things take a completely random turn for the worse when Bowser’s goons lift Peach’s gigantic cake and throw it on top of her, trapping her inside before running off with her. I know that this is just a Mario platformer and all, but really? The cake? Nintendo surely could have done a little better than this? A crew of koopa caterers in disguise nabbing her would have been better. Even though I didn’t like the cake scene and found it to be really uncreative, it hasn’t affected my overall take on the game so no need to worry.

After the princess is nabbed, it is time for Mario, Luigi, and the two toads (one blue and one yellow) to save the day. With four characters comes four player support, new to the main Mario series. I only played the game solo which is how I feel Mario platformers should always be played unless we’re talking two players taking turns. In NSMBW however, all four players can romp across the screen together. It sounds like a little bit too much for me, especially in a Mario game, so I’m a little glad that I didn’t get the opportunity to try the multiplayer since it allowed me to play this game for what it is, a Mario platformer and not a four player orgy.

So once all is said and done and you’re past the intro sequence and player select, you get to tackle the first world. As is the case with all Mario games, NSMBW is divided into eight worlds, each comprised of several levels. Each world in NSMBW follows a different theme, most of which are pulled straight out of classic Mario games.

On the subject of emulating the classic Mario games, NSMBW does not hesitate to take many pages from the older games. NSMBW in fact borrows so many elements from the classic games that it ends up feeling like the first four games (Super Mario Bros 1, 2, 3 and World) were dumped into a big cauldron and left to stew. The number of gameplay elements from the old games is staggering, but it is huge relief after the 3D titles which tried desperately to be different.

Most of the classic enemies and power-ups from the first four games have returned. While they may be rendered in 3D now and have received drastic makeovers, everything is the same as ever. As a long time Mario fan, I was constantly encountering somewhat obscure enemies that I had met in the older games, so I had the privilege of knowing what they do and how to get around them. It was so great to experience so much familiarity in a new Mario game and it left me feeling really good.

In terms of what’s new to Mario, there are three new power-ups that are quite a lot of fun to use. The first that you will likely encounter is the ice flower which, instead of giving Mario the ability to throw fireballs, allows our plumber friend to freeze enemies for a few seconds. The second power-up is a propeller cap which allows Mario to fly up and down by shaking the Wiimote. This is a cheap gimmick to add to a power-up, and it immediately makes the propeller cap inferior to the leaf from SMB3 or cape from SMW in my opinion. The third and final new power-up is the penguin suit, which allows Mario to glide across the ground effortly like a penguin on ice.

Level structure is the same as ever, keep moving forward until you reach the goal post at the end of the level. How to progress through the levels has remained unchanged so Mario veterans should be able to complete most of the game with relative ease. There are a few new challenges littered throughout the game, most of which start to appear in the secord world.

There are a few old faces that have returned to the Mario franchise, which makes me very, very happy. First off, there’s Yoshi. Our beloved dinosaur has been restored to his Mario World glory thanks to a smart decision by Nintendo. Gone is Yoshi’s bizarre baby voice which has been replaced by the deeper, more reptilian Yoshi noises that we fell in love with in Super Mario World. Unfortunately, Yoshi is only present in a small handful of levels and cannot be taken outside to other levels. This seems to be a nod to Mario Sunshine and, quite frankly, I hate it. The inability to bring Yoshi anywhere is really not beneficial to the gameplay at all. Super Mario World, which is essentially twenty years old, has a superior Yoshi that can travel to any level. That does not look very good on NSMBW.

Also returning for the first time in many years are the Koopa Kids. I missed this guys immensely, as they were among my favourite aspects of the old games. The order that you fight them in has been shaken up quite a bit and is fairly interesting now. For example, Larry Koopa was usually always in castle 6 or 7 before, but is now the very first Koopa Kid who you must overcome.

World structure is actually the best ever in a Mario game. While the game world doesn’t feel as diverse as Super Mario World, which featured a brilliant overworld map, NSMBW instead emulates the map style that we’ve seen in Super Mario Bros. 3 and New Super Mario Bros. for the DS. There are several levels scattered across the maps which the player must beat to progress. Among them are mushroom houses, ghost houses (returning from Mario World), and towers. The towers are actually quite nice. In most cases, towers sit smack dab in the middle of each world. Whichever Koopa Kid is lording over the world you’re in will be present in the tower, and you get to have a nice little fight with them before they flee to the castle at the end of the world. After beating the tower, you are treated with a save prompt and the second half of the world to play through.

The graphical style in NSMBW isn’t bad at all and, quite honestly, just looks like the original Super Mario Bros. on the NES with a massive makeover. This is quite a good thing, and there’s a lot of charm in the game’s visuals. Sound effects match nicely, as many of them are straight out of the classic games with few alterations. Music is a different story and I personally found it to be a bit of a bag of mixed nuts. Some of the music tracks are very enjoyable and pleasant to listen to, but others are entirely forgettable. It is a little disheartening that a Mario platformer could have music that won’t stand out or stick with you, but that’s just the sad truth. The music is at least an improvement from New Super Mario Bros. on the DS, but just about anything is an improvement over the music in that game. Sorry Nintendo.

So, is the game worth your time? If you are a Mario fan, then the answer is a definite yes. If you enjoy Mario platformers, then there is absolutely no doubt in my mind that you will enjoy this game. Heck, even just fans of platformers in general should find a lot to like in this game. While the game falters a tiny bit from a few shortcomings, it stands strong and is only bettered by perhaps Mario 3 and Mario World. Nintendo has proven to us that they still have it in them, and this is undoubtedly the best 2D Mario platformer in a whooping twenty years.

Final Score

9/10

Super Mario World (SNES, 1990)

INFO: My “Retro Vault” reviews are not scored. Instead, I just talk about why I have fond memories of whichever game I’m writing about at the time. Generally, I won’t pick out any bad games for the Retro Vault feature, so scoring them is essentially useless anyway. Enjoy the read.

I have to apologize to fans of Mario 64 and Mario Galaxy, because those games cannot stand up to the 16 bit behemoth that is Super Mario World. 3D Mario games are great and all, but 2D platforming, where Mario’s roots are, is also where he shines his best.

I remember when I was only six or seven years old, and I was visiting a friend’s house for a few hours. When I had walked in, I was greeted by what sounded like a very exciting video game. Back then, there was no internet and most people found out about games by word of mouth. Also, the Super Nintendo had only been recently launched, so a lot of people didn’t yet know about it. So, what was the first thing I saw when I rounded the corner and peered at their living room television? Why, it was Mario looking better than I had ever seen before! And he was involved in a fight with Bowser, and the graphics just blew my mind. Everything about this unknown Mario game captivated me. I found myself not caring much about the mysterious console that it was running on, instead only caring about one thing. Mario.

After I had gone home, I anxiously told my brother about what I had seen. It’s funny, because I vaguely remember him not believing me. However, after he had seen it for himself, a Super Nintendo wasn’t long showing up in our home which resulted in our bulky old NES being pushed aside. It was at this time that I could finally sit down and play Super Mario World. No, not play it… Bond with it, and love it.

Super Mario World is really something special. These days, those who are relatively new to gaming are spoiled when a new generation of consoles arrives. My first transition into a new generation was going from 8 bit to 16 bit, and this was a colossal leap at the time. Everything was just so much better by leaps and bounds, and this included Mario. This SNES launch title was better than any of his NES adventures by a gigantic margin. Not even the fantastic Super Mario Brothers 3 could compare!

So what was so great about Super Mario World? And why is it still so great? Well, Super Mario World took the superb gameplay formula from Mario 3 and did one simple thing – they perfected it. Mario World isn’t made great from the way it looks or sounds, no. Incredibly friendly and responsive controls, imaginative enemies and obstacles, and one of the most balanced difficulty curves I’ve ever experienced in a game are what makes Mario World what it is to me, and that’s the best platformer ever made.

Mario World probably doesn’t have as many levels as Mario 3, but the game makes up for that by making it’s levels some of the finest ever in a 2D video game. There are many superb challenges and obstacles that Mario must overcome, and the amount of secrets that take both creative thinking and skill to reach astounds me even to this day.

This was also the first game to feature one of the most iconic Mario sidekicks ever, and that is Yoshi. The green dinosaur has become very popular over time and certainly has his own loyal fanbase. Nintendo has not introduced a character as beloved as Yoshi since Mario and Luigi themselves. The later games try to make us fall in love with new characters, such as Bowser Jr, but the charm just isn’t the same anymore. Yoshi became well loved for being the most sought after “power up” in Mario World. He could breathe fire, fly, ground pound, and eat just about anything that wasn’t bolted down to the ground. Obtaining Yoshi also instilled a sense of confidence in players, since Yoshi made it far more difficult for our plumber friend to bite the dust. Yoshi allowed even the not-so-skilled players to get through some of the harder levels, which was a great thing.

Super Mario World had loads of charm. The music is only surpassed by the tunes in the original Super Mario Brothers in my opinion, but the graphics are the most charismatic out of all Mario platformers. The NES titles cannot compare, nor can the woefully unimpressive New Super Mario Brothers on the DS. I can’t speak for the latest Wii incarnation, but it doesn’t look that much better than what I played on the DS.

Considering that this game was a Super Nintendo launch title, it’s stunning that the graphics are as good as they happen to be. Many Super Nintendo games that came along a few years later couldn’t even look as charming as Super Mario World. This is evidence that Nintendo went the extra mile to make this beloved game not only play better than the competition, but also look it in some instances. Of course some Super Nintendo platformers such as Donkey Kong Country look better from a plain graphics perspective, but the DKC franchise doesn’t have nearly as much charm or charisma. Super Mario World had it all and then some. The koopas, thwomps, boos, various fish, and of course the Koopa Kids, Mario World had loveable style oozing out of every pore.

Super Mario World is my second favourite Super Nintendo game, and one of my favourite games of all time. This game is, purely and simple, Mario at his best. Try to hate this game I dare you, because you’ll find it hard to do so when you can’t even put your controller down.

Nintendo, thank you. This game truly is the epitome of 2D platforming.