Content of the article: "Super Mario World released 30 years ago today."
Disclaimer: I did the Banjo Tooie anniversary thread yesterday, and I won’t make another one for awhile, but this is Super Mario World we’re talking about, and an anniversary that ends in a “0” is the perfect excuse to talk about an old game again. The text below is going to read a little informational and “dumbed down” if you’re already familiar with Super Mario World’s and Nintendo’s history. Just an FYI.
Super Mario World first released on November 21, 1990 in Japan but wouldn’t come to North America until August 13, 1991, while Europeans had to wait until April 11, 1992. Back then, different regional releases were a lot more common. In Japan however, it was just one of two launch games for the SNES – it and F-Zero, so you can see Nintendo put a lot of stock in its mascot. Super Mario World directly proceeded Super Mario Bros. 3 as the next mainline Super Mario platform game and was even called Super Mario Bros. 4 in Japan. Outside of its gorgeous 16 bit graphics – twice that of the NES’ 8 bit graphics – it featured a world map with secrets and shortcuts to the last level, and perhaps more importantly, Yoshi, who would become a staple of the Mario series and be featured in a variety of spinoffs as a playable character – like Mario Party, Mario Kart, Mario Tennis, etc. – and his own series, Yoshi, Yoshi’s Cookie, Yoshi ______, and Yoshi’s Island.
While the ability to save cartridge-based games first appeared in 1986’s The Legend of Zelda, this did not become standard until the SNES era. Despite Super Mario Bros. 3 releasing a full two years later, it did not include the ability to save your game. Super Mario World marked the first time you could save your progress in a Mario game. The implication of this encouraged players to try and find all 96 exits in the game. Super Mario World also allowed you to go back and play previous levels (besides the fortress levels). Once you cleared a level in the Super Mario Bros. trilogy, you could not replay the level until subsequent playthroughs. This helped in discovering the game’s secrets because you could carry certain powerups over to a level more easily.
This would be the last major new Super Mario 2D platformer on consoles for a whole 19 years, until New Super Mario Bros. Wii in 2009. 1993’s Super Mario All Stars were remakes of the original trilogy, and 1995’s Super Mario World 2: Yoshi’s Island was more for branding purposes and was a Yoshi game in actuality, and subsequent Yoshi’s Island games dropped the “Super Mario World” from their titles as Yoshi became more of a widely known character in the series.
Shigeru Miyamoto had dreamt up Yoshi since the original Super Mario Bros. in 1985, but due to hardware limitations, he was not a possibility on the NES. That said, there actually is a character in 1984’s Devil World for the NES that resembles Yoshi. Devil World was also directed by Miyamoto, which was not released in North America due to religious connotations (this is the same Nintendo of America that changed 2007’s Fire Emblem: Goddess of Dawn to Fire Emblem: Radiant Dawn). With the power of the SNES though, Yoshi finally became a reality.
It would later come to the Gameboy Advance in the form of Super Mario Advance 2: Super Mario World in 2001 (2002 for us godforsaken Westerners) – along with 1983’s Mario Bros. (not to be confused with 1985’s Super Mario Bros.) – with a toned down difficulty, a few quality of life updates, and modern Luigi characteristics – higher jump at the cost of slower speed. Unfortunately the GameBoy Advance was technically inferior to the SNES, causing the developers to reduce the display resolution and downgrade the entire soundtrack. That said, it still blew every new GameBoy Advance platformer out of the water. 12 years on, this was still peak platforming. Really I don’t think any 2D platformer rivaled Super Mario Bros. 3 and Super Mario World until 20 years later when 2010’s Super Meat Boy released.
Super Mario World’s aesthetic lives on in Super Mario Maker 2 (and the first game) and seems like the most popular pick among the five game styles (Super Mario Bros., Super Mario Bros. 3, Super Mario World, New Super Mario Bros. U, and Super Mario 3D World). In a time when platformers reigned supreme, Super Mario World was the best selling game of its generation (first half of the 1990s), and was Miyamoto’s favorite Mario game. 30 years on, it’s still a lot of fun to play, and fortunately can be easily accessed by new generations of gamers on the Switch’s SNES emulator.
What are your memories of playing Super Mario World? What system did you first play it on – the SNES, GameBoy Advance, Wii, Wii U, Switch, or unofficial emulator on PC? How do you think it compares to the other 2D Super Mario platform games? How does it compare to modern 2D platformers?
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