When the Super Nintendo was announced I was interested... but the Genesis was my preference at the time. The next Christmas I thought about asking for a Super Nintendo, but there just weren't enough games that interested me to compete with the new hotness that was the Sega CD. So that's the one I asked for. And so I didn't actually get a Super Nintendo until the Christmas of 1993, at which point Super Mario World was now three years old. And yet it still was absolutely incredible. And y'know what? Here we are in 2019 and Super Mario World is STILL absolutely incredible.
I've long considered Super Mario World to be my favorite 2D Mario game (followed by Super Mario 2 "US" - come at me). Yes, there are many a gamer who will tell you that Super Mario Bros 3 is the clear winner. And while I have more nostalgia for SMB3, I've always said that Super Mario World is better. And having replayed SMB3 just a few months back after its launch on Switch, I can now say that I stand by my 1993-self. Super Mario World is the business.
After Christmas this year I decided to buy a WIi U - a bit late to the funeral of dying system, I admit. But the Wii U had been a system that I at least thought was interesting during its lifetime. I just could never find a reason to buy one - especially once the Switch hit last year and seemed to one-up the Wii U in every regard.
But since we found out my wife was pregnant at the beginning of October, my game habits have changed. I've been spending a lot more time outside of my game room just to be more accessible to her needs. So the vast majority of my gaming has been done on my Switch or 3DS since then. And it recently occurred to me that with a Wii U I could add to my library of 'portable' games, including our already existing library of Wii games. So I went out and got a new old console with Christmas gift cards.
I must say that I'm super pleased with the Wii U's virtual console, which I'm now convinced is superior to that of the 3DS. For one thing those SNES games look amazing on the Wii U's gamepad versus the 3DS's screen. And second, it gives me the option to play it as a handheld, or on my TV (just like the Switch! Woah!). You might say that the Wii U gamepad isn't a portable, but honestly my definition of portable generally means in the living room while the TV is on in the background, or on my back patio in the summer. I've got the 3DS for the handful of times I might play in a waiting room or while my oil is getting changed or something.
But I ramble! Super Mario World is still incredible, as I said above. Personally, I prefer the look of 16bit graphics to 8bit. That's just a personal preference. And the SMW sprites are so bright and colorful and full of charm. Not to mention that SMW's character designs seem to take a lot more inspiration from the rather anime appearance of a lot of that old Super Mario promo art that just didn't quite translate to Super Mario Bros 3.
The music is also fantastic. And there's little things like how jumping on Yoshi's back brings in an extra layer of percussion. I mean, damn!
But none of this would matter if the gameplay wasn't good. Super Mario World is a masterclass in game design when it comes to 2D platformers. The physics are spot on and I feel like I can control Mario down to a pixel whether that means just barely standing on a ledge, or jumping up and around a block to land on top. This is perhaps most obvious in the final Bowser battle which involves tossing objects up to land on top of his moving head. I was able to pull that off effortlessly via muscle memory.
Speaking of - I've probably played through this game every five years or so since launch. And it shows. I seem to have no problem speeding through levels and remembering what items are in which blocks, or where alternate exits exist. I guess it's a game I've explored so thoroughly in my formative gaming years that it's just in my DNA now. And yet it still feels compelling. I had times at the grocery store thinking "I can't wait to get home and finish this game," which I did in two sessions starting on New Year's Eve.
I didn't bother with much extra stuff this time around. I didn't open up Star Road or mess around with paths I didn't need to. I just dashed my way to the end credits in a fit of nostalgic joy. But I will say this - I will never tire of Super Mario World.