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Super Mario 64

Developer: Nintendo | Publisher: Nintendo
Players: 1 Player Game | Release Date: 09/26/96 | Genre: Platform

Talking to gamer about Mario 64 reminds me of speaking to a child about Christmas. Their eyes light up, their palms start to sweat, and they get uncontrollably excited. I am sure by now you've seen the reviews, heard all the hype, and played Mario 64 (if not, where have you been?). After saying this, there is one question to be answered: "Is it the greatest game ever?" The answer is a simple yes! By combining all the classic elements from prior two dimensional Mario titles, Mr. Miyamoto has now created the first true classic three dimensional platform game that will be the standard for years to come. There are four reasons that set Mario 64 apart from other 3d games.

First, this game has the best graphics ever seen in a console game. From the birds flying, to the fish swimming, to the transparent water, and even the bricks on the walls are all screaming with detail! This high attention to detail continues through the entire game! When jumping in a painting, the method used to enter worlds, a wave effect can be seen afterwards where you leap in! Not only that, but Bowser, the bad guy in most Mario titles, looks like he came straight from Jurassic Park! The spikes on the back of his body look like they could really just pop out of the screen and poke you! Even the fire Bowser spews uses some of the best effects seen on a console to date. This is one of the prettiest games ever released for any system ever!

Even if a game has good graphics, that alone does not make a game great. Mario 64 also shines with its excellent sound. The music is creative, giving Mario's old eight and sixteen bit music a more sophisticated feel. These tunes are as memorable as their prior releases and Mario 64 doesn't even come on a CD like the Playstation and Saturn! This is a really big accomplishment. I will often find myself humming a tune from one of the massive worlds from Mario 64 while not playing the game. The sound effects are equally great, allowing you to hear every footstep our little plumber boy takes. Even more, all the enemies also can be heard. Bowser screaming, cannons blasting, koopas running, bosses challenging Mario, etc! Yes, it is true, Mario 64 does take all the best sounds from his earlier titles and updates it into a fresh, new sixty-four bit experience!

Thirdly, the control, although it takes some getting used to, allows movement in any direction! No longer are you forced to move left and right, but are free to go in any direction. Don't like the angle the camera is facing? No problem, with a simple tap of a "C" button, you can instantly switch views. The precise movements found in Mario 64 are only accomplished by Nintendo's analog control stick. This small joystick looking contraption is possibly the greatest innovation to gaming since the D-Pad (directional pad)! Mario and Nintendo have pioneered this technology and gamers across the globe are reaping the benefits. Mario 64 is just the first to use great control with the analog joystick.

Lastly, Mario 64 contains some of the best gameplay ever! Even if you don't want to save the princess, the sheer joy of just going for a swim, chasing fish, leaping in the air to scare the little birds, climbing and jumping out of trees, or just wandering around--you will have fun. Want to see Yoshi in sixty-four bit? Simple, just collect all of the stars throughout the game and you will gain access to him! There is so much to see and do in this game that it is a shame all the other developers don't take the time to make their worlds exciting like Nintendo has done!

Mario 64 is simply put the greatest game ever. If you haven't bought a Nintendo 64, do yourself a favor and get one! While the system may not contain as many games as Sony Playstation or Saturn, Mario 64 alone is worth the price of admission. Oh! don't forget to pick up the Mario 64 game cartridge. It will make you remember why you fell in love with video games to begin with.

By Kaleb Rutherford - 08/25/96
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Screenshots for Super Mario 64

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