Super Mario World

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{DAYSSINCEBIRTH(birth=1990-11-21,birthphrase=JP SNES release)}{DAYSSINCEBIRTH}

{DAYSSINCEBIRTH(birth=1991-08-13,birthphrase=NA SNES release)}{DAYSSINCEBIRTH}

Super Mario World is one of the Big Games in my life.  Largely it is the effect it had on a 9-year-old Josh that continues to resonate with me to this day.

One of the things that was novel about Super Mario World back in 1991 was that it was really one large adventure.  As a kid, no way I was going to consistently be reaching some of the farther-out stages of Super Mario Bros. 3, but would end up playing many of the same stages over and over again.  Hell, the same applies now even with the additional save features built into newer versions of SMB3.  But with Super Mario World, there was little fear of completely losing progress.  If a stage had two exits and one lead to a stage I couldn't get past, it would always be sitting there for another time while I continued on the other branch of the path.  If a stage was red indicating two exits, I was free to keep coming back at it another day and another day until figuring it out.  It took months, but I was finally able to get all 96 stage exits and the little star next to my save file.  Quite an accomplishment, and probably the first time I was able to so cream a game.

I prefer things like the game's music, art design, and character control to other 2D Mario games as well.  However, in these cases I clearly know it's due to my early love of the game and the large amount of time spent with it that my preferences largely grew around this game.

As I said before, it took months to get through the game the first time.  However, in the nearly two decades since then I've been through quite a number of times, and has added another layer of appeal to me: It's one of the few games where I really feel like an expert.  Not a set-a-speed-record type of expert, but I know what the game wants and how to give it to it.  I'm fine with doing a crazy flight maneuver or two, carrying items up beanstalks, or ditching Yoshi for the best jump potential.  It's my element.  Now I can take the quickest route to the end in under a half hour, or get the full 96 with a few more hours--though I haven't done it straight through or specifically timed myself.  Of course, ROM hacks with new levels can still trip me up.  But come on guys, putting a bunch of Bullet Bills and baseball throwers together is just being a dick!

-My get story

Possibly my most exciting Christmas gift ever.  Christmas 1991, I unwrapped Super Mario World and freaked out, knowing a remaining larger box must be the Super Nintendo itself.  This was completely unexpected.  Shortly before my dad had brought up the topic of whether I would want an SNES or Game Boy more.  Though I was pretty hot for SNES, my answer was Game Boy since my practical side said I already had something to play at home, but nothing for while away.

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MobyGames entry

Wikipedia entry

Super Mario Advance 2 on Garaph