Super Mario World: just saying it brings on nostalgia and reverence. It’s a game that I’ve personally put more time into than nearly any other Super Mario game and has been a part of my life since first seeing it played at a local daycare. I’ve loved this game since before I could read and the reasons are immeasurable, but to celebrate its 25 birthday, just a month before my own, I’m going to try. I won’t be able to cover every corner of Dinosaur Land (as much as I’d like to!) but I’m going to highlight some of the key reasons why Super Mario World, to this day, is my favorite in the series and one of my favorite games of all time.
The presentation of the game continues to blow me away to this day. From the slanted mountains in the background, the crisp primary colors, and the sound and musical stylings of composer Koji Kondo breathe life into the worlds and levels. Mario himself had never looked better either, with a clearly defined face and softer tints to him than the world surrounding. It made him stand out and made keeping track of the plumber in the lush environments second nature rather than a chore. From Boo Houses to Switch Palaces, everything on the game’s map built from Super Mario Bros. 3’s use of it and blended into an entire, flowing world rather than a series of otherwise unrelated areas. And what a world it was, from Donut Plains to the totally radical Special World every place on the map was a treat. Must be why it started the now-traditional food naming for worlds, a far cry from simply numbering them.
More than anything Super Mario World brought us Yoshi, the dinosaur mount that had been the staff’s dream since the original game’s completion. He was fast, he could walk on things Mario couldn’t, and his tongue let you attack from a distance. Yoshi’s presence would never be unfelt, leading to a successful game series all his own as well as a guaranteed presence at parties, kart rallies, and being one of the original eight playable characters of Super Smash Bros. The first time Yoshi hatches from his egg is an amazing moment of delayed gratification from Nintendo. His prominent presence on the game’s art and advertising guaranteed curiosity and when you finally hear his one of a kind call the smile is unavoidable.